Content Warning: This article contains information about sexual abuse and trauma. If this topic is troubling to you, please be cautious.
Sometimes life throws us off balance. These events can cause us to perceive the world differently or make us feel unsafe in our surroundings or bodies. This is known as trauma. The event itself doesn’t dictate whether or not it was traumatic, instead, it’s how the individual responds to it and recovers.
There are many types and types of trauma. These events can sometimes lead directly to Post Traumatic Stress Disorder Or PTSD. A person who has experienced trauma can feel scared and stressed even if they are not in danger.
People with PTSD may be triggered by any event that recalls the original event. These people may experience anxiety, disassociation, panic attacks, and other symptoms.
The Six Guiding Principles
“Trauma-Informed Healthcare” is a term that is typically used in medical and mental health fields, but can also be applied to social work, education, and really any other setting. This approach recognizes trauma’s widespread effects and symptoms and actively integrates trauma knowledge into policies, procedures and practices. It includes actively avoiding retraumatization.
These six principles are the guiding principles.
- Transparency and trustworthiness
- Peer Support
- Humility and responsiveness
These principles might be useful in intimate settings, as you may see. What does this mean for your sex lives?
Let’s take a look.
Life has an impact on our sexual lives
Although sex is fun, it can be stressful, trigger or cause anxiety for some people, particularly those who have suffered trauma.
Our sexual lives are interconnected with the rest of our daily lives. The bedroom is a reflection of what we live with and experience every day.
It can be difficult to navigate sex while suffering from PTSD. You may want and crave affection and pleasure, but there seems to be a block when you’re actually doing it, even with people you know and trust. You may feel disoriented, numb or ill-equipped to handle pain and anxiety.
You should not let your sexuality be a stressor.
There are ways you can navigate your sexlife to support your nervous system and allow you to enjoy pleasure. Anxiety.
How to practice trauma-informed sex
It is important to understand how trauma affects your sex lives. However, you need practical tools to guide you as you move on.
Accept and practice consent
While Consent It is important for every sexual encounter because it can be nuanced and can change from one situation to the next.
It’s not uncommon for people who have experienced sexual trauma or another form of abuse to agree to sex without actually consenting. Some people may not be able to say no or set boundaries. This is not a personality flaw. It’s a normal reaction to trauma.
Knowing the importance of consent allows all partners to participate in an intimate act with confidence knowing the risks, limits, and comfort levels.
People who have been through trauma can talk to one another to find out if they really want to have sexual activity or sex.
While consent is not required for all sex, it is vital when you have trauma-informed sexual relations.
Boundaries in sexual sex are boundaries that must not be crossed.
Be aware that boundaries may change over time. It’s ok to remove boundaries, as well as implement new ones.
It is important to know your boundaries and discuss them with your partner so that you don’t feel triggered by any particular act or sensation in sex. Boundaries may include not touching specific body parts, not doing particular things or not saying certain words.
You don’t have to tell your sexual partner what happened if you don’t want to, but you may want to disclose what your potential triggers are.
A code word can be implemented in the same way as people in the workplace. Kink world. A code word as simple as “jellybean”, will signal to your partner that whatever they’re doing isn’t working, and they need to stop immediately. That doesn’t mean that they have done anything wrong. Sometimes, you might not be aware that something is triggering or get caught up in the moment.
That’s where codewords come in.
If you’re unclear what your boundaries are, it can help to discuss them with a counselor or sex therapist.
Take Your Time
It can be difficult to absorb and adjust to changes in sexual arousal when you rush through sex.
People suffering from PTSD may have a slower rate of relaxation in a sexual context. This could mean that it might take time for your body to feel secure so you can fully enjoy your life.
Take your time, listen to your body’s signals, and communicate with your partner. There is no rush.
There are many ways to have intimacy beyond sex. It can be beneficial to explore other types of intimacy with your partner, especially if you’re a new couple.
You can also experience intimacy in the following ways:
It’s Ok to Stop
Something to keep in mind when navigating trauma-informed sex is that you don’t have to do it if it’s not working for you. You don’t owe anyone anything sexually, and it’s ok to stop at any point in time.
You are worth it
Although it can be hard to have sex after trauma, it is possible to live a happy, fulfilling, and abundant life. If your partner does not support these practices or tries to rush you or pressure you, you may want to reconsider who you’re sharing yourself with.
You deserve all the safe, sensual pleasures that your heart and body crave.
Natasha (she/her), is a full-spectrum doula, a reproductive health content creator, as well as a sexual wellness consultant. Her work helps people feel more joy, softness and sensuality by removing shame, stigma, as well as the stigma surrounding sex and birth. Natasha can be reached on IG at @natasha.s.weiss.