Effects of abuse on Sexuality

Effects of abuse on Sexuality

Effects of abuse on Sexuality

What effects does abuse have on a child’s sexuality?

When a child is sexually abused, his/her normal sexual development is cut short. Being forced to be sexual on an adult level leaves the child not being able to develop his own desire, sexual orientation or interest. He/she doesn’t get a chance to explore sex in an age-appropriate way. The child learns that the abusers sexual desire is a scary, out of control, force and his/her first sexual experiences of arousal are linked with shame, disgust, pain and humiliation. This makes for powerful imprinting. If the abuse was linked with affection and nurturing, the child grows up confused about the difference between affection and sex, intimacy and intrusion.

What effects does abuse have on an adult’s sexuality?

In adulthood this can play out in several different ways: Some survivors chose celibacy or chose partners who don’t want sex. Sometimes they spend many years and a great deal of energy trying to find ways to avoid having sex. Some view sex as “dirty” or see it as an obligation that they must perform. Survivors may force themselves for years to go through the motions even though they are numb, absent or in a panic. They may think that they are frigid, or be confused about homosexuality, or maybe they just feel that they are dysfunctional all together because they do not understand that they are suffering from the effects of the abuse. They may have violent or abusive fantasies that arose them but then cause them great shame. Other times the survivor may confuse the partner with the abuser during sex, Sex becomes a mine field of painful associations and memories. Other survivors act out or become promiscuous believing that they are only good or loved for sex. He or She then fulfills this legacy sometimes with total disregard for his/her own safety. They feel they cannot say NO to sex and end up having sex with anyone that wants them.

The sense of well being and self-esteem gets hooked up with sexual desirability. The survivor might only feel a sense of self-worth when being sexually desired. Also here is the fact that many survivors find one-night stands sexually enjoyable. This is because they are disconnected with any emotional or intimate feelings regarding sex. As a child, survivors become programmed to disconnect from sex and from anyone who loved him and wanted sex with him. So as an adult, sex with an intimate partner may become a “skin crawling” experience. Many have noticed that the deeper the relationship became, the less they wanted sex with this person. They may feel so confused as to why they enjoyed sex before but suddenly can’t stand to be touched by the partner. I will get into how this effects the partners in the next paragraph. They may continually be unfaithful to their partners because they want to enjoy a sexual experience, they want to confirm to themselves that they are “sexually normal” that they can enjoy sex.

They may come to believe that this may mean they are not “in love” with the partner and even break up the relationship because of the sexual turn off that they feel. This then becomes a pattern. They can meet someone new, enjoy sex for a time and then as the relationship goes to a deeper more connected level, the same thing happens. They can’t stay disconnected from sex in an intimate relationship and they can’t connect sex with love. I have seen cases where because of this, survivors feel that they must be homosexual. They find a same sex partner, enjoy the sex in the beginning and then all the same things start happening to them. This leaves them feeling totally confused and dysfunctional.

How does this affect the Partner?

For partners of Survivors, this whole aspect is very frustrating. The partner can wind up feeling like a failure for not be able to give pleasure or express their true feelings to the survivor. They may feel rejected and at a loss on what to do about this situation. Their own sexual desires are put on hold. They love the survivor but have needs of their own also. It is important to remember that the survivor is feeling these feelings because of the abuse they suffered and it is not that the partner is lacking as a lover. It is hard not to take it personally as what could be more personal than your sex life, however, it really is not your fault. You could be the best lover on the planet and that would only serve to make the survivor more confused, more guilt ridden. Survivors feel a tremendous sense of guilt for not being sexually available for their partners…for not enjoying sex the way they wish they could. The survivor probably loves you very much but it is just too scary to feel this with his/her body too. In fact, the fact that they are willing to stay in the relationship and have to deal with this sexual issue every day, is proof that the survivor must care for you a great deal. IT takes a big toll on someone to try and avoid sex, make excuses, panic at being touched in the night, have all those feelings continually brought up.
When the survivor starts being honest about his or her feelings with the partner, the partner might feel shocked, angry and bewildered, especially if the survivor seemed to enjoy sex before. Sudden upheaval of sexual issues is the norm when survivors start to work on abuse issues. Patience with the survivor is key. Survivors often cannot work on sexual issues until the later stages of healing. If a survivor feels pressure to have sex during this time, it only serves to make him/her feel worse. Especially if there is fighting or threats about this. The survivor feels like this is the original abuse because they feel manipulated again. This only shuts the survivor down further. When the pressure for sex is taken off of the survivor, this allows him or her room to heal sexually. As a partner, you do have a choice, you can leave the relationship and find someone else to have sex with but the survivor can’t. Unless she/he heals sexually, these problems will follow her into every relationship for the rest of her life. Her/his motivation to heal and change is greater than yours. You cannot make someone heal sexually. You can’t set deadlines or orchestrate the survivors progress. You can set mutual goals and work toward them. You can make your feelings and needs known and say that sex is important to you and that you want, eventually, to have a mutual sexual relationship. The survivor understands this, they want the same thing. Things will change and can even though it may not seem like it now. Ultimately, you will be rewarded with a whole and healthy person.

Working with a survivor on sexual healing takes an incredible amount of patience, persistence and an acceptance of the fact that you are growing as a person too. Survivors often need to be the initiators of sex in order to feel in control. This is an important thing for partners to understand.

Let the survivor make the moves and set the pace for your love making. If the survivor feels in control, often this makes a very big difference. Try not to feel rejected when you reach over in bed and your partner flinches from your touch. Remember that a lot of survivors do not like to be touched when they are sleeping. For obvious reasons, this is very triggering for them. Avoid power struggles over sex. During this time, partners may find it extremely helpful to join a support group.

100 Responses to Effects of abuse on Sexuality

  1. Avatarbrittany says:

    i was sexually abused by my step father for 4 years… ywars later and it still eats at me i havnt told anyone i have been too scared to because of the things he used to threaten to do.what do i fo

    • AvatarHenrietta Frazier says:

      It’s time to break your silence n start the healing process or you will forever be imprisoned to that pain. When you keep silent it gives consent to the abuser n continue to hold power over your life.

    • AvatarHenrietta Frazier says:

      It’s time to break your silence n start the healing process or you will forever be imprisoned to that pain. I think your silence gives consent so its important for you not to give your abuser power over your life.

    • Avataranon says:

      i have been abused by my father as well. and i too was scared of saying anything but its time you speak up, i waited too long and let him have this power over me. take the control back. last year i finally said something. it ate me alive for 12 years, feeling ashamed and alone, your voice is your greatest weapon DO NOT LET HIM SHUT YOU OUT.

    • AvatarAnne-Marie says:

      You have to accept that he cannot and will not do those things – and even if he did, then it is his responsibility NOT yours!

      You now need to share this – you need to tell someone. It does not have to be your mum or anyone in your family. You will probably need help for that and for confronting your father – which you will almost certainly need to do to get closure. Try to ensure that you do confront him before he is ill or dies – when you will get no closure. You do not have to take him through the courts if you do not want to (although that is always something that you should consider – to prevent him doing it to anyone else in future – you will probably discover that you are NOT his only victim!).

      Seek professional help NOW! If you can face it go to your GP, otherwise look on line for a therapist or counsellor.

    • AvatarAnon says:

      I’m was abused by my mother when I was 12. Im a male. Im now 46 and disclosed this 2 years ago. I’ve been depressed angry, blamed my wife for the black hole I feel inside. Had several emotional affairs and 2 physical affairs trying to plug that hole. My wife knows. We have been married 20 years. I said nothing till 2 years ago. We are in counselling. But I finally realised that it was my issues causing the problem. I have no idea how to resolve this.

      • AvatarStrongwilled says:

        Anon,

        I am a female survivor. I was 5 years old when my abuse happened. My mom’s boyfriend abused me sexually. I do not remember how long this went on, but I do remember that I did not feel like I had anyone behind my back. I went to counseling afterwards, but never talked about it with any one of them. I supressed my issues as a young child growing up and displaying permiscuous behavior shortly after my abuse. I lost my virginity at the age of 11 to someone who broke my heart after a 3 year relationship. Then, I spiralled into a pattern of having sex just because I could. My first marriage ended because he cheated and did not want to keep the marriage. The anger and bitterness and hurt and that I felt was awful! I walked into another relationship 6 months after my ex filed for divorce and after I had my 2nd child with my ex. I moved in with my now husband 4 or 5 months after meeting him. 6 months later I left him because I did not know what I wanted. I was at the tail end of my divorce and because my first husband never wanted me to work (told me that thekids would not know either of their parents and never supported me having a job outside the home) I did not have a job. I started feeling like I had lost my identity after I lied to my now husband and went to see an old fling. Nothing happened sexually, but the emotional ties that I apparently still had were there. 2 or 3 months after I left I came back to a relationship where there was no trust which I completely understood. I had crushed his heart 🙁 We worked on our problems and after a short while he asked me to marry him. two years later we were married. 4 years into our marriage something snapped becuase all the distrust and anger has come up again. Our entire relationship (7 years) my husband has wanted us to explore an open relationship. From the very beginning I never wanted to do it. I guess I did it to please him or to find kind of something. I am curious as to what you mean by “trying to plug the hole”. I have always felt like there was something missing. I am wondering if that is what I did by exploring an open relationship. My husband feels deeply about him just not being enough and I have tried to tell him that he is, but maybe in some way because I have not healed he is not. All of my relationships have been unhealthy and I have always had one. I think that you are doing what you can by going to counseling now. I think that is a good step. I know the pain you are experiencing; although it may not be exactly the same. After a while of being with people on a romantic and physical level I shut down. i can no longer experience what is beautiful. I no longer have the desire to be with my husband sexually which causes him immense pain and has caused A LOT of distrust, anger and resentment. I feel like there is no way out, like I am doomed to feel this way forever. Just yesterday we started counseling. We both have issues that need sorted. I need healing. I told him a week ago that I needed to refrain from sexual activities and he has withdrawn himself almost completely. I understand why, but I need to figure out me before I can be completely there for someone else. I know it is not fair, but that’s what needs to happen and I know it.

        My point is, I know you feel alone and maybe angry and tired of dealing with this. I did not realize that my abuse was why I was so unhappy until this past year and I just thought there was no fixing it. You can heal, but it will take time. The thing is is that you don’t have to resolve this on your own. Talk to your spouse and tell what you need. Be there for her in ANY way that you can even if its just making her lunch for the day or getting her to the spa or giving her a massage. If you shut her out she will withdraw and that’s where resentment starts.

        What has helped me the last week is refraining from sex. I do not have that hanging over my head. I still feel guilty for not being able to and I sad because I have cut that off. Just this morning he tried and I called the stop sign into play. I have to do what is right for my head in order to heal and so do you.

