More threads by kaht


I was sexually abused by both my grandfather when I was 10 and by my father from the ages of approx. 13 to 16. I am now 32 and after nearly a decade of therapy and a long time slowly getting a psych degree as well, I can say that I have processed the abuse and made about as much sense of it all as I can probably ever hope to. I feel more whole, don't suffer from bouts of Major Depression any longer, have terminated therapy and stopped taking antidepressant medication.

There is one lingering legacy though that makes me wonder what more work I can possibly do to make a difference. I am unable to initiate sexual activity with my partner, which, whilst not a major issue, is a source of frustration for both of us. :( I can understand that it must get a little tedious to always be the one taking the lead and showing all the imagination. I really really want to be able to show a little spontaneity once in a while, but no matter how hard I try, I never can. Even once it's all underway I can't even take over the lead then and be the dominant one.

I know I shouldn't be putting any unrealistic expectations on myself and that pressure will probably serve to have the opposite of the desired effect, but there must be something I can do? This is a person I trust and love and with whom, for the first time in my life, I am even able to achieve orgasm. So, why the reticence on my part if I've really dealt with it all? What am I so afraid will happen if I finally express myself as a sexual being? It took so long to learn to loosen up and allow myself to enjoy sex and experience pleasure instead of fear, but I seem unable to take that final step of expressing my own sexual needs and desires. It makes me feel incomplete; like there's this whole side of me as a woman that I'll never know...and that no-one else will ever get to experience either. These are my 30s and I feel cheated; when will I ever get to reach my sexual prime? Every woman's got a minx somewhere inside of them right? So how do I convince mine to come out of hiding?


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Hi kaht,

I have been in therapy off and on for many years - recently for just over a year now. I have gone back when I have found that something in my present life is being effected possibly from my past - that I want to work on and change.

You may want to consider working on this specific issue in counselling. Sexuality is a big issue and you are worth exploring all the aspects that are effecting you in that area so you are happier and feel more whole.

I want to say to that you have already done an enormous amount of work that I hope you are very proud of. And as things pop up, as they have now they can be looked at.


Thanks for your responses :dimples: Having only just finished my latest course of therapy last August ladylore, I'm keen to have a bit more of a break and try and figure life out on my own for a while. You're right though, it is always an option to go back into therapy; I guess I'm being a bit "all or nothing" in my thinking about therapy at the moment. Thanks too for the recognition in terms of the hard work I've put into my healing; I find it's more natural for me to be hard on myself than to be gentle and acknowledge the progress versus the unfinished work, so thanks for the reminder!

In answer to your question lallieth, yes, I guess fear of vulnerability is definitely part of it. Like I said to my partner when we were discussing it the other day, "what if you weren't in the mood at the time?". As she rightfully pointed out, that's a risk she takes every time she initiates it with me too! So, maybe there's a little fear of rejection going on. Honestly, what is the worst thing that could happen? She could turn to me and say, "You know what babe, I'm not really up for it at the moment. Maybe later?!" It's about more than risking vulnerablility though.

It's also about not wanting to impose myself on someone else. It feels almost as though it's akin to what my abusers did...impose their needs and desires on me. I know it's a world apart and in a completely different context, but the thought of initiating love-making makes me feel predatorial for want of a better word! When my partner asked if I thought of her as a predator whenever she does it though, I naturally said, "no, of course not!" because I don't!! So, what's the difference if it's me getting things started or her?

Interestingly, it makes little difference now that I am with a woman rather than with the opposite sex. Whilst sex is now an infinitely more satisfying experience, I am still no more able to be completely uninhibited. Of course there's always the possibility that my reluctance in this particular area is more to do with my personality or my over-bearing religious upbringing rather than my abuse...maybe?

I'm reminded of a classic Seinfeld episode where George Kostanza decided to do everything the opposite of how he usually behaved and it really worked to his advantage...for a while anyway! Maybe I should just take the bull by the horns so to speak and run with the risk...maybe just maybe instead of the sky falling in, it'll explode into fireworks instead :p


What you say about fearing you'll be doing what your abusers did makes a lot of sense. Although it's a different context, whenever I get angry, even when it's rightful, assertive healthy anger, I fear that I am 'turning into my father' [whose rage was powerless rage and yet exterted tremendous power.] and that can really block me from standing up for myself and expressing how I feel.

I think you are doing well to be in a relationship and to have come this far.



It's going to take time and don't beat yourself up over it,enjoy the loving relationship you have.Remember that intimacy starts way before the bedroom,it's a touch,a whisper,a look,that only you two share.

Being vunerable means you can run the risk of being rejected,we all feel that at times,but it also means that you open yourself up to a wonderful world of loving possibilities.It means that you share the most secret part of your soul,and with someone you love,this can bring joy and peace.

But don't rush it,it will come in time :)


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Hey Kaht,

Just a gentle reminder to have fun with whatever you are doing. Sexuality can be turned into sensuality and play in all aspects of your life - doesn't necessarily have to do with sex. Have fun. ;)


Thanks everyone for your encouragement; I will return to the 'baby steps' approach and stop, as ever, trying to run before I can walk! Daniel, I will definitely check out some of those resources...thanks.

Braveheart, I feel validated that you can see a similar link between your own early experience of and (in)ability to express anger. It's almost as though we over-generalise our negative experiences onto anything that vaguely resembles the behaviour, even, as you point out, when it is an appropriate and healthy version of the behaviour. Interesting...and food for thought!


Dearest kaht
My abuse was not of a sexual nature, but it was at the hands of my father as well. I too have the problem of initiating. I do think it has so much to do with trust. That first man, who you were supposed to be able to trust let you down. Even though my husband is the most amazing man ever, it is a problem that we have had. There is no one I trust more than my husband, but, I am still afraid to let myself go. We have been married for 11 years, and it is only now getting much better. But I have to say, damn, it still makes me feel intimidated to jump on him!!! lol
Ladylore has an excellent point though, start with the sensual and make it fun. That has certainly helped me.
I wish you all the best hun, and I know you will find yourself over this hurdle. Given what you have already accomplished, I think you are doing amazing! :)
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