Post Orgasmic Bliss?

What science can tell us about sex.

Post Orgasmic Bliss?

Postby bballs » Thu Mar 03, 2011 9:55 am

I have debating where to post this topic, and since my mind on this subject is skewed toward's science...I am posting it here.

Without going into the whole story. 9 months ago I would say started our true progress towards mutual intimacy on all levels after 14 years of marriage. Physically, before then, we had sex on average of once a week and we both usually had orgasms. The difference back then is there was only the physical feeling of sex (the reach for the orgasm). This was more her than me because I was usually the one wanting to have sex. She obliged and found ways to get her O via fantasy. I had my habits with porn, etc. So let's not get into all that in this post because I have exhausted it in other posts....and we have moved past our bad habits.

My question is related to orgasm. My wife and I have atypical stereotype (media stereotype) personalities for our genders. I am more empathetic and introspective. To get to the punch line....Now that we have been re-wiring our brains to this new physical intimacy and having it more frequent, my brain has quickly re-wired itself to the point where an orgasm with my wife feels physical, emotional, and spiritual (I know tons about dopamine, oxytocin, and prolactin, etc.). Porn does nothing for me anymore. Other women do nothing for me anymore (no arousal on either). Only my wife. When I have an orgasm it's very long and unbelievably breath taking. The feelings I have are what many people would describe as that rush of Oxytocin. My wife, when she has an orgasm, it's more like a guy. She has a strong orgasm. But when it's over it's like, "good, I need to clean up." (Not that bad - she is still very loving) She doesn't have this "post orgasmic bliss" as I do.

Being that she does not have good empathy traits (like Asperger's), but she is actually starting to acquire them more through our marital therapy, I wonder about the relationship between low empathy and Oxytocin. Sometimes, I will admit I get a little insecure because I feel like maybe her brain is still wired for the old fantasy. And then I say to myself, it will take time, and that I did it so quickly because I am the one that had the "aha" moment in our marriage, not her.

But more importantly - Is this just her? And do I just need to accept it. I know that I am very aware of my body and mind, etc. She is not so much. Obviously mine is a gift and curse (because I can over analyze). But in order to reinforce the positive feedback loop that Oxytocin brings, and therefore also reinforcing a rewarding experience for her = more progress towards more frequent engaged sex; wouldn't you think that someone almost would naturally, or eventually start feeling this "post orgasmic bliss" sometimes?

I could be way wrong and projecting me on my wife. That's why I posted. Thanks.
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Re: Post Orgasmic Bliss?

Postby ophelia » Wed Mar 09, 2011 10:45 pm

It may just be her. I'm wondering if maybe this also could just use more time. Like a year or two. If she is making progress with therapy and in the bedroom things just might be working slower then you would expect. Her brain probably does have some rewiring to do. That doesn't mean she's still involved in fantasy, it just that that stuff can take considerable time. Especially with an adult brain that is set in it's ways.
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Re: Post Orgasmic Bliss?

Postby melinda » Thu Mar 10, 2011 6:28 am

This is probably just her. I don't not experience "post orgasmic bliss" or "the afterglow" and for years DH and I both thought something had to be wrong with me because I don't want to cuddle or anything after sex, just get cleaned up and either sleep or go about my day. I've learned that with many things there is an entire spectrum of "normal" response. I may not be stereotypical, but I am within the spectrum of normal.
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Re: Post Orgasmic Bliss?

Postby landschooner » Thu Mar 10, 2011 9:38 pm

I'm sorry its frustrating brother. No advice from me. The other posters had really good thoughts. : )

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Re: Post Orgasmic Bliss?

Postby bballs » Fri Mar 18, 2011 3:00 pm

Thanks everyone. For now...I will have patience. And maybe I will have to accept "it's just her." But of course it seems like in the early days it was different. I will have to come back to this one as my science brain battles my "can't be explained" by science brain. :?
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Re: Post Orgasmic Bliss?

Postby Beren » Fri Jun 10, 2011 11:14 am

You wrote about post orgasmic bliss, and how to get there. I wrote you a lengthy reply, but I hope one that gets at the underlayment toward that foundation.

