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Question Behaviours & Therapy: Is It Possible - January 12th 2016, 06:47 PM

This thread has been labeled as triggering, particularly on the subject of rape or abuse, by the original poster or by a Moderator. The contents of this thread might therefore not be suitable for certain sensitive users. Please take this into consideration before continuing to read.

I am wondering a few things and would like some clarification on it would be very helpful (it's more questions based on circumstance(s))

In terms of sexual abuse and it happens at a young age, forgetting about the sexual abuse but then you are aware that something happened, where you act like a normal person, no signs of it. Is it possible to not be affected by the abuse physically (in terms of daily activities and no sexual activities)?

The second part to the above question: When you know sexual abuse has happened and you're not affected by it physically (like reminders of the body/body parts) and engage in sexual behaviours with someone for the first time, being reminded of the sexual abuse as a child, but you don't allow it to affect the way you view sex or have intercourse?

Another part to the above question: After you first engage in sexual activities and have had that first few times hard because of past abuse, then you push yourself to basically get past it cause it's consensual and you want it. Thereafter you engage in more sexual behaviors and then become obsessed with masturbation because it reminded you of the abuse, but you want to allow yourself to know it's not happening, so you continue to allow it, to the point of crying because it's something you want, something that you can teach yourself it is okay.

After awhile doing this to yourself you realize you are okay with masturbation and being sexually active with someone (because you enjoy sex and don't want to allow someone else to ruin it so you basically made yourself be aware it is okay by the horrible masturbation beatings) because you know it is in the past.

Now, today, after years of the "masturbation beatings" you had done to yourself to allow yourself to know it's in the past and no one can define your sexual abilities/activities, you wonder why you can't remember the abuse.

I guess part of the reason is, I don't see the abuser when I am being intimate with my partner anymore, I haven't and it's been about 5 years (5 years since the "masturbation beatings"). But working on the sexual abuse in counseling, talking about it; I can't allow myself to remember the details of it (the sexual parts) and I seem fine with it all... like I am past it. Deep down, I am not past it, it just, I don't allow it to affect me physically.

So, I guess what I am trying to say is; I am not reminded of the abuse while engaging in sexual behaviours, but what if I start talking about it, I may start to experience that and see the abuser? Would that happen? I enjoy having sex and I've kept it away in fear it would destroy me, if that makes sense?

I don't like masturbating anymore, it just doesn't do anything for me at all. It scares me a lot and I feel guilty after. Having intercourse with someone, I feel completely comfortable and fine. Why is that?

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Re: Behaviours & Therapy: Is It Possible - January 12th 2016, 09:05 PM

I might put some personal experience in here to help answer your question.

Everyone reacts differently to sexual abuse and everything you're talking about is normal. I do think it is different for people who dissociate and repress their memories, though, because you relive them when they resurface and when you're processing them. I think it's normal not to be physically bothered by anything in terms of sexual activity/body parts, and daily activities. But the mental part of the impact can cause you to struggle physically. Anxiety, depression, flashbacks, as well as any autoimmune disorders you have can cause physical issues and are very much related to your abuse.

Now you said engaging in sexual activity reminds you of the abuse sometimes but you don't allow it to bother you in terms of sex or anything else and I think it is healthy to be able to do that. It's hard to do for a lot of people and it takes practice but it's healthy.

Not a lot of people talk about it but I do think masturbation is a big trigger for a lot of people who have been abused. It's a huge trigger for me, always has been, and I try to stay away from it because of how upsetting it is. It's something I'm supposed to work on in therapy and I can't remember how, but I think I am supposed to work on it by doing it when I am not currently bothered by the abuse (having flashbacks, body memories, etc) but that isn't very often and even if I am not currently bothered by it, it is still triggering. I have felt the guilt afterwards, too, and I think the best way of dealing with it if you want to work on it is to keep yourself distracted and remind yourself that masturbation is healthy and it's a good way to get to know yourself.

Masturbation is seen a lot in young kids who have been sexually abused and it is often struggled with later in life. I think working on it is a good thing, but you should take it slowly and let yourself stop if you're getting uncomfortable. Becoming obsessive with it might make you struggle more.

There are a lot of reasons why masturbation might be triggering for you whereas sex is not and it probably relates back to your abuse. For me I've always felt like it's dirty and I am doing something to myself that others have wrongfully done to me.

It's hard to talk about it in therapy, and therapies like EMDR can help you bring the memories back if you are ready for them to come back. Sometimes talking about it causes flashbacks for me, and I think it's common for a lot of people. Talking about it does cause you to relive it sometimes and I can't say for sure whether or not it will make you uncomfortable with having sex but it's a possibility. Once you relive it all and process it, though, the reliving should decrease and you can learn about different tools to cope about feelings regarding sex. I think you should consider telling your therapist about this. He might have some good advice for you.

I hope this helps. You're always welcome to PM me if you have any other questions or anything you want to talk about.

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Re: Behaviours & Therapy: Is It Possible - January 13th 2016, 01:57 AM

Talking about it could trigger memories when you are sexually active. But, it might not. The way people deal with abuse is differently. I know when I was first sexually active I was worried that I was going to have flashbacks during the acts. I didn't. Instead I had flashbacks after the initial act.

I do think that you should talk about the abuse though. I know it's difficult to do but it's better to deal with it head on then have things come up in the future and have to deal with it then. Maybe you could broach the subject with your counselor and see if there are ways you could slowly work in to talking about it?

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