Don’t Let Yesterday’s Pain Rob You of Today’s Pleasure!
With approximately one-third of women experiencing some sort of sexual abuse in their lifetime, it’s a question many of us wrestle with – How can we heal the scars of sexual abuse? Our bodies naturally heal from physical wounds given time, but how can we heal emotional wounds? Although we may have experienced physical pain, sexual abuse is ultimately an offensive attack on our dignity, self-esteem, and sense of sexuality. And what effects do such abuses have on our lives? The most common symptoms of sexual abuse are:
* avoiding or being afraid of sex
* approaching sex as an obligation
* experiencing negative feelings such as anger, disgust, or guilt with touch
* having difficulty becoming aroused or feeling sexual sensation
* feeling emotionally distant or not present during sex
* experiencing intrusive or disturbing sexual thoughts and images
* engaging in compulsive or inappropriate sexual behaviors
* experiencing difficulty establishing or maintaining an intimate relationship
* experiencing vaginal pain or orgasmic difficulties
Perhaps some of these symptoms have been an issue for you, and you never connected them to your previous sexually abusive experiences. Whether these are new revelations or old news, we can reclaim those precious parts of who we are as healthy sexual beings by going through several steps…
Ten Steps Toward Healing from
- Assign responsibility to your abusers and let go of your personal shame.
- Look at the labels you place on yourself, and create new ones if necessary.
- Understand who you really are as a valued human being, apart from any abuse.
- Be honest with your husband about your experiences and feelings.
- Give yourself permission to seek the time and space to heal.
- Experiment to discover what intimate acts you do feel comfortable with.
- Exercise your right to choose when and how you are touched.
- Feel the feelings and let them out in a safe environment.
- Break the cycle of abuse by refusing to be abusive to yourself or anyone else.
- Connect to your spiritual self to foster spiritual healing.
To learn more about each of these steps, I encourage you to read Chapter 4 in The Sexually Confident Wife. You can be free – free from the painful scars that disfigure your soul… free of the weight that so easily weighs a woman down… free to experience and enjoy healthy intimacy in a safe relationship… free to be a sexually confident wife!
Wishing you freedom in your marriage,
Excerpted from The Sexually Confident Wife: Connecting with Your Husband Mind*Body*Heart*Spirit by Shannon Ethridge. Copyright 2008. All Rights Reserved. Published by Random House Inc, New York, NY. Used by Permission. Not to be copied without Publisher’s prior written approval.