Nothing saddens me more than hearing a client say to me they would be happy with never having sex again. We are sexual beings. It’s not just about procreation. We are meant to touch and explore each other’s bodies as a means of intimate connection.
For some, just the thought of being sexually intimate with a loving partner can get them to dissociate. How can someone become sexually present with their partner if they can’t be sexual with themselves?
A big barrier to sexually pleasing yourself may be the messaging you received around it. Maybe as a young child or teenager your parent told you it was dirty or bad to sexually touch yourself. If this is what you heard, it can be hard to explore your own body without guilt and shame. Remind yourself that sexually pleasing yourself is enjoyable, safe, normal, acceptable, and a loving intimate act to share with yourself and your body. Your parent was projecting their own shame onto you.
After sexual abuse or sexual assault, the person who was harmed often blames themselves. As if, somehow, they asked for it, were too flirty, dressed sexually. Nothing can be further from the truth. If you experienced any form of sexual abuse or assault, it was not your fault. The perpetrator carries all the responsibility.
So where do you start? In yesterday’s post, I discussed How to Love Your Body. If you haven’t read it, begin with the exercises there first and return to the suggestions below.
In the How to Love Your Body post, I stated the importance of challenging negative self-talk and this will be important here as well. The challenge for many will be to stay mindful and present because sexual touch can trigger past traumas. It’s important to start slow and take your time. If you check out, find a way to reconnect with your body and bring yourself back.
Make this a pleasurable experience by utilizing all of your senses along with your environment. Make a date with yourself ahead of time. This will allow your mind to prepare and get used to the idea. Have a bath beforehand to help you relax and to start to engage your sensations as you mindfully and lovingly soap yourself and put lotion on your body. Turn off the lights and light a candle. Play some music. Put essential oils in the tub. Awaken all of your senses.
Next, take it to the bedroom. Have fresh sheets on the bed. Again, put on music if it’s not too distracting and light a candle and burn essential oils, if it helps you get in the mood. Get into your bed fully naked or if that’s too scary, wear something loose fitting. Start to lightly caress parts of your body that feel safe, staying as present as possible. Notice the light touch and see whether it elicits any emotional feelings. Then move onto your breasts and nipples. Notice if it feels safe to do so. Notice what kind of touch you enjoy and what kind of pressure is pleasurable.
It may not be the same evening, but when you’re ready, start to explore your vagina. It may take several attempts to stay present and feel safe enough. That’s okay. This is your timeline. What is most important in all of this is to not check out and see if you can allow yourself to experience sexual pleasure. Purchase some lubrication beforehand. Anyone who has experienced sexual abuse or assault can freeze up and go into the sympathetic survival state. This will turn off all unnecessary processes in your body like creating your own arousal fluid. Find your clitoris and again determine the level of touch and pressure that you enjoy.
Sex toys are unnecessary, but may come into your repertoire later as you feel more comfortable in your exploration.
This may take several months before you feel comfortable and are able to reach an orgasm. Don’t berate yourself if this doesn’t happen. Remember only kindness, love, and compassion for yourself.
Find out more about feeling into sensations in the body and connecting with your body in the multi-award-winning book Embodied: How to Connect to Your Body, Ignite Your Intuition, and Harness Universal Energy for Healing.
If you require support due to unprocessed trauma, reach out to a counsellor in your city.
P.S. Check out tomorrow’s post on Sexual Intimacy With a Loving Partner!