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Bare Scars: Navigating Intimacy After Abuse

Sexualization as a coping strategy


When my body has been the means to feel confident

because he could only see that part of me.


When my sex drive has helped me feel power

in a time where he misused his.


When seduction is a fucked up coping strategy

as a response to a fucked up adult.


.


Inside of me lives a young girl that, all those years, yes, ever since, craved for the love she needed then. Of her parents, of her father. For the protection she always deserved but never felt and questioned whether she was worthy of it.


Consequently, she only knew one way. So she got into more unwanted, tensed-up, unconsensual, uncomfortable. And more, and more, again and again.


It's from this young girl's unmet need that I have gathered many tools for intimacy, embodied connection, consent, and communication skills.

It is from this unmet need that Intimate Breath got born and that I always continued to share.


And it is still, today, from this wound that sex sometimes covers up for hidden loneliness, for feeling unsupported, or unworthy.

It has been her way of coping then and now. It has been MY way of coping then and now.


.


I have been sexually abused.


One period in a very vulnerable and young age has been the result of many more times as an adolescent.


It is the gold that drives my mission. And at the same time, it really was not right.



Woman sitting naked on a rock in the forrest, staring in the distance.


Different situations, different marks


After experiencing abuse at a young age, it could be easy to expect that person to have become shy, become reluctant or hesitant towards physical intimacy and to become more 'private'.


It might surprise you that a second, very common response is to become 'over-sexual'. When there is a feeling of powerlessness related to our body, one way of coping is to start using the body to feel powerful again.


Needless to say, maybe, this isn't always in a very healthy manner.


I remember being 20 years old and just having had a terrible experience with a man. I experienced flashbacks when I closed my eyes.


I was sitting with a male friend the day after, sharing what happened, crying and shaking. Until I started making out and initiated sex.


Did I surprise myself? Yes.

Was he surprised? For sure. And he questioned my behaviour.

I was quite convincing however. It was my way of coping, it was the way I knew.


Remember, we all have very different experiences and the level of negative impact depends on your specific situation, the role the abuser had in your life, the way your parents or caregivers responded, etc.


Reach out for support to whoever feels like the right person to you. We do not need to feel alone with this. Let's move forward together.


(Read part 2 of this story here.)


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