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My ex said I was “damaged goods”, and now my sex life with my SO is falling apart because of rape.(r/sex)
>So, Reddit, is there any moving on from this?
Yes. I was severely abused, trapped (what felt like trapped) living in a man’s house and raped for many months in college. We’re talking a sadistic narcissistic guy who physically and sexually harmed me under the guise of BDSM and brainwashed me to believe things I, to this day, still find difficult to wrap my head around. I used to not be able to have sex without having vicious panic attacks or dissociative spells that followed (and split personalities, but surprisingly, they were the easiest and even enjoyable to manage). It’s been three years, and my fiance and I can have sex with nearly no problem now. My self-esteem and world view have healed with a lot of work and a good support system. There is always room and hope for healing from trauma, so please don’t think it is out of your reach.
>Every time we have sex, whatever position we’re in, I start feeling used. It’s nothing he’s doing, he’s gentle when I want him to be, rough when I don’t, you know, whatever. It doesn’t matter if I’m on top, or he is. If it’s doggy, or missionary, I just start feeling like I’m being raped and I KNOW I’m not. I get to the point where I’m so emotional about it that I’m crying and can’t breathe. He doesn’t know what to do.
Alright. A few things. My fiance, if I start freaking out, will stop everything. He will stop, reassure me, and calm me down. When you start to feel used, stop him. It may not be anything he is doing, but continuing without dealing with your emotions will only reinforce your trauma. Have him stop, and be loving to you. Have him talk to you. If you are still upset, stop everything altogether. This sounds frustrating, but you have to let that go.
> I get to the point where I’m so emotional about it that I’m crying and can’t breathe. He doesn’t know what to do.
Elaborating here. You’re getting to the point of panic. What you can have him do is this: stop, sit next to you, and talk you down. My mate does a series of questions: “Do you know where you are?” (sometimes I would not) “Who are you with?” “Do you know that I love you?” “What do you feel?” etc. Generally, if I felt used or upset, we would just curl up and cuddle until I felt better. And generally, this act would make me comfortable enough to initiate sexy things again.
>I was in therapy, but my insurance ran out and I can’t afford $200 sessions.
There are places that are cheaper than this, but I understand your concerns. When I couldn’t afford therapy, I did research, and it helped. I recommend this book called Healing from Trauma – It’s easy to understand and a very good book. If you’d like more, I’d be happy to list off a bunch.
>Just really… confused. I don’t know why this is just now resurfacing, and why it took so long for me to feel this way.
Trauma is an interesting thing- it’s also my field of study. Sometimes things will stay latent until you are at a “better” time in your life- your brain thinks you’re more able to handle the trauma, so it re-awakens. Alternately, something could have reminded you of the trauma, and it’s just become circular thought in your mind- meaning it popped up and now it’s a familiar thought again. And that is OKAY, it’s the process of healing. I had amazing sex with my fiance before a LOT resurfaced, and we had to start all over. But it was ok, he held my hand the whole way, and we both put forth a lot of effort to make it work, and to make me feel loved.
>We’ve talked about the rape, he’s an amazing guy and has just done everything he possibly could for me. I really see myself marrying this guy, but lately… sex has just been next to impossible for me.
I really have been in this exact situation. But my fiance and I got through it. It was difficult at times, but do-able. We talked about it a lot (less so now that things are better, but it still comes up obviously, and I have bad days, still. haha.) You may just have to take a break from sex for a bit. One strategy that helped me- I was feeling used when I wasn’t the one initiating. I felt pressure and expectation of sex even when there was none. So we made a no-sex pact. We simply wouldn’t have sex unless I was sure I wanted it. And doing this actually increased my sex drive and the number of times we had sex, because that pressure and anxiety was removed. So that may be something to consider. Really sit down and talk with him about it, and try to be loving to yourself. None of this is your fault, it’s a normal response from your mind/brain/body because of your trauma.
If you have any other questions or what not, I’d be more than happy to help you out. /internet love.
Edit: Also, you’re not damaged. The way my fiance puts it is this: “sometimes when you break something, you just change it”. And I felt like I was broken by my abuser, but really, he just changed me. I’m still alive, and better yet, I’ve managed to be happier than I ever thought possible. And because of my “changed” perspective, I don’t take for granted how amazing my fiance is to me, and I’m a much more self-aware and healthy human being. So in my many ways, we can change in very good ways because of our trauma. So try to look at it that way. 🙂
Edit 2: Reddit Gold! I’m flattered, and so happy I could help. 🙂