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Sex feels like an obligation in the aftermath

Discussion in 'Sexual Assault' started by CopperDeer, Apr 27, 2018.

  1. CopperDeer

    CopperDeer Member

    I know it's not an obligation and my partner constantly reminds me it's not, but I can't help but feel like I have to do that for him. I have this overwhelming fear that if I don't put out, my relationship will fall apart. Does anyone else deal with this? I experienced CSA for a number of years and then a sexually abusive relationship right after I turned 18, so I think being treated that way for so long skewed my judgement. Logical me is unable to convince the rest of me it's not a personal failing.

    My whole self esteem is based on if I'm able to make myself sexually attractive or available. He complains when we go a long time without and I feel incredibly guilty. I don't want to disappoint him or make him feel inadequate, but for the last month I just have no desire. Even when we are active, I cry when we're done or have a full blown panic attack. I feel like a fool. I don't want our sex life to be colored by this thing forever, but sometimes it's re-traumatizing.
    Sietz, AllisonStern, Mach123 and 2 others like this.
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  3. Sideways

    Sideways I'm a VIP Premium Member

    This statement is an incredibly powerful one.

    Are you working with a T? To me, reading your post? It sounds like it might be worth trying something different with your partner for a while. Put sex aside and maybe focus on intimacy for a while. What you’ve described is incredibly normal for what you’ve been through, and it will take time to heal. If you can, recruit your partner to be part of that healing process, by starting back with the baskcs of intimacy, rediscovering gradually that sex with your partner is different to sex that’s been forced on you in the past.

    Time out from sex doesn’t need to equate to putting your entire relationship on hold. To the contrary, relearning intimacy and sex with your partner may help you reestablish both some personal confidence, confidence in your relationship, and with time? Enjoying sex together again.

    When it doesn’t feel ‘safe’? For whatever reason (and they can be seemingly small and irrational reasons!) try and give yourself enough compassion to say “not right now”. It’s not “never again”, it’s simply recognising that some healing has to take place first.
    Sweetleaf and Sietz like this.
  4. Sweetleaf

    Sweetleaf Well-Known Member

    I've been dealing with this my whole life, even before PTSD - but I also was sexually abused as a child.

    The childhood stuff wasn't intense enough for me, subjectively, to give me PTSD - but I have seen a clear pattern that has gone throughout my whole life, where I not only engaged in intimacy far too easily, but also initiated intimacy -very- fast, even without knowing their name first, once. This is the sort of stuff that enabled me to wind up with the abuser who, in my adulthood, would do the things to me that made me develop PTSD.

    I think the childhood sexual abuse, starting at about 9 years old, sexualized me too young, and I guess just f*cked with how I viewed sex/love/relationships etc. The CSA made it so I never had a -normal and healthy- self-sexualization, or whatever the f*ck it is that regular, normal, non-abused people have.

    Whether it gives someone PTSD or not, I think CSA has long-reaching and very bad effects on people, because it f*cks with our development.

    I know how you feel on this bit, too.
    Just want to let you know you're not alone feeling things like what all you posted about.

    I haven't been able to feel okay with intimacy or sex since freeing myself from my abuser, which wasn't that long ago at all really. I think it's going to be a long time before I have a bf or a gf again.

    So, I have yet to be in the situation you're in now - but it is very much something I fear in the future, for me. I -want- to regain the ability to have relationships with people and have intimacy and all of that - but I don't want to wind up doing things I don't want to because my abused brain thinks it has to :( - I also am afraid of sex remaining "too triggering" like forever, and I'm afraid that my aversion to sex and low sex drive in general, will lead to whoever I get in a relationship, wanting to leave and find someone else who can satisfy them sexually.
    Sietz likes this.
  5. CopperDeer

    CopperDeer Member

    Yes, I am. I've brought up these specific issues once, but I'm uncomfortable talking to him about that part and it seemed like he was uncomfortable too. He offered to find someone more capable with that part of it, but I don't know if I'm mentally able to work with a new T right now.

