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Archive for January 9th, 2009

As I shared in my last post, many sexual abuse survivors rely on negative fantasies in order to achieve an orgasm during sex. These fantasies generally continue the dynamic of the sexual abuse. Some people reenact the abuse in their heads while having sex. Others fantasize about situations that create the same feelings of helplessness and being a victim, even if the scenario is not a reenactment. Regardless of how the fantasies play out, they are not healthy.

Many sexual abuse survivors despise their negative fantasies, but they also fear giving them up because, without them, they will have no ability to achieve an orgasm during sex. While letting go of negative fantasies is scary, it is a positive step toward healing from the sexual abuse.

My experience has been that I cannot take a negative experience and make it a positive one overnight. Instead, I have to stop investing negative energy into the experience and move toward a more neutral view. As the experience stops being so painful, I free myself to start building more positive associations with that experience.

This was my experience with sex after sexual abuse. No matter how many times church members told me that sex was a deep spiritual connection with my spouse, I could not make the “marriage bed” be anything other than a place where I continued to abuse myself through negative fantasies to please my husband during sex. I had to stop expecting sex to be anything other than a physical act. When I chose to reframe my view of sex in this manner, I stop pouring so much negative energy into the experience as each encounter fell so far off the mark of what sex was supposed to be.

I also chose to give up the negative fantasies, even if it meant that I never had an orgasm again. I found that I could not do it cold turkey, so I did it in stages. I flat refused to reenact any abuse in my head. However, I would use other fantasies that were gradually less and less unhealthy until I was able to achieve an orgasm without having to abuse myself in my head to do it.

This took a long time to accomplish, and I am still not completely healed in this area. However, my views on sex are gradually changing, and I no longer dread each encounter as I once did.

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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