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Avoiding dating because sex often repulses me

Spacecat

New Here
Hello, I am new here. I suffered a lot of sexual abuse in childhood and when I was a teenager. Males and females abused me.

I'm now in my 40"s and haven't had a long term relationship for several years. I avoided sex quite a lot even in my previous relationships. I miss having a partner but I avoid even going on dates because the thought of having sex is often repulsive to me. I'm not asexual, I do occasionally find the idea of sex appealing. I'm a lesbian.

I am unsure how to work on these feelings of repulsion. I asked a few therapists in the past about it but one of them didn't know what to say and avoided talking about it with me. The other just gave me some websites to look at and tried to reassure me that 'it can change '. A few years on, I just keep avoiding dating anyone.

I'm also really worried about potentially meeting someone I like and things progressing further but then having trauma flashbacks during intimacy.

I feel really alone and lonely because of all this.

Does anyone know how to get past these feelings of repulsion and disgust about sex? And how to deal with flashbacks if they happened during intimacy?

Thanks
 
Hello, I am new here. I suffered a lot of sexual abuse in childhood and when I was a teenager. Males and females abused me.

I'm now in my 40"s and haven't had a long term relationship for several years. I avoided sex quite a lot even in my previous relationships. I miss having a partner but I avoid even going on dates because the thought of having sex is often repulsive to me. I'm not asexual, I do occasionally find the idea of sex appealing. I'm a lesbian.

I am unsure how to work on these feelings of repulsion. I asked a few therapists in the past about it but one of them didn't know what to say and avoided talking about it with me. The other just gave me some websites to look at and tried to reassure me that 'it can change '. A few years on, I just keep avoiding dating anyone.

I'm also really worried about potentially meeting someone I like and things progressing further but then having trauma flashbacks during intimacy.

I feel really alone and lonely because of all this.

Does anyone know how to get past these feelings of repulsion and disgust about sex? And how to deal with flashbacks if they happened during intimacy?

Thanks
Have any of those therapists specialised in psychosexual therapy? Because it sounds like that wasn't their specialism and maybe that is what you need?

Flashbacks: thought stopping really helps with me. Grounding. Bringing myself really into the moment.
But also preparation and internal communication. Maintaining me.
A lot of it is practice though.......and for me a bit of trial and error, as mostly I was just doing the same thing and hoping it would all magically disappear. Which didn't happen. It takes work.
I think it can get better.
 
i've had several sibs-in-healing i've worked with who share my belief that their aversion to sex was out of the same psycho cauldron as my aversion to romance. in our cases, at least. i'm okay with sex, but the romance that all to often accompanies the sex triggers my flight instincts every time. and yet, i married an intensely romantic poet. . . my recovery work on this psycho tick before i had the emotional stability to marry and continues to this day, 43 years later.

the broad stroke of our shared remedy was, "don't date." we focused on relationships, in general, without limiting our view of relationships to the romantic kahuna. we often shared outings with eligible candidates for dating, but focused on friendship, etc., rather than dating rituals. i'm not the only one of that group who ended up marrying their best friend as a result. i still have my aversion to romance, but my best friend understands. sorta. he accepts it and still likes me, anyway.
 
how to find a companionate marriage… where there is no sex. At all. Ever?
Not to speak for OP but this question👆seems to be answered by this statement👇
I'm not asexual, I do occasionally find the idea of sex appealing.
When you find it appealing does it stay appealing for the duration of the experience?
how to work on these feelings of repulsion
I think it would be like any other feelings if repulsion toward something—by slowly conditioning yourself to stay present when the repulsion happens—using mindfulness and stuff like that. But in baby steps so breaking the idea of “sex” down into many component parts and honing in on whats easy, neutral, and difficult, for example.
how to deal with flashbacks
I think what @Movingforward10 said was helpful. Grounding and mindfulness stuff.

I’m in a similar boat to you. Want to date but really challenged with physical and sexual intimacy. I’m taking this kind of approach
focused on friendship, etc., rather than dating rituals
 
mindfulness stuff

Mindfulness is pushed too hard, as the erroneous assumption made by professionals everywhere is that we all have lots and lots of problems that are easily solved by simply being aware of the problem! We are all just blindly running around in pain without a clue…..when it’s clear that OP wouldn’t even be posting if this was the case.

Mindfulness is just part of the band-aid under the behavioral umbrella. OP needs real processing, not a “band-aid”.
 
Mindfulness is just part of the band-aid under the behavioral umbrella. OP needs real processing, not a “band-aid”.
Mindfulness has been immensely helpful to me personally. Not at all a band-aid, but really a foundational skill that’s helped me not only in applying ACT, CBT and DBT skills effectively, but actually just being able to coexist with really strong and difficult emotions.

Which was exactly the specific context that it was being suggested, here:
I think it would be like any other feelings if repulsion toward something—by slowly conditioning yourself to stay present when the repulsion happens—using mindfulness and stuff like that.

Remember that not all advice will resonate with every person. Take what’s helpful, leave the rest.
 
Have any of those therapists specialised in psychosexual therapy? Because it sounds like that wasn't their specialism and maybe that is what you need?

