CLICK HERE TO SEE ME TALK ABOUT “PARTNERS OF SEXUAL ABUSE SURVIVORS”
Perhaps you wonder why your partner stiffens when you touch her/him/they? Or you may be confused about the sexual change that happened after about an initial year of passionate sex. And you really have lost patience with all the excuses your partner makes to avoid being sexual with you.
It is very challenging to be in partnership with a survivor of childhood sexual abuse or a partner who has experienced adult trauma via rape, or other sexual violations.
Initially you may blame yourself, question your attractiveness, sexual technique, and wonder if this person really loves you as he/she/they claim. You may even have an affair to gain validation for your sexual self… and to just have some physical touch and sexual experience.
Survivors of sexual abuse seldom tell their partners about it, especially their childhood sexual abuse. The trauma of it brings them so much shame, guilt and blame. So, in fact you may not know that their sexual and intimacy avoidance is a direct result of this hellish childhood trauma.
INTIMACY CONSEQUENCES OF CHILDHOOD SEXUAL ABUSE
- Both of you steer clear of intimacy as a way of avoiding distress and conflict that follows any attempt of intimacy/sexuality
- A bedroom is a place of terror for the survivor. The survivor may feel terrified of touch and physical closeness of sexuality
- The survivor may also fear the emotional closeness that he/she/they hoped for with sexual/physical closeness
- Mistrust and fear accompany these traumatic triggers – which in turn adds more shame and thus further avoidance of sexuality.
- Deep feelings of shame and distress appear as survivor becomes aware that sexuality with a partner has diminished, even disappeared.
- Survivors struggle to combine sexual and emotional intimacy
- Attachment to one person may feel too dangerous, especially as the relationship grows and this person feels safe like a family. After all the violation probably happened within the “safety’ of their own family.
- Sexual difficulties are common – especially if the abuse happened before puberty, before the development of a full adult body. Sexualizing a child throws off the gradual and slow development of sexual responses. This leads to sexual pain, problems getting aroused, and becoming orgasmic.
- Certain sexual activities are flashbacks.
- A survivor finds it hard to know what they do or do not find pleasurable so he/she/they can end up doing sexual activities that can be retraumatizing.
- A survivor may be aroused by “conditioned” responses to things connected to the abuse: things that at the time were arousing and painful, exciting, or frightening. And now are aroused by these – leaving them to feel disgusted and confused with themselves.
- Boys abused as children by men = identity as heterosexual but turned on sexually by adult men. This causes anxiety and confusion about their sexual identity.
PARTNER EXPERIENCE OF INTIMACY WITH A SURVIVOR OF SEXUAL ABUSE
- Feelings of sadness about the loss of a sexual relationship
- Blame self for perceived failures in protecting the sexual connection
- Longing for intimacy
- Craving sexual closeness with your partner
- See sexual rejection as a reflection of your own self-worth, sexual desirability and trustworthiness as a partner.
TIPS ON MANAGEMENT
- Acknowledge your sadness, confusion, horniness, and frustrations
- Once you have self-validated yourself, checked all the boxes that say: ”I’m ok”, regulate your emotions, then turn to your partner for a still-mind conversation.
- Let your partner know that you are aware that this may be a trauma they have suffered.
- Never coerce or threaten your partner to share their story, or details, of sexual abuse. It is a deeply private part of every survivor.
- Be a safe and secure person for your partner. That means that in all your actions, you need to be reliable and predictable. Safety and security are the antidotes to trauma and a way to build trust. Trust leads to sexual possibilities.
- Sexual negotiations and agreements are essential.
- Couple therapy is highly recommended.
Feel free to reach out to me via WhatsApp. Anonymity is guaranteed. Let me know where your anxieties, fears, and worries sit with you. Tell me what is soothing for you. And what you need in this time of radical uncertainty.
060 890 1062
Feel free to book a teletherapy Zoom session with me right here… https://www.dreve.co.za/appointment/
For more information please contact my PA Shantel: firstname.lastname@example.org