Empathy and oxytocin reminds me of some comments by Shannon Ethridge in her book of healing identity "The Sexually Confident Wife". She says we must balance the physical/mental with the emotional/spiritual (p.20-21). When they're out of whack, if she feels like a piece of meat, she'll unwittingly starve herself emotionally even though meeting his needs physically, to protect herself and her core from being used. Conversely, he'll feel like a lapdog meeting her needs with time and attention but just getting a pat on the head (physical release) intimately. It's not intentional, it's just functional. Further, Mrs. Etheridge details the importance of oxytocin's continuous build-up and release to get "sticky" through pair-bonding. In her case, promiscuity caused her to stick and re-stick until she wasn't sticky in marriage, plus had internal baggage blocking oxytocin from working its magic. She simply separated sex from intimacy. Her solution is a simple 3 pronged approach, yet very deep journey of self-examination before the Lord Jesus as she unpacked her identity and allowed Him to heal her deeply, in Part 2: unwinding childhood tapes, identifying sexual abuse, cutting soul ties from promiscuity (forgiveness of both others and oneself), essentially establishing healthy boundaries of identity that never existed, even after a decade of marriage. Jesus said, "Love your neighbor as yourself." How do you love your spouse deeply, from the heart (1 Peter 1:22), if you don't love yourself? Part 3 is an exploration of becoming sexually confident, and glueing together two fresh surfaces of wood, this time without missing/broken pieces.

Regarding male/female identity, I remember Gary Smalley, in his "Loving Relationships" videos 20+ years ago, describing how 25% of each gender switches stereotypes, that is the female functions more logically while those 25% of males are more empathetic. Understand, they're no less male, they just have more capacity for understanding feelings and being aware of others than is typical. Your comments remind me of this. I wouldn't fret if you're analyzing the relationship on a deeper level than she seems to be; there are very deep emotions there that the Lord would make you aware of to pray through. In this way, you are totally the spiritual leader, actually. Wives are referred to as cisterns, or wells, (Prov. 5:15). It's our job to repair missing/loose bricks, direct irrigation channels for our lovemaking garden, and help the water level go deeper if it's blocked, and be patient while it fills (like removing the baptismal grating so you can really be dunked in the Lord) :D . It's the Lord's highest calling for our life. Our job is to provide physical, emotional, and spiritual protection. You mentioned progress toward true intimacy after 14 years of marriage. If you read other stories of awakening on this site, that's about right. After a spouse feels safe enough with enough years of trust built up, they can finally let go and become a mess in order to heal.

I know this is a lengthy thread, but if I could just share two more thoughts. Husband/wife team authors Dr. Joseph and Linda Dillow & Dr. Peter & Lorraine Pintus wrote a thorough commentary on the Song of Songs from the original Hebrew. They nailed it. In one verse in particular 5:1 God himself hovers over the intertwined lovers and says, "Eat, friends; drink and imbibe deeply, O lovers." (p.154) It's not idolatry, it's his picture of our relationship interacting with the Lord himself, Him in us, and us in Him. Oneness, as was pre-existent in Eden. Alan Gardner, in "Sacred Sex" really explores sex as worship, on par or better than the church's other sacraments: baptism, communion, marriage, etc., calling it the Holy of Holies (p.38). His point is that God let's His presence dwell in the act of love between a husband and wife, as earthy as it is, because He is love.

Final thought-Asperger's is a form of autism. The relational challenges for the autistic person stem from not having a clear brain pathway for determining identity. It's as if they can "feel", or "sense" the interpersonal expectation place upon them for interaction with others, and get overloaded and/or shut down. So the secret is to do nothing, and empty the space between you, so they feel no expectation at all, but that doesn't mean ignore them. Here's the marital intimacy connection. If you're really wanting something badly, how the heck do you expect nothing? 2 Timothy 1:7 "For God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, of love and of self-discipline." I used to think self-discipline meant I had help not sinning, which it does. But it also, I think, refers to our mini-trinity in that God gave us a mind, body, and spirit, and if we're afraid, or vexed (or trying to get something from our spouse), our spirit is off center, like that missile lock on scene from Top Gun, where the triangle, circle, and square had trouble lining up. We've got to rest in Christ, to trust I Am Who I Am in the present, while He covers our past in His blood and holds our future, being completely at peace, for the Lord to empty the space between us and our spouse and do His work. Kind of like the serenity prayer, only you're not doing nothing, you're actively waiting on the Lord for His miracle in your marriage, just like the final 20 days of the Love Dare from the film Fireproof. When our spouses truly know they can trust us, and we're oriented, resting completely in the peace of the Lord, He Moves Mightily and give us more than we could ever ask of imagine in our marriages, and when united as one, uses our healed/restored marriage identity to touch others' lives.