Flashbacks: thought stopping really helps with me. Grounding. Bringing myself really into the moment.
But also preparation and internal communication. Maintaining me.
A lot of it is practice though.......and for me a bit of trial and error, as mostly I was just doing the same thing and hoping it would all magically disappear. Which didn't happen. It takes work.
I think it can get better.
No, they weren't psychosexual therapists.

Thanks, I know some grounding techniques and can keep practicing those. Yeah, it definitely won't go away on its own. I know because I kept trying to ignore it and it didn't work.

Is that what you really want to know, or to how to find a companionate marriage… where there is no sex. At all. Ever?
I definitely don't want a sexless relationship. It ended up like that in a previous relationship and I hated it. My ex never even hugged me after a certain point. I definitely do like being hugged, kissed and having sex. It's just that I remembered traumatic abuse from my early years and since then, it has left me feeling disgusted at times and afraid to initiate anything with women. I went on dates several years ago, and when they showed interest in me, I just got scared. The fear is about having flashbacks during sex and that I will find their bodies repulsive. I feel ashamed to admit to this and I know it's a 'me' problem that I need to work on. That's the other reason I haven't dated again recently, I feel I would be a burden on a future partner.

Not to speak for OP but this question👆seems to be answered by this statement👇

When you find it appealing does it stay appealing for the duration of the experience?

I think it would be like any other feelings if repulsion toward something—by slowly conditioning yourself to stay present when the repulsion happens—using mindfulness and stuff like that. But in baby steps so breaking the idea of “sex” down into many component parts and honing in on whats easy, neutral, and difficult, for example.

I think what @Movingforward10 said was helpful. Grounding and mindfulness stuff.

I’m in a similar boat to you. Want to date but really challenged with physical and sexual intimacy. I’m taking this kind of approach
When you find it appealing does it stay appealing for the duration of the experience?
Yes, it usually stays appealing when I imagine it, think about it, etc. I just start getting scared when it starts to get more real, like when I went on dates in the past and they clearly would have liked to take the relationship further. Then I started to panic about having flashbacks if I did get intimate with them. And worried a bit that I might find their bodies gross. I feel terrible saying that but it definitely stems from my traumas, the repulsion.
slowly conditioning yourself to stay present when the repulsion happens
This is helpful, I think, good idea. Thanks.
 
worried a bit that I might find their bodies gross. I feel terrible saying that but it definitely stems from my traumas, the repulsion
Am in a very similar boat to you. Imagining and thinking are fine but reality sets off a chain of reactions around repulsion and flight, related to my main trauma. I was married too and my partner was a sex addict so I just dissociated and did it to keep the peace. He wanted me to feel good so we figured those mechanics out but physical and sexual intimacy remain a mystery—but one I am determined to crack!

That said, the thought of conditioning myself to be okay with a human close to my body (while staying present) and that whole forward momentum of sex is frightening and dissociation or repulsion remain my main go-to reactions. The thought of rewiring those feels monumental but I’m stubborn and don’t mind tedious work in general. So I’m trying to break it down into tiny parts as much as possible. For me that currently looks like amplifying friendships, not seeking romance as much as possible, and exploring safe non-sexual physical intimacy. Am taking a ballroom dance class—only had one—was definitely triggered to be that close to the teacher! The good thing is the class was only 30 minutes and I was with my friend so short sessions and positive feedback and encouragement from a safe person.
 
Am in a very similar boat to you. Imagining and thinking are fine but reality sets off a chain of reactions around repulsion and flight, related to my main trauma. I was married too and my partner was a sex addict so I just dissociated and did it to keep the peace. He wanted me to feel good so we figured those mechanics out but physical and sexual intimacy remain a mystery—but one I am determined to crack!

That said, the thought of conditioning myself to be okay with a human close to my body (while staying present) and that whole forward momentum of sex is frightening and dissociation or repulsion remain my main go-to reactions. The thought of rewiring those feels monumental but I’m stubborn and don’t mind tedious work in general. So I’m trying to break it down into tiny parts as much as possible. For me that currently looks like amplifying friendships, not seeking romance as much as possible, and exploring safe non-sexual physical intimacy. Am taking a ballroom dance class—only had one—was definitely triggered to be that close to the teacher! The good thing is the class was only 30 minutes and I was with my friend so short sessions and positive feedback and encouragement from a safe person.
Imagining and thinking are fine but reality sets off a chain of reactions around repulsion and flight, related to my main trauma. I
Totally, it makes sense. I feel safe to imagine it alone. I know if I'm alone then there's no risk of upsetting or worrying a potential partner. Often, in my imagination, everything runs perfectly, I wish I could achieve that in reality with another woman, in the future.

I Also worry what their responses would be.. in the past one of my exes was very understanding but I wondered if she got the impression I didn't want sex at all after a while. I used to freeze sometimes during sex and it took me a very long time to work out why that would happen. I blocked out so much trauma that I went through and sometimes I really was a mystery to myself.
exploring safe non-sexual physical intimacy.
I like this idea too, well done on getting out there and doing ballroom dancing, that actually sounds fun! :) I will think more about this idea and ways I might be able to do similar.
 
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