Overcoming Molestation: One Wife’s Story

I have never been molested but I have family who have and I had very early exposure to sex in my life.  I appreciated this article I found on Yahoo’s Health Page.  Maybe some of you will appreciate it also.  God’s given us an incredible capacity to heal from the deepest wounds.

Submitted by Cathi

My Story

I am a female survivor of sexual abuse. I had always believed I had a healthy, enjoyable sex life until I got into my first serious relationship. In my case, my first serious, committed relationship was with my husband. Before we got married, sex was always great, with him as well as with my previous boyfriends. Within a year after our marriage, I started pulling back from him sexually. I found it unbearable whenever he touched me. Prior to this I loved and craved physical contact of any kind with him.

I struggled with this for a few years. I couldn’t even explain it to my husband because I didn’t understand it myself. I only knew what I was feeling and that was I didn’t want to be intimate with him.

When I first started avoiding sex with my husband, I would occasionally have flashbacks of my abuse during intimacy. Sometimes they were memories of the abuse and sometimes feelings of fear. I understood the memories but with the feelings, I felt like, “I’m scared and I don’t want to do this anymore.” I didn’t realize at the time that the feelings were the effects of the abuse.

With each flashback, I would associate whatever we were doing as a negative and would not want to do it again. I started putting restrictions on how, when, where and what we would do during intimacy in order to avoid these flashbacks and feelings. I didn’t tell my husband about them because I didn’t think he would understand (he did know that I had been molested as a young girl and again as a teenager).

Naturally, this problem caused many terrible arguments. Several times we even considered divorce. I felt like he didn’t or couldn’t understand me, and I was ready to give up my marriage instead of having sex with him. My husband felt humiliated, rejected, hurt, and cheated. He was sure I was having an affair. He figured if we weren’t having sex, I must be having it somewhere else. The fact was I couldn’t tolerate the thought of having sex with anyone.

Last summer, everything came to a head and we went to marriage counseling as a last ditch effort to save our marriage. Our therapist felt I would benefit with some individual counseling as well to work on my aversion to sex. Through this work, I learned how my pulling back behavior was related to my abuse. I began identifying my husband with my abuser as a result of these flashbacks.

I also learned that there were certain triggers that would cause me to avoid sex. These triggers brought back abuse memories sometimes without my realizing. A trigger could be something like a certain smell, a time of day, the way my husband would grab at me playfully – any of these could remind me of my abuse consciously or subconsciously.

Triggers can be powerful things for an abuse survivor. A trigger may not necessarily bring back the actual abuse memory but can bring back a powerful feeling experienced during the abuse, such as fear. When these feelings come up, they can cause the person to start avoiding whatever activity they are engaged in at the time. The other thing my counselor told me was that it is very common for women survivors to love sex and very suddenly start avoiding it. Sometimes the effects of abuse can stay buried for years and suddenly pop up. Again, the triggers.

My husband and I spent six months in therapy (my own individual and as a couple). I am happy to report that the counseling had an amazing effect on our marriage. We are now enjoying a happy, exciting sex life and have a greater appreciation and understanding of each other. I still struggle a little bit with my abuse and triggers, but I am enjoying sex again with my husband the way I used to.

As a prayerful person, a person of active faith in Christ, I had a very pragmatic thought having read this woman’s testimonial.  Follow process.  Acknowledge progress.   Be blessed.

About ThePureBed
Welcome and thanks for giving us a once over! Our blog celebrates and honors sexual intimacy in the context of marriage.

One Response to Overcoming Molestation: One Wife’s Story

  1. Pingback: Overcoming Molestation: One Wife’s Story | jdTVu

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