I strongly recommend Stormie Omartian's books, "The Power of a Praying Husband", and the other one about praying for your marriage. I can't remember the title.

Looking forward to the afterglow...
Last edited by Beren on Fri Jul 01, 2011 7:02 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Post Orgasmic Bliss?

Postby bballs » Fri Jun 10, 2011 2:25 pm

Beren,

I really appreciate you taking the time to reply to this post. I know you don't know my whole story, but you have made some great points. Ironically today is a rough day for me because I feel like I have been "teased" with so much change from my DW over these past 10 months only to discover that I believe the depth of her is actually superficial. I will try to keep my emotional biases out of my responses below and try to be objective.

Beren wrote:
Empathy and oxytocin reminds me of some comments by Shannon Ethridge in her book of healing identity "The Sexually Confident Wife". She says we must balance the physical/mental with the emotional/spiritual (p.20-21). When they're out of whack, if she feels like a piece of meat, she'll unwittingly starve herself emotionally even though meeting his needs physically, to protect herself and her core from being used. Conversely, he'll feel like a lapdog meeting her needs with time and attention but just getting a pat on the head (physical release) intimately. It's not intentional, it's just functional. Further, Mrs. Etheridge details the importance of oxytocin's continuous build-up and release to get "sticky" through pair-bonding. In her case, promiscuity caused her to stick and re-stick until she wasn't sticky in marriage, plus had internal baggage blocking oxytocin from working its magic. She simply separated sex from intimacy. Her solution is a simple 3 pronged approach, yet very deep journey of self-examination....


Yes. I have read TSCW. In fact, I have read probably too much these past 10 months :D Since you brought up this book, I will point out how it affected our marriage. My wife generously offered to read a book of my choosing for Lent (she grew up Catholic). I chose this book but asked her to only read if she felt like it was in her heart. After the intro, she decided to read it since "sexual confidence" was something she was lacking. As of today, she has still only read about 65% of it (shes read about 4000 pages of fiction since then). She then turned around and said that she didn't promise ME that she was going to read it, it was a Lent thing. Of course I was upset but instead of over-talking I just empowered my tone and looked her dead in the eyes and said that I misunderstood her intention. My wife did not experience any sexual abuse or promiscuity. She was a virgin. She grew up in a family that was all about "pride" and "mental toughness" and that especially men, do not show their emotions. She did feel like a piece of meat and that I could not ever be satisfied. This was my fault too. 10 months ago I reached out to her to lead our marriage to better intimacy (emotional, physical, and spiritual). Since then my expressions physically come from such an intimate triad. At one point I was over-whelming her with analytical deep conversations about marriage. I even opened up to her about temptations, and she even began to realize how her fantasies about others could affect our intimacy. But what I have realized today that is still encoded in her brain is that she still doesn't trust me ever since I had a major depressive episode in 1998 and sold my business. She told me this 10 months ago, and although now I have felt like I have focuses on my own growth and she has "acted" in a fashion of building more trust in me, she is still an avoidant when it comes to all forms of intimacy. When I was advised by a therapist to quit talking and just grow sexually with my wife and things will start happening, that's what I did (there was more to it than that, but just siting one example). We have had more frequent sex and more sex with her engaged. She has become 100% orgasmic. So I was hoping that Oxytocin would work its magic overtime. It did with me as I can not view our physical encounters without feeling the triad of intimacy. But just recently, I was crushed because to her, its just still a physical act it seems.....more on this below...

Beren wrote:Regarding male/female identity, I remember Gary Smalley, in his "Loving Relationships" videos 20+ years ago, describing how 25% of each gender switches stereotypes, that is the female functions more logically while those 25% of males are more empathetic. Understand, they're no less male, they just have more capacity for understanding feelings and being aware of others than is typical. Your comments remind me of this. I wouldn't fret if you're analyzing the relationship on a deeper level than she seems to be


and this

Beren wrote:After a spouse feels safe enough with enough years of trust built up, they can finally let go and become a mess in order to heal.


I have the gift and curse of being in the middle. I have a logical, very analytical brain that has made my career as a CFO. I also have a very empathetic brain where females my whole life felt comfortable to open up to me. The curse is that they both get mixed up at times and make my life a mess. Going back to trust. The commitment I battle with in gaining my wife's trust is a battle I play with when it comes to "it will take more time" vs. "accept her as a person with trust issues" vs. "I don't know if I can live with a woman that doesn't trust and respect me."

