Together, But Alone

This post was submitted anonymously.  Please note, it is not related to any earlier posts on this site.


There are so many ways that sexual abuse and rape effects and robs a person. It doesn’t just happen and then it’s over. Those of us who’ve lived through it pay for it every single day of our lives, in one way or another.

Sure, we can heal and become survivors and not victims, but it doesn’t mean that we’re over the abuse. It just means that we are learning better ways to cope with the effects it has on us.

It scares me to write about this, but my hope is that if I do, others may not feel so alone in it like I do right now.  I need to share one of the ways this affects me and my life.


Sexual abuse can cause a person to resort to extreme behavior.  Survivors can end up living a very promiscuous lifestyle as a direct result of the abuse. They tend to look for love in all the wrong places.

That’s what I did in my twenties:  I mistook sex for love. I was born into abuse so I didn’t get the love I needed from my family.  Saying “no” was considered “bad”, so I never learned how.  Men ruled, in all areas, and if they didn’t get what they wanted there would be hell to pay.  Physically and emotionally, but not sexually.  One way or another you did what you had to in order to keep “him” happy.   Whoever “he” may be.  I carried that message with me past childhood, leading me to be victimized further.  I fell into that very promiscuous lifestyle. I’m ashamed of that. If I could go back in time and warn my younger self I would.  But I can’t.  None of us have that option, unfortunately.

Remember I mentioned extremes?  Today my life goes in the other direction.  I am married to the love of my life, yet I have absolutely no sex drive.  At all.  I didn’t choose this, I hate that it’s happened and I feel lost.  The one person who loves me unconditionally, who doesn’t deserve to deal with this struggle of mine, is the one who has to live with my lack of sex drive.  My heart hurts with the thought.

I often wonder if this is because he is the love of my life?  Everyone else would use me and leave me; this one loves me and stays. That concept is foreign to me, and I wonder if my mind has trouble processing that, it screams that sex isn’t safe and love is fake. Men don’t love, they just want sex. All messages from my upbringing as past.


Unfortunately, when I do compromise and give in to sex, I’m constantly struggling with triggers, flashbacks and even dissociation. I don’t usually let him know when any of that is happening, because I don’t want to wreck the moment further for him.   Knowing this is likely to happen also has played mentally into my lack of desire.

Then, there are my husband’s feelings.  I know what he is going through, and I feel powerless to make it better:

  • He feels guilty for desiring sex because he knows I don’t.
  • When I do consent, he feels like he’s raping me because he knows I have no desire and he never wants me to feel pressured.
  • It makes him feel undesirable. He wonders why I slept with all those others but have no desire to make love to him in the intimacy of marriage.
  • It’s confusing for him to understand how it all works, and hurts him in different ways.

Please understand that my husband has never pressured me or made me feel like I must submit to him. He has gone out of his way to make sure I know it is OK, encouraging me to say no when I need too. The problem for me is that there isn’t a “yes” when it comes to sex.  It’s all me, not him.  That’s not fair to him, at all.

Yet, the word “no” has so much guilt tied into it for me. I think it’s the single most difficult word in the English language for me to use. It’s even harder when I’m saying it to the love of my life.  As a result, I don’t often say it, which causes more struggles. My husband never knows if my “yes” means yes or if I really mean “no”.  I want with all my heart to mean yes. I try to convince myself of that.

Can you imagine the ongoing confusion and internal battles for us both?

I’m so sad and I hope that it won’t be forever. I’m in therapy dealing with the years of sexual, mental, physical, emotional and spiritual abuse that I lived through. Healing from that is a long drawn out process. It takes time to undo all the brainwashing, false teaching and survival methods of the past. My therapist says the lack of sexual desire is self-protection. I wish that I could let my brain know that I’m safe now, that I no longer need to protect myself. My husband is not using me, he truly loves me.

There is another word…love.  Another one that is hard to understand with my past.

