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Author Topic: sex and desire after abuse
tagine
Neophyte
Member # 107177

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My dad molested me when I was 11 or 12. He died, so it stopped, but it also hasn't stopped because I feel so, so fucked up about sex. Like: I dreamed about sex last night and whatever, I know it's a thing that happens and there's nothing wrong with it, but I woke up feeling violated and betrayed and hating my body. When I get physically aroused talking about the abuse (which happens in therapy sometimes) I feel the same way. Or: I have incest fantasies (wanting to nurse) and imagining my dad raping me (which is not something that happened) brings me to orgasm. Or: after orgasm I feel terrible. Or: I masturbate to punish myself. Or. I could go on.

I feel trapped in my body and so, so ashamed and I'm afraid to want anything or anyone and I don't even know what to ask for, except to say, help?

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Heather
Executive Director & Founder
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Welcome to the boards, tagine. [Smile]

I'm so sorry this was something you had to go through, but I'm glad you were able to survive it.

Let's start with the basics, okay? have you yet accessed any ongoing counseling or care from someone qualified to help incest survivors? Or, if that's not something you feel ready for just now, or can't access yet despite trying, what about books? have you yet been able to read any guides for survivors to help get you started?

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Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
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Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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tagine
Neophyte
Member # 107177

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I am in therapy, yes, and we do talk about this when I am able to--but it is really hard for me. I am also in a DBT skills group, though I find that doing mindfulness and meditation work can be really triggering for me, so it's sort of a challenge--and it makes working through some of the exercises in Staci Haines' book (which I have) really scary.

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I am a clay pot for slow-roasting stews.

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Heather
Executive Director & Founder
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How long have you been in this therapy, and does it feel like a good fit for you so far?

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Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
About Me • Get our book!
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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tagine
Neophyte
Member # 107177

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This particular therapy? (Which is just bog standard talk therapy.) About a year. I like my therapist very much and yeah, it does. I've been in therapy for over a decade.

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I am a clay pot for slow-roasting stews.

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Heather
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Okay.

So, maybe the next step here is to check in on where you think therapy has and hasn't gotten you, particularly with your feelings about sex and sexuality?

Is there any specific work you and your therapist (or any therapist before) have done around that? Or, perhaps more broadly, around working with getting some feelings of ownership of your own body?

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Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
About Me • Get our book!
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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Heather
Executive Director & Founder
Member # 3

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(Btw, I'm heading out for the day today, so sorry if that leaves you hanging. I'll be back tomorrow, however, and we can pick up where we got started if you like. Alternately, you can certainly continue talking with another volunteer if you prefer.)

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Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
About Me • Get our book!
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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tagine
Neophyte
Member # 107177

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That both makes sense and sounds like THE WORST! [Smile]

I haven't spent a lot of time talking about it with therapists and have done the most with this therapist, partly because I've been working on other things and partly because it's just very difficult for me to volunteer the stuff I feel the worst about. I don't know if there's any way to make that part any easier.

And yes, I have been thinking that learning to be present in and not struggle with my body is probably an important piece, though that is hard to do because it's hard to recognize what my limits are around that kind of work--when to step back before being overwhelmed.

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I am a clay pot for slow-roasting stews.

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Heather
Executive Director & Founder
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So, with this therapist, do you feel like you've been able to make any progress with this?

I also wonder if, maybe on your own, or with this therapist, before going to sex and sexuality, you've perhaps just started working on feeling okay about more general pleasure and sensuality? In other words, focusing/working on enjoying being in your body, and the pleasure it can offer you, around things that aren't so much sexual as sensual? Like with eating, for instance, being out and about in nature, movement with your body with things like dance, self-care like massage or just body-treats like long baths and such, etc?

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Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
About Me • Get our book!
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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tagine
Neophyte
Member # 107177

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So, with this therapist, do you feel like you've been able to make any progress with this?

Yes, I think so, and I know Therapist has training in treating sexual trauma and complex childhood trauma.

Yes and no--I have had regular massages and that has been helpful in opening some of this up for me, but in a larger way the whole idea of experiencing pleasure freaks me out. And I know if someone I cared about said that, I would feel pretty sad for them.

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I am a clay pot for slow-roasting stews.

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Heather
Executive Director & Founder
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Well, it certainly is a loss, the fact that your abuse has resulted in so many barriers for you around sexuality and pleasure. But the good news is that it's probably not one of those things we lose and can't ever regain. Over time, you likely can learn to develop a peace and accord with your body, pleasure, and sexuality.

It just takes time -- sometimes a lot of it -- and work, also sometimes a lot. And that, for me, is always the suckiest news to deliver, because it never stops stinking that we have to do all the hard work of healing when someone else did the harm. that said, even though that process can be hard, I also think it's really valuable, and is why survivors of sexual abuse who have done a lot of healing tend to be some of the strongest, most self-aware and joy-embracing people we'll know.

I wonder if you feel like there are some doors to some simple pleasures that feel less scary to you -- or more inviting -- than others? In other words, if say, for a couple hours of a given week -- and maybe not all at once -- there were things you could do to explore pleasure and getting more comfortable with it, things that felt approachable to you, what might those be? For example, things like cooking, exploring more of nature, dancing, a sculpture class, etc?

Some thing, or more than one thing, where you could explore and enjoy your senses?

[ 06-04-2013, 01:50 PM: Message edited by: Heather ]

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Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
About Me • Get our book!
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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tagine
Neophyte
Member # 107177

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Sure, and that is probably a good thing to talk through in therapy.

I guess one thing that's been very hard is that some of the difficulty actually has nothing to do with whether I am intereste in being sexually active or not. It's, like, just my body being a body. Like, whatever, I have dreams about sex. Or I'm in a place in my cycle where I'm just more likely to be turned on. You know. Body doing its body things. When it's those things that are triggering, that feels kind of awful and inescapable. Though even here I can see that just changing my relationship to pleasure might help, in the meantime it's hard to feel stuck in myself (and exhausting! Trauma triggers are exhausting!)

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