In this blog series, I’m giving you a “sneak peek” into my “Reader Mailbag” – sharing actual questions I’ve received from (and answers I’ve shared with) folks who struggle over “Real Relationship” issues – just like you and me!
I hope the series is both eye-opening and edifying! And if YOU have a question you’d like to see answered, send it our way! You can email me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org
Moving Beyond Sexual Abuse
“Every sexual experience brings up bitter memories of childhood sexual abuse. Is it possible to have a happy marriage without sex?”
To have a happy marriage, both individuals need to be happy. Would your husband really be satisfied with a sexless marriage? Wouldn’t you both be happier if you could heal the scars of sexual abuse and enjoy a healthy sex life together?
With one-third of women having experienced sexual abuse, many have walked wounded in the area of sexuality, myself included. But rather than withdrawing from my husband, I managed to invite him into my healing process. When I tearfully told Greg how disgusted I felt by my uncle’s mustache when he forced me to kiss him, Greg gently asked, “Is that why you don’t kiss me as often since I grew a mustache?” I hadn’t made the connection. The next morning Greg shaved his mustache off, and we caught up on months of missed kisses. Very healing.
Be sure to let your husband know your struggle isn’t with him, but with unresolved trauma from past sexual abuse. Discuss ways that you might feel more safe and secure. For example:
- Incorporate relaxation techniques as foreplay, such as lighting a candle and praying while in each other’s arms or taking a hot bath together.
- Leave the lights on. Make the visual connection that you’re with your husband who loves you, not someone who wants to harm you.
- Use a non-offensive code word (such as “red light” or “molasses”) if you begin to feel negatively about a certain activity and want him to stop. His willingness to do so will help you re-establish a sense of safety as your boundaries are respected.
Don’t let your sexual abuser continue robbing you of the joy, passion, and pleasure that God intendeds both you and your husband to enjoy. Seek professional counseling if needed. You were a victim once, but you don’t have to be anymore.
The Sexually Confident Wife (click here to order)
Why Do I Feel Like Hiding?: How to Overcome Shame and Guilt by Daniel Green & Mel Lawrenz (Baker Books)