        Without you being whole, you cannot fully be there for someone else.

        I hope that helps

      • AvatarMike says:

        I’m a male. I was abused by my mother when I was very young I believe frequently. When I was a teen she drugged and raped me once. I a couple years later walked in on her doing it to my younger brother. I just closed the door and walked away. I have myself for that. I feel so much guilt. It was just to much it triggered things I don’t know how to understand. I’m 32. Married have kids and my head is so fucked. I’m not an abuser. I’m the opposite kind . I just wanted to tell u your not alone.

    • AvatarDe says:

      I was abused by my stepdad too for about 4 years. I told pretty much everytime it happened but no prevail. The first time my mom caught him but she made it about her. No one never believed me. I started acting out in school. I was skipping school and had to do community service. My family talked about me so bad, I had no one. My dad passed away when I was 10 so I had no one to protect me. I thought my uncles would but they didnt care. Only person that cared was my Assistant principal in 9th grade. She was also my asst principal in middle school too so she noticed a change in me. I opened up to her and I was finally heard. A case was opened and I thought I was finally getting away from it all. But nope.. They dropped the case because I told one person “it” went in and another “it” didn’t. I didnt really know the difference because I was a virgin. Its my fault tho. I should have asked them what they meant. But because of that the case was dropped and my mom moved him right back in. Even now I just feel I should have just kept quiet. I remember everyone was mad at me. My brothers and sister didnt want me around. I honestly had no refuge. I was being teased at home, teased at school, and at church. I felt like I deserve all this. I still struggle daily. And now it has effected my relationship. I wanna be able to please him sexually but I just dont know how..

      • AvatarPleshette Thomas says:

        It is not your fault that you didn’t answer the question right, that is a very hard subject to tell anyone and with court you have to repeat the story several time causing you to relive it over and over again. I too experienced that,so with mines my stepdad found my journal and submitted it in court…I was 13 at the time of court,but he had molested me from 8-12.my journal was new & I had entered info about boys I had slept with, but yes cause I was exposed at an early age to sex by my stepdad…they used my journal against me. So I just said forget it& he got off…but I and God knows the truth. I have moved on ,I believe talking about it, helping others,counseling, a relationship with a higher being all helped me to overcome all the obstacles, it’s a daily battle but we are worth it

  2. AvatarQuad kelly says:

    I have been abused as a child and don’t think I know how to love myself,but I look for love in men and don’t understand why

    • AvatarTrish says:

      I know how that feels

      • Avataranon says:

        I know how that feels. You need to recover from the guilt, shame, and worthlessness. It was not your fault. Love yourself first. That emotional black hole you are seeking to fill can only be filled by you and counselling. It’s so hard. But first step is recognising that fear of rejection, abandonment is driving potentially dependant relationships. Try to recognise this pain, and accept it, but not let it become your gut feeling / instinct.

  3. AvatarAnonymous says:

    Last thing I want to do is talk to a bunch of strangers about my problems. I was abused sexually from as far back as I remember. Im in my late 30s now and I can’t enjoy sex with my husband. I avoid it, I feel physically sick when it does happen. And he just dont get it.

    • AvatarAnne-Marie says:

      If you cannot resolve this with your husband, then I think the only option you have left is try to resolve it with a ‘bunch of strangers’ – hence you are posting this!

      Once you start talking its not as hard as you fear. It is, I think, often easier to write it down (like this) or you might find that art therapy is useful for you. I could not have talked as much as I have without a (really really crappy) piece of art therapy that I did in The Priory. The art therapist was useless, but a fellow patient told me how he had drawn a picture of his abuse. He showed it to me and talked me through it and what it meant to him (his drawing was no better than mine) – it was really precious to him and really helped him to talk to other counsellors. I did a similar picture of my story and this really helped me first to talk to him and then to another patient and subsequently to other therapists and counsellors. In the fulness of time, I am hopeful that it will help me through all this crap and help me to explain it all to my mum with whom I am currently unable to communicate. I get really panicky if I lose this silly piece of paper!

    • AvatarJen Butler says:

      I’m 45, married 3 times and about to end number 3, tried the other gender and I just realised what the fuck is going on.. please get help. I feel like it’s too late for me, but not you..

  4. AvatarSusan says:

    Help. Does anyone else feel tacitly in my/their body that I am having sex with a man; actual penetration. I can’t control it and I can’t stop it help. I was damaged by sexual abuse as a child but have been celebrant >{?sp) successfully for years but my sexual urges are now out of control. Help.

    • AvatarAaron says:

      To clarify, you feel like you’re being penetrated by a man when you’re not at all? Is it like a health issue with your vagina? Did you get hurt? Or is it that you feel it, and want it so bad and that’s where your urges come into play? I say have all the sex you can! As long as you’re safe, it’s a healthy natural thing that we all desire. As long as it’s enjoyable for you, I say why not. Numbers mean nothing. I suffer from not having any emotional attachment towards women because i was forced to do things to my sister by my babysitter when I was 7. I’ve been a sexual person ever since, whether it’s intercourse with women , or masturbating, I need that pleasure and do it everyday sometimes multiple times a day. So that’s why no say do what makes you feel good.

  5. AvatarLeo says:

    Hi, I was sexually abused by my step brother from the age of 4 until 6 then it stopped but when I was 12 he raped me. The police were involved etc and I have overcome what happened. I am in a relationship with someone I love and I really do love him but find it hard to show affection I don’t enjoy kissing and don’t cuddle him much although I don’t mind that as much as kissing I do have a sexual relationship with him and I enjoy it but it’s just the simple things I struggle with like kissing and holding hands I’m also pregnant with his baby but feel like I’m not good enough I want him to know how much I love him but just can’t . Why is this ? Am I just weird? He gets upset because I cuddle my cat and kiss him but it’s different I see my cat as a huge comfort why is this please help x

    • AvatarAnne-Marie says:

      No – you are not weird, but you have been damaged and you do need help for your sake, for your partners sake and for your baby’s sake. Don’t do as I did and think ‘I’m coping, things are fine, I don’t need help’ for decades! Eventually it will catch up with you and in the meantime you will be causing yourself and your loved ones damage.

      You are good enough to have him know how much you love him and how much you are struggling and he needs to know why you are struggling and he deserves the opportunity to try to help you overcome it or at least to understand why you have difficulties showing him the affection he wants and needs and deserves. If you cannot overcome your difficulties, he at least deserves an explanation.

      Cuddling the cat provides non threatening comfort – stroking an animal is comforting anyway and releases endorphins which relax you and boost your self esteem, but a loved pet, who reciprocates your devotion is also providing you with a positive relationship with positive, reciprocative feedback/ undemanding unconditional love without any complication of involving sex.

      Please seek professional help as soon as possible and talk to your partner as soon as you possibly can (today if you feel you can talk without professional support).

    • AvatarAaron says:

      Holding hands, kissing, and cuddling are very personal and to me more intimate than having sex. My last girlfriend and I never did any of those things, eventually she learned that’s just not who I am. We would have enjoyable sex, not as much as she liked, but eventually parted ways because she didn’t feel the personal affection she needed. Eventually he either learn to accept that about you, or find other ways to be close with you. To me he needs to learn that’s the way you are, and if you haven’t explained to him why like you have here, try it. I hope he’ll understand. I sent this to my ex and now she totally gets why I was the way I was with intercourse or not being all cute and cuddly.

  6. AvatarVeronicah says:

    HI, I was sexually abused by a stranger at night when I was on my way home. I am lucky i got support and i healed.

    now the problem is that i am in a relationship but my partner is complaining that I don’t satisfy him sexually. What do I do? Please help.

    • AvatarAnne-Marie says:

      Veronicah – if you do not satisfy him sexually that is not your fault! You need to talk to him. You need to tell him that it is his problem and that you are willing to try to help him with his problem, but simply saying that you do not satisfy him is demeaning to you and unacceptable, but you are willing to try to help him to resolve his problem (assuming that you are!). You could ask him why he feels you are not satisfying him, what you might be able to do differently to rectify the situation, if it is in his head – has anyone ever ‘satisfied him’, is he simply asking you to accept that he wants to be more adventurous with you (if so you have to decide if you are happy to go with that) or if he is basically asking you for carte blanche to seek other sexual partners (perhaps you may be, but think seriously about the effect on your self esteem if you decide you can go with that – and do be prepared to re-evaluate it at a later date if you find you cannot cope with it! My advice is, no matter how hard it is to put your foot down and say no to other partners, long term it will be the least destructive for your self esteem).

      Remember IT IS NOT YOUR FAULT that you were abused and IT IS NOT YOUR FAULT that he feels he is not satisfied – only he can resolve what he means by this and how much being sexually satisfied means to him and (most importantly) how much YOU mean to him.

    • AvatarSharna says:

      I was sexually abuse for many years by a family member. And I just had my long term partner of 4 cheat on me. As apparently I wasn’t giving him enough sex. I even told him everything. They have no idea what we go through everyday. We know they need our affection but we have a hard time seeing sex as affection. You aren’t alone there are many women that are experiencing similar problems just like you.

    • AvatarAaron says:

      Is the problem that you have issues connecting with him on a sexual level because of what happened? Is it just him or have others told you this as well? Try other options such as role play, mutual masturbation, even some anal play on him. I enjoy lite anal play, not really penetration, a small finger and some tounge do the trick for me. Be open to trying new things, new places. Variety plays a huge role when the flame starts to flicker out. Sometimes you might want to do things that you don’t like but he does, as long as it’s not hurtful towards you of course. New toys, outfits, maybe other people. I know alot of people who share partners or add another person and say it really strengthened their sexual connection with each other and turned them on. You of course always have the right to stop or say no, but I say at least try, if it works great, if not, well now you know. In all reality, I think good strong sex is quite important in a relationship. And if you can’t please him, find something or someone who can, or he will. I’d rather you have the say in that. Good luck .

  7. AvatarRachel Jordan says:

    Hello! My partner was abused by a priest (now dead) until the age 15. He tells me that sex is just sex and he has no emotions no matter who he has sex with. Is this normal for a man that had been sexually abused? I feel like maybe it’s a defense mechanism. Is there anything I can do to help bringet emotion into our sex life?

    • AvatarAnne-Marie says:

      Rachel – I think that some abused men do respond in this way. I was recently in The Priory with both men and women who had been abused. Abuse victims seem to go one of two ways – either they take the attitude ‘sex is just sex’ and that is their way of coping (often becoming pretty promiscuous in the process) or they become frigid and fearful of sex and consciously or subconsciously avoid it! Not really sure which is more healthy or helpful. If you have had sex forced upon you when you were too young, too small, too inexperienced, too unprepared to know how to deal with it, then shutting down emotionally and letting it happen could actually be a very efficient coping mechanism. But continuing with a sex life without emotional attachment as an adult with loving partner is not healthy and will ultimately lead to the collapse of the relationship. You need to try to get your partner to seek help and if they won’t (I suspect he won’t) then you need to get help firstly to protect yourself and secondly to try to help him.

