IUD Made Me Fearful of Sex
Hi Betty & Carlin,
I am 30 years old, female, and in my first healthy relationship. Sex was great for the first few months, I was able to ejaculate easily accompanied by orgasms. I was able to orgasm through oral stimulation. Then, something changed. Everything changed. I had an IUD put in and around this time I became FEARFUL of sex, of being touched.
I started remodeling my apartment, avoiding sex. If we were having sex I would feel FEAR physically overwhelm me and I would literally kick and push my boyfriend off of me. This happened a few times dramatically so, I went to see a psychotherapist I had seen awhile ago. I have (still) a very supportive boyfriend and did not want to traumatize his sex life. His mom is a gynecologist and he has a very healthy attitude towards sex. It's been about 8 month since the fear started. Being in my therapy has brought up my unhealthy relationship to sex and body. For a decade I thought date rape was my fault, it happened (once violently) at least seven times to me. So, with all this information I've brought up to myself, I feel I see where the fear is coming from.
My question for you both is, how do I take sex from such negative associations and make it healthy again? And have you ever heard of other women reacting negatively to an IUD? It made me more timid about my body, like I could break. The IUD changed the thrust I wanted from my partner (more shallow, deep thrust I was scared). I saw your video about a diaphram and am going remove my IUD infavor of this. I would love to actively change my sexual attitude. In all this I did by a vibrator, but I shy away from self love. I never grew up with that affirmation, pleasuring myself was an objective I didn't even realize was for me until a week ago. I thought because I could ejaculate, that was evidence of pleasure. I would love your advice!
I have several essays on my understanding of "female ejaculation." I've never had the experience nor do I want to learn. The few women I know who do ejaculate all agree that it is NOT the same thing as having an orgasm.
I suggest you begin at the beginning and learn about your clitoris and spend some time masturbating. Don't waste any more time digging up old sex wounds. We all have them. Instead move forward. I agree with you about the IUD. It would freak me out too knowing a foreign body was inside my uterus. All the info you need is on the website.
awakening the clitoris: http://dodsonandross.com/blogs/betty-dodson/2011/12/awakening-clitoris
first time orgasm: http://dodsonandross.com/sexfeature/first-time-orgasm
how to use the vaginal barbell: http://dodsonandross.com/sexfeature/how-use-bettys-vaginal-barbell
I wrote to you in July of 2012 asking for advice because my body was physically responding with fear to sexual stimulus. I thought the causes were a recent IUD I had received, an unhealthy relationship with my body and sex, and the fact that I had been date raped once violently, among other instances. When I wrote this letter, I was writing to you out of desperation. Of my sex life I wrote, "something changed. Everything changed. I had an IUD put in and around this time I became FEARFUL of sex, of being touched. I started remodeling my apartment, avoiding sex. If we were having sex I would feel FEAR physically overwhelm me and I would literally kick and push my boyfriend off of me."
I am writing you today because I believe the advice you gave me in response is partially outdated, insensitive, and medically inaccurate. Your response was, " I suggest you begin at the beginning and learn about your clitoris and spend some time masturbating. Don't waste any more time digging up old sex wounds. We all have them. Instead move forward. I agree with you about the IUD." My main concern with your response is your recommendation about burying old sexual wounds. I don not disagree at all with your suggestion of learning more about my body, this is beautiful and I am deeply grateful for the overall message of your website.
However, as a PhD sexologist, your website is an important forum for conversations regarding sex. I am sure others like myself find your site when trying to self-diagnose (medically recognized) side effects of sexual assault. I do feel your minimization of my sexual assault was wrong. My statement acknowledging I had been date raped was a recent awareness to myself at the time I reached out to you. I had no training in identifying sexual assault, especially in the context of date rape, where my attacker was known to me, and all the more confusing. However, as a Sexual educator I find it irresponsible for you cast off my experience as "old sex wounds. We all have them."
It is true many if not most human's have sexual wounds - instances of sexual assault done to us by perpetrators. Instances not of our asking our control. However, the importance in identifying these wounds for what they are - sexual assault - is an integral part of the healing process. With identifying the wound one can begin to identify other hallmarks of sexual assault such as PTSD, body memories, constricting of ones environment, hyper vigilance, and intrusive thoughts as documented in Judith Herman's landmark guide to healing, "Trauma and recovery: The aftermath of violence from domestic abuse to political terror" .
I do wish we lived in a a world where we could all just "move forward" from our sexual wounds. However, I feel Betty you have skipped a step in feminism, the acceptance of our wounds and healing process that necessarily accompanies this acknowledgement. If our sexual experts do not acknowledge the documented physical and mental side effects of sexual trauma, who will? How can we possible move forward in the ongoing sexual revolution?
I did see a psychotherapist to understand the underlying causes of my side effects: the dramatic change in my sexual experiences from positive to negative, being overwhelmed with fear when faced with sexual stimuli, avoidance of sex through other activities, among others. This psychotherapist tried to medicate me. I left his care and found a place that focuses on trauma recovery of specific life events. It is not easy to find proper care for these wounds once the cause has been acknowledged.
I have spent the last year in counseling dealing with effects of that violent date rape. I completed a 14 week support group for women who have also experienced sexual assault. And something beautiful has happened. I have healed. We cannot ignore the sexual wounds. To skip the step this to deny ourselves the reality of our sexual wounds - acknowledging these are experience done to us by others, unasked for. I have reconstructed my ideas of safety and learned to self soothe myself in many ways when the triggers of the trauma intrude in my life. These learned coping skills are an important step in healing. I believe if I did not seek out to further understand my wounds, the cut would lay deeper inside of myself, unhealed and able to erupt without warning and understanding.
No amount of masturbation can heal what we do not put a name to. My body is mine once again. Now I do not need to wonder where the fear comes from, I know. I have identified my sexual assault. And the reward is a fuller understanding of my sexuality inside an out. Sexual assault by nature of the crime takes away control of our own bodies. Full healing restores this control.
I strongly urge you to not disregard your readers sexual wounds. They should be addressed and not pushed aside. As a sex educator it is your responsibility to fully communicate the range of sexual side effects. I encourage you Betty to dig up old wounds. Do not be afraid, it is not a waste of time. It is a necessary step in fully being able to take ownership over our bodies.
Thank you for listening,
Thank you for getting back to me about healing your sexual trauma. Given the degree of violence currently rampant in our society, I'll admit that "date rape" hasn't been a high priority on my list of sexual problems facing girls. When you stated: "For a decade I thought date rape was my fault, it happened (once violently) at least seven times to me." It did occur to me that you might unconsciously enjoy "rough sex." However, now that you have shared your healing experience, you have helped me to understand your situation far better.
When you advised me not to be afraid of digging up my old sexual wounds, I smiled. At the age of 85 with a long life of being a sexual warrior, my wounds are so numerous it would take years to identify and process them. My point being that some of us heal ourselves with repeated orgasm energy by giving ourselves an abundance of pleasure on our own term via self-loving.
Hopefully I will continue to learn more about how to help people right up to the last day of my teaching career which has been primarily focused on creating more sexual joy in the lives of women and girls. I used to always recommend "The Courage to Heal" by Ellen Bass. Now I will add "Trauma and Recovery" by Judith Herman. I'm happy to hear about your successful recovery.