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OT- dating a sexual abuse survivor

My girlfriend was abused as a child and is haunted by it as an adult. We have not had sex in years. We live more as room mates. However, we are very emotionally close , just no sex. The funny thing is , people who meet us probably assume we have a great sex life because we seem like such a happy couple.
We use to have a very active sex life when we first started dating. However, as we grew emotionally closer , our sex life gradually ground to a halt. I really blamed myself for this in the beginning. My self esteem took a nosedive and I gained weight. Anyway, not sure if it's because I'm in therapy now or I have lost weight , but I'm starting to realize I really miss having a sex life. The problem ? I really do love my girlfriend and can't imagine not spending my life with her. However, I'm starting to think it isn't healthy for me to give up my sexual desire for the person I love. My girlfriend is also in therapy now, and I can really tell a difference in her. However, the sex life is still not happening. And I can't even bring it up with her. I just don't know what to do. I feel so torn. I want to have a sex life , to feel desired. However, I'm not sure how long it will take for my girlfriend to be able to have a healthy sex life. Any advice would help ! thanks. :)

Fri. Apr 13, 4:35pm

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If you guys both care for each other as much as it seams you should bring it up. As long as your honest and you express how you feel only good things will come of it.

Friday, April 13, 2007, 4:41 PM

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I say tell her exactly how you are feeling, tell her that you love everything about her but no sex is something you can't live without. So what happens when you try to get intimate with her?

Friday, April 13, 2007, 4:46 PM

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I am a woman who is also a sexual abuse survivor. While it is very hard to overcome and every person and situation is different my opinion is that she needs to work out her issues and get on with a normal life. And for most couples "normal" includes sex and is very important especially for the man. I am married and while I have had issues wtih sex in the past I have moved on and we enjoy a happy and healthy sex life! I am proof it can be done!
Good luck and I also agree with the above posters. If you two are as close as you say you will be able to talk with her openly about the problems in your sex life. Let us know how it goes!

Friday, April 13, 2007, 4:57 PM

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i'm a survivor, too and most of my emotionally intimate relationships have ended because i cannot really be physically intimate without it bringing up a lot of trauma and shame for me. i tried to do the "couples" therapy with 2 of my previous boyfriends, after being together for over a year each, but while the therapy may have aloowed a little insight into why i had the apprehensions i have, it did not make them go away. no advice, really, but a little more insight into what it's like from a survivor's experience.

Friday, April 13, 2007, 5:09 PM

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Lots of survivors here! I am also a survivor and I'm currently struggling with reviving intimacy with my husband. When we were dating, we had a very healthy sex life. I think it was "easier" for me because I felt less vulnerable than when we got engaged and married. But over the past few years, for whatever reason, I began having a physical reaction to sex. This means that I started becoming more ashamed of my body (I'm less fit than before, but really I think I still look pretty healthy) and felt nauseated by the thought of sex. I have been in 10 years of therapy for this (I am a sex abuse survivor and a rape survivor [2 different perpetrators]) and I think I'm going through PTSD all over again. It's very complicated and unique by situation. It's not easy by any means. But open communication and any sort of professional mediation (including therapy) can help you get through this.

Thank you to the original poster for your understanding and patience. I am sure it means the world to your partner.

Saturday, April 14, 2007, 7:59 AM

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dating a sexual abuse survivor

I am on the same boat as OT. My girlfriend of 18 months is still too frightened to have sex with me. I am at breaking point and thinking of walking away from her. Thing is I love her to bits and want to be with her forever but I cant see ehr every overcoming this problem. I've tried to get her to see a therapist but she refuses, its as though she is embarassed, I try to tell her its not her fault but she just waives it off and says that she will get over it it one day. I feel terrible because I am thinking of leaving her but my life has become miserable. What should I do? Being a male I dont know where to turn

Monday, July 09, 2007, 10:03 AM

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have you considered going into therapy yourself?

Monday, July 09, 2007, 10:11 AM

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OP here :
thank you everyone for your understanding & advice.
I finally had the courage to bring the "no sex " topic up with my girlfriend. My gf at first seemed stunned & angry that I had brought this up. It was uncomfortable for me as well. I didn't want to hurt her feelings and make her think that I was blaming her for anything. However , I was surprised at how she really didn't seem to think her childhood abuse has affected her ability to be physically intimate. It was a very emotional talk & I am glad that I brought it up. I'm not sure if anything has really changed though. She did say that she would start to explore this issue in therapy. So, I guess I'm waiting to see if that really happens. In the meantime , I have just been focusing on other things, I guess as a way to distract me. I did notice that after having this discussion with my gf , that in a strange way I suddenly felt more sexual. It was strange , because to be honest I think I have really let my sex drive go on the back burner the past few years. So, it was strange to suddenly have my head filled with sexual thoughts. I hate to admit , but I also notice when I'm out , that I'm starting to be more aware of sexual attraction to other women. I have never cheated on my gf , and don't plan to. So, it does make me uncomfortable when I feel sexual and can't do anything with another person . However , I do believe in being faithful through the good & bad. So, I will just deal with it and continue on.
I'm hoping that eventually I will get some clarity on this whole issue & decide if this is what I really want my whole life. Thanks again for allowing me to vent !

Monday, July 09, 2007, 2:02 PM

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to "dating a sexual abuse survivor" july 09, 2007 10:03am

i am a survivor too. I am going through a book called "The Courage to Heal" if your girlfriend is unwilling to go to a therapist this book is very good. I have severe trust issues. She may feel the same. Not able to trust someone with her innermost private fears & hurts.
I do hope the best for you both.


Thursday, September 06, 2007, 2:44 PM

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To the OP:

I have been in the same boat as you and your gf. Except I was the gf. I am also a child abuse survivor. I got into a relationship and the first 6-9 months was great. We were intimate often and it was a very fullfilling sex life. We were together for 4 years and much of those remaining 3 years and a few months were celibate. There was always a need on my partners behalf to be intimate but I had and have no desire to be intimate. I have often wondered if my past child abuse has had anything to do with it or if I am simply just this type of person. I am comfortable with who I am.
As for your gf, I am glad to see the update that you two have discussed the matter. I am also pleased to see you have patience with her and have been understanding about it and caring enough to try to make it progress through therapy and open discussion.
Best of luck to you both.

Wednesday, April 30, 2008, 9:01 AM

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