Thursday, 25 April 2013
Sexual arousal when remembering and talking about sexual abuse
"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?"