UNDERSTANDING THE IMPACT OF CHILDHOOD SEXUAL ABUSE ON YOUR ADULT SEXUAL BEHAVIOUR
How does CSA change you sexually? Who are you really, under the abuse? You probably don’t know, because sexually, you don’t know anything else other than who you are right now.
This is my new video on Childhood Sexual Abuse and how it impacts on the Adult Survivor in their own sexual behaviour.
I hope it helps. There is a FREE information sheet to go with this, which you can find on my shop page – Information Sheet 2. I have also listed it below, which is aread only. If you go to my shop page for the PDF you can buy it for £0 and it will be emailed to you so that you can download it, print it or share it.
Here is the link to the video – How CSA damages the Adult Sexually
INFORMATION SHEET 2
UNDERSTANDING THE IMPACT OF CHILDHOOD SEXUAL ABUSE ON YOUR ADULT SEXUAL BEHAVIOUR
How does CSA change you sexually? Who are you really, under the abuse? You probably don’t know, because sexually, you don’t know anything else other than who you are right now. It’s truly wonderful when you find the real you, after you start to heal. This is the real ‘sexual you,’ the ‘you’ that you would have been, had the abuse not happened.
I’ve heard male clients ask me, “Am I gay?” because a man abused them and they responded sexually. No, you aren’t gay.
“Am I a slut?” some female clients have asked, because they became promiscuous. No, you aren’t a slut.
“Am I frigid?” asks another, because they feel nothing sexually. Also another no.
“Am I sick, twisted, weird?” because they fantasise about domination or submission, or have other desires that are termed as ‘fetishes.’ Also no.
“What about porn?” another asked, because they are addicted to it, enjoy it, and feel that they shouldn’t. Again, the answer is no.
Being promiscuous and having many sexual partners does not mean that you are a slut. It means, amongst other things, that your sexual boundaries are not in place. Sexual boundaries are normally created naturally, organically and over many years. From pre-pubescent times you will see and hear about ‘attraction’ and about ‘sex.’ You will be taught, through subtle and not so subtle language, body language, disapproval, approval, and many other factors, what is acceptable and what is not acceptable. These kinds of permissions are part of the society that we live in, and change depending on country, culture, tradition, parenting style, religion and many other restrictions. This is part of social norming, social culture and sexual and personal identity. However, when you have been exposed to sex and sexual behaviour too soon, too fast, too young – when those normal sexual boundaries have not had a chance to form and develop, they are simply not there. Add to this the fact that your body has been used, and may have been repeatedly used as a tool for someone else’s sexual gratification, and it becomes a ‘thing.’ Your body becomes a thing. It’s not important, not special, and not valuable; it’s just a ‘thing.’ Add to the ‘no sexual boundaries,’ plus the ‘body is a thing,’ and then add on top of this, low or no self-esteem, feeling invisible, and the drive for love and affection and you have a hugely destructive mix.
The majority of CSA survivors repeatedly seek love through sex, rather than sex through love. They are addicted to the desire for affection and will repeatedly seek out partner after partner in their drive to fill the empty hole inside them. They will have sex with almost anyone who will show them attention. The rejection usually comes soon after, along with the sense of being used, both of which reinforce the belief that they are worthless, their body is worthless, and the esteem falls even further.
Liking, watching or being addicted to porn also falls within the area of sexual boundaries, as do fetishes and other ‘unusual’ sexual desires and drives. There is no ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ sexual behaviours to many CSA survivors. There is no acceptable or unacceptable ‘sexual behavioural key’ to turn on or off within their value system – they do not exist. The key is broken. The values are smashed. Mostly, they were never developed in the first place.
Many people go completely the opposite by closing down sexually, totally and completely. Being ‘frigid’ does not mean you don’t like or want sex; it means you are afraid of it, have shut down your sexual energy and desires and closed them off as a defence mechanism. This is not your fault. Your subconscious has created a belief that sex is dangerous, that sexual desire is sick, and your body has responded accordingly. Not surprising really. However, this belief no longer serves you, supports you or helps you. It prevents you from knowing the joy of sex and sexual contact with the right person.
Let’s look at domination and submission. “How can anyone who has been abused like submission?” you may ask. Simple – it’s about control. Yes, they are being dominated, but this time, they have some, or all, of the control. They are choosing this as a sex game, and that choice is powerful. It is the same with being the dominator – they finally have control. It gives back a sense of power; power that was stripped away at such a young age. Both domination and submission are forms of trying to take back power and control. Making sex a game, in some psychological way, makes it safer. Games are safe, games are fun, so turning sex into a game makes it easier and more enjoyable.
