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Men And Intimacy – Why Do They Shy Away?

Men often have difficulty dealing with intimacy, particularly when a relationship appears to be out of their control.

The interesting part of the issue of men and intimacy is that men also have difficulty acknowledging that they have difficulty dealing with intimacy.

Men usually sublimate the emotions into actions that they can understand. Men and intimacy are words that just don’t seem to fit together.

I understand this, I have been there.

Recently I read the following sad account of a man shying away from intimacy because of a situation he had caused. The wife said, in the account,

My H had an affair for about a year before I discovered. After two years of sitting on the fence and in limbo, he made the decision to stay in our marriage, especially because of our children. He fell in love with this woman and this woman was trying everything in her power to stay in contact with him because of his feelings for her. These are her words to me. ‘You have him physically but he is with me emotionally.

It has been almost a year since their final breakup. He has since been very good to me except being intimate. He shows affection in other ways but when I want to be sexually intimate, he rejects me…but in a subtle sort of way…by instead holding me, or my kissing me on my cheek and smiling. When I ask him about it, he says, he is still having a hard time but it doesn’t mean he loves me any less. If we are intimate it is once every two weeks, and it is because I initiate it..never him. But we never go through the full intimacy.

I don’t know what the cause of his shying away was but it seems to me that the cause lay way before he had an affair. It’s the intimacy issues men deal with by having an affair. I wonder why he had the affair in the first place. It is usually because he feels there is something missing in his marriage, something that he feels he las no control over. Children are mentioned, that often causes an emotional split in a marriage. I suspect he had an affair with a woman with no children who was able to idolise her man.

Having created this situation he both feels guilty and he clearly has not resolved the original issue, hence his continuing lack of intimacy with his wife. When the children are older he may well have another affair or leave his wife.

What is the answer? Unfortunately for the wife she cannot solve it, no matter how hard she tries. Only the person with the problem can solve it. So, only he can deal with it, but the question is will he. The evidence says probably not! He has to face his emotions and acknowledge what is going on. He has to look at his relationship with intimacy and be honest about it. Sadly too few men go this far.

Read more on ‘My eXperience Of Male Sexuality – How I Came To Enjoy Sex‘, where I say,

Sex is something we all want, but do we enjoy it? Sex is something we all have, but does it make us feel better? My experience of sex left a lot to be desired. I did not understand my Male Sexuality.

Too many people just accept that life throws them curved balls and that life is crap. REM penned one of the most popular songs about this, their only advice… ‘hold on…’

Everybody Hurts

When the day is long and the night, the night is yours alone,
When you’re sure you’ve had enough of this life, well hang on
Don’t let yourself go, ’cause everybody cries and everybody hurts sometimes

Sometimes everything is wrong. Now it’s time to sing along
When your day is night alone, (hold on, hold on)
If you feel like letting go, (hold on)
When you think you’ve had too much of this life, well hang on

‘Cause everybody hurts. Take comfort in your friends
Everybody hurts. Don’t throw your hand. Oh, no. Don’t throw your hand
If you feel like you’re alone, no, no, no, you are not alone

If you’re on your own in this life, the days and nights are long,
When you think you’ve had too much of this life to hang on

Well, everybody hurts sometimes,
Everybody cries. And everybody hurts sometimes
And everybody hurts sometimes. So, hold on, hold on
Hold on, hold on, hold on, hold on, hold on, hold on
Everybody hurts. You are not alone

Believe me there is more than this, life can be faced and dealt with, you don’t need to hurt.

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  1. Graham, Marriage is such a co-created environment, isn’t it? I think another reason men ( & women) keep quiet/avoid difficult topics is to keep the peace with their spouse/avoid conflict.

    Being able to sit near someone who is struggling without withdrawing or picking on the problem is hard, but worth it in the long run!


    1. Being able to be with someone, no matter how they are, is a gift, one that creates amazing relationships. It really, though requires both sides. Yes, it is a co-created environment, if created well there should be no need to jkeep the peace. Maybe I’m an idealist, but I know it can work. Thanks for your comment, marci.


  2. You’ve misunderstood REM’s everybody hurts it would seem.
    The song is an anti-suicide song and has nothing to do with improving life, rather it’s simply about not ending it if you are on the precipice.


  3. I’d seen long ago in a public office a woman scolding her husband like he’s some servant. It left me in a fix. Why would people do that? It’s so obvious that you’re hurting him as much yourself by doing that. I got married years later, and just like that woman, my husband scolded me in front of people, something I’d not expected from him. I was shocked. Slowly I realised he only needs me for his needs, he doesn’t love me for me. I’m devastated on one level but on another level I know God has a hidden message for me to work upon.


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