  8. AvatarJeffrey says:

    I was sexually abused by my older sister between age 8 and 9. My parents shamed me, I felt I failed them and never could do good again. Still feel that. When I was a little older (12/13) I emulated what my sister did, abusing my younger sister for s short time. I am 43 and married now and can’t be intimate with my wife. She understands why, but it is difficult for both of us. I just want to fix it sooner than later. I just want to be normal. I have many sexual desires and want to be with men and women and have so many fantasies (normal and alternative)…but it also makes me anxious and sick. I can’t get away from the feelings that I am a cancer. Sure I was abused, but later I was no better. I’m in therapy but the complications are so confused and “complicated”. Hard to see a way to ever feel peace and forever in fight or flight mode or self-hate.

    • AvatarAnne-Marie says:

      Jeffrey – I feel for you. I was abused by an older baby sitter and his younger brother when I was 8. It was only last summer when my husband came out as gay that our counsellor made me face up to the fact that I had been an abused child – until last summer (aged 50) I had thought of it as unfortunate events and I was/ still am convinced that they were from an abusive family and did to me what had been done unto them. I coped with it all until my husband left me for his toy boy (25!). Since the summer I have gone completely to pieces. Because I feel sure that my abusers must have been through it, I don’t actually ‘blame’ them. I have since stopped communicating with my mother because I cannot deal with her emotions and her guilt and her ‘tough love’ but I do not blame her either (although I feel sure that, despite her constantly questioning my memory of the facts and demanding what EXACTLY happened – I don’t know, I have some very defined vivid memories and some yawning gaps – she feels unnecessary, unproductive guilt). I left my baby sister with the abuser – my husband insisting on telling my family as well as the counsellor means I have had the chance to apologise to her – have you tried apologising to your younger sister and explaining what you went through? Has your older sister apologised to you? Has she explained what prompted her to abuse you? Was she abused? Perhaps by a parent, baby sitter, uncle, family friend, school friend? How long have you been in therapy? I feel sure that long term therapy will work (I hope!). Talk to your wife. Remember that intimacy with your wife is a necessary component to expressing your love for her and the sanctity of your relationship – it is not abusive. Yes, you love your sisters, but in the way you love your wife. Intimacy with your wife is right and natural, such intimacy with your sisters was not, but you were a child and needed help – no-one recognised your needs or your sisters needs at the time, but now I hope counselling or psychotherapy can help you.

      It has helped me to hear your story. It has made me all the more sure than my abusers were themselves victims. My marriage was predominantly celebrate – it never occurred to me that this was indicative of a serious problem. I thought it was lack of time, pressure of demanding careers and children!

  9. AvatarGrace says:

    The worst thing about sexual abuse, especially as a child, is that it screws with our developmental rate. I was molested by a couple of teenage boys from the age of about 8 to 9, and that was minor compared to what I see happening to other people. When you’re forced into a sexual role at an age where you’re too young to fully understand all of the implications, the results can be crippling once you reach adulthood. Something that I, and several other people, have faced, is both over-sexualization in older years (i.e. abusing others, excessive masturbation, fantasies that you wouldn’t normally have, prostitution, and sexting) and the utter gut-churning anxiety of a committed sexual relationship.

    • AvatarAnne-Marie says:

      I was in the same position as you. I went the other way! I fear sex and sexual involvement!

    • AvatarAaron says:

      I have those exact same problems. I’m extremely sexual. Like it’s a need, a craving I must satisfy on way or the other. Some of the things that go through my mind in fantasy land I can’t even believe I think of them sometimes. I’ve never abused anyone else or had a prostitute. I cross my fingers but I’m not dead yet. But especially the sex with random women, and excessive masturbation. Then, it’s like once I do satisfy myself, I go through a moment of disgust and shame with myself and say “what’s wrong with you, you pervert. if people found out your desires and what you do, they would be completely disgusted” 🙁 then, maybe a few hours later, I’m back to thinking about sex.

      • AvatarLee says:

        Hi Aaron,.You could have been writing about me. I was abused by an older boy (I’m male) just before kindergarten. Now, as an older man I realize more and more the confusion and shame , and guilt for enjoying sex, that has tormented me since then. I’ve had extensive psychotherapy from, what I learned. was a homosexual predator with a Ph.D. I gave him total trust, so when he made moves on me for sex I thought I must be homosexual because he is a doctor. For years this tormented me and I was lost, until I was able to figure it out. I’m not homosexual and I understand better the fantasies I have. It’s importan to understand that some of the sexual desires expressed in fantasies are due to the abuse, especially when the abuse was not painful at the time. I am damaged, but I know it and it’s ok. Learning to accept myself and reject internal criticism seems to be the key….but the guilt and shame for having sexual desires and getting staisfaction still rears it’s ugly head…..but……no where as intense or debilitating as it used to be.

  10. AvatarCarrie says:

    My brother raped me but if he could be as honest as you are being it did would make me feel so much better. If he could tell me why he did it that would help too but he didn’t reply to my letter asking for an apology. Perhaps you could let your younger sister know you are sorry and allow her to feel better, in turn I think that would allow you to feel better too. I am so sorry if you can’t get an apology from your older sister and I am also very sorry that your parents shamed you. That has been a terrible burden. I understand what you mean about the flight or flight mode and the self hate as I suffer from both of those too. Don’t be put off thinking that things are ‘complicated’ and ‘confused’ as I’m sure most people writing here feel that their situation is complicated, certainly mine is and I get frustrated that I can’t explain in it simply. I do hope you can find some peace through your therapy and support from your wife.

    • AvatarAnne-Marie says:

      Hi Carrie,

      Have you tried just talking to your brother? Perhaps if you could start a dialogue without expecting an explanation or apology, you might be able to get him to start to think about it. You might later get an explanation and/or apology. You might find that he too was abused and this led to your abuse. Perhaps not starting with asking for an apology might get the honesty more quickly as he might then not feel judged.

      I hope you get the resolution you need.

  11. AvatarCynthia karned says:

    I feel like I’m lost, I was abused as a child by my step father for years, I have had three failed marriages, I always feel as though I want to have sex,but during sex, I get so scared tense, wonder what is he thinking,why do I do this, I am 59, years old and never in my life have I ever felt or had an orgasm, I just lay there, I tell my mind to relax try to enjoy my husband but my mind will not let my body! I feel as though I have lost myself, I feel like the intamacy is dirty, I feel dirty, I panick I feel as though I am doing something wrong, I am just so messed up over this! My first marriage I choose not to tell my husband about the abuse for fear of losing him,when he did find out he left because he didn’t believe my step dad could have done that, my second husband I didn’t tell because I lost my first one because he found out, then my stepfather tried to molest my oldest daughter I freaked out ,got her away from him, but then my husband started saying things like o go have sex with your dad you must like that! Omg I was so so very hurt! No one could imagine the hurt I felt, my third husband I decided to tell before I married him, he was so comforting telling me how sorry he was I had to go through that, one year later, he changed started calling all my family child molesters and anyone born by a child molester would grow into a molester, omg are you kidding me!!!!! Please please help me!!!! I do not know how to fix me!!!!!!!!

    • AvatarPersonal says:

      You’re 2nd and 3rd husbands were abusers too. Very emotionally unavailable and abusive. You’ve been victimized too often. You were helpless at one point as a child. Counseling can help you leave victimhood.

  12. AvatarAnne-Marie says:

    Cynthia, I completely understand your fear and your panic. I too feel that I am ‘messed up’ and that I have never been able to relax and simply ‘enjoy’ sex with my husband – not that we had that much sex! This was made more difficult recently when he declared he was gay and moved in with his boyfriend half his age (50 and 25!).

  13. AvatarLou says:

    I was sexually abused by my headteacher at school when i was 8 years old. Over 30 years later i am still haunted by this. He only did it once. I have never told anyone. Everyday i feel more tortured. i don’t know what to do. I feel like i am on self destruct mode.

  14. AvatarAnne-Marie says:

    Lou – you have to tell someone. If you cannot face telling anyone you know, how about contacting a counsellor http://www.havoca.org/resources/find-a-therapist/ or a local abuse support group – I think that there are links on one the pages on this webpage http://www.havoca.org/resources/support-groups/ or there is a Facebook support group if you are on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/groups/2350801370/?ref=br_tf&qsefr=1 If you are in the UK you could try http://napac.org.uk/?gclid=CjwKEAiArIDFBRCe_9DJi6Or0UcSJAAK1nFvOsc4iLZXeJPZ3YJJe_eAHrechKyBfgBp0h7yT4NwDxoClKjw_wcB Are you married? Do you have a partner? I think a lot of people tell a partner first. I didn’t find my partner was much support, but to be honest, I didn’t really feel I needed support until he decided he was gay and moved out – suddenly everything crashed around me and I needed to talk to other people who had been through it.

    • AvatarAnne-Marie says:

      Lou – you also need to tell the police – I can’t believe I didn’t say this in my first post. This man could still be teaching and could still be abusing children.
      (Unlikely to still be teaching, but likely to still be abusing children).

  15. AvatarAnonHusband says:

    My wife was sexual abused by her father & her uncle. She was also raped during high school by several boys. When we first got together we would have sex but now 18 years later she doesn’t want sex. We haven’t had sex for 7 or 8 years now. She masturbates her clit but doesn’t like penetration. Back when we did have sex she had issues with penetration & I could only penetrate her for a short while before she couldn’t handle it & I would have to stop. This issue has had a drastic effect on our sex life of course but it has also colored our non-sex life too. Sex, intimacy is a very important part of a relationship & without it our relationship is dying. We don’t know what to do. We need some kind of help but we have no clue on what help to get or where to get it. We can’t go on like this.

    • AvatarAaron says:

      does she please you orally or in any other way? Has she completely given up on sex all together or is it she just doesn’t like you penetrating her. Have you suggested or tried having another female in the room with you? Or try swinging or swapping partners, and have a deal that they don’t have intercourse with her, but you can penetrate the other woman? I know what you mean about good sex being very important. And she should know that you need to be pleased also and hopefully you can strike up a deal where you’re both happy, safe, and fulfilled . My last partner and I didn’t have a real emotional connection so it was just plain jane. So we would find couples and swap partners, sometimes in the same room, sometimes in separate rooms. It made us stronger sexually because though we wouldn’t discuss too many details about what each one did. We were both sexually liberated in a way with the other person and do things we couldn’t do with each other. We both learned new tricks and that all really exploded our sex life together. It’s not for everyone, but as long as it’s strictly about the sex, and no emotions, then I think it’s healthy. Find a few different couples to engage in. She would even watch me with another girl. I couldn’t watch her with another guy though but wasn’t opposed to one joining us together. There’s lots of options to get passed her issue with herself, you just have to both be open minded, about trying new things and willing to make any necessary sacrifices to keep your love life and relationship going!

