Reclaiming sex after trauma is more than a journey you take once. It’s something survivors of trauma have to work on an ongoing basis. The positive thing to remember is that it does get better. There is still love, sex, bliss, ecstasy, and connection waiting for you. Trauma can happen to anyone, irrespective of age, gender, race, religion, or socioeconomic status.
If you are struggling with post-traumatic stress disorder, or PTSD, or have trauma recent or otherwise in your background, how to enjoy sex after trauma will take a lot of patience and understanding. Let’s learn how to have sex after trauma.
1. Your Body Is A Representation Of Your Mental State
If you have trauma, it’s likely to come out in different ways during sex. You might feel disconnected from your partner. You might freeze up when getting intimate. You may not feel safe. The ability to experience pleasure or to be fully aroused may be interfered with. It’s hard to enjoy yourself if you feel unsafe or if something in you is unsure about enjoying sex.
2. Start With Self-Pleasure And Masturbation
After trauma, masturbation and self-pleasure are the best tools to get you back into feeling sexual again. So grab your best adult sex toys and start slow with yourself. If you can reawaken this part of you privately, there’s a good chance you can take that to the bedroom with someone else. Just remember there is no rush with any of this. You can take as much time as you need.
3. Practice Self-Care To Regain Your Confidence
Practice more self-care if you struggle with confidence issues after a traumatic event. Exercise. Eat well. Meditate. Decide on a skincare routine. You may even want to buy some clothes you feel confident in. As you regain your confidence, you’ll naturally enjoy life a bit more and with that comes more enjoyable sex.
4. Spend Non-Sexual Time With Your Body And A Partner
If you’re interested in partnered sex, easing your way into it can be done by spending time body to body in a non-sexual way. This can be going dancing, cuddling on the couch, doing yoga together, or anything similar. This helps to build intimacy and connection that hopefully tells the brain that it’s safe to go further and that you’re safe.
5. Communicate With A Trusting Partner
Your sexual partner should be someone you trust, first and foremost. Next, communicate with them during sex. Let them know what’s going through your head, good and bad. Identify triggers. Let your partner know how they can support you. After sex, tell them what you liked and didn’t like. If something doesn’t feel right, say so and do something different. Your first sexual experience after trauma must be approached with love and patience.
6. Focus On Pleasure, Not Performance Or Orgasms
Don’t think about how fast you’ll get to orgasm or even if you’ll have an orgasm. Don’t think about whether you will perform like you used to or want to. Focus purely on pleasure. Find what feels good. Enjoy the moment. Experiment with different sensations and connect with your partner. You may not get to orgasm your first time doing this, but chances are, you’ll enjoy yourself more when concentrating on what feels nice.
7. Define Clear Boundaries For Your Partner
Boundaries are essential to building trust and enjoying sex after trauma. Eliminate any activities that might trigger you. Don’t hesitate to say no to sexual acts you don’t want to do. You may even want to take breaks during intimate moments if you need a minute. Discuss before you have sex what you would like it to be like. If you’ve been having success enjoying sex in solo play with a sex toy, bring your sex toy into partnered play. Setting clear expectations for all involved is key.
8. Be Patient With Yourself When Re-Engaging In Sex
This is the hard part. As much as you may want to have thunderously passionate sex and be as attracted to the other person as you feel you are, sometimes, because of trauma and other reasons, our bodies just don’t want to cooperate. So take your time. You may have to try a few different times on a few different days before you’re able to get aroused enough to enjoy sex the way you want to. With the right partner, though, it will happen.
9. Work With A Trauma Specialist To Process Your Trauma
This is another hard part. If you are having symptoms of anxiety and depression and difficulties enjoying sex, discussing what’s going on with a trained mental health professional may help provide you with tools and discoveries to navigate away from where you are currently on your journey with trauma. An alternative to trauma therapy is couples therapy if you have a partner willing to explore it.