I am happy.

I haven’t written much because not much on the sexual abuse theme has been up lately. I’m happy. I smile. I look at old pictures of myself with a wistful look on my face and realize how profound that change is. I feel good physically. My year of working out twice a week with a trainer has paid off and I’m strong and muscular with a much smaller belly and way more energy. Happiness seems to have brought my cortisol levels down and the belly fat is finally giving up the ghost. I’m not anxious. My job is good.

Even my relationship with my wife is good. We’ve weathered so far the transition into polyamory. I’m happier, and she has more space, which she likes, and I have my old bodacious social self back, which I like. We aren’t taking one another for granted any more. We’ve both been putting energy into making the other feel loved. This is not to say I’ve actually slept with someone else, but that’s most likely to change very soon, and it looks like we’ll weather that as well.

I’ve been thinking about how and whether to explain to new lovers about the scars on my vulva, and the care needed to make sure I don’t get really sore or triggered. Frankly, preventing soreness is of more practical importance. This next relationship will be my first new sexual relationship after finding out about my scars and figuring out how to prevent and manage the chronic vulvadynia I’d had as a result of the injuries from the rapes.

Mostly I think I’ll start with – ‘I have some vascular damage, so I need there to be more than enough lube at all times and I need to change immediately anything that irritates no matter how fun it is, or I’ll be in pain for days.’ Anyone out there have a good speech for this kind of thing, that doesn’t break the mood, but gets the necessary info across? This will probably separate the wheat from the chaff, but we’ll see how that works. I’ll let you know. It’s one of those hard things for survivors, figuring out how much to tell a lover, and how to prevent the abuse from taking over our sex lives.

For those of you with similar vulva injuries, I have had good results with Probe brand lubricant, which is water based with a citrus preservative and doesn’t cause flare-ups like some other ones do. You can get thicker formulations of it that offer a bit more protection from friction as well.

I want to say that I’m hopeful, I’m well and yes, people can heal from even prolonged, early and violent child sexual assault. I believe that I’m one of them.  It takes time, courage and work, and it’s not like all of the effects go away completely, but it doesn’t prevent me from doing anything I want to do anymore. I’m so grateful.

0 thoughts on “I am happy.”

  1. What I ended up saying was that I have a particularly delicate ‘peach’ that gets easily tired out by friction and easily infected, so I need anything that goes inside me to be very clean and very slippery. Truthful, focussing on the practical. Honestly I’ve never had anyone comment on the scars, they’re pretty faint, so I don’t plan to bring them up. I’m with you on the not spoiling the mood thing.

  2. I’m very happy to read that you’re feeling better. i think I will try to do some physical exercise as well in the near future, to help me with my own issues.

    As for what to say or not say to new partners about the abuse, I’ve decided against sharing. Not that I blame survivors who want to share and who are able to share, but when I share, it always ends up in a pity party, and I do want to enjoy sexual pleasure without having to think of trauma. Besides, if the new partner is an abuser (I have a good “pedophile radar” but my “abuser radar” has never worked), the less he/she knows the better.

    I think your idea of saying that you have vascular damage is really good, since it’s accurate, and since I think it won’t automatically be assumed to have been caused by childhood sexual abuse. The painter Frida Kahlo was injured in the uterus and vagina in a traffic accident. If a delivery is very traumatic, with forceps, I’ve heard that vascular damage in the vagina can happen too. Since you’re a lady, not a young twenty-something, things like that could have happened to you.

    I don’t think vaginismus could explain the scars, which are visible, right ? So a new partner told about vaginismus would maybe feel obliged to discuss the scars, while if told of vascular damage, seeing the scars wouldn’t be a surprise.

    And if you were asked about the origin of the vascular damage, I wouldn’t hesitate to say “I was injured long ago in a traumatic traffic accident and I don’t want to talk about it”. Someone normal would not insist… and if you want to share more later on, nobody decent would blame you for having lied, in order to protect yourself. It’s not a disease, it can’t hurt your partners, you owe the truth about it to nobody.

  3. I’d go with something as minimal as possible for the early days. Maybe “I’m prone to vaginismus, so I need lube & some care”. I once had a GF who said something very much like that to me the first time we went to bed together, & I was fine with that explanation at the time.

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