  16. AvatarAnne-Marie says:

    You need to get help from a sex therapist and fast! The last thing your wife needs is your relationship to break down.

  17. AvatarLynn says:

    I was abused from the age of 10 till 18 by my sisters parter when I was 10 he was 19 my family don’t know this I’m now 40 and he’s dead I started a relationship about 8 months ago and im finding sex so difficult I feel like he pushes me into it but he’s not being bad I know he has need I just don’t know if I will ever be able to have a sexual relationship with him and I can feel myself pulling away even though I know I love him I need help

  18. AvatarTiffany says:

    I read this page and all I could do is cry. For so long I had no idea why I couldn’t be with anyone longer than a couple months and didn’t understand what was wrong with me. My mom’s bf sexually abused me when I was very young. I told her, the next day he was gone, and the abuse was never brought up again throughout the rest of my life.

    Over a decade later, I’m now 23 and I still have very clear issues, but how do I “heal?” I can’t afford therapy and don’t know what to do. I have a boyfriend now who has been my longest relationship (9 months). I love him so much, but never feel the urge to have sex. He blames himself for my disinterest in sex and sometimes when I do make myself have sex, I feel like he is my abuser all over again. I want to have normal sexual urges. I just want to be normal. I’ve felt like there was something off within myself for a very long time and all I’ve ever wanted was to be normal or at least feel right again. Someone, please help me. Tell me how to heal. My heart has been breaking for so long..

    • HAVOCAHAVOCA says:

      I’m sorry for your pain but I’m glad you’ve found us. Healing is a very unique journey. We recommend you read every page on this website, making notes in a journal as you go. These will form the bedrock for any work you feel you need to do.

      There are alternatives to professional help so if you can’t find any thing affordable in our therapy section then perhaps look at joining our forums, searching for a local support group or visiting our resources page for self help.

      Help is out there, there is hope. Just hang on in there

    • AvatarStephanie says:

      Reading your comment made me feel like I was reading about myself . I also was abused by my mom’s boyfriend when I was little (i was around 3/4). It only happened once and when I told my mom she almost killed him and he left the same day. I’m also 23 like you. I literally have those thoughts all the time too, i just want to be normal. I’ve had boyfriends in the past but they have never lasted more than a few months. I have a fear of staring relationships because I know they’ll lead to us eventually having sex. I’m a virgin and I feel like people around me think it’s weird because they don’t know. I just can’t have sex I literally freak out over the thought of being intimate with someone. I hate that this happened to me. It sucks.

      • AvatarChuka says:

        I feel the exact same way too. I was sexually abused by my father when I was 3 years old. Back then I didn’t remember, until recently last year. I had a mental breakdown and I started hallucinating and recalled the memory. I start to look of how my life was, and I realized that I wasn’t interested at all in sex during my teenage years and somehow felt weird. It did had a bad effect, but I didn’t thought it would have been so bad. Not so long ago, I had a date with this sweet guy. We were holding hands, hugging and kissing. After, out of the blue I had a flashback. I started feeling that someone was penetrating me. It felt so bad. Shortly, few days later I took an overdose on my meds due to this and having depression as well. But now, I have been attending therapy and feeling somewhat better

  19. AvatarSade says:

    A part of me feels this is the explanation to what is wrong with me. I’ve read this page over and over again. I was sexually abused as a child for year years…don’t know when it started but I ended it when I started getting aware that it was wrong even though I didn’t fully understand. I was maybe 9 or 10.
    Now in my marriage. Sex is extremely difficult. It’s a struggle. I just simply hate it sometimes. I try and push to be what I’m supposed to be. It’s so frustrating. It’s actually a long sad confused story but sex is mostly still something I would rather avoid all together. It’s not just sex though. I don’t even easily feel things deeply. I might feel it much later after the event or not just even be aware. There are just lots of things.
    Reading this now though, I’m thinking this might be it. All this struggle might just be that I’m suffering from the effects of the abuse. We just assume that it’s done and forgotten but this might just be it.
    There are such therapists here though.I

  20. AvatarSade says:

    Don’t know what to do from here…what next?

    • HAVOCAHAVOCA says:

      It depends where ‘here’ is? There are several ways to proceed; self-help, information, therapy, our forums, groups and organisations. This website is dedicated to each area so you should be able to find what you are looking for. Alternatively drop us an email

  21. AvatarLoisita Rodriguez says:

    After being abused by my mother and some of her boy friends I decided to kill myself. I was 10 years old. My mom convinced everyone that I was a troubled girl that always lied about everything. She signed me into a mental hospital were I was placed in with the adults and kept locked away in a room alone for my safety. When they let me go I went back to my mothers house. Nothing had changed except my mom being madder at me. I met the man that would end up taking me soon after getting home. I was now eleven years old and he was nineteen. My mom and he struck up a deal, I would stay with him and he would always help my mother with money. That was the beginning of the real abuse for me. He started with taking pictures and then one night three months after I was living with him he took me to a room in a run down hotel and had me shower and change into a pink nightgown. I remember being so scared…I sat on the window sill with my knees bent under my chin and looked out at a brick wall. He came to me and told me not to be scared, that he would never hurt me. I remember him laying me on the bed and I remember waking up in pain but I don’t remember what happened or what he did to me… That was my introduction to his sick and twisted world…I am not able to have normal human contact. I am afraid to leave my home and have to deal with people so I spend my days home alone going out only when I need food. I have been trying to heal but it’s tough.

    • AvatarJames Mannion. says:

      I am so sorry too hear that my heart goes out too you. I know exactly what you have been through and ignore anybody who asks you too forgive the animal who stole your childhood. Let hate be your motivation let the righteous indignation at this awful atrocity perpetrated against you drive you to find the strength too forge a good life for yourself. Let the just hatred of your mother (although the term mother seems a travesty when applied to a person I would not trust with a cat) force you too no longer be anybodies victim. If you feel low remember you are not alone people every day make a life after the most important part of our childhood is stolen from us. Every smile, every laugh, every happy and good thought that Im sure is in your head is a victory against your tormentors.

  22. Avatarjay says:

    Abused by an older male in his twenties when i was 12 to 15 on a regular basis (we shared a bedroom). My parents were violent alcoholics so this man provided safer/caring with sex as being his return for money and effort. Over the next 40 years I have not been able to have love and sex together. Have needed to find from time to time a similar man to repeat the acts so to speak. As if I was imprinted with the routine during those formative years and cannot break the cycle. Low self esteem and secrecy from a female partner. Have been a workaholic with suicidal thoughts for being unfaithful. Can be caring and do what people think is high caring but not loving nor ever experiencing that. Psychologist says PTSD – given the abusive and unstable environment. But no course of action to deal with it. Feel condemned to a living hell.

  23. AvatarJames Mannion. says:

    I was sexually abused as a child by my older brother for four years. The effect it had upon me was and still continues too be devastating. I feel worthless and conduct unsafe promiscuous behaviour in order too feel validated or wanted by anybody even if they are just using me for sex. Every time I look in the mirror I dont see a man I see his victim. They say time heals all wounds “They” don’t know what they are talking about. If your going to honest about sexual abuse talk too a counsellor or law enforcement officer. Dont make the mistake I made of thinking your families will love you no matter what. Its a lie end the abuse and lets castrate, incarcerate and purge every trace of these monstrous childhood thieves.

    • Avatarsocalguy says:

      Hi James. When I read your comment it made me reply for my first time. We can get through this stuff. And live happy lives. I too went the family route thinking they would give me sympathy and companionship. I’m a 40yr old male that was so confused on life. I started smoking crack in 8th grade and abusing my body with unsafe sex and dangerous acts all through high school. Ending up in jail and rehabs for a good 4 yrs in my twenties. Finally started to live and heal then at age 37 I had vivid visions, smells, tastes, like I was there. Of either my Aunt or my Mom sitting her naked body on my face as an infant. I can’t make out the face exactly, they look like twins. For the past few years I’ve been screaming and angry and want the truth. Everyone acts like they knew, but me. My whole family dodges me now, cause they just want to forget about it. I can’t. I try. My whole life is coming together like a puzzle. it all makes sense now. I feel the same way James about the anger and violence that goes through the mind. I’m a sensitive person, so this is extremely hard on me and my girlfriend. How do we let the pain go?

  24. AvatarPasha says:

    The depth of insights in this article woven together with the personal survivor narratives have unified the undulating spectrum of emotions that I have felt, but have never been able to coherently articulate. Through these mosaics of strong survivors of sexual abuse telling their stories and speaking their truths in response to the mind, body, and spirit disharmony that this article profoundly illustrates and communicates from a compassionate and professional nature, I feel that I can begin to be present and hopeful in working towards having a healthy and positive conception and desire towards my own future intimacies. I was raped by my summer camp counselor when I was 12. This was my first sexual experience and was right around when I was discovering that I was gay, and in turn, solidified a tolerance and a subconscious sense of deserving of this abuse throughout the majority of my young adult life because I already felt so alien. I carried this secret with me for the rest of my adolescence, because I felt so guilty, ashamed, and confused. I couldn’t ever make sense of it all because it was never my fault, yet I somehow convinced my twelve-year old self that it was.The promiscuity, detachment during sex, and seeking validation through impersonal sexual situations resonate really strongly with my own journey. I attracted poisonous and manipulative mentally ill individuals with inexcusable behaviors. I was then date raped when I was 19. Reflecting about it all I cannot rationalize how I ended up being in a relationship with this person afterwards and couldn’t ever say no when they wanted to penetrate me. My body never felt like my own and I did not know how claim it, especially to someone who was so aggressive, forceful, and frightening. It reached an unfathomable level of darkness that my only way out was to drop out of college and move away to rebuild my life the way I wanted to. And I did, I recently just graduated with a BA and am now on to more school, yay! I have begun to truly find myself because something like this can strip away all of who you thought you were and use to be. Soon to be 24, I feel that I’ve done so much, too much on my own to find growth and understanding with self forgiveness and self love these past twelve years. What this article has shown me is that I feel that I have learned all that I can on my own and i’m ready to find support and even community centered on surviving sexual abuse. I want every survivor and reader of this article to know that you are so very strong and ever deserving of love, intimacy, and connections on your own terms. Thank you for having this space to share understanding, wisdom, and compassion.

