How does sexual trauma affect my sex life now?

Maybe a lot, maybe a little; probably more than you think either way.  I’d recommend seeing a true therapist if you want to dive in.

The big traumas: abuse, assault (as a survivor or a participant), domestic violence, etc. all present their own challenges and every person’s challenge is deep.  Therapy helps a lot.  Understanding that you are a survivor of a crime is helpful.

Your significant others will likely need some understanding around how to be good partners with a survivor.  There may be certain scenarios in the bedroom that are painful – just be honest about them.  I’ve never personally known anyone to use the “push through it” concept to heal those traumas… they usually need to be approached with care and caution.

Believe it or not our traumas actually manifest in physical cells of our bodies… so exercise, yoga, and massage can actually help to release some of that long term pain.

One more thing that can help: men, you should all know that 1in10 of us has been abused or assaulted in our lifetime.  Women, that number is closer to 1in3.  Knowing this fact can help you have some compassion for a friend when he or she tells you about their experience… and maybe help you to step in and end harmful behavior or attitudes around you. You are not alone.

There are lots of other traumas that happen pretty regularly… many of us are overexposed to sex through porn at a young age… that can affect our understanding of the line between fantasy and reality.  There’s unwanted pregnancies (that lead to abortion, adoption, or birth), that can affect the gravity of our sexual encounters going forward… and can create issues with impotency, guilt, and intimacy blocks.  I’ve also seen plenty of men who experience impotency problems shortly into a marriage, after a father’s death, or during a financial crisis – this usually stems from our misunderstanding of the power of masculinity/femininity.

Marriage presents new scenarios to learn how to be an individual (free) man in a partnership relationship.  Many men have trouble saying this simple phrase, “honey, I love you, I’m going to go hang out with the guys this weekend.”  These men have forgotten what made themselves so powerful and sexy to their partners before they tied the knot: they were a man plucked out of the wilderness that is free bachelorhood.  She/he liked the way you contributed to the pack, smelled a little dirty, and had that warm fire in your belly.  She wants that to consume her… and most men don’t realize the fire comes from inside themselves… they think it magically appears.  It does, but only if you tend it.  And tending it means occasionally going out and slaying dragons – metaphorically or otherwise.

When your father dies, quits, or hands over the mantle of masculinity… something genetic in us can take over and can cause all kinds of things we recognize as a “mid-life” crisis, depression, or lack of direction.  The desire for youth and irresponsibility (younger sex partner, dark/raunchy sex, fast car, party late), the weight of the world can make us feel our sex suddenly is important to the entire kingdom – that’s too much pressure for most men to perform at their best – leading to impotency, or we can get straight up Edipal and be very confused about laying the mother of our children because she now represents our own mother.  Yuck…? – that’s even more confusing and dark.

How do you deal with that?  Accept that you aren’t perfect; but you are now the King and you can handle the opportunity.  Step up to the plate, see things as they are, make decisions based on your integrity, and open yourself to the freest sex of your life.

The financial crisis is a classic boner-shrinker.  If you are the man, but don’t have the money… how can you value yourself?  You can value yourself without money, I promise; but I also understand it can take a little time to come out of that… no pun intended.  Let your partner value you for your incredible loving and lovemaking, for instance, and see if you don’t kick a little more ass at work because of this new value.