Early injuries, insecure attachment, developmental trauma and shock trauma leave their mark in many ways. Almost nowhere is this more noticeable to those affected than in relationships and sexuality.
Trauma and Sexuality
There are several components to this topic that are often very difficult for people with trauma and raise questions. Like this question, "I have trouble with my sexuality, but I can't remember any of it from my childhood. So must there have been sexual assaults somewhere that I don't remember? In fact, it is not. It is not necessarily the case that “just” because one has difficulties in the field of sexuality, one must necessarily have experienced sexual abuse / violence. There is a possibility, but it doesn't have to be.
We learn how body contact and touch work in childhood. For people who have only rarely learned physical or cross-border contact, touching is often more uncomfortable and overwhelming later on. Our capacities and associations with proximity play a major role in this. “How did I get to know the proximity? Do I have pleasant or unpleasant memories of this? "
How the body remembers
Trauma works at the level of arousal levels. This means that memories are stored in my body of the excitement that has been in certain experiences. I may not be able to discern whether experiences that cause a high degree of arousal in the body are positive or not. Because the body perceives the high level of arousal in a focused way. And new experiences feel like a memory of the traumatic event. The body tells me, “Oh, now we're getting stressed, we already know that!” That means that when the excitement is so high, nothing good comes out of it, and knowing that creates fear. It doesn't always have to be through sexual assault. It could just be a whole different traumatic experience. We are often completely frozen, scared or dissociated, something that should be beautiful, we can no longer recognize as such. Because we get caught up in an old trauma, we can relive the stress and freezing of the experience then gained in our sex life.
Sexuality and desire in our culture
Sexuality is a taboo topic (needs and desires are not discussed), but at the same time we live in a completely oversexualized world that culturally "allows" hardly any real non-sexual contact. In other words, those who are not in a relationship today experience little touch and body contact, and intimacy and sexuality are often confused in relationships and similar connections. People who struggle with closeness tend to experience sexuality without intimacy. They limit themselves to the physical act without coming close to their partner, i.e. allowing intimacy, and any touch is often seen as a prelude to, or an invitation to, sexual acts. Because of this, people avoid touch, even in their partnerships.
How sexual energy works
In addition, sexuality is always overwhelming when one person is sexually aroused and the other is not, because sexuality is simply instinctual and is a very pervasive energy. Even if nothing has actually happened to sexual acts from an adult towards the child, the mere directing of sexual energy by the child can be overwhelming. This experience will most likely have consequences for the experience of sexuality in later life.
Trauma and desire
Another important aspect limited by trauma and developmental trauma is desire, which in our culture is usually understood only in a sexual context. Sexual desire can be part of this, but desire is a much broader term. Desire means wanting to reach for something, wanting to pull something towards you. In the broadest sense, it is a physical act of “wanting”. What a person desires internally or in context with other people can be very different, it is important that someone should feel a need to desire. This need must be expressed so that it can be realized in the world.
(To be continued)
Video (NL ondertiteld)