Creating Healthy Intimacy in a New Relationship with a Previously Sexually Abused Partner
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Creating Healthy Intimacy in a New Relationship with a Previously Sexually Abused Partner

Learn ways in which men and women can build trust and intimacy in new courtships and relationships when there are past experiences of sexual abuse. With patience and repetition of positive experiences while using positive reinforcement, many people can overcome the negative responses related to sexual abuse that can create a healthy self esteem, self respect and happiness in the new relationship.

Women are not the only gender that has experienced sexual abuse, molestation or assault. Men as well have experienced sexual abuse and both genders experience degrees of post traumatic stress, insecurities, shame, body image misconceptions, lack of desire or display of affection, as well as many other psychological, emotional, physical and sexual after-affects that can hinder the closeness and progress of intimacy in a new relationship or partnership.

Especially in the beginning of courtship when people are most sensitive to rejection as they are building trust, disclosing information about past hurts and abuses is not as common as it is once the courtship builds trust. Yet as the courtship builds trust, there is also a building of physical intimacy and the pressure to become sexually active is more present. Some men and women receive mixed signals during this time period that can compromise the growth of the relationship. A woman may appear uncomfortable during times of being touched or men may appear to operate on auto pilot while not holding eye contact, or he may act more aggressive. He or she may also become very submissive and appear to shift in personality or comfort level. He or she may have tendencies to act out sex acts that were originally done against the will but become a preferred sex act as they get older. This may also morph into desired fantasies. A man may fantasize sex acts to become aroused that were at one point a sex act used as a form of abuse against them. The younger the person is when the abuse starts, the more likely he or she will develop the tendency to repeat abuse as they grow older into sexual maturity.

Knowing the details of abuse is the first step to gaining trust with each other because it helps the other person know what is appropriate and what isn't which allows room for growth and change without accidentally violating their rules of acceptance. It is not uncommon for the abused to reenact the experiences of abuse with a new partner. Even if it comes through as flashes of memories or just the memory recall of emotional responses during times of violation, the abused may look at the new partner as an abuser as well which can cause negative reactions, confusion and less interest in future intimate encounters.

Even in new relationships in which the after affects of abuse are a long lost memory, there are still occasions in which certain intimate situations will cause sensitivity that may take extra patience to work through. For example, women who have been abused may have difficulty reaching orgasm. Sex is a very emotional and psychological experience for women so when that has been injured or abused, orgasm with a mate may take several attempts to be achieved. Some men may become impatient, thinking the woman lacks attraction to them or that they are not interested like they said they were but that is a common misunderstanding. Some men who have been abused experience similar interruptions with orgasm that pertains to particular sexual positions or techniques.

Dominant sexual positions can be an issue as well. For example, some women may only be able to experience a sense of safety or personal power and control if she is in certain positions to achieve orgasm or engage sexually. Likewise, some fetishes are born due to the need to be in control and remain dominant. In some cases of sexual abuse where there was a lot of pain involved, some victims may repeat a desire or need for pain during sex to become aroused.

Creating a balance between the emotional and physical connection during sex can be achieved in many ways which can enhance the sexual experience and trust between partners. Developing brand new experiences is a great way to begin. Using massage oils and creating experiences of gentle touch without the expectation of sex afterwards can strengthen the trust and bond. Laying together nude while watching comedies or engaging in laughter lightens the experience as well. Using soothing lighting, aromatherapy, or light music can enhance the experience. Allowing exploration without a time limit can encourage curiosity and help others come out of their shell.

Redefining triggers also works. Some things in particular will trigger a regressive episode of negative reactions towards sex and intimacy. For example, it may be a type of clothing, body image, age, sounds, smells and more. There are many types of sensory stimulation's that are rooted in deep core memories. Both positively and negatively, there are often several things that imprint on us that if we experience again, that core memory is revisited. Create new triggers that can be repeated for positive results, so during sexual activities, it is the positive emotion and memory that is recalled instead of the negative from the past.

With patience and repetition of positive experiences while using positive reinforcement, many people can overcome the negative responses related to sexual abuse. Language also has a lot to do with that. Complimenting your partner for the things you've enjoyed creates positive reinforcement. Adaptation and exploration can lead partners to a wonderful intimate connection in which the scars of abuse no longer dominate or manipulate new relationships and experiences. This will also build self esteem and self respect for the person who has been abused.

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Comments (13)

And as I have learned throughout my life, looking through a narrow lens skews the view of the bigger picture.

Debbie, your article is great, as for the other comments from a certain person, trust me you have the upper hand in your writing and sources. Consider the other comments nothing more than an online bully. We have all endured a share of his comments, trust me. That commenter is not worth your time. I love your work, and have checked its validation, and it is trustworthy. Keep up the great work. Your lucky to have gotten more out of the last commenter, other than "hummm" those are usually his comments. I will not mention the last commenters name because if he calls this comment out; he will only be revealing his own identity, which means he accepts the title of online bully. If he calls this out, then all who reads this will also see that. The ball is in your last commenters court. I certainly would not want the reputation of an online bully; perhaps, he does.

+++++ job!!!!!!!!! Good work on it.

Thanks Eva!

I don't have any experience of sexual abuse but it seems to me there is some extremely useful advice here--and lets face, anyone who is faced with this challenge needs all the advice they can get.

Very sad that people act out the very sources of their pain and trauma.

A good one here Debbie. And believe me.....your write up is fantastic.

Very true Peter. The good news though is that these topics are becoming less taboo than they were although there is still secrecy and shame for many.

Thank you Brenda for your support. The more we all understand about the cycles of abuse, the more we can break the link in that chain.

Thank you Daniel!

Recommended this article, dear Debbie. Thanks for support.

Thanks so much Paulose :)

Excellent!

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