Wanting to explore penetration after sexual trauma (trigger warning: mentions of sexual aggression)

I was involved in a deeply manipulative and abusive “friendship” from the age of 11-13, which later became sexual. Being exposed to sexual acts at such a young age (from someone the same age as me, no less) left me feeling very confused and angered about how sex was supposed to be and what it meant to be sexual with someone else. This friend of mine used sex to manipulate me and further isolate me from my family, constantly asking me “if they found out” or “if they heard us” or if they “saw the hickeys” etc. I carried around this heavy burden of shame and guilt, especially because of my sexuality (the “friend” was a girl) and left me even more afraid to open up about what was happening. I would get spending $ from my mom, and when we would go to the mall she would coerce me into buying cheap sex toys from Spencer’s. She would use these on me with no warning and would shove them inside me. She would also try to fit as many fingers as she could, even when I would tell her my vagina was sore and I didn’t want any more. Once she sucked on my nipples so much they bled and began burning. For the next several days it hurt to even put clothes on. I couldn’t keep this from my family because my mom saw me naked and was shocked at the sight. I just said I was cold and they got chapped, but I later told my “friend” that my mom saw and she just laughed about it (she never showed remorse for causing me pain). I wanted to give this background because I really struggle with vaginal penetration. I have bought dildos and used them but the whole time when it’s happening I feel terrified to move and I will even get slightly dizzy. I do not like thrusting toys in and out. It feels like I am being violated and invaded, even if its with myself. I really want to explore penetration, but I do not know where to start. Please help!

1 Like

I actually want to explore penetration with my fingers because that is what I have the most issues with due to my prior traumatic experiences with fingers. Toys is fine but I would like to find ways to become more connected with penetration through my fingers. Any tips help!

I’m sorry you had that experience. Have you talked to a therapist at all about this? I only ask because the work I’ve done with my own therapist around sexual trauma with my past partners has realllly helped me personally, not only to heal my own relationship with my body and sex but also with just sex in general. Cannot highly suggest it enough if you haven’t talked to someone about it (and hopefully you have the means to do so, sorry if I’m suggesting it and you don’t, ugh I wish therapy was an affordable resource for all).

The thing that has helped me has been exposure work. Doing the thing that causes me anxiety or that I avoid, making myself be out of my comfort zone but not doing something so much that it’s too triggering. So, in relation to sex for me, that’s included watching porn with people that look like me (a lot of my personal stuff has been tied to body dissociation) and masturbating to it because I generally don’t watch porn with fat bodies because of my own body issues, touching parts of my body I avoid in a loving way, having sex in different positions that I generally wouldn’t do in order to hide parts of my body, buying myself lingerie that I wouldn’t usually buy that highlights the body parts I avoid, etc. Basically if it makes me feel a bit uneasy to think about doing, and that unease it coming from the part of my brain that is judging me for my own negative perceptions about myself, then I tend to now make myself lean in and do the opposite, try the thing that makes me uneasy in safe and controlled situation where I can check in with myself before, during and after. I’ve just seen so much success in my life with exposure therapy in general, big fan of it.

So, in relation to your situation, I would go gradual and make a plan. Say you’re going to try and use 1 finger for a bit, see how it feels. Then move to two. Make sure you have lube on hand, make your touch gentle, so your body can feel safe and supported if needed. You could even get a finger vibe so it’s slightly different but still using your fingers. And stop and check how you’re feeling. That checking in during and after has helped me better examine and understand why my body might be tensing up or why I’m wanting to have a specific reaction to something, it just keeps you present. As for penetration, I’d do the same. Start simple. If your body is tensing up, given what you shared, I would venture a guess it’s a natural reaction to fear, bracing for pain that you didn’t want. Which fear and pain can be great, but only IF you want it and it’s consenting. Honor your body by letting it know it’s safe, you’re in control. I think sometimes we just have to remind our bodies that yes a past circumstance might have triggered a response in our bodies because it was a negative experience we weren’t in control of, but that doesn’t mean that has to be the default response always. Hope that makes sense.

1 Like

Thank you so much :heartbeat: yes, I am currently talking to a therapist but I haven’t touched specifically on the sexual abuse yet and am touching on the other harmful aspects of the relationship first. I feel strange calling it “abuse” because it was done by someone the same age as me at the time and also because having it done by a girl also makes it seem less legitimate (even though that’s bullshit, but “rape” has been defined as *forceful penetration with a penis…even though men aren’t the only ones that rape)

1 Like

I totally get feeling strange naming what your own experience was. Our culture either doesn’t talk about this stuff or creates such a grey area of definition, that anything out of the most obvious examples feels odd to claim sometimes.

For years I didn’t consider my own experience as trauma or assault, (trigger warning: mention of lack of consent with a partner) because in my case it was with someone I was fooling around with and I had made it clear to them I didn’t want to have actual penetrative sex, but in the moment they kept pressuring me and I felt in that moment I couldn’t say no. I always felt off about the experience, but wrote it off until years later when I unpacked it all and realized that yup, my boundaries and myself had been violated.

I’m glad that people are re-examining on a larger scale as a culture what exactly consent is and isn’t, because even 10 years ago it felt so very different.

Sending you lots of love, you are a badass for working on this stuff with yourself, it’s super tough to even acknowledge.

1 Like