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Have your traumatic experiences convinced you that you aren’t deserving of good sex? That voice is lying to you.
Any deeply distressing experience that has a lasting impact is trauma. Sexual assault and abuse is traumatic; a rough breakup or a difficult pregnancy can be traumatic, too. Trauma comes from both interpersonal experiences like abuse, and from the ways we personally experience social things (like a global pandemic or systemic racism).
And no matter the cause, trauma can have sexual side effects. But here’s the good news: For every side effect, there’s a coping mechanism or healing strategy to help.
When it comes to sex, trauma can manifest in two main ways: sexual avoidance (avoiding sexual situations because you feel unsafe or out of control) and sexual fixation (having sex more often or with people you typically wouldn’t have sex with in order to regain control of your body).
Neither way is right or wrong—they’re just ways of unpacking and coping with trauma.
Rebuilding a positive relationship with sex after you’ve experienced trauma might not be easy. But you and your pleasure are worth the effort. In the latest episode of You Deserve Good Sex, sex educator Cassandra Corrado guides you through your journey.