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Archive for May 8th, 2008

Looking out over ocean (c) Lynda BernhardtI frequently see people struggle with the fact that their bodies reacted to a rape or other form of sexual abuse by having an orgasm. People wrestle with whether the sexual abuse could have been “that bad” if they had an orgasm during it. Also, some people who first began having orgasms during sexual abuse as young children question whether this means that they were some sort of “bad seed” who brought the sexual abuse on themselves.

It is actually quite common for a person’s body to react to sexual abuse or rape with an orgasm. This does not mean that you wanted the sexual contact or that you enjoyed it. This is simply an indicator that your body was working the way it was designed to work.

Human beings are born into the world wired to respond to sexual contact. Baby boys often get erections during a diaper change, even without any unnecessary contact involved in the cleaning process. Young children frequently touch their “private” areas, not to achieve orgasm like post-pubescent people do but just because it feels good.

When a child’s body is stimulated through sexual contact, it will sometimes react to that stimulation by having an orgasm. This does not mean that the sexual contact was welcome.

The child’s reaction to having a “good” feeling in the midst of bad feelings can be very confusing to the child. The child does not feel the same sense of pleasure and relaxation afterward as an adult does after consensual sex. Instead, the child is left with conflicting emotions. Some people wind up hating their own bodies for betraying them by reacting to sexual abuse with an orgasm.

This can lead into issues in adulthood. A person who had orgasms as a child while being sexually abused can confuse orgasms with abuse, so when they enter into a consensual sexual relationship, they have confused feelings when they have orgasms. They might wind up hating themselves when they climax but then also hating themselves when they don’t, which causes any sexual interaction to become very stressful for them. It can be challenging for an adult survivor of sexual abuse to separate out a “good” orgasm from a “bad” one.

Related Topic:

Trauma Tuesday: Sexual Aggression in the Sexually Abused Child

Photo credit: Lynda Bernhardt

+++++ Trigger warning for the comments +++++

Some of the comments contain triggering comments. I cannot figure out how to add a trigger warning to them, and I don’t want to remove them and “silence” the people posting the comments. If you are in a bad place, please use caution in reading the comments. – Faith

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