Surviving Sexual Abuse: How to Take Back Control of Your Sex Life

A Representation of Forced Mating

Even if one or both of you are survivors of sexual assault or abuse, you could still have an intimate, fulfilling, and pleasurable sexual relationship. Past sexual assault or abuse doesn’t have to automatically mean that sexual enjoyment and intimacy would be challenging. On the other hand, however, it could negatively affect your sexual relationship and would need working through.

Here are some ways to help you work through past sexual abuse or assault:

  • Know that it’s perfectly common for memories to reappear during intimate and sexual encounters, particularly situations that are similar or mimic the incident of the sexual abuse. To counteract this, renowned sex counseling specialists in Seattle suggest determining what might be sensitive or triggering scenarios, so you could avoid them at first and then work on replacing terrible sexual memories with new, empowering ones.
  • Focus on gradually understanding your preferences with becoming comfortable, especially with your body, and sharing it freely and safely with your partner.
  • Ensure constant and honest communication and engagement, whether in or out of intimate contact.
  • Be clear about your limits and boundaries. Remember that you have all the right to say “NO” to anything that you feel is unsafe or uncomfortable.
  • Whenever you’re ready, discuss your difficulties with your partner and see if you could offer alternative pleasures, such as experimenting with sexual touching or massaging before you take the big leap.
  • In the event that past memories start creeping in while you’re being intimate, reassure your partner that it’s not about them and that they haven’t done anything wrong.

Sex should be fun, pleasurable, and meaningful in intimate relationships. If you try working things out on your own and still have issues with sexual contact, it’s best to consult a qualified sex therapist or counselor to help you.

Ideally, your therapist should be experienced in resolving sexual abuse or assault issues in specific ways that promote the improvement of sexual intimacy. It’s likewise crucial to note that you should be wary of engaging in standardized sex therapy practices that solely seek to enhance sexual pleasure, as these techniques are not appropriate for all sexual abuse or assault survivors.