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Recovering from sexual abuse - would any man put up with me?

(7 Posts)
leafgreen Sun 24-Mar-13 00:44:21

Thank you all so much. I'm weeping out of sheer relief.

Rubyroo I'm sorry for your loss. Your DH sounds lovely. He's quite right to find you even more attractive because of your strength - I didn't dare to say it but I would also like to imagine this in my (increasingly perfect) fantasy man. I am so bloody proud of the work I've done in the past two years and frankly I think any man ought to be downright impressed at me for it. Again, not that I'm looking, but still. That'll be the rule if ever I am.

something2say Funnily enough, straightforwardly imagining myself enjoying sex is not so difficult to do! Even though it's an unfamiliar concept - I have put a lot of time into it and am starting to get why people like sex. And that's without bodily involving anyone else! It's just that when I feel vulnerable, I could do with some backup to counter the voice that says that because I feel vulnerable I am never allowed to be close to someone sexually. The point of these fantasies at the moment is really to get myself used to the idea of expecting decency from a man, rather than anything actually happening, iyswim. Confirmation from people in RL (= MN grin) that that's a reasonable expectation really helps reinforce it. I'm really impressed at your approach to medical exams.

IDoTakeTwo thank you for being so open, your point of view is very valuable to me. I totally get what you mean about the 'same' actions. I'm really encouraged that both your husband and you can see the difference between what you do and abuse.

pram what a shit that boyfriend was. I'm also not sure I'll ever 'be over' the abuse. I used to think that recovery would mean things would somehow magically become as if it had never happened. It was a (not very welcome) shock to realise that it means accepting that it did happen, and did have effects.

I'm sorry to everyone who has suffered distress about sex or abuse.

I just needed a bit of hope, you've given me that. Thank you flowers

IDoTakeTwo Sat 23-Mar-13 23:49:45

Gulp. This feels exposed but I'm going to anyway. My partner has a history and when he was able to confide in me I was angered, upset and shocked on his behalf.

It did mean I felt I needed to be mindful of his sensibilities which meant sex was sometimes less spontaneous . I made a point of asking before doing some things which I understood were a trigger . We talked about what we did as consenting adults being very different to abuse. Even if we did the same actions iyswim. I think we reclaim things.

For me I think it is the difference between a gift and a theft.

There have been times when we have had to stop dead and we have a safeword. It's never been used as I have always been able to tell from very obvious body language. It makes me feel more confident to know it is there. We just stop and yes, it can be a buzzkill. Like cramp or the kids waking can be. But my god, if he is turned off, it is a cold shower, so no problem stopping.

Overall sex is fantastic. Maybe knowing how it can be misused makes it all the more precious to us. Not that it would be a choice.

So from the other side of the bed, is is absolutely possible to have a lovely relationship with lovely sex. In fact I think you have to expect it to be lovely and be sure a partner treats you well to avoid tolerating anything less.

Endless snogging a good start I think!

Very best of luck x

Ihavetopushthepramalot Sat 23-Mar-13 23:36:29

It is completely normal to feel like you do op after having been through something so traumatic thanks

If/when you feel in a place to trust someone again there are plenty of lovely, kind, supportive men out there.
I was raped 7 years ago and I'm still not 'over it' not sure I ever will be. My boyfriend at the time reacted very badly and made me feel like it was something I had done to him. After two weeks dumped me as I was damaged goods.
But now I am married to a lovely supportive man. There have been times in our relationship where I have freaked out during intimate moments and asked him to stop. He is completely fine with this, as he should be. We'll just talk and cuddle if I want, if not he's cool with that too!
There is no way on earth a real man would want to sleep with someone who wasn't into it. And there are plenty of nice guys out there.
Things will get better op. Try and get as much rl support as you can. You will get through this. thanks

something2say Sat 23-Mar-13 23:05:05

I totally hear where you are coming from.

There are those men who will love you for where you are at.

But also, what about YOU imagining sex being about you and that man, and not forever defined by the past? Your op is all about a man being ok with all that. What about it NOT defining you forever?

I was sexually abused too, I have issues with medical exam.s. I completely get where you are coming from. For me now, I chose to stop it and le them be what they are, Normal medical exams.

Our lasts don't have to define our futures.

