I have had bad relationships in the past that were centered around sex that sometimes ended in abuse both mental and physical. I am in a great relationship now but I rarely want to have sex. My current lover is VERY understanding but we are both frustrated. What can I do or where can I go to get past these bad feeling associated with sex?
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The situation you find yourself in is not an uncommon one, unfortunately. There are all too many women and men whose sexuality has been poisoned by association with violence and abuse. It is possible to heal from this sort of circumstance in most cases, however, so take heart and be strong. What needs to occur is a gradual deepening of trust and emotional intimacy between you and your current (and non-abusive!) partner, and a graduated and non-competitive approach towards deepening sexual intimacy. There is no need for speed and there is no need for performance demands. You will need to be in control of the pace of sexual expression even as you strive to ‘move things along’ so that your partners needs are addressed as well. Any shame or ‘feeling forced’ feelings should be addressed as they are bound to come up as you progress. And progress need not be a straight line towards intercourse, but rather can be a step forward and step back affair as you require it. Seeking out a sex therapist and/or relationship therapist who is familiar with abuse issues as they play out in intimate relationships and who is willing to address your sexuality would be a good idea too, as would reading books on abuse-survivor’s sexuality. Good luck.