Trauma can be likened to adhesive; it clings to us and dries in places we may not even realize it can reach. It resides within us, deeply intertwined with our relationships, making it impossible to separate the two. While we may sometimes recognize the impact of trauma on our lives, understanding how it affects our sex lives remains a relatively uncharted territory. Broaching the subject of sex and trauma can still be a sensitive and vulnerable endeavor, despite society's increasing openness to discussing sexual preferences and fetishes.
What we might casually dismiss as sexual preferences, fantasies, or irritants could have deeper roots. Some of our sexual behaviors, or the avoidance of certain acts, may be linked to past traumatic experiences, even if we haven't experienced sexual trauma ourselves.
Monica Yates, a life coach and trauma healing expert, explains the profound impact of trauma on our sex lives: "The reason why trauma can cause such a profound effect on our sex lives is because having trauma stuck in your body prevents you from being open and vulnerable which is needed for any sort of intimate relationship." To have fulfilling sex, we must let down our guard, but this becomes impossible in the presence of trauma, as any hint of "danger" triggers a defensive response.
Additionally, trauma often leads to dissociation, a coping mechanism that disconnects us from our sensations and emotions to navigate perceived threats. However, this numbing response also inhibits our ability to experience pleasure.
It's essential to acknowledge that most people carry some form of trauma, whether from an idyllic or troubled upbringing. This implies that anyone could experience trauma that affects their sex life.
Recognizing Signs of Trauma Impacting Your Sex Life
1.Feeling the need to be performative or overly focused on your partner's satisfaction to avoid rejection.
2.Believing that you're not good enough or attractive enough, potentially leading to risky behaviors or cosmetic enhancements.
3.Engaging in risky sexual encounters that later leave you feeling disconnected from your body.
4.Consistently cheating on partners as a way to avoid commitment due to attachment issues.
5.Feeling emotionally detached, distracted, or avoidant during sex.
Healing Trauma in Your Sex Life
1.therapy can be a powerful starting point for processing trauma and restoring connection to the body.
2.Talking therapies such as counseling, psychotherapy, and cognitive behavioral therapy, conducted by trauma-informed professionals, can be beneficial.
3.Practices such as breathing, mindfulness, yoga and alternative therapies can help you reconnect with your body on a physical level.
4.If a partner is involved, couples therapy can help them understand your trauma and support you through the healing process.It's crucial to understand that trauma doesn't simply vanish. It remains with us, often with the intention of safeguarding us, even if it hinders our ability to experience pleasure. While it may take time to work toward a more fulfilling sex life, self-love and compassion are available to us from the outset, forming the foundation of any healthy relationship. If you have concerns about your mental health, it's advisable to consult with a GP to discuss diagnosis and treatment options.