So, what should sex be? It should be, ‘making love.’ We have all heard the term, but don’t really understand it. Let’s try to now. Love is energy. It flows, you can ‘feel’ it. Sex is energy, you can ‘feel’ that too, and when you love someone, you want to be close to them. Being in someone’s arms, feeling their arms around you creates a bond, a closeness, and it’s wonderful. As we kiss, arousal begins and the love feels strong. It flows up to the surface, and along with it, sexual energy begins to flow. The desire of this loving energy is to increase the closeness, and we move closer and closer ‘into’ that person, until we are literally ‘inside’ each other. We are climbing into their energy, and they are climbing into ours. As this happens, the love between us increases. We are literally ‘making’ love. We are making more love, we are increasing the love by adding to the love we already have. This is why it is called ‘making’ love. Now, compare that to how it feels when we are having sex as ‘sex games,’ or having sex when we don’t want to, when we feel obliged to – very different isn’t it? Compare that to porn – that’s just the body, that’s just sexual energy flowing, there is no ‘love’ involved with this. There is no emotional closeness, there is no intimacy. There is just the flow of sexual drive and sexual energy. Love and closeness are totally absent. It is just a sex act. ‘Act’ is the appropriate word to use here, because we are ‘acting.’ We are not ‘feeling.’ You can’t ‘act’ love. So, what we want to learn to do is to make love, and once we have, the difference is amazing. We have found something new, with depth, with joy, with feeling, and, after a while, we start to see the porn, the sex games, the other stuff, as shallow, empty, and meaningless, and we move further away from it. We are reprogramming our desires away from ‘just sex’ and onto love, and to ‘making love.’ To do this, we need an open heart, to love our self, and to see ourselves as worthy, honourable, deserving, and we need to feel safe sexually. We also need to be with the right partner, one who we do truly love, and not just need. We also need to see our body as valuable, special and a gift; a gift to give and share, not a tool to take and be used.
So, we have looked at all of these different sexual behaviours, and we can see that these have developed from the childhood abuse. So, how do we change them? How do we build these new values and these new boundaries? How do we make a new key for our ‘acceptable and unacceptable’ limits and desires? How do we move our body from being a ‘thing,’ to being something very valuable?
It begins with self-love and self-esteem. Sounds simple but it’s not. For a start, we don’t love ourselves. Mostly we don’t even like ourselves! And, for some, we actively hate ourselves. We certainly don’t respect ourselves – we don’t know what that is! And, we don’t respect our body . . . remember, it’s just a ‘thing.’ For us to find our sexual boundaries, we have to learn all of these things – love, respect, value for ourselves, and value for our body.
The good news is, that we actually do know all these things. “Aye?” I hear you say. “She just said that we don’t know how! Now she’s saying we do. What?” Yes, you do know. You know how to love others. You know how to respect others. You know how to give to others, to be kind to others. But, you have no clue how to give any of this to you, because you never have. After all, you hated you, and who wants to do nice things for someone we hate? Who wants to value and appreciate someone we despise? We don’t! They aren’t worth it. You also need to be honest with you, open with you, accepting of you, and you have to start with being kind, to you! KIND: I love that word. I also love the word HONOUR. They both say everything we need. Think about it for a moment. How many times a day do you criticise yourself, beat yourself up, and put yourself down? Loads I expect. Do you honour you? No. But you do honour others. You listen, you stand up for, you protect, you support, you understand, you care – for others. Now, all you have to do is turn it all around, so that all of those lovely things are facing you, going into you! Start now. Start today. From this moment forward, you are your own new, best friend. You are making friends, with you. You are falling in love, with you!
How and why do we develop friendships and relationships? We see something in the other person that we like. We like their smile, their laugh, their humour, their honesty, their stories, their attitudes, their values. And, we want to spend time with them because we enjoy their company. Gradually, the friendship grows, and along with it, trust, closeness, and a bond. We value them, they are important to us. We respect them, and we treat them well. Now, ask yourself, “If I criticised my friend day and night, always put them down, and always told them off, would that person be my friend for long? If I spent all of our time together complaining and moaning, would they still be my friend?” No, I don’t expect they would. No one wants to be around someone like that. It’s hard work and it’s depressing! So, be your own best friend, and treat you the way that you would treat them. Every time you open your mouth, ask yourself, “Would I say this to my best friend?” If it’s a ‘no,’ then don’t say it to you. If it’s too late, and it’s already popped out of your mouth, as soon as you realise it’s a put down, apologise. Immediately! Say sorry to you. You would to your best friend!
