What It’s Like to Reclaim Your Sex Life After Sexual Assault


When a survivor does finally wrangle that anxious impulse and begin courting somebody, she’ll seemingly disclose what occurred in some unspecified time in the future. At first, sharing particulars about her rape would usually ship males “working for the hills,” Anna*, 36, tells SELF. Now she is in an exquisite relationship with a person who responded to her story with kindness.

Even as soon as a survivor is able to have intercourse, points like nervousness and PTSD can nonetheless rear their ugly heads. “Once you’re having flashbacks or intrusive ideas about your assault or rape, it’s very, very troublesome to wish to have intercourse,” says Lauren, who has PTSD. “Or worse, if you’re having intercourse when these items come up, intercourse can grow to be scary and intimidating, to not point out triggering.”

Avoiding triggers after sexual assault can really feel like a minefield.

For Jess*, 24, a nickname her attacker referred to as her is now off-limits. When courting after her rape, listening to the nickname throughout intercourse might immediate her to “100% flip out and begin crying,” she tells SELF.

And after being raped from behind, Anna has drawn a line at sure sorts of contact along with her husband. “Generally, as a lot as he needs to the touch that space, it’s simply an excessive amount of,” she says.

That call brings Anna a measure of reduction whereas additionally prompting guilt at occasions, which consultants say is regular however unwarranted. It doesn’t matter what a set off is, having one doesn’t imply you’re weak or flawed—it means you’re human, says Richmond.

To handle triggers, assault survivors should regain management over their intercourse lives, which regularly contains absolving themselves of any wrongdoing.

With the intention to heal, it is vital to set sexual boundaries and hammer out a definition of consent and what’s or isn’t OK between two folks, says Henard: “Survivors have a proper to ask for consent and negotiate what that appears like for them.”

This requires survivors to let themselves off the hook, which many have hassle doing as a consequence of persistent emotions of disgrace, says Richmond.

“It’s about recognizing that you simply didn’t do something flawed, that there’s nothing you can have finished to stop this, and that you’re not alone,” says Henard. Richmond provides, “I don’t care in case you have been sitting bare on a road nook. The one motive you have been raped is that you simply have been within the presence of a rapist.”

“Once you notice it’s not your fault, it’s form of like a weight is lifted off of you,” Jennifer*, 44, tells SELF. That self-acceptance usually offers survivors the sensation that it’s OK to articulate what they want with the intention to really feel accountable for their sexual destinies.

As soon as survivors have established boundaries, they’re one step nearer to actually connecting with another person, which is an integral a part of transferring ahead.

“That is what a lot of my therapeutic follow is about: with the ability to authentically join with one other human being with out going into the disgrace, guilt, and anger introduced up throughout and after sexual assault,” says Richmond. “There may be some bumps within the street, however when the associate can proceed to supply safety and security, it’s a tremendous factor.”

Leave a Comment