  25. AvatarJosh says:

    I’ve been married to my wife for 12 years and we have 3 children together. I’ve known since the beginning of our relationship that she had been sexually abused by her father from the time she could remember until she was 7. I know that as a teen and young adult she was very permiscuous. With the recent death of her estranged father she has started the process of going to therapy and talking about what happened to her. In doing so she has started to question whether or not she might be gay. She says to me that it’s not a sexual thing though. She says that she wants everything between us to stay the same. Minus the sex maybe? I guess I just don’t know what to feel. How can I process this. I realize that I haven’t had to experience that kind of trauma and have no idea what she’s going through, but what do I do?

    • AvatarNetty says:

      Hi Josh, I also went through a stage of wondering if I might be gay. I think part of healthy sexual development is learning what/who you are interested in and most people probably experiment either in real life or in their fantasies when they are teenagers. When you’ve been abused, this process can get de-railed. Personally, it never even occurred to me that I should have a view point on it! Sex was something to be performed for whoever wanted it (no right to say no) and didn’t involve any pleasure or volition. This obviously led to further abuse and even consensual sex felt abusive. It is only now I am much older and happily married that I am starting to heal and can consider whether I want sex and what sort. Women appealed to me because they were a limited part of my past experience and I imagined sex would be more mutual, and I would feel more equal. (I’m old enough to have heard a lot about how females should be obedient, pleasing and nice which also factored into the sexual abuse). I’m not actually gay at all, but since I had no idea what my preferences actually were, I had to consider it to rule it out. Maybe your wife is just now going through this developmental stage too? I hope this perspective helps, all the best.

  26. AvatarRobert says:

    I have a girlfriend Of 2 months and she told me what happened to her as a child.
    In the beginning Of our relationship she really was the one that initiated sex/cuddling, but as of late she don’t want to do either.

    In her previous realationships she said the guys she dated usually gave up on her a couple of months in because of her issues (she can get really emotionally detached randomly for no reason sometimes).

    I guess this has made her not able to “heal sexually”, as described in the text.

    This is really taking a toll on me as I’m that kind of person that’s shows most of my affection through physical touches, but I really want to help her and I do love her, even though this most likely will be hard.

    She does not want to go to a therapist yet as she lives at home and she does not want her parents to find out and she gets mad evrytime I mention seeing a therapist.

    So my question is simply, how can I help her now? Until she is ready to see a therapist if I can’t help her enough to heal.

    I’m gonna try to take a step back and let her do the initiating but this is hard as she does almost never want to do anything and as we only see each other on the weekends I almost always want to cuddle and more.

  27. Avatarban says:

    Hi…I wanted to to thank you for the article, it made me feel somewhat understood and I bet many would feel the same. You see… I was sexually abused by my father at the age of 8 through 9 he later turned himself in… At the age of 10 my mom had found another lover who also abused me for 8 years I tried resisting him for all those years, but since my mom had no idea of what was going on she blamed me for not getting along with him.
    He later got found out, but “apologized” so somehow he’s still involved with my family I can’t understand how people can just accept it and I feel as though I have no say in it.
    I’m now 23 and after a year with my psychologist this year was finally able to open up at least a little even. The real problem now is that my mom is sending me off to get married to one of my friends…ha ha seriously!? ts so frustrating every time I try to deny the marriage she tries to convince me otherwise and I’m just scared of disappointing her after everything I put her through so can’t help but do as she says.
    Oh god I don’t wanna get married I always hated the thought of it and the expectations that come with it I wouldn’t be able to get intimate with him and he wouldn’t understand why cause I’d never be able to tell him. I feel like id end up hurting him just to push him away, I’m really scared I don’t want to belong to anyone specially someone that I didn’t choose for myself.
    I told him that I didn’t love ( never loved anyone that way really) and he just said that he’d teach me how to love… And everyone I talk about it to says that maybe id learn how to love him through time…man whatever I’m just ranting now I feel really hopeless I just don’t know what to do…

    Well for anyone reading this ,thank you for taking the time
    And sorry heh.

  28. AvatarBethany says:

    Hi
    I was sexually abused for 2 years when i was 8 and i think it might be having a detrimental effect on my relationship with my boyfriend just now. Im constantly worried that hes going to leave me and hes the closest person i have in my life at the moment but i can feel myself pushing him away. We dont have sex as much anymore and when we do i always end up feeling like its an obligation which i hate because he knows and we stop immediately but then i just feel like a failure because he wasn’t satisfied. Hes not a bad guy, he always reassures me and tells me that he understands. On the occasions where we do successfully have sex, i always lapse into a panic-attack-like state afterwards, hyperventilating, tense, racing heart & thoughts etc and im not sure why because i enjoy sex with him but i cant stand it when he goes to cuddle me afterwards.
    Is there something wrong with me?

  29. AvatarCandace Fredrick says:

    I was abused for 8 years by 2 people. Tortured, sexually abused, physically. I’ve disassociated myself from reality I am 20 years old now and I don’t desire sex in any way shape or form. I act like I’m 12 still I feel as I haven’t grown up mentally because of what happened to me. I was in counseling for 6 years doing EMDR I went to foster care jouvie and mental hospitals because I was so afraid of my past that I didn’t really want to face or even look at….. I spend my days playing video games in my alternate reality that I am able to control. It is my only coping skill that has ever worked. I refuse to leave the house I don’t like talking to people unless it’s my family… Sometimes even that is hard to deal with.. I constantly have panic attacks and flash backs and I get completely paralyzed head to toe with fear and it can last hours or minutes. I don’t hate my life I just don’t feel the need to participate in it.

  30. AvatarTom says:

    Good day. I was not abused or molested when I was young. My wife was thou, from the age of 4 going till she was almost 7. She do not want to talk to much about it. The only details I have that it was a good friend of the family who passed away before we meet. Her mother new about the whole thing and never did a thing about it, she told my wige that if her father knew he will kill the man and her oldest brother at that time was in the force and would of caused the guy to go to jail. You will not helieve that neither one of them will talk to each other about the incident. They see each other almost every day. I leave it, but it makes my blood boil. All tgis seems to place a huge strain on our sex live. I’m very sexual and will like to be intimate more often then what we are currently. I tild her to speak to someone she can open upto, but she will not. I know it took a grate deal from ger to confound in me, but I feel she need to brake the shell completely open so the healing can begin. After almost 11 years I feel that I might br reaching out looking for love in other places, but will not let my self to go to that ekstream. I love her to much and see and feel her pain, because her pain is my pain. But she have to start the heeling so she can start to live her life. Thank you for listening to my side. Tom

  31. Avatarmika says:

    I was raped by my cousin when i was 3. Im a female. I end up thinking about sex and how it feels like since then and I hate it because i feel unclean and since im living in a religious family, i feel like a sinner. Now im 19 and i have a bf and i always want to have sex with him. Is this normal?

  32. AvatarAnony says:

    This is such a difficult legacy of abuse. I was sexually abused by a violent and scary stepfather from 7-11yrs, while being an only child living with mentally ill, alcoholic, neglectful mother. Despite this I went on to have a successful career, gain a Ph.D, be married for 30 yrs and bring up 3 wonderful healthy children; to the outside world everything looked great..but…inside I’m constantly depressed and anxious, I just can’t seem to heal the sexual issues despite counselling. I panicked/dissociated or tried desperately to ‘fake’ it during my marriage and eventually my husband left because I couldn’t ‘meet his sexual needs.’ He never understood what it cost me trying so hard over all those years and that I tried so hard precisely because I loved him. I failed and its cost me my husband, home, and future I hoped for. I tried again in a new relationship but it’s happening again and I can’t expect him to put up with a sexless relationship so he will leave too. I feel the abuse has condemned me to a lonely isolated life and now children are grown up I have nothing. It is devastating to be unable to feel love and intimacy that everyone else takes for granted, I feel worthless and less than human.

  33. AvatarLisa Jensen says:

    I was abused from the age of 2 until 14 by 2 fault members. My husband and I started our relationship with a healthy sex life. We have two children. A 13 year old and an 8 year old. I haven’t been interested in sec for almost 3 years. Understandably my husband is frustrated and annoyed. I have no interest and when he tries I have to shut it down quickly. This leads to arguments and threats. What do I do?

  34. AvatarDonna Tilton says:

    My nightmare began the day my mother brought John home. I have stopped calling this man stepfather because he lost that title from the beginning. I am one of three girls from my mothers first marriage. Me and my sisters are one year apart. John began with physical abuse when I was around 3 years old. He would fill a tub of cold water and set all three of us in the tub. Then he would continuously dunk us under the water. He would make us drink raw eggs with hot sauce every morning. He would beat us and stand us in corners with our arms straight up in the air and our heads had to point up to where we were looking at the ceiling. It was nothing for our to stand in the corner from morning till night and at times, depending on our ‘crime’ we would continue this for a week. When my mother went into the hospital to have my sister ‘his child’ the sexual abuse began. first touching and oral sex. I was nine and my sister was eight. As far as I know he never touched our younger sister sexually. Not that he had to, the physical abuse was bad enough. When I was around ten years old is when he raped me. I will never forget my mother finally catching him in the act, only to beat the crap out of me saying I was trying to steal her man. She finally turned a blind eye on his activities. There was one time he attempted to use a toy and I would not listen to him. I refused to open my legs. He grabbed one of his dress shoes and beat me in the head. I felt the heat on my head and realized there was blood running down my face. (To this day i have a lump on my head.) I also want to add that John had a friend who also was named John that was sexually molesting me and my sister. When I was eleven John gained more friends and would collect money for them to have sex with me and my sister. Another thing they would like to do is while drinking in the garage they would make me and my sister try on different panties and bras and parade in front of them. Also, John would make me and my sister fight, and the guys would bet money on who was going to win. If we did not seem to be hitting each other the way he wanted, he would beat us. When I was twelve, I was sold to one of John’s friends who needed a green card. I was to be signed off as 16, and married. Although, one of my mothers family members caught wind of this and called the courthouse telling them I was only 12. After a road trip to Chicago with this man, we were picked up on the way back to Decatur, and I was taken into the custody of the state. John died several months after this from liver cancer. Recently, I found the article where they published my name on the front page of the paper. Herald and Review September 1985 front page. Needless to say it did not make me famous in a positive manner. Also, there are several things I would like the world to know. First, DCFS was out to our house on several occasions but always closed the case as unfounded. (Failure from the State). Second, Family members later told me that they always felt something was going on but they did not feel it was their place to intervene. ( Failure from family). Finally, my father was not in our lives due to his new family. I found out after his death that he was also a disgusting rapist. (failure on the one man I thought I could count on). I want to add that I forgave my mother. I witnessed the beatings she received and I realized that she was the adult version of us. Although, when I had my children I protected them. I would have killed for my kids, and I was not afraid to let people know this. The cycle is broke and I feel my children are healthy.

