Porn snd surviving abuse

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Maddybob1
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Porn snd surviving abuse

Unread post by Maddybob1 »

Content warnings: mentions of surviving sexual abuse as a child including child pornography

I am in a loving relationship of 4 years snd I’m in my early 20’s, I started viewing pornography when I was about 10. I am also a survivor of family bassed childhood sexual abuse, snd a lot of my abuse included being exposed too snd later used for child abuse material.

I have a great support network around me, a wonderful therapist snd I am beginning to heal from my childhood of abuse. I enjoy sex with my partner however I find it tricky to get into that headspace.

I view pornography probably every day at the moment, I go through periods where I stop myself snd take a break snd I notice when I do, that I have a better relationship with sex snd sexuality, but I feel as if porn almost drags me back. Like I said, I started viewing porn when I was very young, snd I also have lots of sexual trauma associated with pornography, when I watch or consume porn it doesn’t feel good. It feels shameful, snd I don’t like myself for watching it.

My therapist has suggested I take a break from viewing porn, to try snd reconnect with wether or not it is helpful or right for me as a survivor of abuse imagery. I want to be able to learn how to masturbate without pornography, but I don’t know how. It is as if watching porn is so tied up in my experiences that I don’t know how to feel sexual pleasure without it.

I would appreciate any advice on reconnecting with sex and masturbating without porn, or if there are ways to more constructively engage with porn snd pornography.
Sam W
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Re: Porn snd surviving abuse

Unread post by Sam W »

Hi Maddybob1,

I'm so sorry people chose to abuse you when you were younger, and I'm so glad to hear that you have great supports in your life now, including a therapist! I agree with them that it'd be sound to scale back or pause your porn consumption for now, if only because it's causing you distress.

With that in mind, I really like this article as a starting place for connecting with fantasies on your own terms, because it has a lot of advice on how to work out what things you like to think about or do during masturbation: How to Approach Sexual Fantasy and Desire on Your Own Terms.

Too, have you ever explored sexual media that isn't visual? I ask because sexual media can also include things like written porn/erotica, or even certain audio recordings. Some people find that those options remove the things that make them feel uncomfortable or crummy after viewing visual porn, and it's increasingly easy to find stories that feature consensual, actually sexy sex scenes.
Maddybob1
not a newbie
Posts: 7
Joined: Thu Apr 16, 2015 4:25 pm
Age: 23
Sexual identity and orientation: Lesbian
Location: England

Re: Porn snd surviving abuse

Unread post by Maddybob1 »

Hi Sam,

firstly, thank you for such a thoughtful and kind response.

I think it's really hard and confusing for me, because I want more than anything to be truly and authentically sex-positive, and it's sometimes hard to tell when I do use porngraphy, what of the shame is shame that is because I know realistically it isn't right for me and my recovery, and then what other part of the shame comes from just longer existing shame around sex after surviving abuse, and abuse around masturbation as a woman. It's really tricky to detangle it, and though I adore my therapist, I do sometimes worry that she is more widely anti-porngraphy and maybe there is an undertone to that in what she says to me? But I also don't know how to express that to her.

Written/audio erotica is a really good shout, and I've been founding it really helpful and less triggering than the visuals so thank you so much for suggesting this.

I think that as well as this, I really find things tricky when thinking about sexual desire and I get anxious when just imagining things during masturbation, because I feel such overwhelming shame and fear that there is something /wrong/ with me and the things I think about, particularly when any of my thoughts or desires aren't 'vanilla', I think shame is just deeply embedded with sexuality for me, and that's really tricky to navigate.

I often get told by my friend's that I'm really awkward/weird about sex, which I am. I only really have one friend I can properly talk to sex about, and I even struggle to talk about sex to my girlfriend. I don't know how to get over this, as even when I speak just to my therapist I get really anxious that I'm going to sound odd, even just writing this I feel ashmed for talking about masturbation and sex as if there is something wrong.

Do you have any advise or resources on this?
Emily N
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Re: Porn snd surviving abuse

Unread post by Emily N »

I agree, it can be really difficult to untangle the sources of our own shame surrounding sex. I’m going to guess that most everyone, including people who are sex-positive, still feel sources of shame or influence from "purity culture". Ultimately, if something doesn’t make you feel good, it’s okay to take a step back from it to reassess how you feel regardless of the source of the shame (if that makes sense). It’s also good you are able to recognize your therapist’s possible bias - then you can take her suggestions into consideration while also being aware of when they don’t align with your values.

I’m glad to hear you’ve had some success with non-visual pornography! As for fantasies, And I’d like to reiterate a quote from the article Sam linked: “Don’t worry about what you think you’re supposed to feel and try not to judge your fantasies.” Instead, continue with what you are doing, which is trying to understand which parts of sex and sexual fantasies feel good for you and discarding the pieces that don’t.

It can be really hard to talk about sex, even (sometimes especially) with your partner. The first step in getting more comfortable is practice having these conversations, like what you’re doing right now with Scarleteen. Again, try not to judge yourself on how awkward you feel during these conversations, just notice if your level of comfort changes overtime. Another thing you can try is to own and acknowledge the awkwardness! It’s okay to feel awkward about these conversations, and even those who appear totally calm might still feel awkward internally. It’s also good to choose environments that feel safe and comfortable to have these conversations, too (ie maybe the kitchen feels better than a movie theater). I also recommend this article, "Be a Blabbermouth! The Whys, Whats and Hows of Talking About Sex With a Partner", which gives a lot of detail on how to start opening up these conversations.
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