Scared of dissociation during sex (tmi?)


New Here
My dissociative episodes have only been happening within the last year and I haven't had any sort of intimacy with anyone for a few years. Recently I started dating two men (poly relationship) and I worry that I may start dissociating during any sexual interactions (my dissociative episodes are due to past possible csa).
Anyone have advice on how one talks to their partner(s) about it and/or what they did to help stop/handle dissociation during sex? Talked to my T about it but I wanted to hear from others personal experience too.


I wish I knew how to stay present during intimacy. I flee my self. Have you considered a sex therapist? They help with breathing and mindfulness I think.


Can you slow things down?

Dissociation is typically a coping strategy. So, slow things down, peel them back to where you're safe, and still present. Is holding hands okay? Is kissing? Getting undressed?

Trying to notice the point where you're present until, and staying with that for a while, till the brain understands "yeah, this is safe, this is good", then gradually going further.

Much the same as any exposure therapy. Instead of throwing ourselves in the deep end and hoping we swim, we start simple, and gradually build up our tolerance.


I think this is hugely challenging. For me anyways.

But: the fact you recognise you disassociate is actually a massive step, in my opinion. I think my realisation of that has only really come about in the last couple of years. I'm in my 40's! So, you're already working it through by having this awareness. I hope you can appreciate how significant it is that you have this awareness and that it will help you.

It's then, I think, a matter of building that awareness and excellent communication both within yourself (your mind and body) and with the person you are having sexual connection with.

No need to answer this question at all, but something to think about: does disassociation occur when you masturbate (if you do)?
I now don't cry when I masturbate, but I still cry after sex. So I take that to mean, I feel safer with me and my body now than I did. And that I can work towards not crying after sex.

Again, no need to answer this question, but something to think about: are there certain sexual acts that are less stressful than others/less likely to disassociate?
And are there certain sexual acts where you feel more able to verbalise what is happening for you to yourself and your partner?
I struggle with saying no or stop or indicating my increasing levels of unease and will continue with what is happening to avoid upsetting my partner, at the expense of myself. I am still learning this.

I hope things get easier for you.