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Psychotherapy and Mental Health questions

Healthy sexuality not instinctual for me after abusive situations

Mon, Aug 13th 2007

I feel like something is really plain \"wrong\" with me sexually. My first sexual encounter was when I was 14. I had never kissed a boy or knew much about sex - several boys at my school sexually assaulted me and one of them attempted to rape me. Afterwards, I felt confused about what had happened and virtually unprotected by my mother since she was in denial of the seriousness of what had happened. I never saw these boys punished in any way, and was left feeling like less of a victim and more of the problem. I didn\'t understand that what had happened was bad and not normal since no one made this clear, and I ended up befriending the very people who abused me, desperately seeking their approval and acceptance in my confusion. I continued this unhealthy pattern by allowing the boys who pursued me most aggressively to date me, which usually meant not the best of guys. My boyfriends over the years treated me as an object wherein I felt like my core acceptance and only way of receiving love was through providing sex. I never once enjoyed any of this. I felt like this was the only type of sexuality that existed, for it was all that I had ever known. When I saw romantic encounters in movies, I just fell in love with how wonderful it seemed, but didn\'t believe it to be real. I couldn\'t ever understand how any girl could possibly enjoy sex. To me, it has felt painful and like an invasion. In the past, I have chosen to just \'check out\' and feel almost like a robot, doing whatever I think the guy wants and will the encounter over the fastest. Now I am in a healthy and loving relationship and have been married for one year (I am 26 now). I am now realizing how much this pattern has damaged me and I feel extreme difficulty in understanding healthy sex. Despite my attraction and deep love for my husband, I have difficulty with arousal and difficulty not reverting back to old habits of \'acting\' during sex. I want more than anything to know what I am missing out on that everyone else seems to enjoy so much. I want so very much to be able to express my love for my husband in this way. I am left feeling like something is inherently wrong with me and that I just don\'t \"get it.\" I get frustrated and feel like I don\'t know what to do. When he asks me what I \"want\" in a sexual way, I don\'t have the first clue. I don\'t feel like I want anything in that way. All I \"want\" to feel safe and loved. How can I translate these feelings into sexual desire? It is hard for me to understand what sexual desire even IS. The whole subject confuses me so deeply and is causing me such pain. I wish I could go back in time and know how to protect myself, but I didn\'t know how, and no one else stepped in to protect me when I needed it. Now I understand how those guys were bad and abusive, and how my husband is anything BUT that, but I don\'t know how to change my instinctual reactions that make my body tense up and not feel able to enjoy sex. Help!

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