She is very naive and immature emotionally. She views emotions as weak. I am not alone in this as other people in her life feel the same way. I think the truth of these past 10 months is that she never felt like she had to heal, she just felt like I did. And if she continues to practice being an "avoidant" or practicing "cognitive dissonance", she won't ever change. In her mind, she is happy, so why does she need to change. I thought I had convinced her that we both needed to work on each other when I presented the temptations analogies. I have now realized that her personality is most likely to fantasize about others to take the intimacy out of sex. She is not likely to have a real life affair because she is rigid about what she thinks is right or wrong, and she views that as wrong (a rule, not a heart-felt emotion).

What recent event felt like the last straw in our ups and downs? She saw the "7 day sex challenge" in a TGW email. She forwarded it to me and said she thought this would be a good idea for our marriage. I heart fully said I thought so also. I made sure to tell her that it will be tough for me also (we have never had sex 7 days in a row). I asked her to think about what her expectations were and why she wanted to do the challenge. She promised to tell me because she thought telling me was a good idea, but she never did. Again, I disciplined myself to not ask again to not overwhelm her and just "go with the flow." Things started great and we laughed and had fun. Day 5 I couldn't have an orgasm. We both discussed it and she was fine with it (so she said). On Day 6, we got into bed and before starting, she said that we should stop. I was fine with this at first, because we still accomplished 5 days. Without rambling too much -- she began to tell me that sex is useless if there is no pleasure in it. She went into this whole almost primitive explanation that made me realize that there is still no emotional or spiritual intimacy in our sex. She even still doesn't see anything wrong with if I wanted to go back to masturbating to porn. Since this point (a few days ago), I have had no sexual desire for her and probably couldn't get turned on by her even if I tried.

Beren wrote:Final thought-Asperger's is a form of autism. The relational challenges for the autistic person stem from not having a clear brain pathway for determining identity. It's as if they can "feel", or "sense" the interpersonal expectation place upon them for interaction with others, and get overloaded and/or shut down. So the secret is to do nothing, and empty the space between you, so they feel no expectation at all, but that doesn't mean ignore them. Here's the marital intimacy connection. If you're really wanting something badly, how the heck do you expect nothing? 2 Timothy 1:7 "For God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, of love and of self-discipline." I used to think self-discipline meant I had help not sinning, which it does. But it also, I think, refers to our mini-trinity in that God gave us a mind, body, and spirit, and if we're afraid, or vexed (or trying to get something from our spouse), our spirit is off center...


I shouldn't label her as Asperger's, and I have definitely never told her this. She is a very social person in her special interest groups where she knows she is looked up to and accepted (right now this is tennis). No one in her special interest group gets judged. They can do no wrong and bad morals get justified. The people close to her get judge harshly. I think she is on this side of the spectrum because of many of her actions. "Sensing" expectations is definitely a good point. And when she does, she retaliates in her own way. I am trying to be "spiritually centered" and I have made a lot of progress. She has burned me out so much that it makes me become an "Avoidant." I dread this weekend because she will wonder why I don't need sex and be passive-aggressive about it. So apart of me feels like this has to happen or I will continue to "enable" her actions. But taking this route feels like anger to me....and I have trouble being loving during this....
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Re: Post Orgasmic Bliss?

Postby Beren » Sun Jun 12, 2011 2:09 pm

Sounds like even though 7 day challenge had promise, it ended in feeling confused and rejected. Another book is Love and Respect by Eggerich, I believe, endorsed by Focus on the Family. It explains how marriages work well when the man feels respected, and the woman feels loved. But when one fails in this regard, the wheel breaks, instituting a "crazy cycle". The third section details how unconditional love on the husband's part, or unconditional respect on the woman's, can produce a 2 against 1 as it were, with amazing results. Since none of us can love unconditionally without the Lord, He's the 1+1=2. Simple, but not easy, because what gets uncovered is all the selfish garbage blocking our relationship with Him.

Unattraction after 5 days is probably an emotional response to rejection. Wanting something deeper and not getting it can be very frustrating. Again, focusing the present, as Moses had to regarding Pharaoh and the Israelite slaves, I believe is key. Yahweh revealed himself as I Am Who I Am, the present tense form of being as related to the pronoun I. It's really the only thing we can control, that is the state of our own heart in relation to HIm-perpetual trust. And we avoid it like the plague because we find that our marriage is not about how we love our spouse, but rather what is revealed in our own heart about our relationship with Him.

