Personal Relationships & Sensory Defensiveness

Sensory defensiveness greatly impacts personal relationships.

  • You may feel too exhausted and distressed to be emotionally available for your partner.
  • Overloaded, you may be overly critical or lash out at him for little things.
  • You may not wish to do many things that your partner finds pleasurable because of the sensations involved in such activities.
  • You may bristle at your partner’s affectionate touch and he will feel rejected and unloved.
  • During sex, you may recoil at the light touch involved in foreplay and kissing but actively seek the heavy pressure involved in sexual intercourse, sometimes to a masochistic degree.
  • You may become easily distracted by external sensations such as your partner’s odor or movement and lose arousal, or you may become unpleasantly overexcited and increasingly tense as arousal heightens and begin to tune out, even depersonalize during sexual activity.
  • A woman may be unable to achieve orgasm.
  • A man may suffer premature ejaculation.

Socializing for the defensive is hard, even painful and creates much avoidance, and it may be hard to meet someone. If you do, dating feels awkward and causes acute anxiety. As such, many defensives become loners or find partners with similar dysfunction. A lucky few find understanding “caregivers” devoted to them.

Difficulties in Meeting:

  • You avoid social venues, like a bar, a dance club, or athletic club as they are fraught with discomforting sensations.
  • During conversation, you avoid eye contact, which is highly stimulating.
  • If she inches forward, you slither back in your seat and she feels you are uninterested.

Difficulties in Dating:

  • You may retract from courtship touches, such as holding hands or lightly kissing, which tickles, and your date feels you don’t desire her.
  • You may refuse to go places that she – most -- find pleasurable, like the beach, movies or an amusement park and seem uninterested, difficult, and negative.

Information taken from Too Loud, Too Bright, Too Fast, Too Tight.