How to Reclaim Your Sex Life After Rape & Abuse

How to Reclaim Your Sex Life After Rape & AbuseMany women have been and will be victims of violence and sexual abuse. The lingering psychological damage of rape and abuse may be deeply rooted and the scars permanent. However, reclaiming a healthy sex life after rape and abuse is possible.

SOME STATISTICS
Abuse—sexual, physical, verbal, psychological, financial—is a common occurrence, and the victims are almost always women. According to RAINN (Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network), these are the statistics of violence towards women in the US:

44% of victims are under the age of 18.
80% are under the age of 30.
Every 2 minutes someone in the US is sexually assaulted.
57% of victims do not report the abuse.
2/3 of assaults are committed by someone known to the victim.
97% of rapists do not go to jail.

EMOTIONAL CONSEQUENCES OF ABUSE
Abuse is detrimental to the psychological, and many times, physical well-being of victims. Abuse strips victims of their sense of control, confidence, trust, and safety. On top of facing the damaging consequences of the abuse, many women feel guilty about the abuse, blaming themselves and feeling ashamed for the horrors they lived through.

Read Related: How to Recognize & Help Victims of Domestic Violence

SEX AFTER ABUSE
Although the road to recovery from rape and abuse may be long and difficult, women can reclaim their sex lives and live healthy sexual relationships thereafter.

  • Seek professional help. Do not try to tackle your recovery by yourself. These events usually need to be supported by a professional who can help you implement coping strategies and coach you to take charge of your life again.
  • Join a support group. Meeting and talking with others who have gone through the same experience may help you feel less isolated and motivate you to keep moving forward on the road to recovery.
  • Wait for sex. Take a break from sex if you must. Don’t let anyone rush you.
  • You deserve a healthy sex life. Tell yourself repeatedly that you deserve sexual freedom and wholeness again.
  • Regain trust. If you have a partner, work on slowly reintroducing touch into your daily life to strengthen trust.
  • Be patient. Your healing does not have a timeline. Take things slow and allow for healing at your own pace.

Your healing will take time and perseverance. But with time and patience you will be able to regain trust and restart and enjoy your sex life. The most important thing is to realize that you deserve love, sex and happiness. What happened is not your fault and you have nothing to be ashamed of.