  35. Avatarhurtbae says:

    i was molested many times by my step father growing up, i never spoke about it with anyone, and i never thought about it much growing up, but now that I’m in my 20’s and in a serious relationship, i can’t seem to cope sexually or emotionally, i always try to avoid sex and this frustrates my partner, he’s the only person i told about the abuse but i think his need for sex makes him not very understanding, when we started dating we had sex all the time but now i don’t even want him to hug me. i sometimes get a feeling of disgust if he touch me in certain areas because i remember very clearly the way my abuser use to touch me in those ways and it makes me panic, I’m also very frustrated with myself because i don’t want it to be this way, i do like sex but I’m never in the mood and i don’t make any sexual advances, i prefer to masturbate actually. i try to for him but he also notices that I’m not into it unless I’ve been drinking a lot, i really don’t know what to do.

  36. AvatarTi says:

    Hi, I was abused over several years in my early childhood (2-11 yr) by my older cousins, male and female. I seemed to have coped pretty well with the whole situation and I do enjoy sex but almost every time afterwards I am filled with crippling self hatred and I feel physically sick sometimes. There are also periods of time that can last months where i’m sexually repulsed but then it balances out again. I’m a 19 year old girl and I just want to know how I can help this. It’s really debilitating for myself and my partner as well.

  37. AvatarRandi says:

    As I was reading posts, my heart goes out to you all and I feel your pain, but i have had a very opposite response to my abuse. I didn’t want to share my story here, but after realizing all of your posts tend to respond to your abuse with withdrawal from sex or intimacy and no one seemed to have problems with memory and accepting the reality of being abused, I thought maybe it would help someone to share, maybe you can feel more “normal” if you know you respond to abuse as I have. I am 34. I have very limited memory of my childhood and zero visual memory of abusive acts done to me. I have always guessed that I was probably abused from my behaviors as a child, teen, and adult and my step-sister had actually tried to tell me once as adults that we had been abused- saying to me that her uncle sexually abused her and then told her “now go get the pretty one” and she said she thoight this was me. I immediately felt recognition with what she said, but ignored the comment, I think I said something like “wow, that’s crazy” and changed the subject. I felt that I had no memories for a reason and if I wasn’t having problems, why rehash them. I didn’t realize at the time, I had sexual problems my entire life from this and they would change over time, some getting better and some new and more disturbing. I spent my childhood over sexual. It’s funny, I cannot remember my early childhood during the abuse, but I remember the after behaviors of constant sexual desire, masturbation, “sexual play” with other children. There wasn’t anything upon “losing my virginity” that I found new, foreign, or intimidating. This was the only way I knew how to relate to men and I was proud of my sexual “powers”. I knew exactly what to do and I was obsessed with sex. I didn’t realize it at the time, but I used sex in an attempt to get love or attention from my boyfriends. One boyfriend in high school even broke up with me because he said all I ever wanted to do was have sex and he felt like we didn’t have an actual relationship outside of this. Looking back, I don’t feel i found self esteem outside of sexual performance. I married physically or emotionally abusive men and my relationships always failed. I lusted after almost any man I found remotely physically or emotionally attractive. As I got older, I gained more control over lust once I recognized unhealthy behaviors that I wanted to change. I was so thankful when I married again, my sex drive seemed to become normal and I was satisfied with my husband. Unfortunately after a few years of marriage, I could no longer get sexually aroused or orgasm without fantasizing that my husband was my step-father and was abusing me, and I would imagine very disturbing phrases he would say to me that would excite me, like “tell daddy you love him” or “you like that, don’t you, tell daddy how much you like it”. I felt extremely disturbed by this during and afterwards felt very guilty. I am afraid of having sex with my husband now, because I know this will happen. And hiding this from him causes great anxiety and makes me feel like a pervert, but I am afraid to ruin what he feels is a healthy sexual relationship with me or disgust him. A part of me is even afraid he will like it and I will start to feel abused by him when we have sex. I have finally put so many clues together, my random hate and disgust for my ex-step dad and his brother, limited memories until my mother’s divorce from him and zero memory of his brother living with is for a year or of him at all except one 10 sec. blip in which he was eating disgusting looking yogurt and I watched him thinking of how much I hate and disgust him, and then the start of overly sexual behaviors when they were gone, attempted suicide at 14 for no reason that I could pinpoint and that I hid from everone, inappropriate sexual fantasies or no orgasms, insane amounts of guilt and hurt without being able to place it, my step-sister’s hinting, over protection and unfounded fears that someone will abuse my children, especially my daughter, if I let them out of my sight, my mother’s past comments about how my step dad and his brothers used to rape their sisters when they were teens. It wasn’t until it all came together this year that I realized how much hurt and damage to relationships I was causing by continuing to repress my sexual abuse. I randomly stopped talking to my biological father this year and ignored his calls. I had a hard time connecting with him despite his attempts growing up and I feel I intentionally avoid him now because I blame him for not being there to protect me, for divorcing my mom and being the reason this step dad was ever in the picture (which I see are not logical placing of blame and it actually helps to reassign that anger to where it belongs and deal with it). Now that I have started digging just recently, I wonder if and who in my family knew and why they didn’t help me. I wonder if my mom sent me to stay with my dad for a year and divorced my step dad that year because she found out. I wonder why, if so, she doesn’t say anything to me about my lack of memory of abuse, why she didn’t recognize or address all of the signs of sexual dysfunction I displayed as a child and teen. I’m mad at her for not being a good mom, for not restricting my behaviors, discussing anything, or getting therapy for me. And again, there is doubt and confusion. Did she know? Did it even happen? If so, was it even my step dad? And then I remember a time about 15 years after their divorce that my step dad attempted to initiate contact with me via im, when I was still supposedly oblivious to sexual abuse in my childhood, and my first thought was “how evil and disgusting, he wants to have a sexual relationship with me me again”, like I had known it all along. And not any part of me was like “hey, why the heck would you say something like that?”. It was like a hurt and vulnerable child inside me tried to speak up, and an adult (my active self) was negligent enough not to even observe the comment and get her help. Please know if you have signs and symptoms of sexual abuse in yourself or you see in someone in your life- don’t ignore it and hope it wil go away! Even if it’s just a feeling that something may have happened to you or someone else. Speak up, do something about it! Keep trying new ways to understand it, to talk it over, to heal until you begin to see positive changes. Even typing this, I have learned more about the affects of my abuse on me and how to work through them. Share your story here as a start. I have reached out to my dad to attempt to explain a little about the barriers to our relationship, and to my ex sister-in law to research and maybe get healing for us both by going through this together. You are not alone in this. You may not have had siblings tortured as you were, but I am right there with you and I feel your pain and isolation, your humiliation, confusion, and guilt. God bless you all and I pray for your healing!

  38. AvatarHeather says:

    Wow…I grew up with an older brother whose sexual abuse was always scary, painful and humiliating. In some ways, I think I am lucky because there were no mixed feelings. Thank you to everyone who posted here. I am 55 and my offender died last winter. For the first time I was the only person alive who knew what happened. I had been taken by social workers as a teen but my mother insisted I was a liar, having a lot of the over-sexual tendencies I have read in the comments. Nobody ever asked me directly what happened.

    I started EMDR treatments a few months ago and think it might be how I finally gathered enough courage to confront my parents. There have been so many things in my life that were made worse by their failure to protect me when I tried to advocate for myself. The conversation was unpleasant and ended very badly with my father unsure if he ever wants to talk to me again and my mother furious that I would dare to keep this lie alive after her beloved son passed (a very painful cancer death, thank you God).

    My third husband (first two were toxic, one baby each) has been a rock star though this all. We have had our share of challenges and my sexually demanding conduct has included some pretty unconventional acts. He has been a good sport, non-judgemental and loved me through it all. I had two kids when we met and we had three more together who are all grown now. I have been the best mother I could, earned a graduate degree, held a professional job and the death of my offender brought down the curtain.

    I spend days alone in my bed, cannot work, try to be involved in my kids lives but don’t really care about them right now, can’t read or motivate myself to do much of anything. It’s been months since I washed my long hair and I might brush it once every couple of weeks. I avoid bathing and would probably get sick if I wasn’t so careful to spot wash the trouble areas. I have no desire for sex at all,l which is way out of my regular state. I started writing a book about something else but it morphed into my survivor story.

    Actually I am one of the extreme cases, like many described here. The worst part was not being believed. It is still the worst part. My mother has my schizophrenic daughter living with them now and turned her completely against me. She did a good job on my oldest son for a few years but he as come around lately and I think she will too with time. She really hates me.

    I don’t have a point. Sometimes it is just helpful to know there are others out there.

  39. AvatarNikki says:

    hey i was molested at the age of 10 by a stranger but never spoke about it to anyone until now when I started to suffer panic attacks. the thing is after finally spoke out i did feel a little better and my condition got a little better but i again started to suffer from inside i provoked people so that they would hit me and abuse me. I don’t know why this is happening i thought that after i would tell everyone what had happened it will get better but everything is only getting worse

  40. AvatarCharl says:

    I have a lot of trouble with intimacy I’ve only had a couple of sexual experiences in my adulthood and only ever had one relationship that lasted a few months. I’ve always thought there was something wrong and I’m starting to realise it is from my abuse. It started when i was really young, maybe 5, by my oldest brother and I couldn’t say anything for a long time because I didn’t know how to express it and then when I was a bit older it happened again this time by my oldest cousin. I told my mum and basically my dad never believed me, took my brothers side and so that split up the family and he took my other brother with him too and same when I told her about my cousin, my nan never believed me. Years later my mum told me about when I was toddler age and used to say things that suggested my dad had as well. Because I was so young and it was so traumatic I’ve blocked a lot of things out and now I feel a gap in my brain and don’t know if I’ll ever be right.

  41. AvatarCooper says:

    I walked into a room one time and saw my uncle molesting my sister. I was about 6 or 8 years old… she was 10 or 12 and was crying when I came upon them. Thinking my sister was in great pain, I ran away and tried calling on the phone for help. The phone didn’t work. My uncle came after me, and I ran again. Eventually he caught me and tried to convince me he wasn’t hurting my sister and that what he was doing felt good. He stuck his hand down my pants to demonstrate the feeling. It was a horrible experience that I blocked for many years.

    Our mother said it didn’t happen and that we were to blame anyway for being in a place we didn’t belong. Now, 50 years later, I still live with guilt and the belief that no one takes me seriously. I’ve never been able to sustain a long term relationship and avoid sex. It’s time to heal.

