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Sex After Sexual Assault/Trauma

 
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Sex After sexual assault

Trigger warning: Sexual assault, anxiety, depression.

You want to have a good relationship with sex. Scratch that -- you want to have a great relationship with sex. You want to own your own body, feel good and be empowered by the amazing feelings associated with sex. This is the first step to healing after sexual assault or trauma; a desire to take back your body and have a positive relationship with it.

Sex after assault is nothing short of retraumatizing. I can’t sugarcoat it. The body remembers scars the mind has long forgotten. Sex can serve as a trigger with flashbacks, causing anxiety and deepening depression. This is why trauma therapy prior to exploring sex again is vital, and why making sure your sexual partners are with people you trust is so important.

I became sexually active about a year and a half after I was date raped. It was with my husband, whom I of course trusted, and unfortunately, for over a year sex was not a positive experience for either of us.

Despite trauma therapy, my body carried memories linked to intercourse, which resulted in extreme pain during sex, guilt and anxiety. It may also have been related to trauma induced endometriosis. My partner, while a wonderful and understanding person, did not know how to handle my body’s reactions to intimacy. Unfortunately, because we were both clueless at this newfound trigger caused by intercourse, our sex life took a drastic toll. He was too afraid to even try and touch me, wounded by seeing my pain, and I was ready for the battle and focused on a victory. It wasn’t a productive combination.

Knowing what I know now, there are some precautionary measures I encourage all survivors to take before sexual activity:

Sex Therapy

I went to trauma therapy for a sexual assault. This helps victims process trauma and remember it as a distant memory. Sex therapy, however, focuses more on the body. Several pieces of a person are traumatized during an assault, and before having sex again, make sure you are putting proper time into healing your mind, body and in some cases, heart.

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We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.

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