Still, I long for the day when I will know what it’s like to desire sex, to look forward to making love to my husband whom I love and cherish with all of my heart.   I never thought this would last so many years now. I long to be able to feel his love for me. To believe it.

I don’t wish this on anyone but I know I can’t be the only one who struggles with this. I feel so very alone in this battle.  Is there anyone that can relate?

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37 thoughts on “Together, But Alone

  1. Reblogged this on Not a Punk Rocker and commented:

    I want to thank today’s poster for sharing their story on here. I know it is not easy to share, but like everyone else, I am hoping the “Stories” community can show their support and maybe even give some advice.

    Liked by 4 people

  2. Do you take medication? Seeing as you’re in therapy I wonder if medication is causing some issues with your sex drive? I take quetiapine, and it affects mine, I used to be overly sexual like you in your twenties, but now I hardly feel it, but I’ve found a way through it by doing the stuff at certain times of the day, lunchtime is always best for me, otherwise it just “doesn’t work” as well as it usually does.
    I’ve also suffered with sexual abuse, which did, in past relationships trigger flashbacks and feelings. I would completely freak out just at the thought of being naked in front of someone, and still don’t go swimming for the same reason.
    My boyfriend and I have worked through a lot of it together, and my meds have helped a lot with PTSD symptoms. It was very hard in the beginning, but it is getting easier and I even initiate things now because I feel that way. I wonder if your husband goes to therapy with you? If that’s something that’s possible? Did you know that sex therapists exist?
    I’m not trying to say that sex is THAT important, but there are people out there that can potentially help you. Trust me, I know how difficult it is, I don’t even like talking about sex and I really admire you for writing this post.
    Your husband obviously loves you a lot, and I’m glad, despite your difficulties that you’ve met someone who loves you the right way, and who you love back. That’s an amazing achievement all in itself.
    I wish you the very best, and you’re definitely not alone and it definitely doesn’t have to be this way forever.

    Liked by 3 people

    • Hi. I’m on medication but not for depression it’s for another medical issue. Sorry that you’ve been there in every way too. I’m glad that you found ways that work for you and you’re doing better. I do know of sex therapy but I don’t think that’s what I need right now. What I need is to deal with the root issues causing this and that’s what I’m doing. My husband goes with me at times but for now I mostly need to work on my own we will eventually get to therapy together.

      Thank you for sharing what you have on here and showing your support.

      Like

  3. I can relate to the ptsd of past trauma and how it always effects us, but not to this very specific trauma. While I have endured rape and betrayal by those I have cared about it was not ongoing, and I think that makes a difference. I think you are doing to right thing with therapy. My heart goes out to both you and your husband. I think him knowing how very difficult it is will lesson his feeling undesirable. It is important for him to be able to differentiate between not feeling wanted and the triggers that cause that feeling within you. I know its hard and complicated to share. I am not a therapist, but I feel that your husband should be involved in your recovery. Perhaps exercises that will help retrain your brain that he can be part of… will help you to see/know/feel safe and secure and able to engage in intimacy. Baby steps…. are better than no steps. I wish you happiness and healing as you go forward. Hugs

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  4. I used to have flashbacks also. I don’t anymore, so there is hope. And like you my flashbacks would occur during sex. At the time I was divorced and living with a special guy, I would talk to him about the flashbacks, as I talked to him about my childhood abuse. He felt better when I talked to him, he didn’t feel like it was his fault that I didn’t want sex, or left out. It was amazing and frightening to talk about the flashbacks as they came to the man I loved. But it changed my life. I dealt with them and I wasn’t alone dealing with them as he held me and let me talk and offered his love unconditionally. I suspect your husband would do the same. He would also feel more connected with you and you with him. Sharing is not hurting him, it’s showing him you love him and want to get over this, want to share in his love for you and experience the pleasure of sex with the man you love. Once you deal with these things head on, you are able to cope much better and they become less and less. Is it easy? Hell no. But its much easier than watching the man you love suffer and wonder. And you know what? Once you do share, you will feel amazed how cleansing it can feel. Other wise my other advice is have joint sessions with your therapist and your husband. Call the hotline, they will also offer suggestions or people you can talk to about this. Good luck, and may light and love be yours always.

