Archive for January 7th, 2009

I kicked off a series on the challenges of consensual sex after sexual abuse a couple of weeks ago, right before experiencing a death in the family. I will now continue the series.

This area of healing has been a particularly challenging one for me. I have not fully healed this part of my trauma, but I have come a long way since I started healing five years ago. Today, I am going to share my own experiences, and then I will talk about particular aspects of challenges and healing after sexual abuse in my next few posts.

I truly believed that I was a virgin before I “gave myself” to my husband a few weeks before our wedding. I felt filled with shame afterward. I chalked it up to being a “slut” for not waiting until the wedding night to have sex. Then, when things did not improve after we married, I assumed that was my “punishment” for being a “slut.” At no point did I think that hub had done anything wrong. It was all my fault.

On our honeymoon, my body shut down sexually. We had to buy lubricant, and hub said that it felt like I was “fighting him” each time. I chalked it up to me being new to sex. I had heard that sex is something that gets better with experience. It didn’t for me.

I next moved into believing that my girlfriends were simply lying about enjoying sex. I just tried to get through it as quickly as possible each time. Orgasms were non-existent.

After a few years, I stumbled upon fantasizing during sex. Although I was a very conservative and straight-laced woman, my “fantasies” were all very sick and twisted – things that I would never chose to do in real life. (Once I started recovering the memories of the sexual abuse, I was able to see that every single fantasy was a reenactment of the abuse.) The more I was like an object being used, the more I could “enjoy” the encounter. Suddenly, I had a way to achieve an orgasm during sex, and hub thought we finally made a breakthrough in our sex life.

Unfortunately, while orgasms felts really great to hub, they made me feel terrible afterward. I felt deep shame at the sick images going through my head. I felt empty and awful after sex. Orgasms only brought me pain, not relaxation.

This pushed me into a terrible place in which every sexual encounter was a bad one. If I pushed away the “fantasies,” I could not achieve an orgasm, and I hated myself for having a body that did not work right. If I achieved an orgasm through using “fantasies,” then I felt a strong wave of self-loathing, and I hated myself. So, every time hub wanted to have sex, the end result was me hating myself. This went on for a very, very long time.

Good Resource for Healing from Sexual Abuse:

The Sexual Healing Journey: A Guide for Survivors of Sexual Abuse (Revised Edition)

Photo credit: Lynda Bernhardt

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