Thursday, 25 April 2013

Sexual arousal when remembering and talking about sexual abuse

You have probably guessed what I'm about to talk about from the title but just to be explicit: this could be triggering and please read with caution. Speaking of 'explicit', I have tried not to be too so but I am about to tell you about something that is so in its very nature. This post has been written by myself (Candy: observer), as well as Little C and Candy (the part that generally goes to therapy and might be considered one of the 'main persons'). Should really get different names for your benefit to save confusion. Everyone thinks they are 'Candy'. Little C starts; I have typed for her and mostly corrected things from how she would say them except where it felt wrong to. Didn't want to take her style away from it, but have hopefully made it more understandable than it otherwise might have been.

"Today I wented to the psychology session with Candy and talked to the psychologist who is called T on here and I not allowed to tell you her real name but it's a better name than T. I talked to her about Easter and things and she asked me some questions about bad things that happened before when I was a baby and when I was in house number one and house number two and I tolded her about getting squished and having to do things I don't like to do and the big faces in the cage and willies and about stuff like that and it maked me feel yucky while I was telling her it and I got sore back and arms and face and head and feeled sick and I got weird feelings in my fanny and maked me think about willies and then I needed to go to the toilet. All of them things makeded me feel sad and yucky and I wanted T to give me a hug because I was scared and sad. T gave me the headphones and put the nice song on for me and I listened to it going in my ears and tried to think about being on the moon and tried to take big breaths and feel better.
From Little C"

After switching back from Little C in the session Candy felt all of those pains and that 'weird' feeling which was sexual arousal. It is a really awful thing to experience this arousal when remembering or talking about sexual abuse. It is confusing. Candy arrived home wondering that in fact her problem is not so much trauma related but actually some kind of sexual perversion: that she would feel turned on by that kind of situation. In stating this to herself Candy felt ashamed and disgusted with herself however, reassured herself that at least therapy was the right place for her, so she would just need to explain to T that she should be treating her for some kind of sexual perversion disorder rather than DID. We decided not to spend too long wondering what would have caused 'me' to become this way.

I am not unaware that people who have experienced sexual abuse can become aroused when remembering or talking about their experiences or during flashbacks and dissociation. I'm also not unaware of studies that show that females may have a natural arousal response to sexual material which can help protect them physically from damage during rape. I have been told that the pleasure points in the human body are wired to work from birth but that they aren't usually activated until later in life and that sexual abuse can activate these prematurely making an arousal response in a child even though they in no way wish the experience to be happening. I know all of this. I don't think I remembered any of it at that point though, or if I did, I didn't feel like it applied to me... Candy.

"I felt sure I must simply have a disorder that makes me turned on by horrible things and that maybe I'm just not getting enough sex or perhaps my low sex drive over the past six or seven years was just my way of trying to manage the huge sex drive that I really have and had previously and this is it bursting out again. I felt ashamed when I came home, knowing that my body was feeling this way with the images of abuse still in my mind.

To put it frankly, having a physical reaction when I am having flashbacks is not a new experience for me. I often feel pain in my body and usually notice afterwards that I am wet between my legs when I go to the toilet, so I know then that my body must have had a sexual arousal response, even though I wasn't aware of it happening. I am usually only aware of pain and feeling sick. I find the wetness difficult enough to mentally deal with and feel bad that my body has responded this way. Sometimes the reaction seems to be a lot stronger though, like this time. I am consciously aware of it and the feeling of arousal, although I don't want it, is strong... really, really strong. How horrible to be talking about awful experiences and to feel that way physically and how horrible to see too that my physical reaction is much stronger than I nearly ever have during 'healthy' sex with Adam. Sometimes when I am cuddling Adam and I know he wants to have sex, I feel like my body is dead. There is no wetness, no tingling, no feeling of change or becoming ready. Just anxiety and numbness... and sometimes an overwhelming need to fall asleep. He may try to stimulate my clitoris and vagina using his fingers or his mouth but it doesn't have any effect on me at all. I often just can't feel it or if I can, it's just irritating or uncomfortable. Yet looking in my head at the image of someone who should never ever have been touching me this way doing similar things, although it repulses me, immediately makes me feel like I am burning inside and out with a need for more.

I didn't know what to do after a while of still feeling this way and still having the images coming through my head and the feelings coming through my body. I wanted to feel normal again, but I also felt like I needed to make it real somehow, like somehow that would make it better... if not mentally, physically. Sometimes after having this experience I have felt like I had to masturbate. It seems wrong because I am unhappy and upset and thinking about terrible things. It's not that I think masturbation is wrong. I don't, I think it's a healthy thing in itself, in the right circumstances despite that I don't really do it very much. I just couldn't tolerate having the feelings any longer and I knew a way to get it over with. So, I used our Rabbit Vibrator to masturbate, but not in a healthy, gentle or pleasant way. More to recreate the feelings of pain inside but to have the sexual response that being abused brought with it; the ones my body was remembering. There wasn't enough pain. I remembered that there should be pain at the back; a lot of pain. I felt a need to recreate that pain too, but I stopped myself from trying to do that this time. But it wasn't just done in order to get a climax to be able to stop feeling it. It was done as a need as well to feel what I felt. That's the hardest thing to acknowledge. How could I want that to happen again?"

