TW: sexual abuse and sexual interests, can anyone explain this?

(9 Posts)
Saz432 Thu 08-Apr-21 21:25:21

I know from having researched this before that it’s not uncommon for those who’ve been victims of sexual abuse to get turned on by the idea of sexual acts that are abusive. I’ve found this happens to me and I find it so confusing.

I’ve experienced a lot of sexual abuse, starting when I was a child, and at times I will find myself thinking about things that are degrading, abusive or that would put me in a vulnerable position. Why does my brain think these things are arousing? When I have actually tried to do them because I think I want to, they have just been traumatic and made things worse. So I don’t actually want to do them. Yet I still think about them and find the idea of them a turn on sometimes.

I feel completely fucked in the head - it’s so confusing. Does this sound familiar to anyone else? How can I possibly be turned on by things that seem similar to the worst sexual experiences I’ve had, on some level at least?

I have heard before that some women with a history of abuse end up getting into BDSM in a submissive role as it’s a way of dealing with these things in a situation they feel safe in. Yet even in situations where I feel safe (like my marriage), whenever we have tried things that go into this category, even when I have encouraged them and want to do them, they end up distressing me. I don’t even mean anything particularly extreme, just things like restraints which in my head is a turn on but in reality is scary.

I really don’t understand any of this at all. Anyone here who has experienced this and has worked through it?

OP’s posts: |
Parkerwhereareyou Fri 09-Apr-21 07:14:50

🙋‍♀️
I think the emotional logic works like this:

You are drawn to revisit the sort of things/feelings that have traumatised you. It's a little bit like touching a bruise.

You go down the path of imagining them in your head.

But this time of course it's not real. You're feeling the feelings, but ... you're in control.

What happened in real life didn't feel good. It was the opposite. But when you imagine it and in turns you on, that means - it must be ok now. You're in control and you've chosen to do this and if it feels ok, feels good, then you've managed to dissolve the danger and fear. You've been in control and you've been safe.

I had a bad experience with a certain type of sex. But I fantasise about that very act. However, in my fantasy it feels amazing and completely turns me on. So I've made it ok - I've controlled it. But in real life - it's the last thing on earth I'd let anyone do to me. I'm deeply anxious about anything ever getting anywhere near that particular act.

This sounds similar to your experience. So I reckon we must have a syndrome! 😉

We are working through the traumatic experience and correcting it to good rather than bad. But of course we don't actually want to risk doing it. ...

I wonder if psycho sexual counselling could help you? X

saleorbouy Fri 09-Apr-21 08:32:43

I sounds to me like you need to delicately unpick there feelings and emotions brought up from your past with some professional help.
Hopefully then you will be able to put some context on how and why you are drawn to revisting past abusive sexual experiences.
I hope you can soon reach a point of contentment and well being.

Saz432 Fri 09-Apr-21 13:55:21

Thank you. It makes sense I suppose but it makes me feel so shit.

I’m not sure I could actually talk about this - I’ve had counselling before for the abuse but I would find it extremely difficult to talk about this specifically. I almost feel that it’s wrong to be sexual at all after everything that’s happened to me, like a normal person would just never think about or want sex ever again. Which I know is completely unrealistic for most human beings and logically I know I am being hard on myself when I haven’t done anything wrong.

I think I just need to come to terms with the fact that there can be discrepancies between thoughts and actions and there’s not actually anything wrong with that, which is where I’m struggling.

OP’s posts: |
Saz432 Fri 09-Apr-21 13:57:26

To clarify, it’s not that I’m fantasising about my past abuse. Definitely not, not at all. Just scenarios that I suppose are similar in terms of being vulnerable or not in control.

OP’s posts: |
ThatsGoodCakeLove Fri 09-Apr-21 14:55:39

I think its fairly common, just not something we speak about. I remember as a young teen reading a book called Women on Top, there was a whole section about women fantasising about rape etc. and it made me feel a lot better that I wasn't some sick weirdo. Its absolutely abhorrent when it does happen in real life, and I'm not condoning it in any way. I will never share my fantasies with anyone but my partner, its not a part of our sex life at all.

Are you able to separate what actually happened to you with something that is purely fictional and fantasy? It must be difficult.

AaSaat Fri 09-Apr-21 18:10:45

I am a survivor of sexual abuse (family member) as a young person and until the last few years or so (I am much older now) I did not realise that it had had an effect on me when we are intimate. I cannot lie back and take pleasure at all, I have to be in control of what happens. This means I give nearly all of the pleasure and take very little. It is only when we discussed this I realised that I had done that all of my life. So in answer to your question I have gone the opposite way and avoid any connection with simply being still and in my own mind.

I did try to get help but found I really could not discuss my real feelings which meant I had session after session where I just said what I thought the therapist wanted to hear. Not ideal so I stopped the sessions.

I wish you the very best of luck but sorry I have no answers for you only my own experience

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Quailfortune Mon 12-Apr-21 20:02:59

Do you think it is an attempt of you to revisit the abuse, but change the scenario so you are in charge?
I watched an interesting swinger programme in which an older lady (60s) would have sex with groups of young men, make them wait on her bed and choose which one she wanted. She was COMPLETELY in control.
Then later in the programme she talked about being taken advantage of by a group of older boys when she was young and vulnerable.

Much sympathy for you for when you were young xx

Emptyandsad Thu 15-Apr-21 19:46:24

I was abused several times as a child from the age of about 6. I have found throughout my life that, at times when I was at a low point, I would actively seek to recreate the abuse. So I was driven to seek out situations where I met old, ugly, assertive men and I would want them to use me for their sexual pleasure. I did this even when I had partners, without their knowledge. In doing so, I put their health at risk. Afterwards I would be filled with remorse and shame and would promise myself I would never do it again

I don't know why I did this. I know that I blamed myself for the abuse I experienced and thought, because it happened to me with several different men, that sexual predators could recognise something bad in me, that I was inviting them somehow, subconsciously, to abuse me. I know, intellectually, that this isn't true and that, as a 6 year old, I was not to blame and that, I had no choice in what happened; but I don't feel that. I feel guilty for what was done to me

I stopped that pattern of behaviour when I eventually had a really good relationship in which I felt really loved and felt real love for my partner. That partner died recently and I fear being dragged back.

I certainly never felt in control as an adult, although I absolutely accept responsibility for the actions I took. I don't know how I lived with myself

I don't think this helps answer your question OP. But you are not alone in revisiting, whether in real life or in your imagination, the experiences of your abuse. It's all very complex

I've never spoken openly about my experiences as a child. I told a couple of partners that I had been abused, without any details; none of them asked me any questions about it. This came as quite a shock, because just admitting that I had been abused was a really big deal for me, I had to steel myself, over days and even weeks, to confess and I thought, each time, that a big conversation would result. I expected questions, shock, sympathy, but I got, from all 3 people I told, only a mild interest. I guess they were trying to not be intrusive, but I felt very let down. I'm still trying to pluck up the courage to seek psychotherapy. I'm in my late 50s now and still living every day with the events of my childhood; they have shaped my character, my self-esteem, my entire life.

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