Peer Support for Abuse Survivors
Survivors & Sexuality
sexuality: : the quality or state of being sexual: a : the condition of having sex b : sexual activity c : expression of sexual receptivity or interest especially when excessive
homosexuality: 1 : the quality or state of being homosexual 2 : erotic activity with another of the same sex
bisexuality: 1 a : possessing characters of both sexes : b : sexually oriented toward both sexes 2 : of, relating to, or involving both sexes
Every living soul has the inclination towards sexual relationships; basically it’s each persons choice as to how to act on those feelings. One thing I have not found on the web is a great deal of information or tips on dealing with sexuality as an abuse survivor. I have seen the correlation between coming out as being a multiple to coming out as being gay or homosexual. I’m sometimes left to wonder about the correlation between abuse survivors and rape victims ‘becoming’ gay after the experiences. I do not claim to know or even understand the intricacies involved or even if that correlation exists. I have offline and online bisexual and homosexual friends. What I have been told is that sexuality is no more a choice than blue or brown eyes. I only know that I have never judged anyone for their sexual preferences. I have always had the tendency to choose my friends based on how they treat me.
There are lots of pages and even organizations dealing with sexuality but not specifically in relation to survivors of abuse or particularly survivors with MPD. There are so many issues to cover, I do not claim to be able to do that but I would like to mention of a few of the issues here. Hopefully someone more knowledgable then I can address them all eventually. I know within MPD systems there are almost always alters that have the function of dealing with sexual situations. I myself have one (that I know about). Eventually for myself there will have to be some kind of knowledge sharing, where I help the alter learn to be balanced sexually (not overly and unsafely active) and she in turn can help me to be more in tune with my body.
Some survivors choose abstinence (deliberately refraining from sexual intercourse) either for (fear) safety reasons or lack of a significant other. It is not unreasonable to feel afraid even many years after the abuse. It is my understanding that the body instinctively remembers what sexual stimulation feels like and those feelings can bring on flashbacks and/or cause an alter to appear to handle the situation for us. It is easy to see how that could very well remain a pattern throughout ones life if they chose to never deal with their MPD issues in therapy.
One reason there is so little information is that many survivors are still afraid to talk openly about it. It’s important to take things slowly for many survivors because even the idea of having sex may cause flashbacks to the sexual abuse that caused the fear and pain. There is also the problem of body memories that may occur when one is getting ready for bed. Sometimes for some survivors that particular situation can be helped by planning for sex during the morning or afternoon (yes that does take out some of the spontaneity). I suggest daytime because many survivors were abused at night in the cover of darkness and bedtime alone holds anxiety leaving out sexuality completely. However, daytime brings its own issues as many survivors are ashamed of their body and uncomfortable being ‘seen.’ As you can see there are so many issues to cover regarding sexuality. Hopefully as more information becomes available, I’ll be able to add more to this page.
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