How to Rebuild Your Relationship with Sex After Trauma

July 16, 2019 Miranda Card

My relationship with sex after trauma hasn't been a good one. You see, when I was 16, I got drunk at a concert. On the train ride home, I drifted off. When I woke up, a stranger's hand was in my underwear. I pushed his hand away and he sped into the next train car. My reaction was a feeling of shame; I blamed myself for the sexual assault. I shouldn't have gotten drunk; I shouldn't have worn a skirt; I should have been more responsible. With the support of my parents, I eventually reported the incident, but the shame remained.

Almost a decade later, my feelings about the train ride continue to affect my relationships, especially in the bedroom. 

Often times I find myself in the bleachers of my own sex life. Rather than enjoying the experience, I'm hyper-critical, adjusting my "performance" as I go. Because I knew my partners wanted me to orgasm, I spent years faking it. As a result, I felt like a liar and my shame got worse. In one instance, my shame ultimately ended a relationship of five years. 

How I'm Improving My Relationship with Sex After Trauma

Recently, I have been capable of taking pleasure in sex. Here are some ways I got there:

I found a partner who's secure in his sexuality, so I could focus on healing my relationship with sex after my trauma.

Finding a partner who has an uncomplicated relationship with sex has been imperative to healing. I was with someone in the past who carried many of his own insecurities in the bedroom; I found I was dishonest about my needs and experiences because I felt responsible for his. 

I was honest about my struggle with trauma and how it has affected my relationships. 

The experience I had on the train is difficult to discuss, but I decided to tell my boyfriend. Because he knows my history, he's extra-sure to make me comfortable when we have sex and to pay attention to my needs. 

I opened myself to the possibility of a healthy relationship with sex despite my trauma.

When I first became sexually active, I couldn't imagine ever having an orgasm during sex. For a long time, my partners' experiences were my sole concern because my own enjoyment seemed out of the question. It took me eight years of experience to start to see that things could change. 

I practiced and built a satisfying relationship with sex after trauma over time.

Even though I was still too critical of myself to climax, I tried to note when something felt good or turned me on. Whenever I had a moment of confidence, I'd bring these feelings to my partner's attention. Through patience and communication, I was able to develop a fulfilling sex life

See Also

APA Reference
Card, M. (2019, July 16). How to Rebuild Your Relationship with Sex After Trauma, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2024, June 22 from

Author: Miranda Card

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