Relationships  Mental Health 

Relationships with Trauma Survivors

Michael Charming Aug 26 2019

Relationships with Trauma Survivors

How does sexual trauma impact the future relationships of survivors? Read on to know.

This is the second of a three part edition on Sexual Trauma written by an expert Orgasm & Relationship Coach, Michael Charming. Contd. from Part 1.

How Sexual Trauma Impacts the Survivor in Relationships:

1. Triggers During Sexual Intimacy

Survivors of sexual trauma may at times engage in sex but then during physical intimacy, they may start showing signs of sexual trauma as a result of a trigger that they may or may not be aware of. Sex is very intimate so it can bring out not only sexual trauma stored in the body, but also any other kind of trauma that victim has undergone. 

Most of the time the trigger has nothing to do with you as a partner but it can seem directed at you. This can be very disturbing for the partner. As a bodyworker, I work with a lot of clients who have undergone some sort of trauma, especially sexual trauma in their life.

Sometimes trauma can be so strong and deeply rooted that in spite of having worked through it for years, it can still be seated in the body. 

2. Lack of Trust in Relationships

Lack of trust in relationships is quite common for sexual assault survivors. After all, they have experienced a violation of their most intimate selves on many levels. For women who were violated by a man, for example, this may manifest as a general distrust or unease around men in general, even outside of intimate relationships: Men are not trustworthy. I don’t feel safe around men. I don’t know what happens to me when I am around men. All men are sexual predators. 

In relationships, survivors of sexual assault may exhibit trust issues, conflict avoidance, and seemingly irrational fears, triggers to anger, and other seemingly drastic responses to certain triggers that they may or may not be aware of. Many of these ultimately come back to issues of trust due to the deep violation they have experienced. 

3. The Body Stores Trauma

We often associate safety with physical boundaries but safety also happens at all of the layers of the body, including the mental, emotional, energetic, and spiritual layers of the body. However, the physical body can store these other layers of trauma, keeping them locked up in the physical body, creating energy blockages and preventing full emotional healing. 

Through deep bodywork this stored trauma can be accessed and released, and the lost self can be re-engaged. In my bodywork with clients who have experienced sexual trauma I help in releasing the trapped negative emotions which have been accumulated in the cellular memory and muscles and help them fill those with positive emotions. When negativity leaves the body, space becomes free and if such space is filled with positive emotions, it tends to start bringing change in the body and overall well-being of the person. 

4. Trauma is Not Just in the Head

We have to understand that the impact of trauma isn’t just in the head. Quite often in relationships, we have a tendency to process verbally and intellectually. When we are using words, we are trying to create an impact by rationalizing. 

In order to recover from sexual trauma, survivors need to go beyond the cognitive and into the energetic, emotional, physical, and spiritual layers of their body for more complete healing. While we can help survivors feel loved, cared for, and safe, this will only help to a certain extent because this will not allow the deeply rooted trauma to be touched, come to the surface, and be released. 

"Trauma memory is as much in the sensory receptors, in the skin and in the muscles as it is in the brain."

Alan Fogel, Body Sense

Tune in tomorrow for part three, "Helping a Trauma Survivor."


Share:


Explore sexual wellbeing

Join our email list to receive our top stories and the best podcasts in sexual wellbeing from around the world.


Similar Stories

Glasses of Desire

Jennifer Beman, Aug 22

Each person's level of sexual preference is, valid. Desire discrepancy is a clinical-sounding way to say that one person in a relationship wants sex more often than the other.

Each person's level of sexual preference is, valid.

The Normalcy of having sexual fantasies

Anonymous, Jul 12 2019

None

None

Episode 1: Know your host Gaia Morrissette

Gaia Morrisette, Mar 24 2020

Tickle.Life promises you a juicy sneak peek into the personal life, dating and sexual experiences of...

Tickle.Life promises you a juicy sneak peek into t...

How Sex Changes With Aging (I)

Russell Stambaugh, Sep 06 2019

This article is a brief overview of some of the ways aging interacts with being kinky. Read on to find out!

None

“Things Cis People Don’t Know”

Dr. Amy Marsh, Aug 29

The author of the following wishes to remain anonymous. I am sharing it because it is so vitally important.

The author of the following wishes to remain anonymous.

What Should I Tell My Boyfriend about My Herpes before We Have Sex?

Alexandra Harbushka, Feb 20 2020

Talking about sex is something that in general we don’t feel comfortable about. As adults we get all uncomfortable when a sex topic comes up and it’s like we turn into little kids. It’s so funny.

Talking about sex is something that in general we don’t feel comfortable about.

Discover by Sexuality

Gay

Lesbian

Bisexual

Transgender

Questioning

Heterosexual

or discover by topic

Sex, Media & Culture

Singlehood

Relationships

LGBTQ+ Movement

Mental Health

Reworking Relationships

Divorce and Separation

Ageing

Sex & Sex Education

Sexual Health

Sexuality Studies