A couple of weeks ago I launched my new program called Your Big Sexy Comeback. It’s a private group mentorship for women who are healing from betrayal trauma, and who are ready to reclaim healthy sex/sexuality.
Our thoughts about sex can be some of the deepest to uncover because we often have core negative beliefs that we’re operating under.
Three of the big ones for myself, and for the women that I’m working with, are: 1) Sex is a commodity; 2) Sex is secret; and 3) Sex is hurtful (especially emotionally hurtful if you’ve experienced infidelity).
I often hear women say, “Well, after he cheated, I no longer wanted to have sex with him.”
I just want to normalize that when you’ve experienced sexual betrayal in whatever form you have experienced it, OF COURSE you don’t want to have sex with them! It wasn’t just your heart that was broken. Your trust, and your body’s ability to trust the person who’s betrayed you, has been damaged.
How your libido responds is one symptom of sexual betrayal trauma. Your body is in cahoots with this very old part of the brain that signals fight, flight, or freeze.
So, when you are in this vulnerable place of thinking about being intimate with this person, your brain and your nervous system are like, “Threat! Danger, Danger, Danger! This person hurt us!”
That threat can show up in our bodies in the fight, flight and freeze model of response:
Fight — They start to touch you and you feel angry
Flight — In the middle of having sex, your body is like “Oh my God, I’ve got to get out of here.”
Freeze — You just shut down. You could either be avoiding sex entirely OR you could be having sex with this person, even though your body doesn’t really want to.
Here’s the thing: when you do that, when you force yourself to go through have sex when you don’t feel safe, you’re actually sending signals to your body not to trust you.
At the other end of the spectrum are the women who become hypersexual. They want more sex and it can show up as this territorial type of thing,“He’s mine”, and it is like they want to stake their claim on their man. It can also show up as retaliatory as in, “I’ll show him by having an affair, too!”
All of these responses are completely normal responses to sexual betrayal trauma.
It is your body and your nervous system trying to protect you. There is no judgement for any of this behavior. Give yourself so much grace, no matter how you show up after your trauma.
How you move through it is to learn to trust yourself again, and to set sexual boundaries with your partner that allow your body and your nervous system to feel honored in the moment.
So listen to your gut.
Honor your body.
Set your boundaries.
You WILL trust yourself again.
You’ve got this.