Embracing Sex As Pleasure When All You’ve Known Is Pain

Sharie King

Does the thought of sex bring up mixed emotions for you? Well if it does, we share a common fear. I was also abused as a little girl, and the closer I got to my honeymoon, the more terrified I became:

Will the sex ignite bad memories from the past?

Will I be able to enjoy sex or be a disappointment?

Should I tell my fiance how scared I am?

I’m certainly not a sex expert, but if you give me permission, I’d like to share three things my husband, Clayton, and I did to find peace and pleasure in our sex life.

Before Sex: Invite Him to Help You

When we tell someone we’ve suffered abuse, we know what happened and how it made us feel. We assume the words “sexual abuse” tell your husband everything he needs to know, but he wasn’t there. He hasn’t lived your life or read your thoughts. So, while it may seem like bringing up hurtful memories would hinder your sex life, the reality is your husband cannot understand and be sensitive to you if he doesn’t fully understand your struggle.

When you got married, you became a team just like the Bible describes in Ecclesiastes 4:9-12. God made you one so you can hurt and heal together, but your husband can’t help you if you hold back. Sharing your story before sex is how you invite your husband to help you when you need compassion and understanding. Remember, you are a team that hurts and heals together.

During Sex: Speak Up

Something in our sex life kept disturbing me emotionally. I couldn’t put my finger on it at first, but when my bad memory became more clear, I understood. I tried to fight it and push it aside on my own, but I couldn’t.

I didn’t want my past to affect my husband’s pleasure, so I asked God to help me communicate my fear. I thought for sure Clayton would be disappointed, but he literally said, “Well, let’s not do that then. No biggie.” And he meant it! He never pressured me to go there again.

Speak up during sex. This is not natural for someone who has been abused because you’re taught to take it. Your husband is your partner, and he wants you to enjoy sex with him not for him.

After Sex: Stop Saying You’re Sorry

Sometimes sex works, and sometimes, well..

If you’ve been abused, you may feel like failed sex is your fault. It’s easy to believe this lie if someone ignorantly told you that your sexual abuse was your fault. It was not.

If sex with your husband didn’t go well a few times, it’s not your fault. This is life, not the movies.

If sex with your husband didn’t go well a few times, it’s not your fault. This is life, not the movies.

If you keep having a hard time, here are some ideas to get back on track:

  • Don’t stop trying.
  • Your struggle may be sleep, stress, or hormone related.
  • Plan dates that connect you with each other.
  • Plan out times for intimacy so you don’t forget how great sex feels.

Before sex, invite him to help. During sex, speak up if you encounter any roadblocks. After sex, don’t apologize if your time together wasn’t perfect. I hope these three suggestions alleviate some of your apprehension, but if you need more help, please seek a wise counselor.

Healing is possible! Don’t let what was stolen from you keep you from the gift of sexual intimacy with your spouse.

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