I believe one cannot make it to adulthood without having some type of sexual trauma. Our society represses sexuality and has been doing so for a long time. There have been guidelines and legislations to regulate human sexual behaviors for centuries. For a long time, people’s desires were put into the shadows of shame and filth. We know these traumas affect our mental, physical, and sexual health. Let’s look at the three most common sexual traumas everyone is likely to experience.
What is trauma?
Psychology likes to separate traumas into small [t] traumas and big [T] Traumas. This is an intricate concept because one person’s so-called small traumas can be another person’s large Traumas. The concept is subjective and complex.
But, what exactly is trauma? According to the American Psychological Association (APA) trauma is “an emotional response to a terrible event like an accident, rape, or natural disaster. Immediately after the event, shock and denial are typical. Long-term reactions include unpredictable emotions, flashbacks, strained relationships, and even physical symptoms like headaches or nausea.”
When we think about sexual trauma we associate it with sexual violence, such as assault and rape. If a situation is outside of sexual violence, we are less likely to label it as a traumatizing experience. Sometimes, even the act of rape is considered normal in certain parts of the world.
I have several female clients who grew up in the Middle East, and the eastern parts of Russia, who were raped multiple times and consider that to be part of their normal childhood or adulthood experiences. That is how far we are collectively from a healthy sexuality.
The sexual choices we make today are influenced by our past experiences. We are shaped by the things we have seen, heard, and learned. Many things affect our sexual mindset and we must take actions to identify where the trauma occurred.
The Three Common Sexual Traumas
Here are the three most common sexual traumas that everyone is likely to experience but not likely to work on or even be aware of them.
Religious and Philosophical Trauma
Religions of the world, spiritual paths, and life philosophies have impacted the way we experience sexuality. It is a broad and complex topic to cover but to be brief, most disciplines have certain ways in which they treat sexuality.
Some of us grew up hearing “sex only inside of marriage”, “good girls do not want sex”, “pleasure is sin”, “homosexuality is wrong”, “celibacy is the path to pureness and spirituality”, and so on. I do not want to diminish the values in those statements or judge anyone’s personal beliefs. I am here to point out that every single statement you heard growing up influenced your sexual mindset.
Many of us grew up surrounded by certain teachings, philosophies, and family politics that affected our emotional and physical responses towards sexuality.
Things I often hear from my clients:
- “I cannot relax. Every time I am having sex, I think God hates me.”
- “I need to choose either God or my partner.”
- “I am focused on my spirituality, so I stopped having sex.”
- “God will not accept me, so I am afraid.”
- “This is dirty.”
In these situations, people feel disempowered. They believe they have no choice, and they go through emotional pain by not being able to create a connection and establish trust with their partner.
To help you identify what has influenced your sexual mindset, I designed a Sexual Mindset workbook. It is an adaptation from my 12-week course. Download it for free here.
SEXUAL LANGUAGE TRAUMA
If you look at the use of sexual vocabulary, you can see that the words we use to refer to our private body parts or sexual acts, are also curse and offensive words. Words such as dick, pussy, asshole, cunt, and fuck hold negative connotations. By using them as curse words, we are training our brain to relate sexuality to something dirty, bad, and negative. We also have biological terms like penis and vagina but many feel that the only appropriate place to use them is in the doctor’s office.
Another aspect of language is that it teaches us to hold our sexuality in secrecy. This encodes a message inside our head stating that if it needs to be secret, then it must be shameful. We are told not to share private information with other people. We would never speak about our private parts or sex lives in front of strangers.
So, we begin to form beliefs like:
- I cannot speak about my genitals = something must be wrong with them.
- I use genital words to curse = they must be dirty.
- There are parts of the body I cannot mention = something must be wrong with them.
- Speaking about pleasure is forbidden = it is not okay to feel it.
BODY IMAGE TRAUMA
Body image trauma comes from external conditioning, such as the media, our families, or certain experiences in life. It can also run energetically in our family. Many homes go through deep inter-generational trauma which can be very hard to interrupt. Every woman, transgender folk, and man carries his or her own generational body image trauma.
Sexual body image trauma is common. It can come in many forms. Have you ever heard these statements?
- “I was in 8th grade when she approached me and said that I was fat and ugly.”
- “My father would always make jokes saying I was chubby and fat.”
- “All the boys in the shower room just had bigger dicks, and I was so confused.”
- “I do not feel like I belong in my body.”
- “All women in my family have bigger breasts than me. I felt like the ugly duckling.”
- “I hate oral sex. All I can think of is how I might smell.”
- “I will never look like the people in porn movies.”
We heard statements related to sex while growing up, and we constantly hear them now too – whether they are said to us directly or we overhear them. We see sexual images daily on the internet, TV, magazine covers, and ads. There is a giant market that profits from our body image traumas and our low sexual self-esteem. These traumas impact how we feel about our bodies, our sex lives, sex abilities, sexual confidence, and our whole sexual worth. We have been destroyed sexually by the society we live in.
The Impacts of the Three Most Common Sexual Traumas
All three sexual traumas have us operating on a low sexual frequency. These areas have blocked our true desires, our confidence to speak up, our sense of safety, and our ability to be authentic and whole human beings.
Because of this, we operate from fear of abandonment, fear of not being liked, living in shame, feeling disconnected, and continuing the vicious cycle. As a result, we are unable to experience genuine and deep pleasure, relaxation, intimate relationships, fulfilment, and passion for life.
We each have our own sexual mindsets to investigate. We can all uncover the core beliefs that prevent us from having authentic and juicy sexual lives. Download my free Sexual Mindset workbook to discover what is holding you back.
Heal From The Three Most Common Sexual Trauma
You can begin the process of healing by doing the following things.
- Journal about our inner sexual beliefs.
- Look into your sexual history.
- Seek professional help if you see that your choices are not serving you.
- Have discussions and conversations with others.
- Keep doing the work.
Much Love and Joy,