Archive for September 3rd, 2009

Yesterday, I wrote a blog entry entitled Using Pornography That Mirrors Your Child Abuse. I clarified in the comments, and I want to clarify here as well, that I was talking about adult pornography, not child pornography. I see viewing adult pornography very differently from viewing child pornography.

On the blog entry, a reader posted the following comment:

another thing i’d like to say is that i really enjoy it when my partner ties me up and gets rough when we’re having sex. it’s like i need to feel used to become sexually satisfied. somehow feeling used feels “right” and other things like gentle sex just doesn’t cut it. i don’t know how to explain it. everything is completely consensual, but i need that feeling of being helpless and out of control. it’s weird, because in other ways i’m a total control freak. sometimes i think there’s something wrong with me because of how i feel. ~ skilover

I think this is very common. I have a friend who is a sexual abuse survivor. She is a complete control freak in every other area of her life. However, when it comes to sex, she wants to be tied up and have the other person in control, which could not be more different from her typical personality. I strongly suspect that this ties into her child sexual abuse.

Gentle sex does nothing for me, but I also don’t want to get rough – so I pretty much wind up not enjoying it at all. (As I have shared before, sexual healing has been, and continues to be, a huge challenge for me.) For me to be able to get into sex at all, I have to play out fantasies in my head. The more helpless and out of control I am in the fantasy, the more my body responds, and the more disgusted I feel afterward.

I cannot tell you how many times I have gotten drunk to feel helpless during sex. My body always responds better when I am drunk and feeling out of control. The fantasy of being drunk and taken advantage of works almost as well. Prostitute fantasies are also very effective for my body to respond. If I fantasize that I am just another object in the room and this stranger could choose to watch TV, read a book, or f@#$ me, my body gets very responsive, but I feel like h@#$ afterward. Another one that works for me is fantasizing that we are being watched, either like a peep show or a hidden video camera. Again, this is all a replay of the child sexual abuse.

I have tried to stop using any of these victim fantasies during sex, but then my body quit responding. It apparently has no interest in gentle, consensual sex. I have tried to move the fantasies to being devoid of emotion but of me being in control rather than the other person. It’s not as effective for my body, but at least I don’t feel filled with shame afterward.

I suspect that this is very common for sexual abuse survivors. We learned at a young age that sexual “enjoyment” was intermixed with being a victim, so we feel the need to continue being a victim in order to “enjoy” sex as adults. For me, this just continues the pattern of feeling shame after sex.

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Photo credit: Lynda Bernhardt

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