Last week, I asked you and your partner to discuss your early sexual experiences. Our sexual history often influences our relationships, and those influences are not always positive. This week, I want you and your partner to discuss any sexual trauma you may have experienced. Though not an easy topic, trauma is a common root cause of relationship difficulty.
So many people have had traumatic, coercive, confusing, or inappropriate experiences with sex and sexuality in their history. This can have a profound effect on future sex lives. Depending on whether you have had these experiences and whether you have processed and dealt with them, you may need additional support in moving forward in your sex life. There are therapists that specialize in working with trauma, and there are resources available for the process. If you think you are still highly reactive or triggered around sex, if you find yourself upset or dissociated during sex, or if you have never talked to anyone about your experiences, I suggest you seek out that extra support. When sharing answers to these questions, tread gently. Feel free to take care of yourself if any of this material is triggering to you or your partner. Take your time with the following exploration:
- Did you have experiences that were not chosen or were exploitative? What happened?
- What did you understand about it at the time? How did you feel about it? How do you view it now?
- Do you blame yourself for what happened? Do you feel bad about how you handled it or how it felt to you, good or bad?
- Did you tell anyone? Were you believed, supported, and protected?
- Were you shamed, scolded, or blamed?
- What sense did you make of it?
How do you think these experiences have shaped your view of sex? Your expectations? Your ability to enjoy sex with your partner(s) since then?