How to heal from sexual abuse. Recovering from Sexual Violence.



How to heal from sexual abuse

How to heal from sexual abuse

These are the estimated proportions of people who have survived childhood sexual trauma —everything from being fondled once by the boy next door to years of nightly rape by a father. Many people believe that childhood sexual abuse is so emotionally devastating that victims never recover and can never enjoy sex. In fact, healing is quite possible, and so is a deeply fulfilling sex life.

It typically takes years and requires professional therapy. Survivors typically become obsessed by their recovery process, which can drive their friends, lovers, and families crazy. The good news is that survivors eventually emerge from the dark tunnel of recovery into the light of healing, and often report that the process transforms their sex lives from awful to deeply nurturing and erotically fulfilling.

Here is the first of three posts on this subject: Healing Is Possible Women experience the vast majority of sexual abuse, so this discussion focuses on them. But male survivors have very similar experiences and recovery processes. Yes, I want sex. After her recovery, Davis built another relationship, and she has become a much different person sexually.

After years devoted to her own recovery, she now enjoys a pleasurable, fulfilling sex life, and has become a psychotherapist specializing in helping abuse survivors rediscover the pleasures of sex. She is the author of Healing Sex: Victimization is a terrible thing. Surviving it is very hard. Someone who should have been nurturing and trustworthy was the opposite. Sex is based on trust. Survivors have a hard time with trust, which is why they have difficulty with sex. Their desires and personal integrity were ignored.

They had no control over what happened to them. As a result, recovering survivors often need to assert total control over every aspect of their relationships and sexuality. This, too, makes sex difficult. Satisfying sex involves a combination of control and letting go, feeling simultaneously safe and able to surrender to erotic enjoyment and orgasm.

Dissociation is not unique to child sexual abuse. Survivors of any trauma—war, a car wreck, etc. To avoid their memories, many survivors withdraw physically and emotionally. They grow up to be numb, dissociated adults. Davis once asked a survivor how she felt about her body. As one survivor explains: My body could contain lots of pain, but not pleasure.

I wanted to throw up every time I had an orgasm. All I could think about was my uncle. Others become hypersexual and sexually reckless, for example, drunken hook-ups without contraception. And some swing back and forth, one moment craving physical closeness, but the next, freezing or fleeing.

These reactions are all aspects of dissociation. During sex, many survivors experience flashbacks, vivid memories of the abuse that make sex difficult, sometimes impossible. Flashbacks can happen any time, but typically occur during lovemaking, even if the sex is tender, loving, and completely consensual. I remember one time my lover was standing in the doorway about to join me in bed.

I knew he was the man I loved, a gentle, wonderful man. But all I could see was my father standing there. I knew my father had been dead a dozen years.

But I saw my father. Whenever I open myself up to passion, my horrible memories come flooding back. Compared with non-traumatized women, abuse survivors were more likely to have poor self-esteem , negative body image , eating disorders, relationship difficulties, drug and alcohol problems, and problematic sex lives—either withdrawal from sex or sexual recklessness.

The Courage to Heal: William Morrow, NY, Cleis Press, San Francisco,

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Healing from sexual abuse~a therapist's journey of healing



How to heal from sexual abuse

These are the estimated proportions of people who have survived childhood sexual trauma —everything from being fondled once by the boy next door to years of nightly rape by a father. Many people believe that childhood sexual abuse is so emotionally devastating that victims never recover and can never enjoy sex. In fact, healing is quite possible, and so is a deeply fulfilling sex life.

It typically takes years and requires professional therapy. Survivors typically become obsessed by their recovery process, which can drive their friends, lovers, and families crazy. The good news is that survivors eventually emerge from the dark tunnel of recovery into the light of healing, and often report that the process transforms their sex lives from awful to deeply nurturing and erotically fulfilling.

Here is the first of three posts on this subject: Healing Is Possible Women experience the vast majority of sexual abuse, so this discussion focuses on them. But male survivors have very similar experiences and recovery processes. Yes, I want sex. After her recovery, Davis built another relationship, and she has become a much different person sexually. After years devoted to her own recovery, she now enjoys a pleasurable, fulfilling sex life, and has become a psychotherapist specializing in helping abuse survivors rediscover the pleasures of sex.

She is the author of Healing Sex: Victimization is a terrible thing. Surviving it is very hard. Someone who should have been nurturing and trustworthy was the opposite.

Sex is based on trust. Survivors have a hard time with trust, which is why they have difficulty with sex. Their desires and personal integrity were ignored. They had no control over what happened to them. As a result, recovering survivors often need to assert total control over every aspect of their relationships and sexuality. This, too, makes sex difficult.

Satisfying sex involves a combination of control and letting go, feeling simultaneously safe and able to surrender to erotic enjoyment and orgasm. Dissociation is not unique to child sexual abuse. Survivors of any trauma—war, a car wreck, etc. To avoid their memories, many survivors withdraw physically and emotionally. They grow up to be numb, dissociated adults.

Davis once asked a survivor how she felt about her body. As one survivor explains: My body could contain lots of pain, but not pleasure.

I wanted to throw up every time I had an orgasm. All I could think about was my uncle. Others become hypersexual and sexually reckless, for example, drunken hook-ups without contraception. And some swing back and forth, one moment craving physical closeness, but the next, freezing or fleeing.

These reactions are all aspects of dissociation. During sex, many survivors experience flashbacks, vivid memories of the abuse that make sex difficult, sometimes impossible. Flashbacks can happen any time, but typically occur during lovemaking, even if the sex is tender, loving, and completely consensual.

I remember one time my lover was standing in the doorway about to join me in bed. I knew he was the man I loved, a gentle, wonderful man. But all I could see was my father standing there. I knew my father had been dead a dozen years. But I saw my father. Whenever I open myself up to passion, my horrible memories come flooding back.

Compared with non-traumatized women, abuse survivors were more likely to have poor self-esteem , negative body image , eating disorders, relationship difficulties, drug and alcohol problems, and problematic sex lives—either withdrawal from sex or sexual recklessness.

The Courage to Heal: William Morrow, NY, Cleis Press, San Francisco,

How to heal from sexual abuse

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4 Comments

  1. On the other hand, allowing the full implications to explode within us is the most liberating experience any human can have.

  2. Our need to assign blame, also measures how much we have yet to fully absorb the fact that Jesus died for the sins of the entire world.

  3. Irrespective of whether the guilt is real or just a nightmare, God longs for you to enjoy the exquisite peace of knowing that through spiritual union with Christ, you have the exquisitely flawless purity of God himself. I drank quickly, stopping only to bite the penis cupcakes without irony. The ways we can perpetuate a false self-image are almost endless, and men are just as susceptible as women.

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