    Liked by 3 people

    • First I’m so sorry that you too have been there. Second I know what you’re saying is very right. The one time I did share with him in the middle of it made me feel closer to him then ever. He picked up on the flashback and triggers and stopped me and said I know you’re not okay. Right away that caused tears to stream down my face as I got honest with myself and him. He just held me while I cried through it. He felt connected to me too. It was really powerful. Having said that, I seem to freeze everytime the triggers happen and can’t bring myself to say anything. I don’t know if it’s guilt or what.

      I will get to joint sessions with my husband but first I need to do some work on me alone. He also has some struggles that he needs to work on. Thank you so much for your support and I’m glad you have found ways that help you too!

      Like

      • Like anything, it takes time and practice to share such deep, hurtful memories with anyone. You will get there, just always be open and honest with your husband and he’ll appreciate it and feel closer to you. It seems to help them to know that they are not being shut out. I’m wishing you luck. You can do it. And be stronger for it.

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      • yes I know. I used to tell my boyfriend during, well not exactly, usually when the flashbacks came the sex would stop. So then I told him while it was fresh in my mind. But you and your husband will have to work out what works for you, just know you aren’t alone. There are some of us who understand.

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      • Hi,

        I just wanted to add that in my experiences of having sex with someone I was close to, it definitely helped to have a hand movement that signaled to him that I had been triggered.

        The guy was already aware that I frequently have flashbacks and he didn’t want to cause me any further pain.

        My movement was to put my hands, palms down, over my face/eyes. That would be his cue to stop and help bring me back with some grounding. No talking was needed and as others have said, it brought us closer.

        I hope you find peace.

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  5. Wow, this is not something I thought I would be divulging here (I rarely talk about my childhood on my own blog) but I’ve been there too.

    I was sexually abused as a child and I also adopted the ‘promiscuous’ lifestyle pretty much as soon as I could. For me it was a way of taking back control. If I could instigate and control a situation right through until it’s end then I felt better about myself. It left me feeling calm. Until the stresses of life would build up once again and I’d feel the need to take ‘control’ again.

    I messed up many loving relationships because of this in my younger days.

    Then I went through my ‘dry spell’ where I was content in my relationship with my partner and trusted him completely, however my sex drive was zero. I was quite happy to be soul mates and best friends but nothing else.

    I finally straightened myself out a few years ago after being raped (as an adult).

    I know where you are, what you’re going through and how you feel.

    DO NOT give up hope.

    You ARE loved and as weird and uncomfortable and unfamiliar as that seems right now-once you learn to embrace it, it’s the best feeling in the world.

    If I can ‘normalise’ (as in balance) myself, I’m hopeful others in the same situation can too.

    Stay strong, by the sounds of it you have an honest, genuine man behind you.

    Believe there is a light at the end of the tunnel.

    It may only be a flicker right now but I promise you, in time, it will get brighter and stronger xxx

    Liked by 4 people

    • I think Farmer here just offered you the best possible advice that seems to be echoed throughout this comments thread.

      It’s not easy at all, but with a lot of care & hard work things could improve for you.

      I’d say be honest with your husband too. Tell him everything (when you’re ready, of course). Perhaps you could invite him to one of your therapy sessions if you feel comfortable doing so.

      I wish you all the best. I know your confession is definitely helping heal others.
      We had a similar anonymous story here that seemed like it could’ve been told from the opposite perspective. It was a man trying desperately to cope with his feelings of rejection by his wife due to her lack of desire, so to speak.

      I hope that person reads your story, along with other couples in the same boat so you can heal each other. I hope you too can find some peace & healing.

      Thank you for sharing this with us.

