As a survivor of sexual exploitation, the most challenging aspect of recovery is one's outlook on sex. I went through many stages in my sexual growth and it's safe to say I continue to go through them. As a little girl I was confused between the sensations I was feeling, if what was happening to me was right or wrong, fear, and the stress on my body. I have children and I know sexual exploration is a part of growing up, but to have it forced on you is traumatizing to say the least.
By the time I reached puberty my father had pushed my body to the point that my physical senses were numb and my mentality was that him raping me was another one of my household chores. If I wanted to avoid being choked or punched while he had intercourse with me, it was best that I didn't fight.
At twenty five years old I'd already been having sex most of my life; but I'd never had an orgasm, I didn't see sex as something that was suppose to be pleasurable for a woman, and I'd been trained to please one person. When I was with my first, outside of my dad, I really wanted to express how I felt about him physically. We talked on the phone, spent time together and I told him what happened to me. I trusted him and when we kissed for the first time (one of the many things I hated doing with my father) my body ignited with sensations that I didn't know was possible. I wanted him, and I wanted him bad! But when the day finally came, it was a disaster. As soon as I felt his penis, seventeen years of sexual abuse came flooding back. I didn't break down, I didn't bolt and I didn't refuse; I reverted back to the trained obedient little girl I grew up as, and I went through the motions of making this man cum. As soon as that happened, I felt nothing. No amazing sensation running through my body, no will, no understanding if I liked what was happening or not. I was again the orifice being used for a man to get his rocks off on. And it was horrible.
I went from a little girl who's innocence and love for her father was used against her, to a teenager who's will had been broken to the point that she fit perfectly into the role created for her; to a grown woman with little identity of her own; sexual or otherwise. So what now?
I felt like everything that I built with this man went out of the window. I was embarrassed, ashamed and because he didn't orgasm, I felt like I didn't do my job.
This whole experience made me resentful. I was away from my father, yet he was still present in my life through my interactions with another man. I knew that had to change.
Thanks to my dad, sex was something negative in many ways, and I had to dispel so many head games it was crazy! Without knowing anything about psychology, I knew I had to deprogram the associations I made between sex and misery, and start all over again.
|Sex statue in Thirumayam temple.|
I started to read books on sex (scientific and entertainment), masturbation, female anatomy, sexual art, fetishes, female orgasm (and ejaculation) and different cultural sexual practices. I watched porn and read erotic literature, while paying attention to what aroused me and what didn't. If I saw images that pertained to my father but still triggered sensual sensations in me, I didn't shy away from it. I told myself that if other women can enjoy it, than there's no reason I couldn't either. From there, I started masturbating. I was the only one I trusted with myself so, I enjoyed myself, by myself. I communicated with the man (who became my first love) everything that I did and he was in full support. Then one day while having an erotic dream, I woke up in the middle of my first orgasm! After that, I couldn't get enough. Rape? What rape? Molestation? What molestation? Daddy? Who the hell was that and what did he have to do with my orgasm? This became my viewpoint of the pleasure my body was capable of feeling.
(Side note: God created sex as a means to reproduce. In order to make a baby a man has to orgasm but a woman doesn't. Yet we still have the ability to orgasm. Which means, God gave us our orgasm just for us to enjoy! I'm just saying... woo hoo!)
Once I was comfortable with my ability to have sexual feelings without associating it with something negative, I introduced my boyfriend. And the rest is history.
Recovering after sexual trauma is a process. It takes work, focus and practice. But first one must accept that they have a right to and deserve to enjoy sex again. Starting with the passion to retake the power stolen from you, and not allowing the abuser to maintain control after the attack, enjoying sex without hangups is possible, and very probable.
My father performed cunnilingus on me when he started molesting me, and today cunnilingus is probably my favorite sexual activity. Im not ashamed to say that there may be some association pertaining to (this is where I get technical) Unconditioned Stimulus, Conditioned Stimulus and everything else concerning classical conditioning and Ivan Pavlov. But I don't care! It could be, and it could not be. I'm not going to dwell on it because doing so would just be a continuation of crediting and/or discrediting my father for my sex life. At the same time if there is association, oh well. There's nothing I can do about it now. I need to live my life, and that includes enjoying the pleasure that myself and someone I care about can give me.