Healing Sexual Trauma

Healing Sexual Trauma and Reclaiming Sexual Desire

From time to time, incidents of sexual assault are reported in the media, and while people condemn the perpetrators, they feel as if similar incidents have become more frequent. In fact, sexual victimization has always been prevalent, it's just that most of it goes unnoticed by the media. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 20% of Americans were sexually molested as children, and the British medical journal The Lancet disclosed that an average of one out of every six women in Australia has been sexually assaulted, so it is clear that the sexually traumatized population is not a small number, and it may even be all around us. Therefore, the treatment of sexual trauma is crucial for these violated persons. Next we will delve into the process of healing from sexual trauma and provide guidance on how survivors can work to rebuild a healthy, empowering connection to sex.

Understanding what sexual trauma is

Sexual trauma is the damage to psychological functioning caused by the act of sexual assault (I'm not specifically emphasizing the physical aspect of the damage suffered). When doing sexual trauma counseling and therapy the main focus is on the damage to psychological functioning as a result of the sexual trauma, the physical aspect of the sexual assault often requires a visit to a physical doctor to help deal with it. When we judge trauma, we do so primarily through the following:

  • Cognitive aspects: inattention, memory loss, inability to recall the exact process of being sexually assaulted, and even fragmentary amnesia, as well as recurrent emergence of images and repeated recollection of the traumatic process (flashbacks). Not believing that the process of sexual assault experienced by him/her is really happening, there is a sense of unreality and disintegration of the experience.
  • Physical: loss of appetite, anorexia, bulimic behavior, frequent nightmares, insomnia, waking up in dreams, screaming, specific physical sensations such as pain in the hips, legs becoming less strong to walk, feeling that the legs don't come together, and so on.
  • Emotional: Sexual trauma can lead to paranoia and sensitivity, nervousness and fear, anxiety and confusion, anger but afraid to talk about it. The repressed anger turns on itself to become depressed, depressed, unwilling to communicate with others, shy, self-doubt, a sense of weakness and powerlessness inside, a sense of impurity on the moral level, a feeling of uncleanness in the soul and body.
  • Behavioral aspects: avoiding places, people, words and various clues related to sexual trauma, interpersonal communication will become sensitive, avoiding socializing, not daring to stand in front of other people, always worrying that their clothes can't cover their sexual organs, especially if they have sexual thoughts inside they will worry that they will leak them out, be looked down upon by other people, and see through their own hearts, seemingly having a feeling of privacy leakage, not daring to communicate with others for fear that others will know they have had the experience of being sexually abused. They do not dare to communicate with others for fear that others will know that they have had the experience of being sexually abused.
  • Long-term adverse effects: post-traumatic stress disorder, personality changes, stagnation of psychological development, such as personality easily lose their temper, avoiding others, distrust of others, distrust of men, affecting the future of love and marriage, affecting the sexual function, will affect the inner personality of self-esteem, sense of value, become self-destructive

Healing Sexual Trauma

How do you heal from sexual trauma?

It is really an unfortunate encounter for the person who has been victimized. There is no shame or disgrace in experiencing sexual assault. For example, just because a rapist stands on the side of the road and randomly chooses a person to facilitate his crime, it doesn't mean that the person who was assaulted is in any way at fault, and legally, the fact that even a woman walks down the road undressed doesn't constitute any reason at all that a man can rape her. The most important thing is to heal from the sexual trauma as quickly as possible and seek help from all sources if necessary.

Seek professional help

Counselors are the best choice and have more advantages than relatives, parents and family members. Counselors do not work like a police officer arraigning a prisoner, like a judge deciding a case, like a parent lecturing a child or a teacher lecturing a student, but rather, they establish a good therapeutic relationship with the client, which includes equality, trust, respect, confidentiality, attention, listening, empathy, and reaching a therapeutic agreement.

Re-establishing trust

One of the most obvious features of sexual trauma is the destruction of trusting relationships with people. Victims often struggle with feelings of betrayal and fear of going into new relationships, unable to trust their own judgment. So the first step in healing trauma is to build trust. This can start with small steps like opening up to a close friend, learning to say no, and gradually beginning to connect with the outside world.

Understanding triggers

Triggers are factors that cause strong emotional reactions or flashbacks associated with a traumatic event. You can only figure out how to avoid and control it if you are aware of these factors. This self-awareness can help survivors avoid situations or circumstances that may trigger them and prevent them from being victimized twice as they heal.

Learning self-compassion

The common psychology of the group that has been sexually abused is to feel fear, anxiety, shame, self-blame and guilt. In the process of counseling this group, it is found that the hardest thing to work with is their self-blame and shame, they will often look back and wonder why they were so weak, why they were in that place at that time, and why they did not put up a fight. It's vital to understand that it's not your fault, you're the victim you deserve to be sympathized with and pitied, and it's vital to learn to be kind and forgiving to yourself.

Take back control of yourself.

When the time of violation is against your will, the victim is often very powerless and helpless and loses control of themselves. Now all you have to do is regain control. Set some goals in your life, make your own decisions, do what you want to do, and open yourself up. Regaining control of your body, your life and your choices is also an important aspect of regaining your sexuality after trauma.

Reconnecting with the body

Sexual trauma can lead to a disconnect between oneself and one's body. The most obvious manifestation is the fear of sexual intercourse, the process of sexual intercourse is very nervous, the process of sexual intercourse to lose the previous pleasure or even feel pain. You can start by slowly finding your way back to sex through masturbation and letting your feelings return slowly, don't rush it. Re-establishing a connection with your body is not an overnight process, it requires a process.

Regaining sexual desire

Once you've finished reconnecting with your body, it's much easier to regain your libido. Here are a few ways that can be very helpful:

  • Open and honest communication is key to letting your partner know your bottom line, triggers, and comfort level with putting consent first.
  • Relax yourself as much as possible and experience sexual activity without pressure or expectations.
  • Masturbation can help you rediscover your body, entertain yourself, and explore your desires and boundaries at your own pace.
  • Introduce some sex toys (like the inya rose) where appropriate, sex toys can help you rediscover your sexuality using tools that are completely controllable.

Final words

Standing from the perspective of the victims, while we condemn those abusers and let them be punished, eliminating the sense of shame and self-blame of those who have been sexually assaulted is the main task of healing sexual trauma, and letting the whole society realize that being sexually assaulted is not a matter of shame is the only way to alleviate the trauma to the victims from the psychological source. We hope that those who have been assaulted will soon emerge from the nightmare that sex should be consensual, equal and beautiful.

Leave a comment

Please note, comments need to be approved before they are published.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.