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Intimacy Advice for Men:
Help When Your Woman is a Survivor of Sexual
Abuse or Rape
By Otto Collins
Unfortunately, there are many adults-- both
women and men-- who have
experienced trauma in their lives such as sexual
abuse or rape.
Nobody enjoys talking about this topic, but it's
a very important one.
When your partner is a survivor of some form of
trauma like rape,
incest or childhood sexual abuse, it is highly
likely that this
painful past has had some effect on intimacy in
It might come out in the bedroom as she has a
difficult time getting
in the mood as often as you'd like her to. It
could be that there
are specific sexual positions or acts that your
uncomfortable or even unsafe doing.
Even outside the bedroom, you might feel as if
your woman holds back
or gets upset about things that don't make sense
These are all possibly very related to the abuse
or rape she
experienced years ago.
You may be at a loss for
how to say and do
the "right" things that will not trigger your
woman...and that will
keep you two close and passion alive in your
Kevin feels angry and sad when he thinks about
what his wife, Ellen,
went through as a child. A neighbor, and friend
of her father,
molested her several times when she was a young
Ellen has had
sessions with a psychologist and she continues
to work to heal from
this past trauma.
But, when they are making love or when Kevin
asks her to make love,
Ellen will frequently become upset and
emotionally "shut down."
Kevin tries to be patient, but he does not know
how best to support
her during these difficult times. He feels as if
he can't touch
Ellen-- even non-sexually-- because he doesn't
know how she'll react.
Consequently, Kevin mostly lets Ellen come to
him when she is open
to his touch and sex.
This isn't working
either-- Kevin feels as if
he can't be open with her about his intimacy
needs and Ellen often
feels neglected and unloved by him because he
touching and sex.
It feels like a no-win situation to both Kevin
3 ways to keep passion and intimacy alive, even
when your wife is a
rape or abuse survivor:
#1: Don't take it personally.
I know, this is a tough piece of advice to
actually do in the
When you are feeling turned on and ready for sex
and you reach out
to your woman only to be turned away (and it's
not the first time
this has happened), it can be challenging to not
take it personally.
As much as you tell yourself that this is about
your partner's past
and it's not about you...it can easily FEEL like
it's about you and
that she's rejecting you.
It might take practice, so keep trying this.
When you approach your
wife, try not to have an expectation that she
will reject you.
she does say "no" to sex with you, remind
yourself that this is not a
rejection of you.
If you have doubts about whether or not she is
rejecting you, it's
okay to gently ask her to share with you about
what she's feeling.
Even some simple and reassuring words from her
that tell you that she
loves you and that she's processing some
difficult memories right now
could help you know that this is not about you.
#2: Be honest.
Some men who are with a partner who is an abuse
or rape survivor get
into the habit of stuffing down their desires
and how they truly feel
in order to avoid upsetting their woman.
This is not beneficial to either of you.
Acknowledge to yourself how you are feeling and
what your needs are.
Don't shut down or assume that your woman will
never be as sexual
with you as you'd like her to be.
Be honest with
where you are right now-- including the thoughts
and feelings that
are coming up for you.
If you need to talk with a trusted friend just
to express these
emotions or a counselor to learn some strategies that
can help your
marriage, make the time to do so.
#3: Keep talking and connecting.
It doesn't have to be a "guilt trip" for you to
be honest and
upfront with your woman about both your feelings
and your desires.
You can be gentle and loving as you let her know
that this is
difficult for you too-- just in different ways.
Make it clear to her
that you never want her to feel pressured to
have sex or be intimate
with you AND that you would like to keep the
connection between you two alive and well.
Together, the two of you can talk about creative
and new ways for
you to stay intimately connected.
Come up with
some alternatives to
sex that you will try when she is feeling
triggered but you are
needing some physical connection.
Before of during sex, you can communicate with
her about what feels
good and what she might want to change. You can
also let her know
what you prefer when it comes to lovemaking.
Remember, in order to keep (sexual and
non-sexual) intimacy alive,
it's essential that you make staying connected
communication open a priority all of the
time...not just when you are
ready for sex.
Otto Collins teaches men the
secrets to lighting
up their woman and
offers a free report: "The 10 Biggest
Relationship & Passion-Killing
Mistakes Men Make and What To Do About Them"
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