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Seeing a psychosexual therapist? (Possible trigger)

(20 Posts)
PandoraHatesTheBox Mon 02-Jan-17 17:24:53

I don't know how to start this nicely. So.

When I was a kid I was messed around with sexually. It was constant from toddler and until teenager and I've done lots of counselling which has helped loads.

I'm in a long term relationship with DP. Sex has always been mixed up even with people before DP. Sometimes it's great and I enjoy it. Sometimes I find it too intrusive and too much and the mess is too disgusting and afterwards I sit in the bath and cry until I'm sick.

For a while now we haven't had sex at all. Nothing triggered this drought but I've become terrified and cant see sex as anything except disgusting and intrusive and violating.

My DP knows my story and is understanding, patient etc. Other than this our relationship is everything I could ask for. We've talked openly about it but everything he suggests panics me (my fault, not his!). I'm now considering going to see a psychosexual therapist. I'm hoping that I could do a short set of sessions focused on fixing the problem. I don't want to go back into long term counselling.

AIBU to think this might help? I don't know if I'm too messed up and should just accept it. I don't know what to do and thought someone on here might have tried this type of therapy. Think I might just need a hand to hold.

Whatsername17 Mon 02-Jan-17 17:31:38

You are not going to lose anything by trying. I'm really sorry you've been through such an awful experience.

PandoraHatesTheBox Mon 02-Jan-17 18:01:15

Thank you. I hope you're right. I'm worried that they'll be wacky or crazy or ask me to do things I'm not okay with. Like their suggestions will be too hard or too forceful. I'm scared.

EZA15 Mon 02-Jan-17 18:15:54

Anything you're not comfortable with - just tell them and a good expert will be able to work around it. You may (have no experience in this though) be pushed slightly to help you confront the thoughts that you're struggling with? flowers op. I've been there - it's hard xx

LagunaBubbles Mon 02-Jan-17 18:19:58

Of course it may help. Its about taking something - sex - that you are unconsciously and/or consciously associating with pain, lack of control and negative emotions etc and turning it into the opposite - something associated with love and care within the context of a non abusive relationship.

PandoraHatesTheBox Mon 02-Jan-17 18:26:52

I think all the counselling I have done before has been helpful for all the emotional stuff around the betrayal and the abandonment feelings. The talking and processing really helped with the rest of my life.

I feel like what I need is somebody who is solution focused. If I tell them a situation I find hard then they could give me things to try to make it better? Strategies or exercises to try? Probably with my partner I guess.

BipBippadotta Mon 02-Jan-17 18:33:43

OP, I'm so very sorry to hear about your experiences. I think seeing a psychosexual therapist could very well help.

They may suggest that you attend with your DH, as difficulties with sex are seen as being shared within a couple, and you may be asked to work on things gently together (at home, I might add, at your own pace, in privacy). Traditionally, any physical component of psychosexual therapy will begin with an exploration of non-sexual touch with your partner (stroking, cuddling, avoiding non-erogenous zones) often in conjunction with a temporary break from sexual contact, and then talking with one another and in therapy about the feelings this brings up. Properly trained psychosexual therapists will know how important it is to go at your own pace and for you to be in control of what you do with your body. If there is anything you do not feel comfortable with, just say so, and any therapist worth their salt will respect this.

It is important to find someone who is accredited with a professional body such as COSRT.

Good psychosexual therapy can really really help. I wish you the best of luck.

dollydaydream114 Mon 02-Jan-17 18:54:18

First of all, what a rotten situation for you. I'm so sorry about what happened to you, and I'm glad your DP is understanding.

It's definitely worth you seeing a therapist who specialises in the area of sexual psychology. I'm sure it might take a while before things improve, but it's definitely worth it - you deserve to be able to enjoy sex and to be comfortable with your partner. Best of luck and I hope you find a way forward xxx

LittleMissUpset Mon 02-Jan-17 19:06:09

I'm sorry you had such a shitty childhood flowers

Any counseling can be difficult as you are working through difficult memories, I haven't had this kind of counseling but have had counseling which was very difficult and made me realize I'm probably in a relationship with a narcissist and I think my mother may also be a narcissist. But it was very different to what you've been through, just giving my experience.

It can make you feel worse before you feel better, and I've had some counselors who have made me very uncomfortable at first, because of what we were discussing but by the end I've been sad to finish as I felt I got a lot out of it. I've also had others who I just didn't click with and made things more difficult.

They should never make you do things you don't want to do, so if you find that they do please find someone else.

If you can find the right counselor I think it would be beneficial, it can be difficult but you should never feel you can't speak your mind or say if you are uncomfortable, it should be a safe space.

