Post at Apr 23, 2021
Sexual Wounds & Intimacy Issues
A lady of 34 yrs married for 5 yrs sought an appointment as she had nightmares and intimacy issues. She came through the door appearing very shy with a faint smile. As she settled down on the sofa I told her she can be completely open without fear of judgment. And after a couple of minutes, she said with a nervous wavering voice “I was raped by my Uncle as a Child. And it continued for several months until he was transferred to another city.” I probed her to continue, holding her hand gently as her tears welled up. She looked at me with a questioning mind as if asking “Am I responsible?” I asked her if her Mom knew and she nodded with confusion which appeared as Yes and No at the same time. And then she added I was scared to tell her everything as she told me to shut up without completing my sentence. Thus her Uncle continued to visit her molested her when she was 10 yrs old. She knew something was not right but she also knew it was shameful to talk to anyone. Many like her have had the similar abuse at a much earlier age by their most trusted relatives and cousins!
Men too have been abused and molested by men and women both in certain cases. Sometimes as a playful activity which left them confused. Some grew up lost about their sexual orientation and healthy sexual desires. Manipulated with sweets and toys he was made to do favors in exchange as a secret play. Shameful and yet enjoying the genital touches left him feeling guilty. As the years passed into puberty he realized his sexual urges were not making him feel comfortable. He tried to suppress it. And post marriage it made him shut down as it brought up the memories of guilt and shame. The same happened with another male child who grew up to be Gay. His cousins made him fondle and suck as a game. This became his life choice without knowing the other side of his own sexual preferences.
And without denial, many of you may relate to the same past.
But hey you are not alone! Many who sought counselling for intimacy issues didn’t realize how the incest or rape had left them sexually wounded. Whether you are young or a matured married individual we may think we can bury the past and leave it unresolved for fear of being judged or embarrassed. However, scars will scream louder in space of intimate relationships in future.
Many of us shut down due to Sexual Scars from the past. Some remain dormant deep inside even when we have forgotten those moments of shame and guilt. Few walk away in tears… and become numb to sexual pleasures forever. Certain past experiences hold a substantial reason behind our current thoughts and perspective. One of such instances is a traumatizing sexual experience or an abusive relationship. Surely some of you might have got re-traumatized with your own experiences after reading the initial few lines.
It’s actually ok. Sexual wounds run very deep in one’s mind and future beliefs. And why not? Sex, physical relationship, letting someone touch your private parts, all this is indeed significant. Herein, any unpleasant sexual experience would certainly be nerve-wracking for anyone.
What is a Sexual Wound?
Sexual wounds, simply put, are injuries or impact caused due to a forced sexual act or behaviour on an individual. Obviously, you didn’t consent to it and the reason could be anything, be it your unconsciousness or physical/mental force exerted on you by your partner or stranger.
Sexual misconduct can happen to and by anyone. Be it a family member, neighbor, job interviewer or a group of strangers. Considering the recent stories of sexual harassment, it is no more limited to any particular age or gender. Some examples are:
SEXUAL ABUSE & TRAUMA
- Not using condoms and instead asking the female partner to abort the child repetitively.
- Threatening you to have sex despite your refusal.
- Forcing you to do certain sexual activities you don’t want to.
- Touching your private body parts as a joke or randomly during a conversation, without your consent
- Expecting you to have sex with other people for their own benefits.
- Using brutal sex toys and doing painful sexual activities for their own pleasure.
- Rape by itself is a physical sexual abuse
However, sexual assault or wounds are not limited to physical injuries only. Side effects can include panic attacks or eating disorders, depression, feeling numb to sexual pleasures, feeling raw & sore, playing victim, recurring nightmares, body hatred, disassociation or anxiety.
The emotional impact is far more damaging than the physical one. Such instances could be like:
- Making fun of one’s physical appearance, especially commenting on their private parts.
- Humiliating them in public for their sexual activities and preferences.