Hear me here. Take responsibility for your "stuff" your expectations of her, and whatever feelings she's producing in you, and as much of a bummer, or unfair as it may be, unpack them before Him honestly, and He will replace your frustration with unconditional love for her. It may take nine months, but you will see the sea part and the exodus from the current "rules" based marriage shift to a covenant based upon Him, and only Him. Risk admitting that you are both immature emotionally.

Again, I really admit Stormie Omartian's books to focus your prayers.

Be encouraged.
Last edited by Beren on Fri Jul 01, 2011 6:58 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Post Orgasmic Bliss?

Postby bballs » Mon Jun 13, 2011 8:15 am

Beren,

Thanks again. You are a wise man.

You see - I have spent the last few years being obsessed with human physiology. In fact, yesterday, instead of working, I spent hours read complex published studies on variants in gene modulated receptors on Oxytocin and various Oxytocin receptors. They are finding possible correlations between these lack of receptors or down regulated receptors with people on the autistic side of the spectrum....but I digress.

Everything you say is true. The truth is that I really need to work on renewing my faith with Him instead of trying to explain everything through science.

You have given me some good guidance Beren...thanks again for being genuine and speaking from your heart.
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Post Orgasmic Bliss?

Postby mamame » Mon Jun 13, 2011 1:56 pm

bballs wrote:

You see - I have spent the last few years being obsessed with human physiology. In fact, yesterday, instead of working, I spent hours read complex published studies on variants in gene modulated receptors on Oxytocin and various Oxytocin receptors. They are finding possible correlations between these lack of receptors or down regulated receptors with people on the autistic side of the spectrum....but I digress.

Do you recognize that as a problem?
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Re: Post Orgasmic Bliss?

Postby bballs » Mon Jun 13, 2011 6:15 pm

Yes ;)

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Re: Post Orgasmic Bliss?

Postby Beren » Wed Jun 15, 2011 7:32 pm

Shannon Ethridge in TSCW wrote for the wife,"If this hormone (oxytocin) isn't being released in your system regularly, you may feel an overwhelming temptation to withdraw emotionally and physically, creating a downward spiral in the relationship...If a woman isn't touched regularly enough outside the bedroom, she may find that she is violently opposed to being touched inside the bedroom. A vicious cycle is created, as she is no longer open to the very touch she needs." (p.24). Obviously there's more going on in the head/heart relationally that must be leveled out in order for the scientific receptors to function correctly.

The intense focus on physiology may be interpreted as control. In the Hebrew, coitus was referred to as "knowing" one's wife. In the Song of Solomon, he imported wood from her (the Shulamite's) homeland and made her palanquin/bedroom set from it to make her feel known/protected/comfortable. But if all the knowledge is without being truly at peace, the power binaries of the relationship are out of balance, and could shut off the oxytocin flow, replacing them with an avoidance wall. Dr. Howard Hendricks, at one of the Promise Keepers events a decade back, said men will never figure women out, but God calls every husband to know one woman intimately, to spend a lifetime putting his fingerprints all over her heart. It's the pursuit in the journey that's the joy, like Michael Card sang.

I recommend owning your "stuff" as best possible, even generating a letter to her (bend your knee, as it were) of ownership of selfishness/repentance for areas of communication that, though accurate physiologically, resulted in avoidance/shutdown. Then wait prayerfully, wait 9-12 months as your own receptors realign, and find hers. He'll change you first, then her. The intellectual knowledge won't go to waste, it's just under the iceberg for a bit waiting for the paradigm shift spiritually/relationally.

I didn't think you were directly stating Asberger's was the issue originally. I viewed it as a metaphor for the identity struggle in Christ we have. It may be a fair question to ask who's the OCD one? :? In some ways, we're all a bit autistic.
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Re: Post Orgasmic Bliss?

Postby StarryNovember » Fri Jun 24, 2011 12:34 am

I've not been married as long as you have and gone through the things you describe.

I just want to note two things

1. You seem to be over-analyzing this. You can't be inside your wife's brain really experiencing what she experiences. Her experience with sex isn't going to be the same as yours and as long as she feels satisfied and you have satisfied her, I think you just have to wait and see what develops.

2. I also don't have an overwhelming sense of post-orgasmic bliss every time I orgasm. There have been a handful of times when I've felt this but it's rare. I don't think I'm odd or abnormal. Your wife might not be either. Who knows?
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