  42. AvatarAnon says:

    I was nine when it started. To this day I have no clue who would come in and hurt me. I have had bad vision all my life.i had to stay at my Pawpaw’s from age nine to age twelve or thirteen. The person would come in when I would be laying in bed trying to sleep and at that time I went through a bad phase of not wearing my glasses. All I saw was this blurry person sneaking into my room. The person would shh me and tell that he’d hurt my brothers if I told or screamed. This went on until my mom took us kids back from Pawpaw when I was 12-13. I’m engaged and going to therapy now but it’s still hard to find sex or anything of sexual nature pleasurable and nice. Yes I do find pleasure but it’s almost always associated with dirty or gross and I have to shower immediately afterwards.

  43. AvatarTina says:

    I was 4 or 5 years of age when I was sexually abused by a person who used to know my family actually was son of the owner the house where we used to live as tenants. My mom used to visit a lot at there place taking me with her. The person would make me sit in his lap and used to touch me inappropriately. I started resisting sitting on his lap but he used to make sure that I do. I never told anybody about this until I got married and told my husband. It has affected me a lot emotionally. What I now remember is that made me so mad that for some time I used to abuse my brother for sometime may be as a mechanism that what happened to me should also happened to him. But the problem is it twisted me sexually. I am filled with guilt shame and disgust that I have problem maintaining healthy sexual relationship with my husband.

  44. AvatarAnon says:

    I was sexually abused by my stepfather for so many years . I am now in mid teens and he still continued , I don’t remember when it first started. I have spoken up but my mother doesn’t seem to take it very serious bc she puts a stop to it and just forgives him. I’ve been depressed as long as I can remember and sometimes it gets really bad. What bothers me now is that I tried for months to be sexually active with my boyfriend but I just couldn’t. My vagina muscles would tighten so much that he wasn’t able to penetrate. We have worked that out and now I am able to smoothly have sex. But now my problem is that I do not feel any pleasure . I can feel the pressure and I can feel myself wet , I can even feel him movingly inside of me but I just don’t seem to feel pleasure . I fake the moans and everything bc I do not want my boyfriend to feel bad or something . I really desire sex and I just feel so bad that I am missing out on all the pleasure. I don’t know if there’s a way around that ?

  45. AvatarAB says:

    My wife was abused by her father, her first memory was his finger inside of her and ended around the time we started dating in high school with a final rape because he was tired of her giving it to all those boys and he was going to give it to her good.
    I knew something was wrong and she told me once he tried to touch her and she kicked him and told him no so he stopped and never did it again- took her 36 years to tell me! I had a feeling she was lying along with her sisters but could never prove it! Now 36 years later after I found out I realized my daughter stayed in this mans house for extended periods of time unsupervised and I am afraid of what has happened to her! My wife says she is going to talk to her but will not, now I have a granddaughter who has not been put in that situation yet but she will not talk to my son to ensure she is safe! I am going to destroy her soul when I do it but I have no choice, I cannot live with myself if she is molested as well so I have to protect and she is adamant that I do not, says it is her responsibility!
    In the 2nd year we were married she gave me a sexually transmitted disease, blamed it on me, and said she forgives me- I didn’t cheat-so she tried to convince me I got it off a toilet seat! Unaware to her the person she was cheating with was calling me to tell me in the age of no caller ID or star69! Still would not confess! Caught her red handed several times over the next 5 years and she would look me dead in the eyes and say it wasn’t me- I just watched u have sex with that cop in his car and get out of the backseat and looked u in the eyes and u say it wasn’t me? Yep wasn’t me, I didn’t do it! Took her 32 years to admit it, didn’t want to hurt me- I gained 260 lbs in the process- told her repeatedly I knew, I saw it- wasn’t me! Took her about 30 years to quit telling me something was wrong with me for accusing her to telling me it didn’t matter now, let’s just live in the present, which was the closet thing I got to an apology during that 30 year span! Finally had a heart attack and she felt guilty enough to confess because I told her I would rather be dead than hear another lie again. Tells me how bad she feels, it wasn’t me it was her, but will not protect her kids or grandkids! I am at a loss! I love her with all my heart and I stayed because I knew she needed me- became the least jealous husband ever which seemed to make her mad- I just ate to get over the hurt and to make myself fat so when she did what she did I could say I am fat so I don’t blame her! She destroyed all my confidence and killed my heart but I never became mean to her, never cheated-was not a bad looking guy and had several offers but could not do it, I just loved her more so I could be there when she needed help, now I realize she does not want help just wants her secret back and it kills my soul all over again! What do I do???

  46. AvatarExts says:

    I am in my mid 20s never realized that abuse effected me so heavily. I always wondered why I felt a disconnection to the world. I never really felt like whole person. I always feared sex and what came with it and letting my guard down. I have had a shadowed view on my own sexual orientation my whole life. After finally telling my wife what happened to me, I feel like there is a chance in recovery. But every day is so hard. After everything I do is a snap back to reality and the thought “oh this is real life, that really did happen” I hope I can make it down this road to recovery cause living like this is an incredibly difficult. I’m in the process of finding a physiologist to help with these issues

  47. AvatarChris says:

    This really help me understand who I am and why I am.

  48. Hi all, I was sexually abused by a neighbor kid when I was 7 and 8 years old. I have never had any sense of my own body or sexuality. I have never enjoyed sex and I go into an utter and complete panic if it looks like sex might happen. I can’t stand even the thought of anyone touching me in any way ‘down there.’ This makes me extremely sad, like I’m missing out on an intrinsic part of being human. When I was younger I thought I’d grow out of it but I’m 42 now and I don’t expect to grow old with a partner. I never had any kids because I practically never had any sex. I avoid sexual situations. I’m afraid I’ll be alone forever.

    • Avatarscarlet says:

      Hi lillianna2015,
      It pains me to hear of your story , I am sure it must be draining for you.
      I do believe that there is someone for everyone(someone who will accept you for you). I know it might seem impossible at times. I hope you are able to heal and recover so that sex if right for you can become a part of your life however if it doesnt change its not your fault. I used to be fine having sex and now I feel simular to you about it I dont want it and I am so lucky that my boyfriend is so understanding . I do fear that I even feel sick to just be near him because of my problems. anyway enough about me. You might be 42 but thats ok. what ever you enjoy in life just do it whether that be travel, socializing,sports, watching the tv whatever it is enjoy it and your not alone.even if it feels that way. I know its easier said than done but Im in the same boat of hoping Ill be ok but fearing that I wont.

  49. Avatarpin9win says:

    I was molested by my older brother (5 years older) starting at age 8. I thought he was just paying attention to me but he didn’t stop until I was 14 and he left the house. Today, I identify as bisexual and I’m married and the father of three. My wife and I have a loving relationship but I have found that I almost never initiate sex any more. In the case of gay sex, I have never initiated sex and I feel powerless to say no.

  50. AvatarScarlet says:

    Hi I have read some of these stories and feel almost a phony posting here but I need some answers so thought il give it a shot. I can’t remember any actual sexual abuse however my father said inappropriate things to me and I felt afraid he would rape me most of my childhood. He would have outbursts of vocal anger all the way through my childhood towards my older sister and me. I am now 25 and have been with my boyfriend for 5 years (living together), at first I was wanting sex all the time. But since I started going to therapy in May this year I no longer want sex and can only link my desire for it to wanting to be desired which is linked to my dad which makes me feel sick about myself. I have no idea whether I was abused so young that I cannot remember or if my feelings of sickness just coem from the thoughts of my dad abusing me. I’m quite happy to be non sexual with my boyfriend and he has never been that sexual anyway but I still fear he might one day leave Me because I can’t have sex anymore.

  51. AvatarCait says:

    Hi, so I was sexually abused by my step-father when I was younger and I was raped by him when I was 16. I’m now 17 and I was recently taken from him and my mother bc they’re on drugs, not the point, though. So, I’m now living with my aunt and her husband, her husband is only 10 years older than me, and I’ve been having sexual thought/feelings for him, and some that are more romantic (the romantic thoughts are usually more when I feel sick thinking about sex.) And I’m not sure if it’s because I’m truely interested in him or because I’m confused about how I’m supposed to feel towards a man in the role of a father figure for me. I need help and I can’t talk to anyone irl about it and I’m afraid if I open up to a therapist about it in person they’ll shame me for it.

    • AvatarScarlet says:

      Hi Cait,
      I’m sorry for what you have gone through and are going through.
      It makes me angry to just read about it. I can relate to what you said about romantic feelings towards men and sexual feelings. I think it’s to do with whatever abuse we have been through and it gets very confusing for me at times, trying to identify my own sexuality and attraction when I am damaged and so much of my sexuality was based on my abuse. I had been going to therapy but my therapist made me annoyed because she didn’t have the full picture but made so many assumptions. I hope where you are staying now is safe. I’m sorry I don’t know how to help. I can talk and listen. Kind regards scarlett

    • AvatarChris says:

      Cait, I’m sorry to hear about what you’ve gone through. You seem to have a good understanding of your predicament. The BEST thing you could do for yourself is to talk to a therapist ASAP. They will not shame you! They will give you strategies you can use to manage your feelings and develop appropriate relationships moving forward. Keep working to be aware of the impulses you have which stem from your abuse so that you are not blindly compelled by them. The practice of mindfulness is helpful in this regard, a good person to look into for learning mindfulness is Ram Dass. I recommend his book Paths to God, which helped me learn how to watch myself and manage my compulsions enough, for example, to quit smoking cigarettes when I was 22 using just mindfulness techniques. But there is no substitute, in my opinion, to a great therapist. Please do not fear this option! It can save you a tremendous amount of pain and suffering that you will regret not having done sooner, if you have the option to see a therapist but choose not to pursue it wholeheartedly. Don’t be discouraged if the first time you try it is difficult to schedule, or if your first therapist or two aren’t a perfect match for you. Once you find the right person who can treat you, it will improve your quality of life and how you feel about yourself, and empower you to make good decisions for yourself and have a better future. Good luck I hope these words reach you.

  52. AvatarAnonymous says:

    Hey, so I’ve never told anyone about this but recent situations has brought it back up in my memories and now I can’t sleep and have a lot of anxiety about it. When I was a kid “grade school age” as I can’t actually remember how old I was, a cousin who was a couple years older than me would talk me into playing these role playing games such as husband and wife for example and would talk me into him rubbing himself on me in a sexual manner clothes on or act in sexual manners. I feel a lot of confusion now not knowing if this was sexual abuse or not. I feel guilt and shame as a 30 year old adult now. Wondering why as a kid I was persuaded to “play” these games and remembering that at the time it felt wrong and I felt dread because he was going to make me play along. I have been ok all these years burying this because I haven’t seen this cousin in 13 years and didn’t have anything to do with him. Now he’s back around some family members and it’s brought this back up in my mind.

