Sexual abuse creates specific kinds of challenges with sex and sexuality. Here is a particular checklist of the most common challenges. Check which ones apply for you presently.
- I/my partner fear or lack interest in sex.
- I/my partner approach sex as an obligation.
- I/my partner experience negative feelings such as anger, disgust, or guilt with touch.
- I/my partner have difficulty becoming aroused or feeling sensation.
- I/my partner feel emotionally distant or not present during sex.
- I/my partner experience intrusive or disturbing sexual thoughts and images.
- I/my partner engage in compulsive or unsafe (dangerous) sexual behaviors.
- I/my partner have difficulty establishing or maintaining an intimate relationship.
- I/my partner experience vaginal pain or orgasmic difficulties.
- I/my partner have erectile or ejaculatory difficulty.
These symptoms can show up immediately after a sexual assault or develop slowly over time or can come on suddenly long after the abuse. They can exist both before and after we've identified ourselves as survivors. Identifying and acknowledging your sexual symptoms is the first step toward healing your sexual life and creating a safe, consensual, and enjoyable sexual experience for yourself in the future.