Childhood abuse maybe?

I’m still fairly new to Mojo, so not sure if this is the proper platform for this. I’m 40 y/o. Married to an incredible, patient, adventurous woman. I experienced regular sexual/physical abuse when I was very young from a male family member. Once I became voluntarily sexually active, I really hit the ground running. It was joked amongst friends often that I was a bit of a hoe. I don’t have any shame concerning my promiscuity. I have, however, realized that ED issues don’t occur when I’m with a stranger or booty call, etc. Once I become emotionally intimate with a partner the problems arise. It’s really weird, and feels very off brand concerning how I self-identify. I can’t for the life of me get out of my head and feel safe. Safe from abandonment, safe from abuse. I’m a fit 6’5” man who occasionally gets effectively paralyzed on occasion with partners with whom I am emotionally involved and sexually involved. What the actual fuck? No pun intended. It feels like forgetting how to ride a bike or something. It’s so disorienting.

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It’s actually quite common to have no erection issues with a casual hookup but notice issues to appear when we get closer to someone.

Often it’s because there’s more at stake when we care about the person. And there’s also the element of them knowing you more deeply, so they see the real you. Put these two things together (stakes + vulnerability), and it’s no wonder this situation is more likely to activate our defenses.

Mojo is a good place to be if you’re curious about understanding those defenses and learning some techniques to address them. The outcomes include taking control of your negative thoughts, making your nervous system more resilient to stress, and training your subconscious to stop seeing sexual encounters as a stress trigger. You mentioned you have a wonderful wife (we love a supportive partner!), and if she wants to get involved, you’ll find partnered exercises, communication tips for next-level connection, and new sex skills you can try together, too.

I’m really sorry about the abuse you experienced as a child. And I’m so glad you’ve got away from that experience and have an amazing relationship now.

I think your question about whether the history of abuse factors into your experience of sex as an adult is a really good one and well worth exploring.

We don’t have any dedicated resources for abuse on Mojo. But if you’d like to speak to a specialist, a good place to start looking is the Psychology Today directory where you can select your region and the specialties you’re interested in. I can give you some more pointers on choosing a therapist if that would help :slightly_smiling_face:

If you’ve already done therapy and got what you can from it or if you’re not in the right place to consider it right now, then I also recommend the book Complex PTSD: From Surviving to Thriving by the therapist Pete Walker. A few of the concepts overlap with what’s on Mojo (for example, the importance of working with the inner critic), but there’s loads of stuff in there that’s specific to and effective for survivors of childhood neglect and abuse.

I’m wishing you lots of luck with Mojo and getting your sexual confidence on track,

Grace from Mojo

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Thank you so much for your response! I’m very interested in getting help with choosing a therapist. I had been seeing a counselor who specializes in trauma cases for several years. I’m currently doing ketamine-assisted therapy with an LCP/NP and it has been incredibly helpful with the hyper-vigilance and panic/anxiety issues, but there are definitely issues with thought patterns. It can be super difficult to get out of my head and feel totally safe.

I’ve been considering a more sexual health oriented therapist for a while. Any advice is very welcome!


I talked to my wife about your email just now and she’s down to participate in exercises, etc. She’s happy that I’m doing the Mojo program. She knows virtually everything about my history.

Thanks again,

I’m 37 and single gay male and have the same issue as you. If I feel close to someone, I feel scared/threatened that I’ll lose my independence or things I like about being single. It used to not happen that I’d have erection problems until the 2nd or 3rd hookup, but now it is almost like I won’t want to even get off with a guy now that I’m established, have my condo, a business owner, and hobbies and interests. There is literally nothing holding me back now except my core issues (fear of loss of independence, is what I think it is now) from a long term relationship. There also is just the other unsafe personalities within gay community–there are a lot of Cluster B traits (narcissism, borderline, antisocial, etc). Some people really just aren’t safe to open up to, and in those cases, I’m glad I have my defense mechanism.

I have done therapy non stop minus 6 months since age 25. My takeaway is I have enmeshment trauma with my mother. My job growing up was to be hypervigilant to her needs and ignore my own to stay safe/get my need met for a mother that loves me. I learned perfectionism. Now I’ve successfully broken away from her and have trouble viewing relationships as a safe place on a subconscious level since my closest relationship, my mom (and it was too close, I know way too much about my mom, her sex life, my dad, etc). I also wonder if I’m gay because of her, as even the part of me that wants to experiment with women is turned off by similarities with mom. I probably otherwise would be more bisexual if not still gay, but the over the top aversion is probably from mom and being the empath in the narcissistic relationship with her. She still doesn’t care about my feelings. I do not want to be in a relationship with anyone who does that. I’m better off alone, but at the same time, I’m not good at voicing my needs because I’m not even aware of them in the moment sometimes until later when I feel resentment.

What has helped me was starting with smaller relationships. Friendships, hiring a coach for a sport I’m doing, a voice coach, etc. Also being frustrated with the lack of options as I get older makes finding a good one more imperative. But then, when I find a good one, I, like you, can go back into hypersexuality where I want to be with everyone BUT the person I like (till the erection issues pop up again).

I really appreciate your email and thank you for sharing. It’s a really weird and frustrating issue to have. I’m sorry that you had to go through what you’ve been through.

It’s maddening that I can’t just shut the unnecessary stress reaction off. I’ve always been super hyper-vigilant, but things exacerbated after a few scary things happened during the past few years. Counseling and ketamine assisted therapy has worked wonders for the jumpiness and panic, but the sex stress is tough to get over.

I know that my incredible and patient wife is with me no matter what, but I can’t help thinking, in a stupid part of my brain that won’t shut up, that she’ll reach her limit. When we have sex it’s fun and kinky and we’re very compatible. I’ve persevered through a lot of tough things throughout my life. I don’t really understand why this is so difficult.