Sex After Sexual Abuse: How Abuse Impacts My Sex Life

August 21, 2019 Miranda Card

Sex after sexual abuse: what's it like? Sexual abuse has a huge impact on my sex life. After two instances of sexual abuse, I felt that my sexuality no longer belonged to me. Twice my body was treated as an object to be used by my abusers as they saw fit, first during my childhood at the hands of a family member, then later by a stranger on a train. Though I didn't realize it at the time, I accepted that my sexuality belonged to the men I slept with and not to me. It took me a long time to confront this truth about the impact of sexual abuse on my sex life, and I still haven't deconstructed the many ways that these instances of abuse eventually brought me to my experiences with sex now. I decided to use this blog as a place to explore this. 

My Experiences with Sex After Sexual Abuse

Here's the reader's digest version of my experiences with sex after sexual abuse. 

Sexual abuse took away my feelings of agency over my body. Because my body was abused in this way at a young age, I came to the conclusion that my sexuality was about men, not about me. I made up stories about my experiences with sex that would please my partner -- stories largely influenced by porn -- and convinced myself of the truth of these stories. It didn't occur to me to take the time to discover what I actually enjoyed in bed because sex was about the other person, not me. 

Learn more about this in my video:

Next month, I'll dig into the details of my first experience with sexual abuse. 

I've never described in detail my early experiences with sexual abuse, in part because the memories are fuzzy and in part because it's uncomfortable for me, but I think it's time to try. In my next video post, I'll describe these early encounters, the effect these encounters had on my familial relationships and how it catapulted feelings of shame around sex. Looking ahead, I'll talk about my second experience with sexual abuse and my experiences with sex after sexual trauma.

It's not going to be easy to lay out my experiences with sex for all to see, so I'm going to do it one piece at a time. In the future, I'd like to explore the way it felt to have a stranger take advantage of me as a teenager, how shame seeped into my sex life and poisoned it, how sexual abuse affected my future relationships and what I'm now beginning to discover about my sexuality as an adult who has just begun to address my trauma. 

How has sexual abuse affected your sex life? Let me know in the comments.

APA Reference
Card, M. (2019, August 21). Sex After Sexual Abuse: How Abuse Impacts My Sex Life, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2024, July 13 from

Author: Miranda Card

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June, 10 2023 at 2:03 am

I'm so tired that people usually write how to HAVE SEX after abuse. That is, the question - do you want, do you need, are you going to - is not worth it at all. It feels like violence.
Really, no one says - if you never want it, then OK. You CAN, you HAVE THE RIGHT to never want to do this again.
No way. You owe everything. You HAVE to have sex. You're just not human if you don't have sex. This is the duty of human beings. This is a social contract.
It is, and it's just the same thing the rapist did. It's the same thing. I THINK YOU SHOULD AND YOU WILL
Has anyone seen articles on how to live on without sex after violence? Something like "You're still a good person."
Only in topics about asexuals.
Even natural avoidance, partner repulsion, fears are called undesirable reactions. This reminds me of how podophiles say that shame is so childish.
Undesirable reactions is when someone whant having fun when another person does NOT WANT to at all. He doesn't want to, but he has to. And these "fears, triggers" of his are undesirable

Jamie Henderson
September, 1 2019 at 3:43 pm

Hi Miranda thankyou for sharing part of your experience with sexual abuse. I was abused also by a family member I was a child. I was also abused in hospital some years ago. Its only been this year that I've started to talk about it to my mental health team. I've been happily married for 16 years and have a beautiful 13 year old daughter. I've always thought it was my dirty secret I'm a man after all men are supposed to be strong. I don't have a sexual relationship with my wife at the moment, but we are both fine with that (I think) I wish you all the best in and through your journey always remember You are not your abuser. Take care. Jamie

September, 2 2019 at 1:56 pm

Hi Jamie,
Like you, it's taken me time to feel able and ready to share my experience. Since I started writing about my story and talking to loved ones about my abuse, it feels like a weight's been lifted -- feeling less alone in my experience is hugely helpful, so thank you so much for sharing your experience with me.

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