      Liked by 2 people

      • Hi, I saw the other story, I hope that person sees this too. I do share everything with my husband, well except I guess when I’m triggered during. I know it is a very good thing to share with him in the moment but I freeze and can’t say anything. He has been to some of my sessions and he’s willing when I need him too so that’s good. He truly is a good man. I certainly plan to do what it takes to get to a better place with this. Thank you so much. 🙂

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    • I’m so so sorry for what you’ve been through and that you can relate. Thank you very much for your support. I plan to do what it takes to get there (No pun intended.) I’m really happy to hear that it’s better for you. Do you have your days where the struggle comes back? Thank you very much for your encouragement.

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      • I had to really think about my answer to this.

        Occasionally, yes but more in the sense of I get an ‘urge’ to behave recklessly when stresses in life become too much. The last time I did this was a few years ago, when a partner who I adored, ended our relationship. I had absolutely no control in the decision to finish it-it was all him. I felt so crushed and heartbroken that I ended up in bed with someone else that very same night in order to regain some control. But it never, ever worked or made me feel any better! In fact, it left me feeling far more hollow and empty than I felt before.

        These days, if I face a dry spell, I feel okay about it and accept it for what it is because I feel safe in the knowledge that my sexual urges will return (touch wood I haven’t experienced this for quite some time now).

        And where the enjoyment of sex is concerned-that took me a while (and much counselling) to work out that I never really enjoyed sex in my younger days (either during my promiscuous period or in my earlier relationships). It was all an act, from start to finish, designed purely to please the man I was with, which in turn gave me a sense of power and control. If that makes sense? For the whole time I was with a man, I would be making all the right noises and doing what I referred to as my ‘porn star act’, but taking no enjoyment from it whatsoever.

        I learnt to let this all go and relax-that was the main thing and eventually I found I could embrace sex. These days, I absolutely adore being in bed with my partner and can honestly say that I never, ever act (because I don’t feel like I have to).

        The one thing I do still have problems with is regarding memory loss. Big chunks of my childhood are missing-I think my head did this as self preservation. And when I was raped a few years back, I was spiked with Rohipnol which completely obliterated my memories of that night-including the act itself .I’m split in half over this. Part of me is desperate to recall everything that’s ever happened to me but the other half really doesn’t want to know! It doesn’t bother me constantly but there are times in life when it niggles like a scab begging to be picked. When this happens, I know I have friends I can talk it through with.

        I hope all this helps hun, you really can get there. Sometimes it’s difficult and it certainly isn’t fun but rewiring those mechanisms created after a traumatic childhood event is where it began for me.

        I wish you all the love and luck in the world; I hope you can find your peace xxx

        Like

      • Thank you very much for your honesty. I’ve never again had the desire to sleep around just fight with no desire. I can totally relate to what you said here about not wanting it at all back when I did sleep around. I went through the motions like you describe but it was never about me and my needs. I did what I thought I was supposed to. I’m so glad to hear that you now enjoy it and I know I’ll get there. I get the odd glimpse of how it feels to want it. It actually scares me, but it tells me there is stuff to work through there which will bring to a better place in this regard.
        You’ve been through so much it sounds and I’m very sorry. However I can hear that you’re positive and that’s amazing. You’ve really encouraged me thank you.

        Liked by 1 person

  6. I was abused as a child by someone who worked for my dad, and that changed my life. That man made me feel like I was only good for one thing. On top of that in my early teens I compounded that problem by sleeping around, I couldn’t say no to these guys, I felt as if I had no voice. I was trapped watching myself have sex and I was not there. When I got seriously involved with someone I too would have flashbacks one time I pushed my boyfriend clear across the bed. I used to cut myself , I used to starve myself and exercise obsessively and then I went on medication, and I started to write and I rekindle my relationship with God. You are a survivor and by sharing your story you are helping others. The abuse does not define you. I wish you all the best.