  53. AvatarAnon says:

    Anon,(I’m a male)I was sexually abused at a very young age by someone in my class and it eats me everyday to try and bury my pass.Its left me now to question my sexuality …I’m attracted to females but ever since my experience I feel like I let it happen to myself I know I’m not to blame but I blame myself for everything..being sexually abused at a young age haunts you and in my case as a teen it’s leaving me to question my sexuality because of it but typing this has given me a small since of power but until I tell my family the truth I’ll never be the happiest I once was…

  54. AvatarBecky guard says:

    What bothers me about these type of Articles is that you guys never talk about the ones that are overly sexual confused sexually willing to have sex with men and women yet hide that they want to have sex with men I mean it isn’t exactly the way any of these articles I’m reading are putting it out there I don’t have half the issues you guys say most survivors have with their loved one mind overly sexual and Confused

  55. AvatarSameasever says:

    So, my experiences with abuse weren’t soully sexual, as it seems with most of the people on here, with some deviations, obviously. From birth until I left at 16, just about every day of my life was filled with every kind of abuse that exists. Emotional, physical, psychological, domestic violence, neglect, sexual abuse, etc. As I said though, the sexual abuse wasn’t even, up until the past few years, what I thought had done even a small portion of the damage. The “sexual” part of the abuse, in large part, came from the way that my parents portrayed sex and what a sexual relationship is supposed to be like. Which, in my “home”, consisted of my father talking to my mother like a whore, them having sex in the middle of the day, with us present, which, much to my great disdain to write these words, as I literally cannot utter them out loud, the house smelled of dirty sex. My father was not a clean person. That alone it seems, is enough to make sex shameful, guilt-riddled, and psychological breakdown inducing. When I have sex with my husband, I have to take a shower and make sure I’m obsessively clean prior. Afterward, I never know how I’m going to feel. Sometimes I’m ok, sometimes I end up in the bathroom for 20 minutes, shaking and crying. The emotion that I feel when that happens, is one that I literally cannot put into words. I don’t think there is a word for it, because I don’t think it’s supposed to exist. That’s not the only time that it comes over me. Sometimes it just surfaces while I’m doing the dishes or playing with my kids. it’s something that I really thought I would get over or grow out of. The only way that I can explain the “emotion” is as a hybrid of a few very unpleasant emotions, that when combined, make you want to die. Shame, guilt, fear, and like I don’t belong here. When I say “here”, I mean here, existing. I always thought that my shitty upbringing made me stronger, not a victim. There were a couple of other contributors to the sexual part of the abuse, but, since the one was an isolated incident and the other only happened a couple of times, I thought that it couldn’t have been too damaging. That it was the long term, drawn out sexual abuse that had the real impact. I’m sure it all contributed in one way or another. I remember being so afraid, practically all the time, that I couldn’t even eat. There wasn’t much food, but even when the chance was there, I couldn’t eat. I was so scared that it permeated to my soul. I never knew if my father was going to lock us in our room where we could hear our mother scream and we’d just pray that she would be alive when the door finally opened. In the meantime, we screamed and cried and pleaded on the other side of the door. Or if he was going to point a gun at us and let us all plead for our lives for as long as he wanted to. Or actually fire a shot at my mother, which did happen once, to this day, none of us know if it was an accident, as he claims it was. Since my mother had been abused for so many years, she was completely shut off emotionally. There were no hugs, kisses, I love you’s. The only “I love you” we ever got was followed up by a slap or a punch in the head. Because my dad thought you should know and that he shouldn’t have to say it.
    Anyway, that’s history. I need to figure out how it still translates into my adult life, almost 20 years later. Like I said, I’m an incredibly strong person, but I think I’ve just about found my limit. I don’t know what kind of therapist to seek, but I need one that specializes in abuse, trauma, PTSD, you name it. Though my father was a douche during my childhood, he quit drinking when he got older and, while he was still verbally abusive to my mother, he was also the only one of the two who expressed any interest in spending any time with us. So, when he died unexpectedly, while I was 7 months pregnant for my first child, it chipped away at my pillar some more. A couple of years later, my daughter and I found my little brother dead of a drug overdose on the floor of his girlfriend’s apartment, while his two young children tried to hand his lifeless body his cellphone. Like so many others like me, I have struggled with alcohol and substance abuse off and on. I can finally say that, for now anyway, I am strong enough to keep that evil out of my life. While I don’t consider myself to be an abusive parent, I do have anger issues and can overreact. I have a hard time avoiding it, unless I remove myself completely, which is impossible with young kids. Fortunately, I can express love in a healthy way toward my children and husband, it’s what’s going on inside of myself that I cannot make sense of or even begin to understand the cause of. Mostly because there were too many things to count. I don’t remember most of my childhood and what I do remember is bad. Is it possible to dig up lost memories or forced out pain or is it gone and am I just left with the distorted pain and the memories that my brain didn’t manage to push out with the rest that obviously my brain or my heart did to protect myself. Has it been strength that I’ve had all of this time or was it simply that I thought I had disposed of the pain and replaced it with dream armor? I don’t know. Help!

  56. AvatarBrianna says:

    Hi, I was abused by my step brother for years, (female). It started when i was younger, im not sure when. But hes 3 years older than i am. It usually always started out with a game of truth or dare. But as we got older i ended up having to share a room with him and a bed and that just made things a little worse. I was 10 when that happened. And that changed from oral every now and again to almost every night and then some. I always felt so ashamed afterwards, even during, i would just lay there. This went on for years. I havent ever told anyone this in fear of it destroying my family. I use to actually get excited when things would start but not even mid way through id feel so guilty about what we were doing. Id remember staying awake just to make sure he fell asleep so he didnt wake me out of my sleep just to please him. Or having very vivid fantasies of what we had done pretty much everyday. But eventually it had stopped for lile 2 years because he had moved away and i still found myself ‘daydreaming’ of it all. We have always had a close relationship, besides allof the sexual stuff he was my favorite sibling, (im the youngest) like i always told myself i would get over it one day but i still havent. When he left it took about 2 years before i felt lile i was starting to heal but a week before my 18th birthday i went to his house and it happened again and i cant tell you how much it hurt me. I still get random anxiety/ panic attacks. I never knew what they were. I remember my first one was in bed one night because i didnt want to do anything and my body just would not stop shivering. Never once have we actually talked about it, he always just started it and then the next day we would go along like nothing happened. But after that incident i distanced myself from him for a while until it was his birthday and so i came and spent the night but slept in the living room. It was a stupid idea but i drank with him and at some point in the night he came and sat next to me and tried, but i just forced myself to ‘stay’ asleep and eventually he stopped and left. Thats the last thing thats happened between us. Itd always make me feel dirty because it wasnt ever intimate, (not sure if that would make a difference) it was always to just get him off, even if hed have a girlfriend that didnt matter to him. Im 19 now and im still very much damaged from this. Everytime i think ive grown i havent. Ive only been in 3 relationships, two of which was with the same guy and the other was a girl. Neither lasted more than a month because i dont like being touched. Im terrified kf commitment too. No, i dont want to go to the police or tell my family for my own reasons but i cant afford to go to a counselor. This has been eating away at me for more than half of my life and sometimes kts gets so bad i jus merely think of it and burst into tears. And it breaks myheart because my family thinks that our brother sister relationship is better than most others. I just feel so alone like ill never heal from this because I constantly think about it. I even do roleplays with random people online to try to mimick what has happened. And i feel so fucked up for doing that. I just feel damaged about what he did to me but then feel confused because i never really look at it like it was sexual abuse because i wanted it too.

  57. AvatarEffie says:

    I was age 9 or 10, my older brother was 14 or 15. We have 5 years between us in age. I remember him telling me to get into my underwear while he was in his, he had an errection and dry humped me for a little while. It is all i remember and I didn’t get my memory back until I was 20. I was raped when I was 21 from someone else. I was fearful of my brother growing up in my teens, I used to lock my door at night afraid he was going to come in and rape me, I never knew why as I had blocked the memory. I’ve been in hospital to treat my PTSD and the memory keeps coming up with flashbacks. Has anyone else not remembered everything from an event? I just want closure, I want to confront him and ask if anything more had happened. My body and mind makes me feel as though my brother did more than just dry hump me, I can’t remember though. I know our brain is very good at protecting us and i’m always dissociated. I forgive me brother, he was still young, but it has affected me through my teens and adulthood. I’m nearly 30 and still suffering. I avoid sex it makes me feel so uncomfortable, I’m not comfortable in wearing certain clothes, I feel like I cannot just be myself. i always feel unsafe.

  58. AvatarEm says:

    Hi! I was abused by my step father until the age of 17. I do not remember when it started(as a child) for some reason I don’t remember a lot as a child. I’m wandering if being sexually abused has anything to do with it? I remember being in high school and it happening, but nothing before that. I remember nothing from my childhood. I am married now with a baby. For some reason as long as I can remember I don’t feel anything while having sex(with my ex boyfriend from 5 years ago, or my husband now) absolutely nothing. Is there something wrong with me? I have tried looking it up and researching, but I can’t find anything about it that will help me. Could it be from the abuse? I believe my memories are locked in another part of my brain? And I’m blocking all of the bad memories out. Has anyone ever been threw anything like this before? I’m so ashamed and I have no idea what to do. Any tips? Thank you so much for taking the time to help and read my story.

  59. AvatarAnonymous says:

    Hi, i was abused by my brother for years. I have avoided it my entire life. It’s finally starting to catch up with me. I have been in a great relationship for 4 years. This last year i have not wanted to have sex anymore, i’m only 25. I still talk to my brother we pretend it never happened. I feel like my abuse is ruining my relationship, my boyfriend knows i was abused but doesn’t know anything more and he feels helpless. I don’t know what to do. I hate to think i’m ruining my own life or ruining his. I want to be better. But i don’t want to say it out loud either. We fight constantly because i have this wall up all of a sudden. Please give me some advice i really want to save this relationship.

  60. AvatarCarla says:

    I was raped, molested buy my brother for many many years. I kind of recall at starting somewhere around second grade and the last time I remember he tried and he finally heard my know was when I was 18. I’ve told my mother she tells me I’m a liar I’ve told the schools no one ever helped me. I am so glad that victims from the Boy Scouts and from the churches are finally getting help and Justice that they deserve but what about folks like me? How do I get Justice?

Leave a Reply - please note HAVOCA does not provide direct support via these comments. If you would like support please use our contact form or forums. Please use a name you are comfortable sharing online.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.