A Rampant Rabbit is not for the faint hearted in my opinion, despite it's reputation as a wonder toy. Our version has a very hard ridge at the corona which can be painful even though it is not bigger than an average penis. It hasn't had much use for that reason; even Shan prefers other more modest toys or 'a real man' as she says. But today it was fit for purpose: pain and pleasure and to relive and release. How can that be a good thing? Why did she feel it had to be done? Why did she want to relive it? Was it to be able to move on in that moment? Or is it just a learnt reaction from years of it happening... like the study... just have the sex with me and get it done.

"How can it be OK to have these feelings about such horrible experiences? I hate it and the thought of it is unbearable but in those moments it's almost like it's wanted. Did I want it? I feel so ashamed even though I know that other people go through the same thing. I am not sure that it's not me being devious even though I understand it and sympathise for others who go through it. I want to be able to talk about it with T. I don't know if she could say anything to help but it's such a confusing way to feel and I need to be sure it's not that there's something wrong in my reaction. I feel sorry for her though. It's not a fun topic and I don't know if she would be embarrassed to talk to us about it. I know it happens to people, I know why a person might feel arousal, but why the need to relive it? What is the benefit and should I stop it from happening? I guess T would say I should. But then what? How do we sit with those feelings?"


10 comments:

Ruth said...

No easy answer.

Anonymous said...

have experienced this a lot lately. ..and remember experiencing this as a very young child too. I would recreate scenes of abuse with my stuffed animals..they would always be making humiliating comments, punishing me one after another. Sometimes, I even made myself bleed. I still don't understand why I did that, memories of similar abuses haven't surfaced..though I am in the beginning. It is hard now, as an adult, to reach any sort of climax without humiliating alters voicing themselves.

Candycan said...

Hi anonymous, sorry you have such a hard time with sex. I hope you are finding ways to take care of yourself.

Anonymous said...

omg omg omg iv just read this and im relieved yet scared but ok but i have to come away from this today as im taking in too much and can feel and hear the confusion of my alters my me's but we will return here but i need to get controll as its too much so sorry but i have to write this as im coming back even though others are scared of being discovered of what they no and do hope you understand this and im guessing you all will :( ;( >( :)

Candycan said...

Hi anonymous, please take care of yourself. Some things can be hard to read and might affect you later on. If you are learning about DID and only recently diagnosed, it's important not to take in too much at once as it can be overwhelming. I hope the others may learn to feel more safe soon and realise that the process you're going through is to help everyone and isn't going to happen any faster than anyone can manage.

Anonymous said...

hiya candycan its me :/ anonymous im ok and some of my me's, i spoke to my T and she said i need to take it slowly and try and keep the little me's safe while reading this blog but i just feel so relieved yet scared as you can understand, the pain the re create is done to me also and them another me is disgusted and i need to pay for it, but my T wants to keep little ones safe but i cant always do this as they run riotand then my husband is left confused and hurt but how can i explain this side of did as he is only just getting use to some of my alter me's and at times feels sad when he can see he is not making love to me or the more grown up me's, but it happens and then this urge for the painfull side of sex as to be done as my pain thresh hold is so high cos iv learnt how to override this but enjoy it so i have to do what is needed when he is not here , its like my little me wont give in till she gets what she deserves again, i dont like the words making love as sex is sex to me in many degrees from ok to sheer disgust depending on who is ouyt at the time, my husbands says he makes love me and doesnt do sex, but this can make me cringe as i dont feel i deserve nice and when i do fek it im overwhelmed and cry then fgeel disgusted and this can be a battle ground with my me's :( :( ;/ im trying to stay in control but i understand its going to be a long journey from what my T has said but im so glad you have done this blogg as its so well done and said and maybe you could do a book on it as iv been given many books to read and the latest is "got parts" but what small parts i have read so far is me all over just like others so thankyou candycan xxxxxx i think that when we all feel safe we will be a name not anonymous on here :)

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Anonymous said...

Omg thats exactly how im feeling =( i dont know what to do! it feels so wrong and im scared im going crazy! i cant help feel this way =(

Anonymous said...

I have been struggling with this issue for years. It's been happening so much in the last week. I feel so filthy and I have always has so much shame when I get physically aroused from the memories. This is the first time I've ever admitted this happens. Not even to my therapist. I think it's because it's the first time I've ever found out I'm not the only one. I felt like I was going crazy with shame so I googled it and can't believe this is actually a thing that happens to others.

Candycan said...

Hi anonymous, it's just not talked about very much. If your therapist is a good therapist, they should be able to hear you talk about it without judgement and understand that it is a common reaction. It's just physiological. Having said that, its not easy to talk about. Try not to be hard on yourself. Just because the body reacts that way does not mean it was ok that it was done to a person.