- Making a video of their private parts or while they’re having sex and releasing it in public.
- Sexually arousing you and then ending the activity in the middle without satisfying your pleasures.
- Restricting you from basic amenities in the home if you refuse their sexual demands.
- Expecting you to have sex to receive educational or employment benefit.
This may not be a complete list but such are the situations when a person is deeply affected and develops negative beliefs about sex, intimate touch and even his/her own sexuality. They’re unable to trust someone anymore and are uncomfortable to undress in front of someone else.
And this was true for many I counselled. Even after being married for many years, the scars of sexual trauma remained embedded psychologically. Let’s not deny it could happen to a man too who may have been used by his relatives or seniors for their sexual frustration or fantasies.
Certainly, you weren’t at fault for what happened with you. However, why let your past haunt you for a lifetime? It’s high time you confide in someone and heal your sexual wounds.
Sexual wounds can affect your Relationships and your relationship with your own self!
HEALING SEXUAL WOUNDS – Emotionally & Psychologically
Healing or recovering from sexual assault – most people think of this as only curing the physical injuries. The emotional impact such wounds had on an individual goes unnoticed and untouched. Therefore even after getting physically healed, one is unable to forget the past completely.
As a result, they develop fear and negative connotations for physical touch for their entire life. Other side effects might include depression, deriving no joy from your sexuality, recurring memories or nightmares, body hatred, disassociation and more.
SEXUAL HEALING PROCESS
- Acknowledge your past experiences and realize the impact it has caused on your present state of mind. Understand the changes you have undergone due to that sexual abuse and how you should now be determined to not let that affect you anymore.
- Understand the new and actual meaning of healthy sex. Develop a new perspective towards how you should define sex. Think how beautiful and satisfying it would be when you would do with someone you love and feel safe with. Sex is not only a pleasurable activity but also a basic human need. Don’t let one poor experience change your thoughts about sex for a lifetime.
- Develop a positive sense of self-esteem for your sexuality. Acknowledge and take pride in what you are and don’t let your past define your sexuality.
- Read about physical love and sexual experiences or take a counselling on the same. Don’t keep your thoughts within yourself. Remember, you are not the only one who has experienced this. There are many like you in the world who have not only healed their sexual wounds but also shared their stories with others.
- Most importantly, talk to your partner about this if need be. Let them be aware of your past and the reason why you are still not able to forget it and get involved in sexual activities. The healing would be much more effective when you have someone to support you throughout.
- Touch yourself, again. If you’re unable to let someone else touch you or your private body parts, touch yourself first and relive that time when you first did that. It was prior to your sexual abuse and think about the thoughts you got for the first time. Healing your sexual wounds significantly involves developing new thoughts about sex and this is where it could all start, ‘with yourself’.
- Besides reading about the healing process, also read and recall the pleasure and feeling sex has in it. Know about your probable pleasure points and positions you would enjoy the most. Replace the fear with sexual arousal whenever you think of sex again.
One can explore healing through Tantra or Therapeutic Massage too. Both as couples and Individual one can try in the safe hands of an authentic Tantra Sexual healer.
Sexual healing is all about reclaiming your past experiences and developing a new perspective. The journey would start with your own determination and this may include anything, reading, writing or talking about it. It’s never too late to get over your fears and not let it haunt you or hold you back for safe desirable sexual pleasures anymore.
I use a cluster of therapies like Psychotherapy, Hypnotherapy, EMDR, EFT therapy, Breathwork, Inner Child Healing, Guided Meditation and many other techniques that allow to heal and release the client’s pain and trauma. Also Mentoring on a new approach to Sex and Self.
Secondly, cultivating healthy sexual communication between couples. Counselling couples on how to communicate their sexual needs to satisfy and improve intimacy between them. Helping the Husband or wife to handle their victimized partner. In today’s era Couples are now open to address these sexual issues to allow a more loving fulfilling relationship.