• "I was raped two years ago and it's affecting my relationship with my boyfriend. What can we do?"

    Question:

    I've been with my boyfriend for 18-months but have yet to have an orgasm during sex and haven’t with anyone else either.

    I have a traumatic sexual past. I was raped when I was 17. Although that was two years ago, it's really getting to me that it's affecting my relationship now.

    My boyfriend is not pushy at all and is always very understanding, but I can't help but think I’m disappointing him. What should I do?


    Answer:

    You don’t say if you ever had counselling for the rape at the time but if you didn’t, I’d strongly recommend you contact a rape crisis centre near you (find one through rapecrisis.org.uk) and get some now.

    It’s never too late and they will help you talk through the feelings of resentment and frustration you’re feeling now. First up, when you say you don’t have an orgasm during sex, do you mean intercourse?

    Because most women don’t orgasm purely through penetration – only 20-30% of women orgasm during intercourse without any extra clitoral stimulation. Most women orgasm through oral sex or with him using his fingers, when with their partner. Are you able to orgasm through masturbation, either using your fingers or a vibrator?

    Once you’ve had some counselling and feel emotionally ready, I would suggest you start experimenting with a vibrator until you can orgasm easily on your own. Then experiment using a more couple friendly method, using your fingers.

    Once you’ve mastered that, you can teach him how to do it. If that works, you can work towards having one during intercourse while he uses his fingers on your clitoris at the same time.

    All this is the easy stuff, it’s getting your head in the right place that’s most important and I really think time with an experienced and sympathetic counsellor will make all the difference.

    Your boyfriend loves you and wants you to be happy. So long as you don’t shut him out and let him know how you’re thinking and feeling, I’m sure he understands. Be kind to yourself.

    It’s entirely normal to still feel traumatised by a rape that happened two years ago – even one that happened 10 years ago - and to feel resentful and angry at the person who did this to you. You can beat this but I would suggest you get some professional help to speed things along and make the process easier on you.

    Comments (2)

    • becks: July 09, 2010 10:56
      hello,

      If you have not had counseling and/or a support group for rape survivors then i heartily recommend it -- there are so many high emotions and 'stuff' going on after rape that it is incredibly god, or so i found, so talk with a professional about it.

      you might also like/find helpful a book by Nancy V Raine called "After the Silence; Rape and my Journey Back" - it helped me no end to read this mazing womans account of her experiences and recovery...

      there are websites out there that are very helpful too http://www.aphroditewounded.org/sexuality.html that is a good one for reading about re-discovering our sexuality after rape and sexual trauma.

      For my part, partly as my rapes occurred within a domestic abuse situation, i began to get to know my body again: -

      step 1 - i stood in front of a long mirror, naked and/or in lingerie/undies and began to 'see' myself as i really am

      step 2 -- I then touched all the places on my body that 'he' had claimed - at first i touched them none sexually until i could do it without inwardly wincing, then progressed onto sexual self touching

      step 3 -- after a couple/few weeks or however long it took to be comfortable with my naked and sexual self i then began exploring free online erotica for women (litrotica is good though not just for women and Ms Naughty dot com is excellent for womens erotica) playing with what turned me on into my fantasies ....

      step 4 -- then came sex toys, i now have a modest collection which i love and a fabulous glass dildo i adore, but at first i just ordered a cheap clit vibe to see if it 'did it for me' and settled down with my fantasies, imagination, touch and vibe ....

      With my current partner we introduced him holding and using a vibe, now i'm even happy if he ties me to the bed and takes charge of my orgasms .... good lord is that man inventive ...

      it takes time though and may include some stops and starts, but if you and partner are thoughtful of each other then you might surprise yourself down the line and be able to come vaginally .... i did and till that point with my current partner i'd never vaginally orgasmed (am now in 30's) ... also i found making sex about fun, playful helped me to recover myself a bit and learn about sex differently after the sexual trauma stuff ...

      good luck
      bx

    • Avrielle_Aniko: July 10, 2010 06:54
      I really feel for the original poster. I was raped nearly four years ago, literally only about a week before I met and started dating my current partner. Luckily my partner is very understanding and was very delicate in improving my sexual confidence. It seemed all too easy to trust him and let him take control by gently removing my clothes and being generally very tender and loving, rather than strip, have sex, go to sleep.

      I had quite a lot of issues with taking my clothes off in front of him, and I still do now to be honest, but I'm finding it a lot easier now. I also still have a lot of emotional issues about the rape and can sometimes get really upset by it. But my partner understands and is usually very helpful, caring and understanding about it, just as I'm sure your partner is.

      Don't be afraid to tell your partner your feelings though. Nobody is a mind reader and he may not fully understand if you suddenly realise you don't want to be touched or kissed one day and could take it the wrong way. If you feel a bad day is coming on then tell him straight away so he knows it's not him or that you're not interested in him or anything like that. Can seem scary sometimes, but talking is the best remedy for these things so you can get the tension out of your system. Talking about it makes thing a bit clearer when you hear your thoughts and feelings out loud instead of them rattling around in a chaos inside your head.

      I still feel I have to talk to my partner about the incident from time to time because even 4 years on it still creeps up on me when I least expect it and it opens the deep wound in my soul. Even from something like watching a TV programme or hearing about a rape attack on the news. But I find it a lot better just to go straight up to my partner, cuddle up on the sofa with him and spill my thoughts and feelings out to him so he knows whats wrong rather than thinking "oh no, she's in one of her moods.. have I done something wrong? Better keep quiet around her.."

      I agree that counseling can help for a variety of things including the mental and emotinal issues from post-rape. The only problem I found with it was that when I seeked help, they had to phone the police and have them arrive to press for details on the attack. While this would normally be a good thing, my case was a lot more complicated than that for reasons I wont go into here, and was incredibally scary for me to try and talk to the police about it. In the end it failed, I felt I couldn't go on with the counselling because I didn't feel strong enough to provide the evidence to the police. There was far too much pressure on me and I somewhat regret it now, but the way I see it was that the services failed me by pressuring me too hard when I was too fragile.

      Don't go worrying about your trauma ruining your relationship. Your partner as been with you this far, I find it hard to believe that he would give up and walk away because of it after this long. It's clear he loves you, but if you keep worrying about the negative things that -could- happen, it's going to cause more strain on the relationship than ever neccisary. Don't bottle up about it and keep your feelings flowing free in the relationship and I'm sure you two will be fine.

      Good luck to you and I appreciate this post being here. It's helped me put things in a bit more perspective too.

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