Sexual Trauma and Relationships

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The Eight of Swords depicts a feeling of powerlessness, and nothing will make a person feel more powerless than sexual trauma. It’s an indescribable feeling of emptiness from abuse, but it is not the way one has to feel forever.

When one holds sexual trauma in their body, they will react to triggers. I’ve written about triggers before, but when you have been abused in a way that involves sex, intimacy with a partner is going to be a bit of a struggle. It can look like an unquenchable thirst, a sheer reluctance, or an all together abstinence. And with one of the definitive qualities of a sexual relationship versus a friendship being, well, sex, that can prove to be a bit of an adjustment.

First and foremost, anyone who has been sexually assaulted must seek out help and support however and whenever they can. It is a complete must and the avoidance of it will show up in very compromising ways. Mine showed up as codependency, as you’ve read in my previous post. But what if you’ve sought out the help, have been doing the work, and you get triggered during sex with your partner? What then?

Well this may come as a no-brainer to most of you, but it certainly wasn’t to me; in that very moment when you are triggered, you must stop whatever sexual act and breathe. You need to step away from the situation and take a minute to give yourself some time. Your feelings are perfectly valid and you need to re-calibrate yourself with the reality that you are in now. And as soon as you’ve given yourself some time to get to a calm state, you must have a conversation with your partner.

Whether they know about your trauma or not, whether you want them to or not, you need to set a boundary. Maybe the act was too hard, too fast, maybe he/ she said something that acted as a trigger, whatever the case may be, you need to express that you did not like what happened and that it is not allowed to happen again. This will be an act in self protection and self respect, and I can think of no where more deserving to be respected than in the bedroom. This is a place of safety and intimacy, and though you were wronged and abused in the past, you have always deserved that.

Now you don’t have to completely spill your heart out and tell your whole story, but if you want to then you should. Your partner should respect your wishes and listen to your boundaries, and if it becomes an argument, I suggest finding another partner. Your body is sacred, and it took me a long time to figure that out.

You do not owe anyone sex. And after a sexual assault, you’re going to need some time to work back into a feeling of safe intimacy. It is a confusing process, but creating sexual boundaries and honoring what you need from your partner will help you to get back to a safe place. 

It is imperative that you feel comfortable with sex. Sex is a beautiful and natural act, and with someone you love can be completely fulfilling. And wherever you are in your recovery, you will find that unless you feel comfortable, it should not exist in the equation. Take care of your beautiful bodies and stay witchy  ( *)

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