Sex advice with Mrs Salisbury
I’m 28, my husband of eight years is 35. We have no children yet. Years ago, when I was 19, I was sexually assaulted by someone I knew very well. It was a horrible point in my life and for years I bottled this up. I avoided anything at all that might be a trigger and suffered emotionally but always had a good and satisfying sexual relationship with my husband.
Recently I made the decision to work through these issues and told my husband what happened. He has been wonderful and supportive but he hasn’t been able to have sex with me since. We have tried, but he always loses his erection. At that point he tends to say something along the lines of: “It’s not going to happen tonight. Sorry.” Up to when I told him, we had sex four or five times a week. I asked him if it’s knowing what happened that is causing this and he said: “I don’t know, maybe.” I have assured him that he’s not going to hurt me, and it’s not going to be traumatic in any way for me. I just want him. Our attempts at sex are getting more awkward with time. What do we do? It’s not unusual for a partner to be deeply distressed on hearing their loved one has been sexually assaulted. This distress can be anger or sadness, which are pretty understandable and straightforward, but still give rise to arousal problems and sexual withdrawal if the partner is not emotionally open and skilful at expressing and releasing emotions. More complex reactions can include repulsion; towards himself for being male (and thus associated with the sexual offender), towards his sexual urges which may now feel tainted or animalistic (as if that is bad), or towards you for being “damaged”, not the pure young woman he believed he had married. Sorry about having to write that last bit – it’s not at all logical or accurate, but it can happen, consciously or unconsciously.
I trust you’re aware of ACC Sensitive Claims counselling for funded professional help? ACC could refer you to sex therapy, as a couple, to help your husband resolve whatever is going on for him and get the two of you moving forwards into the powerful erotic connection possible with two emotionally open lovers.