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The Survivor's Guide to Sex: How to Have an Empowered Sex Life After Child Sexual Abuse
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This book offers an affirming, sex-positive approach to recovery from incest and rape.

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Developing A Trigger Plan

source: Staci Haines

The following are some suggestions from Staci Haines book entitled:
“The Survivor’s Guide To Sex”

Developing a trigger plan is like preparing for a trip. You usually choose your itinerary and gather your maps before you buy your plane ticket. Similarly, set up your trigger plan before you are in a sexual setting. You can develop this plan to use on your own, without necessarily letting your sexual partner in on it. But sharing the plan with your sexual partner can be an empowering risk as well as a great support when working on sexual healing. Please use this plan when being sexual with yourself as well as during partner sex, because masturbation can be just as triggering.

  1. Notice.
    What are some of your current triggers? What happens when you are triggered? How can you (or your partner) notice that you are triggered? Be specific about behaviors? List at least three signals or signs that let you know you are triggered. For example: I start to get angry and my lover’s touch bugs me. I hold my breath. I want to say something, but feel like I can’t. I worry that I will hurt my lover’s feelings. Then I start tensing up in my body and find myself just “bearing it,” waiting for the whole thing to be over.

  2. Stop.
    Take a deep breath. Stop the sexual activity. You can do this by using a safe word, by moving your body to communicate that you need to stop, or by getting up to go to the bathroom. Breathe again. Name three things you can do to stop sexual activity when you are triggered. Refer to your sense of internal safety and resources.

  3. Choose.
    Now you get to choose how you would like to proceed. Keep breathing. Relax your body. It is easiest to do this step if you have already generated a list of options you feel will work for you. Choose from this list what will meet your needs and support your sexual healing now.

  4. Engage.
    Instead of dissociating, engage in whatever strategy you have decided on. Continue to build your capacity to stay present and tolerate the sensations and feelings that are a part of this healing work. Just a reminder: you are always allowed to change your mind and to choose again. If you find that you consistently make the same choice, try choosing something different. For instance, if you usually choose to calm the trigger and continue to be sexual, try going into the trigger instead. If you consistently choose to stop being sexual, practice continuing slowly. Bring yourself to your own edge of discomfort so that you can expand your possibilities and process the abuse.

  5. Return.
    Go back to the beginning whenever you need to.








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