for my fellow survivors out there, this post talks about sex, and my opinions/associations with sex at the moment. I have attempted to put triggering material in italics, but please read with caution
As I had decided, I emailed Bea. I told her I wanted to talk about things, that I wished I could explain the flashback I was having in her office, but that I didn’t know how. I told her that so many of my memories of the relationship with the boyfriend had to do with sex, and I couldn’t use the words to tell the memories. I also told her that while I believed she believed she wouldn’t judge me, it seemed more like a nice fairy tale than a true story.
She responded that it seemed as though I was really grappling with trust, and that I was trying to decide if it was safe enough to tell any of these more difficult and scary trauma memories yet. She also acknowledged that it can be painful to talk about sex because it goes against the proper demeanor we set out into the world with each day, and that when there are horrible acts associated with sex it can be unspeakable. She suggested we could talk about sex in general as a way to work up to the other stuff.
I felt like I was testing her; that I would really only know if it was safe to talk to Bea about the boyfriend if I shared a memory, and this memory in particular could help her see why her grounding techniques were more triggering to me, not less. But that was only if I could manage to share it. I wrote her back, stating I felt like the only way to kmow if it was safe was to start talking. I also told her about my inability to talk about sex, and explained that even talking about sex in general would be difficult. I may be a married woman, and I may have a child, but I avoid sex as much as possible. I leave the room when sex scenes come on tv when watching a movie, I skip them in books, or better yet, just avoid the books that would have them in the first place.
Clearly, my anti-sex attitude intrigued Bea. She wrote back with many questions, and two statements. She wanted to know :
when did sex become twisted and bad? it just always was
was it ever a good thing?no
were you ever curious?no. I didn’t want to know about it
were there ever positive feelings towards sex? never. Sex is dirty
Bea suggested that I might tell the memory starting from the end. She said that can be easier sometimes. She said it reaffirms to the person doing the telling that they survived the memory, and that often times, the aftermath or the ending of a memory is less emotionally charged.
She also stated in that same email: One thing to remember–sex gets very complicated because there can be arousal and good sexual feelings associated with horrible things. Bodies react and that can be very shaming and confusing for people.
And that was the statement that sent my world into a tailspin. I didn’t know exactly what she meant, but I’m no dummy, and I had a pretty good idea. I didn’t email her back for a few days, and when I did, I dropped the subject of the boyfriend. I sent her the question that changed everything.