CSA stole my ability to be intimate


Reframe: I am developing the ability to stay present in my body in the presence of another person.

But grrr 😖 sometimes I believe I am ruined for intimacy. Not just physical, but emotional. Because I have to protect myself or play a part or something that I can’t even analyze yet. Add to that I was only attracted to narcissists who love-bombed me (pre-recovery) and it feels insurmountable. It’s not, but dang, I feel far away from humans on this one.


Relate very muchly indeed. Think it's the source of most pain in my life. That and it seeming like no one wants to be intimate with me - I defo don't just mean physical here. Am not even interested in a romantic relationship, just friends.
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what is intimacy to YOU rather than what you think… Can you define it according to your life experience?
I cannot define it according to my life experience. I am aware of what it looks like: people looking at each other closely while talking. And I’m aware it feels good to people.

I have been in situations where intimacy is supposed to be happening but I didn’t feel close, I felt afraid or uncomfortable. Or I was being tricked and the other person didn’t actually care about my best interests, and was manipulating me.

I am guessing that gratitude and self care play a part in developing intimacy skills.


In public conversations, I most often translate "Intimacy" as yet another euphemism for sex. Privately, I believe that euphemism is as damaging as the "Love" euphemisms for sex. Love and sex are a truly divine match, but far from the same thing. Ditto for Intimacy and sex. Divine bedfellows, but far from the same thing. Personally, I can live without sex far more easily than I can live without love and intimacy. Love and intimacy are also divinely compatible with serving coffee to a stranger or piddling in my garden.

Or? ? ? Am I lost in metaphor again?


@arfie yes, different for me too. Intimacy can happen with a friend. Sex can most definitely happen without intimacy, and that is how I have experienced it.

Now I’m curious how others experience intimacy. And feeling like I cheated with answering @grit ’s question. How do I experience intimacy?

My immediate response is with my kids. That is my best experience with intimacy. And I’m okay with that. However I would like to be open to experience it with an adult. With a friend seems more likely since I struggle to find someone to date, and am the most fearful of physical intimacy. My guess is that breathing and communication play a big part?

Maybe I could eventually hire a sex therapist if I ever were able to date someone.


Now I’m curious how others experience intimacy
<cough> New Thread <cough>

Or not 😉 If you’re only curious how people with CSA experience intimacy. Which is totally valid. Different traumas have unique and complicated as hell issues attached to them, as well as shared issues between various traumas, and shared amongst PTSD as a whole.

But your question got ME all curious how people experience intimacy, in addition to already being curious -from the rest of your thread- how that ties into the PTSD connection (faaaawk, why is it so HARD?!? Aaaargh) issue, trust issues, etc., et al.

So if you’d rather not start a new thread, just give me a wave & I will.


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Thank you @OliveJewel for your response and going deeper to understand yourself. Honestly your first response to me felt like you have met a lot of people that were not safe for YOU. AND recognizing that to me means - you do value yourself and know intimacy intristicially but you have not had maybe good people to experience with.
Also the behaviour of people looking into each other while talk is just a behaviour of those people not necessarily intimacy. There are a lot of people, cultures where eye contact is not really a thing or it is not considered intimate rather aggressive or intrusive.

I used to "refer" others' outward behaviour to my inner workings and though it gave me reference of a sort, I still had to learn intimacy in my own ways ---in fact, still learning with my husband...one never really graduates from this learning. The fact you are interested, thinking about it, seeing it in others means to me you have some ideas what it means for you and you are exploring to learn more.

Anyhow, I felt you and heard you and thank you for also making me think about this a bit deeper.