My husband and I have been together for over 12 years. I met him in my late 20s when I was unaware of how my childhood was manifesting in me and for the first 5-6 years of our relationship everything was good – including our sex life.
Then things changed as my childhood caught up to me. Intimacy has been my biggest struggle (and thus ours as a couple) as I heal. The more I have connected to myself – the more my body responds before my brain catches up.
I can’t tell you how many times my husband has touched me and my body has recoiled as I am filled with anger before I remember it is him.
The Fun Returns
However, recently an internal switch has flipped and I find myself seeking his closeness. I find myself longing for the connection that intimacy brings and wanting to explore it with him.
We had quite a laugh at our goofy awkwardness just last week which set us both into a fit of giggles that still makes us smile with just a little bit of eye contact.
It was hard telling my husband that the more I connect with myself and heal, the more inhibited and fearful of intimacy I have become. It was hard for him to hear that and not internalize it as something he did wrong.
However, in the end, our difficult and uncomfortable conversations have made way for fun and hysterical lovemaking which has connected us again and is elevating my ability to heal in my environment.
The Blurred Line
I’ve been reflecting and chatting with my husband about my ideas of what is going on with me on a deeper level, here’s what I’ve got so far:
I was sexually abused by my grandfather while my father (and family) protected and enabled him. My ideas of sex, love, safety, and how there were all connected was fallacious from the start; I didn’t even know there was such thing as consent.
I brought that with me into adulthood and into my own personal relationship with sex and its place in my life.
Sex has always been easy for me. Subconsciously disconnected or not, I have always enjoyed sex, until I began healing.
Now, as I connect to myself and feel my own worth – I am starting to realize that my relational beliefs of sex, love, and safety is changing just as with everything else in my healing.
That it would happen this way regarding sex and intimacy never crossed my mind.
It’s no wonder that I recoiled from intimacy with the man that I love deeply and view as safe – my feelings for him and the acts that he wants to do are not compatible in my trauma influenced mind.
I am starting to understand this newly found blurred line and it is teaching me how to embrace intimacy in a new way, as a new woman, who deserves physical pleasure that is safe and consenting.
And so, this is where a new chapter in my journey is beginning as I transform my relationship and beliefs about love, intimacy, safety, and consent. Oof
Healing My Relationship with Sex and Intimacy
I’m intrigued by the sudden mental shift in myself recently as I became newly aware of my internal connection between sex, shame, and abuse.
Healing childhood trauma takes a lot of space and for me, a huge portion of the space I needed was for my physical body. I needed the space for all of my trauma responses to have room so that I could feel them, explore them, and understand where they came from and why.
As my husband and I struggled through this, I became resentful of him and believed that his only focus was sex. I internalized that all he cared about was sex from me and it made me feel (unknowingly) like a child in danger again, and so, that is how I responded to him.
Sex and desire has been such a shame filled thing for me, my whole life, and only now am I beginning to not only realize and admit this, but find the capacity to offer myself understanding.
One of my most vivid memories of abuse is of an act with my grandfather and to this day I can still feel his mouth on me. That memory brings with it so much revulsion, disgust, and physical discomfort every time it comes to my mind. It has taken time and a lot of hard internal work to get to this point where I feel I am finally starting to learn, understand, and embrace that I deserve to enjoy physical intimacy.
It is possible.
Four years of difficult conversations with my husband, with myself, and with my therapist as I faced the things I have been through and how they have affected me with complete honesty – which is the only way I was able to release the shame I am holding on to. Shame I didn’t even realize I carried it was so conditioned into my beliefs.
My body belongs to me and it is not something to be ashamed of.
I am grateful I have a partner who is patient and who despite the challenges, understands how important it is for me, and for us, that I am able to have the space I need to work through this stuff.
Trauma Talk Uncensored
To further this conversation as I continue to reflect and unpack this part of my healing my survivor friend and bestie Dr Tanner Wallace and I got real about sex and intimacy after trauma on this week’s episode of Trauma Talk Uncensored.
There is no easy fix when it comes to finding your way regarding sex and intimacy after trauma. It take patience, space, self-love, and a partner that is understanding and sensitive of your needs.
Be patient with yourself – I am four years into this journey with intimacy and I literally feel like it is just now beginning – you are doing everything right!
On goes the journey 💪🏻❤️