    It's just incredibly frustrating, because it comes and goes. I can be fine for a while and then suddenly nothing is fine. It's like starting over every time.

    That sums up my experience too.

    Give yourself all the time in the world, if that's what you need. I jumped into my current relationship about 6 months after and although it's good, it's been so difficult. Relationships complicate healing, even when they're healthy and supportive.
    Sietz, Sideways and Sweetleaf like this.
  6. Justmee

    Justmee Guest

    Sex is an obligation for me too. I dont enjoy it, I do things my abuser made me do because I know they like it. That's the only reason. While I'm doing it I am reliving a part of my life my partner doesn't know about but I just try to deal with it.
    There have been times when my partner used the same words of phrases that my abuser used, the first time that happened I was shocked at how much that affected me but I hid it well enough I guess.
    Sietz and Strangelongtrip like this.
  7. Strangelongtrip

    Strangelongtrip Active Member

    You’re not alone in this at all. One thing that helped me is a tip my friend gave me (when you’re ready to have sex, after some healing). For me during sex saying “I am an adult and I consent to this” in your head can be very soothing.
    Sietz likes this.
  8. Mach123

    Mach123 Well-Known Member Premium Member Donated

    I think this is interesting because I feel it both ways. I feel like sex is an obligation and I want to do those things with my partner I was forced to do in another situation but I like it. That's one of the issues with my 'abuse' I guess I never looked at it except like "this is sex and I like sex," but when you are a child it's abuse if you liked it or not. So pleasure is one of the big problems like my mind is blanking out right now but the therapist says "abuse and pleasure get all mixed up." That's the problem or part of it. There was a time when I was like 17 till like 19 when I would have done anything to get "my fair share of abuse" because I wasn't getting any. Go ahead and abuse me. Please. I'm not making this up.
    Sietz likes this.
  9. somerandomguy

    somerandomguy Learning how to be myself Premium Member Donated

    It's very complicated.

    I asked for my sexual abuse because it was the only way my abuser, who was also my partner, was willing to be intimate with me (and the way she emotionally abused me led me to believe that her abuse wasn't even abuse). This led me to thinking for years that I was the cause of my abuse. But even if we ask for abuse, it is STILL abuse, and no one deserves to be abused, whether they ask for it or not.
    Last edited: May 18, 2018
    Sietz and Mach123 like this.
  10. Mach123

    Mach123 Well-Known Member Premium Member Donated

    Yes, i know : (. I also know the ramifications of what I said because it doesn't stop with sex does it? It's good to say it though.
    Sietz and somerandomguy like this.
  11. Sietz

    Sietz I'm a VIP

    I don't do sex. Not that I don't like it. But given my history I can't look at it yet as it not being exploitive. Its better now that I've been craving more intimacy than just sex for pleasure, as it was a way to distance myself from the reality of sexual abuse and now that I'm on a healing path I actually think of sex in a positive light. But still, intellectually I know this things, but deep inside there's still a void of what my past sexual experiences should be like to the reality of what they actually were.

    Not that all sex was bad or disrespectful, just that it lacked intimacy and vulnerability.
    Old adage of f*cking vs making love, if this makes sense.
    Mach123 and somerandomguy like this.
  12. Mach123

    Mach123 Well-Known Member Premium Member Donated

    I want sex you want sex. OK, no problem. I know I want sex and I "think" you do. (Wait, did you say something?) I want it and you don't. Big problem. Boys want it and girls don't. (They don't?) Well, they do, but it's not really the same thing, is it? So am I obligated? What am I obligated to do? Pay for things? (Mostly everyone works now) Have sex when you want? When? Who decides? Put another quarter in my meter and turn me on. I don't see things are mutual very often. Who said there was a battle between the sexes, you sexist. It's always some kind of (power) struggle. What do people divorce over besides sex and money? So I'm obligated? To what, take the trash out? Whose fault is that? And the way the kids are, that's you, your family lol. I'm obligated all right. I'd better be.
    Sietz and somerandomguy like this.
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