Good luck and I hope you can find something to help. Remember it's not your fault and it will take time flowers

PandoraHatesTheBox Mon 02-Jan-17 19:31:23

Thank you all for your replies.

I have found someone who is registered with the body you mentioned so that is a good start smile my DP and I already have great success with non-sexual touch, stroking etc. so hopefully we will be a few steps along the road at least. I'm not sure about him attending with me because although he knows my background I don't want him to hear the blunt details which I feel I probably need to say out loud to begin to overcome them. Part of my want to find a professional is because I think part of the issue is that I gloss over or work around discussing the actual details with sexual partners because of course nobody wants to hear it... but a trained professional might be okay to tell? My previous counsellor knows most things but not in the context of how it's affecting sex now.

Will a psychosexual therapist want to touch me or want me to do anything in session? I've spent all my counselling sessions sat fully clothed, curled up in a ball and definitely with NO touching so I don't know what to expect really.

BipBippadotta Tue 03-Jan-17 11:00:31

I can't say for certain, but I'm fairly sure a psychosexual therapist who knows your history of abuse will not want to touch you or do anything physical with you in session. The sexual difficulties you are describing are not mechanical / physiological (as they sometimes are with, say, vaginismus or vulvodynia where there's no abuse history - and where a therapist might suggest that you work with dilators in session) but situational and emotional. The idea will be to help you overcome a trauma response when it arises in the context of your loving, trusting relationship - not to allow people to touch you intimately when they are not intimate with you. I'd imagine it would be as much about empowering you to control your own boundaries as to expand them to feel comfortable and safe and take pleasure in intimate situations.

Be sure to ask your therapist absolutely anything you've been wondering about their approach & process - at your first meeting and at any point during the therapy. A good therapist will tailor their approach to your specific circumstances and will want to be very careful not to re-traumatise you - and they will need you to be communicative about what you do and don't feel ready for, in terms of what you disclose in therapy as much as what you might do as 'assignments' with your partner. They should ask you, frequently, how you are feeling about the therapy.

I really hope it goes well for you. flowers

PandoraHatesTheBox Tue 03-Jan-17 16:20:37

Thank you so much. I've booked my first session for a few days time so fingers crossed.

BipBippadotta Sat 07-Jan-17 15:45:29

Hope it went / goes well!

PandoraHatesTheBox Sat 07-Jan-17 15:53:32

Hi smile it did go well. Thanks. I was less nervous than I was expecting and she was much more normal than I was expecting!

It was an intro session so she mostly asked me questions about my background and what I was hoping to get from therapy. I felt quite vulnerable afterwards because I gave out a lot of information about myself - but then I guess that is a good thing too.

I've booked to see her again. Between now and then she's asked me (along with my fiancé) to summarise what we think are the key issues or difficulties. It's harder to do than it sounds! She'd like to meet both of us together at some point but only when I feel ready. Fiancé is less than keen about going (he's a deeply private person and quite shy) but said he will come if I want him to.

She told me to be kinder to myself. That intimacy and sex are bigger than just intercourse. Also that it's very common for survivors of sexual abuse to have issues in this way AND that especially in the run up to a big life commitment, survivors can experience a lack of sex drive as a part of a fear around commitment to a nice, non abusive partner when previous experiences have been so negative in contrast. That sort of helped too.

I thought that I'd write the above just in case someone is reading this who might also benefit from her insights.

Thank you so much for your support. X

BipBippadotta Sun 08-Jan-17 19:42:10

I'm so glad to hear that it went well. I wish you all the best of luck with ongoing sessions.

LagunaBubbles Mon 09-Jan-17 11:34:56

Glad to hear that Pandora.

BabychamSocialist Mon 09-Jan-17 15:42:38

Sorry that you've had such a shit experience from being so young.

You can't make it worse by giving it a go. My thoughts are with you. flowers

PandoraHatesTheBox Mon 09-Jan-17 17:19:31

Thank you all.

I think maybe the release from just having told someone how bad I was feeling must have helped as DP and I managed to have sex this weekend - enjoyable, non scary sex. I feel such relief that it is still possible and that it's broken the drought.

Not fixed of course but it's a start.

KindDogsTail Mon 09-Jan-17 17:26:05

Do not even contemplate the idea of a stranger "touching" you on the grounds it is therapy. I cannot believe that any one who did would be anything other than a charlatan/abuser in disguise preying on an abused person.

Other than that, I am sure there are some wonderful therapists who could help you a great deal.

KindDogsTail Mon 09-Jan-17 17:27:53

I apologise, I had not read everything and felt very alarmed. I am so glad you feel you have made a good start and very sorry for what happened to you as a child flowers.

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