    Liked by 1 person

      • I’m better, I still cut myself even at 24 so embarrassing…I hate that I do it especially now since Ive weaned myself off of my anti depressants.. I have a hard time connecting with myself still sometimes Im so numb that I can’t feel a thing. I asked myself where was God when this happened to me? How can God let this happen to little children? But now as a much stronger believer in my faith I know not to blame God, and in God I know I am healed, I am restored. He took my broken pieces and he put me back together. That man did not take my worth because my worth is God. I want to thank you for responding it is always comforting finding someone to relate to. I hope we can keep in touch 🙂

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      • I understand cutting. I did it too into my 30’s and I’m older than that now and I still struggle with the temptation. Do you understand why you cut? I can explain if you don’t. Why did you wean off of anti-depressants if I may ask? It sounds to me like you’re still really struggling. Living numb is survival for those of us who’ve been abused. It served us at the time to keep us alive but it’s not a good thing to live in. Part of my therapy is learning to feel and deal with the pain. Walking through the pain is how we get free of it. It sucks but it’s true. Are you in therapy of any kind? If not I strongly suggest it. It’s not something you can just get over.
        As far as God, he gives people free choice and many sadly are evil and do bad things. It’s not his plan. We can take the bad that has happened to us and in some way eventually use it for the good of others. Like someone being able to relate to us because of what we’ve been through you know.

        Liked by 1 person

      • I went off my anti depressants because they made me gain weight, and just messed up my body. I got tired of going to the psychiatrist every month talking to psychologist every week..I felt like I got what I needed out of it because I did not want to open up anymore, coping skills are hard to learn when you are set in your ways like I was. I guess I choose not to dwell in the past, or dwell on those feelings of what happened because I cant change that. I think I suppressed it for so long that I don’t know how to connect with that 9 year old girl, I don’t know how to react to her , so I push that as far back as I can. I write about it and be totally detached as if I’m writing about someone else I really feel nothing . I don’t think I’ll ever be able to face that side of me head on, but maybe thats my way of getting over it. . Writing has really helped me, and just journaling to God. The reason I started blogging was because I had treated myself so horribly, I compounded one issue on top of the other and I decided that my heartache, my pain, my loss, can be used to help others, my story can be used to help others and that is why I just published my first book. I really feel God has used me to help other women, and I’m really glad you mentioned that. My biggest struggle is cutting it makes so mad at myself, I have scars all over my arm, my hips,it’s so noticeable. I hate my scars. I try praying when I feel the urge to cut but its such a strong urge :(.. I don’t like to feel, and when I was on that medication I was so unresponsive I even stopped writing. I tried therapy like I said before, but I don’t like saying what happened to me with my mouth, when you say something it because so real, and I can’t deal with that right now. I’m far from healed but I’m healing lol thank you so much for talking to me 🙂

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      • Forgive me for being forward here but you can only shove it down for so long before it comes out. Cutting is part of that. Denial while it feels safe is not. Just you saying you’re mad at yourself for cutting is you abusing yourself like other have. It’s that little girl screaming for help, for you to pay attention to her and take care of her. Don’t give up on therapy. It’s painful but helps. Have you looked into somatic Experiencing? It’s a slow gentle form of therapy but very effective. I hope you went off your meds under the care of the psychiatrist. Take care of you, don’t beat yourself up more.

        Liked by 1 person

  7. Thank y’all for the great comments and support so far. I am setting up an anonymous account for the poster to respond. It uses my information (blog, pic, etc that I decided not to use) but the submitter’s answers on here will be directly from them. .

    Liked by 1 person

  8. I so related to this post. I can explain my behaviors when it comes to someone else but it is still so difficult when I have to own it. I am simply silent when it comes to sex…I can’t speak, I am still, and I just kind of wait for it to be over. I am spacey most of the time, especially after therapy. I so wish I had the right therapist years ago who pushed me just enough to finally disclose. It’s still difficult but I’ll get there. Hard to believe that I never told…but no one ever asked. Good thing for therapists to remember, and since it’s a matter of trust it’s a question that needs to come up more than once.

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  9. Ugh. I can relate to a lot of this. I was promiscuous after child sexual abuse, too, and when I realized why, I shut it down completely. It’s such a balancing act. Thanks for sharing your story.

    Like

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