You are learning to love yourself. You are learning to respect yourself. The more you do this, the more natural it is; the easier it is. Once you truly love and respect you and your body, your boundaries will come in, all by themselves. Things that are not right for you will feel ‘not right.’ They will feel uncomfortable, not at ease, not pleasurable. Again, ask yourself, “Would I put my best friend through this?” or, “Would I think it’s fair for my best friend to do this?” If it’s a ‘no,’ don’t put yourself through it!
Many of my clients are in long term relationships, and many allow sexual behaviour from their partner that they don’t particularly want, because they think that they should. Umm, no! If you don’t want sex, say no. If you’re not in the mood, say no. If your partner pressures you for sex, tell them to back off. You are not honouring you and you are not respecting you. If you don’t respect you, neither will they. Every time you say ‘yes’ when inner you is saying ‘no,’ you are ignoring yourself in just the same way that ‘little you’ was ignored. You are allowing abuse and you are turning a blind eye. And, if you are defending this behaviour right now, if you are arguing in your head as you read this, stop. What part of being pressured into sex is not abuse? What, it’s not abuse because it’s your partner? Wrong! It is. Don’t get me wrong, your partner won’t see it that way. After all, you’ve let them do what they want for years. It is not their fault that they walk all over you sexually. You are the one that has not set any boundaries. You are the one that ignores you and puts your needs to one side. You have not insisted on your right to say no, because you didn’t know that you could. You have not insisted on your right to be respected, or to be valued, or to have a say. You are ‘shushing’ the inner you, you are turning a blind eye. Can you see? And can you see how easy it is to make that change?
Now, don’t beat yourself up about this. It’s another one of those things that was not your fault. You didn’t know any other way, but you do now. You are now forgiving yourself for past behaviour, and you are making a commitment to yourself to change that behaviour, right now. Remember, ‘little you’ was trained to accept sexual behaviour without question, without argument. This is a kind of programming, a brainwashing. I want you to realise right now that you are on an automatic behaviour of immediate acceptance to adhere to another’s desires. This means that you have been trained to ‘do as you are told’ sexually. Tell yourself that you no long need to do that, and start asking yourself, “Do I want sex right now?” when your partner asks for, or expects, sex. Begin to ask and to listen to you. Start protecting you, including your body. Start standing up for you. This is self-love. This is exactly what it is. It is putting your needs at the front of the queue instead of at the back. This is you listening to you. Tell your partner, ‘not tonight’ when you’re not in the mood, and stick to it. Yes, they will moan, they may sulk. Let them. It’s only because they are not used to hearing ‘no.’ It’s only because they don’t know your boundaries – because they are new. They will get used to them. And if they don’t, they can go. Yes, that is quite hard, isn’t it? Give them time to adjust to these new boundaries. Try to help them understand, and, go gentle on them, as it’s not their fault. All the rules are suddenly changing around them about ‘what’s okay’ and ‘what’s not okay,’ and they are bound to be confused, but, if they truly love you, they will get their head around it. It may take a while though, so be prepared to ‘tough it out’ and don’t give in. Give them a copy of this article and ask them to read it. This is why I wrote it, not just for you, but for your partners, so that they can understand you, and so that they can understand the new rules, the new behaviours, and, the new expectations.
It is your responsibility to you and to your healing to begin this new way of being with yourself and with others, and to implement new actions to support you. This is putting self-love into practice, not just thinking it, not just talking about it – doing it. Again, it will help you to ask yourself, “Would I expect my best friend to have sex if she didn’t want to? Would I expect her to ‘put up and shut up’?” . . . Can you feel that? Can you feel the difference in the energy as soon as it is someone else that we are talking about? . . . The response is immediate, it is strong, and it is a loud ‘NO,’ followed by a strong defensive, protective surge of energy towards her, and an indignation and annoyance or anger towards the partner that is bullying her into sex. And yet, when it is your partner, the response is different isn’t it? “Oh, he doesn’t really pressure me, he’s not like that.” Are we in denial here? We are good at denial, remember? Every time you feel that denial, just check in with yourself. Is it denial or is it real? Do this by simply using the, ‘if this was my best friend’ trick. Your response will let you know which is which.
There are many audio downloads on my shop website which can help you with this change of sexual behaviour. These include:
Recovering from Sexual Abuse; Learning to love yourself; Learning to Love your Body; Relax; Building Confidence; and more at http://www.juliepoolehypnotherapy.co.uk/shop/
You can also see my book ‘Moving Past the Past: A Guide for Adult Survivors of Childhood Sexual Abuse’ for more detailed information, help and advice. (This article is taken from Chapter 3 of this book.)
If you would like to know more about working with me 1 to 1 on your healing journey, please do get in touch on my Contact me Page
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