Dear Lorelei, Three years ago, I started taking birth control. Suddenly my sex drive dropped, but my ex boyfriend couldn’t handle that. He became abusive, pressuring me for sex, and I ended up hating sex because I had it when I didn’t want to all of the time. Now, I’m with a new partner who respects me and would never push the matter. However, I still feel an aversion to sex and wish I didn’t have to have it ever. I don’t like it when people go down on me, I don’t like sex itself, and anything that should cause me pleasure just causes me to withdraw and detach from the experience. I sometimes will use a strap on, but other than that, I dislike sexual acts. I want to like sex again, and I want to make myself and my partner happy and fulfilled. How might I go about this?
I’m so sorry to hear that you went through this. On a much smaller scale, any kind of pressure to have sex can really prevent arousal from happening. Over time, or with added emotional or physical abuse, it’s completely understandable that you would develop this aversion to sex. I would strongly recommend that you seek out some kind of counseling to discuss the abuse you experienced. Your partner made you do things that you, your body, and your heart weren’t into. That can cause profound change in a person, as well as how they think and feel about themselves and the world. Given what you said about withdrawing from pleasure and detachment, I think counseling could really help you.
In addition, think about what owning your sexuality means to you. What would you like it to look like if your sex life was exactly the way you wanted it to look? Find small ways to express your sexuality by yourself, with your partner, or both. Keeping a journal about these thoughts could help. The goal is for you to mean every single yes that you give. To know, without a doubt, that the yes is yours. Having a partner that respects your boundaries will be a great help. Respecting yourself and the pace you need to take will also be a great help.
At the start you may just talk to a counselor, or write in a journal. You might not feel you’re practicing a sexuality of any kind. However: the absence of what we consider sexuality is often times a certain kind of sexuality in itself. Create that foundation for you to continue building back towards whatever you want your sexuality to be. It may not be exactly what your new partners sexuality is, and that’s okay, too. Often times when we’re with a partner we share some interests and don’t share others. When you get to the point where you want to begin working together, find a place where you have common ground. Explore areas that feel safe, comfortable, and fun.
I’m glad you are in a better situation now, best of luck moving forward.
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