Dear Dr. Eve,

I am in a significant relationship and I struggle to let this man touch me.
And I mean right now not even a hug. I experienced sexual abuse as a
child. Could this be the reason? It’s funny as in the past I have managed
to let other men touch me. I have even had sex with some. Why is this
happening to me now? He loves me so much, he wants to be around me
all the time and insists we do everything together as he wants to take
care of me. Sometimes I feel exhausted as he constantly needs
reassurance from me. Maybe because he had a girlfriend cheat on him.
So how can I overcome this touch problem?
Thank you for reading this,

Hello Astrid

As you begin to read this, I want you to say an intentional THANK YOU to
your body. Thank your body for alerting you to the fact that something is
not quite right. And that not quite right is in your relationship with your

Your heart (seat of emotions ) and your mind (seat of
thinking/understanding) are so connected to your body and vice versa.
So when your body symptomizes, it is telling you a story of your heart
and mind. Your body has shut you off sexually in order to protect you
from what your mind and heart have noticed is an unsafe situation.
Namely your relationship.

Body and sexual touch create a connection to another person and over time
these connections can become intimate. Because we as humans seek out
intimacy, we thrive on touch and safe consensual sexuality. When your
body rejects touch and sexuality, it is telling you that it does not feel safe
to be intimate with a person.

In your case this person is your partner.

To place it into perspective, childhood sexual abuse places you at risk of
having sexual dysfunction, like low desire and arousal and difficulty
having orgasms. Consider that you have been able to tolerate affection
and sexuality with men in the past. So what is it about this man that so
inhibits you?

To assist you to answer your self, I have prepared a #101 RED FLAG LIST
for you. This is a list of RED FLAGS that warn a woman ( and a man and
other genders) that she is in an abusive relationship. Tick off all those
that relate to you. And find a therapist that can assist you to extricate
yourself out of this relationship. I wish for your freedom from further
suffering and the release into joy and sexual pleasure.


  1. Things move fast – too fast
  2. The insistence of living together/having a child together
  3. Toxic masculinity is apparent: he sees men as entitled and
    superior to women, he has stereotyped gender role
  4. You become a “passive hostage “ in your own home: he
    sulks, anger, abuse you when you suggest or actually do,
    go out without him
  5. You begin to make excuses and isolate from family and
  6. You justify and defend his behavior to yourself and to
    others: “ his rough childhood makes him short-tempered
    with me.”
  7. Coercive control: manipulates, threatens, and instills guilt
    and shame when you exert your right to independence
  8. Gaslighting: you question yourself and wonder if what he
    says about you may indeed be true
  9. You side with him publicly as you know you are in danger of
    private domestic terrorism if you don’t
  10. You have learned to calm him down when he is angry –
    you plead, beg, cajole, show solidarity
  11. He forces you into sex that you do not want, and that
    is risky and even painful
  12. He financially abuses you either by lying about his
    financial health or controlling you with money
  13. You notice in yourself physical and mental symptoms
    such as depression, anxiety, loss of weight, migraines,
    Irritable Bowel Syndrome, Chronic Fatigue, loss of hair.

30 years ago Jacquelyn Campbell created the Danger Assessment 
It is the single most important tool used in the USA in intimate partner
assault, treatment, and awareness today. It determines whether you will
live or die. It is a tool that is used by police, health care providers, and
the judicial system. Campbell identified 22 high-risk factors that portend a potential homicide. It is not a single factor but a combination of various
factors that place you at risk of being killed.
if you are in an abusive intimate relationship, I invite you to follow this

  1. Keep a timeline of the incidents, a catalog of abuse. This is a
    a way for you to see if there is an escalation of the abuse.
  2.  Go through the Danger Assessment.
  3. Tick off your risk factors. These risk factors are a summary of the
    Danger Assessment. Remember it is a variety of combinations of

these factors determine your risk of being killed, from high
too low


  • Substance abuse
  • Gun ownership
  • Extreme jealousy
  • Threats to the children
  • Controlling your daily activities
  • Destruction of property
  • Victims attempt to leave any time
    during the past year.
  • Chronic unemployment


  • Threats to kill you
  • Forced sex
  • Isolation from friends /family
  • A child from  a different biological
    parent in the household
  • Abuser’s threat of suicide
  • Violence during pregnancy
  • Stalking
  • Prior incidence of domestic violence.

All of these can make a volatile situation deadly.
Strangulation, however, is the most significant marker of future
homicide. 60% of domestic violence victims are strangled at some point
during an abusive relationship., often multiple times. Snyder reports that
the act of strangulation often turns out “to be the penultimate abuse by a
perpetrator before a homicide”.
Domestic violence can kill you. I know you stay because you know leaving
could mean the end of your, and your children’s, life.   Keep reaching to
others for support, tell your story to someone safe and trustworthy. –
safely and strategically.  Do the Danger Assessment just so you know
how much danger you are really in. This realization could motivate you to
keep plotting and planning to get out.
For more information on domestic, personal, sexual violence, contact