I think there may be times in the middle of sex that it may come up. But equally, how about you imagining yourself enjoying sex?? You deserve it x

Totally expect sympathy. But maybe you won't always need it. That's a stage for you too, not just the one you ae in xxxx

RubyrooUK Sat 23-Mar-13 22:59:58

Yes, there are lovely men out there who would not consider a relationship with you to be "putting up" with anything. Of course there are.

I'd agree with the previous comment that it's worth getting to know someone well so you can talk through these issues well before sex is on the table.

I have not been through anything like you, but I've had various unpleasant life experiences. Including a horrible unexpected miscarriage with a previous partner at a very vulnerable time which left me feeling very anxious about sex and it happening again.

My now DH listened when I told him about these things. He cried because he hated to think of me being hurt. But he did not for one minute think any less of me. In fact he often says he finds my resilience amazing and attractive. It helps that I think I'm an okay person who has has some shit luck and experiences; I am definitely NOT substandard. Neither are you.

I've just had my second baby and I'm busy directing DH to wipe intimate areas or telling him about my constipation. Do I think he finds this attractive right now? No, but he loves me. Will he find me attractive ultimately? Of course, that's why we're together. You can be with someone in situations where it's not easy or romantically perfect; you just have to know that ultimately you are right for each other. That's real life.

You can find someone who finds you attractive and wonderful. Then you just need to have great communication so you feel very happy and comfortable with them. And they don't feel rejected if you need to step back and take things slowly. That might be hard but it will be worth it.

Good luck.

MouseyHousey Sat 23-Mar-13 22:25:21

It is definitely possible. Im sorry for you that all the men you seem to have been with have been complete twunts. You will find someone but like you said no rush - take your time to get to know someone first, and talk to them before you have sex about how it may be difficult and you may want to stop. Any decent man would not have a problem with this at all!
Congrats on moving forward in such a positive way, I really know how difficult that can be! flowers

leafgreen Sat 23-Mar-13 22:13:27

I am recovering from the effects of childhood sexual abuse. I finished 2 years of therapy in December, am continuing healing on my own now.

The problem is, I can manage to imagine enjoying sex and feeling safe and loving and loved - this is a big achievement for me. But I can't imagine a man having any patience for the feelings of panic and alarm that I sometimes have about sex. I have slept with men and had flashbacks and become upset, and then those men have given me the cold shoulder for spoiling it. So at other times when I've had flashbacks I've just shut my eyes and waited for it all to be over. But if I say afterwards that I did that then they go off in a huff as well. My last boyfriend told me off when I said that I had done this during sex with him because I was making him feel like a rapist. I see his point but I don't see what else I was supposed to do. (His answer: don't tell him hmm)

Anyway. I should make it clear that I am not actually looking for a man. It'll be a long while before I'm ready for that, if ever. I just want to be able to imagine a man who wouldn't get angry when I feel vulnerable during sex, and wouldn't act like I'd insulted him personally if I had a flashback and said so. I want to be able to imagine a man who wouldn't belittle me and use this vulnerability against me to make out that I'm unstable and substandard. I want to be able to imagine a man who, if I said I was frightened during sex, would just hold me till I'm 'back' and then stop altogether or carry on depending what felt right for both of us, and not make a big drama either way. I want to be able to imagine a man who could comfort me if I got overwhelmed, without it putting him off ever having sex with me again. I know that my history and my ongoing issues complicate sex and I can't expect a man to just take it all in his stride without ever being worried or confused. I just want to be able to imagine a man who would listen and talk to me about it without it lessening his respect for me, and without it making him patronise me, and without it being the thing that defined me in his eyes. I want to be able to imagine a man who could smile at me and have a laugh with me and treat me normally even if sometimes I panic in bed with him. I want to be able to imagine sex with a man who is friendly to me even though I have been abused.

I just want to be able to imagine this without it all being ruined by the voice in my heart that says 'That is totally fucking unrealistic. You cannot expect a man to put up with you wanting to stop, ffs. Especially not if the reason you want to stop is because you 'can't help' remembering being raped. And especially not if you might only want to stop for a moment until you feel better. Who the fuck do you think you are? Don't you dare expect any sympathy. Oh, and btw, you are substandard. HTH.'

Please tell me this voice is wrong. Please tell me it's ok to imagine a man like this. Please tell me you are all married to men like this. I just want to believe it's possible.

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