SEX, LOVE, & CHRISTIANITY: Part Two

10:06 AM


A lot has changed in my life since Part One of this series. I got married! In fact, when I wrote Part One, my partner and I were already engaged. He proposed to me two months prior to that post, but we chose to keep our engagement private. We only celebrated with close family and friends.

Our wedding anniversary is coming up soon and I have been reflecting on my journey to sexual healing (cue Marvin Gaye).

As mentioned in the first post of this series, my introduction to sex was through sexual assault. Yes, I am a survivor! And DeMico and I chose to wait until marriage to have sex. I know there is a lot of conversation around this topic, especially with celebrities like Ciara & Russell Wilson and Meagan Good & DeVon Franklin having open conversations about "The Wait." When it comes to consensual sex, I want to express my conviction once again that:

Sex is about choice. Whatever you choose, nothing can separate you from the love of God. Period.

I chose to wait because I needed to heal. I chose to wait because I wanted to be free from the sexual trauma of my past. I chose to wait because I wanted there to be absolutely no guilt and no shame when DeMico and I became one for the first time.

Now, we are One. And I want to talk about the healing that has taken place.

Mental Block
To give you a bit of context to help you better understand my process to healing: My sexual assault lasted many years. During those years of abuse, I had a tactic for survival. I learned to separate my mind from my body. While my body was being used, my mind would go elsewhere: to a book I read about true love, to a song we sang at church, to a distant memory of a family vacation. I became very adept at removing myself from the situation in hopes that it would be less real. My biggest fear was that I would carry this tactic into my marriage bed.

Spiritual Block
The first step for me in addressing that fear was recognizing I could not heal alone. There is this idea in Christianity that when bad things happen, all you need to do is pray about it. Prayer is indeed powerful. Through prayer, I learned forgiveness. I found hope for a better life. My spirit healed. But:

Prayer alone was not enough.

After many years of prayer, my body and mind still hadn't healed. My body's natural response to the idea of sex was separation, shame, fear, and neglect. Deep down, I always knew that:

There is a Divine nature to sex and intimacy.

But, I had not experienced it yet. As I prepared to become One with my husband, I was ready to do the work required to reverse the patterns that were created from my trauma.

Practical Tools
I wholeheartedly believe in the power of counseling and therapy. I advocate for it at all stages of life. Therefore, I chose to see a therapist to help me wade through all the learned behaviors and mental blocks that developed from my past. I needed practical tools to prepare for sex and intimacy.

As I began therapy, my counselor taught me that the sexual practice I developed of separating my mind and body is called "Dissociation." It is a direct a result of my trauma. According to the International Society for the Study of Trauma and Dissociation, dissociation is a word that is used to describe the disconnection or lack of connection between things usually associated with each other.

During sex, your mind and body should be connected with one another. Through trauma, I learned to separate them. Even though I had forgiven and released my spirit from the trauma of the past, I still struggled to feel a connection between my spirit, mind, and body. I still could not feel the beauty of intimacy.

In the first post in the Sex, Love, and Christianity series, I talked about how my mental attitude towards sex changed. So, I won't go into detail here about the mental work that I did in therapy to reverse my negative thoughts about sex. Here, I want to talk more about the physical work. How do we reverse those learned behaviors? How do we overcome our bodies response to sex after trauma? This is where my therapist's practical tools have proven to be most useful.

My counselor helped me identify practices that would help me stay present during sex. Whether you identify as Christian or not, you can use these resources. And if you are Christian, in addition to prayer, these tools will help you stay present and begin the good work of feeling the fullness of joy during intimacy:

1. Tune into your arousal.
One of the hardest things for survivors of sexual assault is learning how to experience pleasure that is free from guilt or shame. Sex should be natural and beautiful! But for some of us, it isn't easily so. I encourage you to find what turns you on. What arouses you? Whatever it is, cling to that when it is time for intimacy.

2. Engage all of your senses.
To ensure that you are fully present in the room, engage your senses. What do you feel? With your hands, your skin? What do you see? What do you hear? For those of us who dissociate, engaging our senses requires our mind to be present in the room. Once your mind is there with you, you can begin to explore a deeper sense of pleasure within your body.

3. Have a loving, supportive partner.
I cannot stress the significance of this enough. Having a partner who is patient, supportive, and loving will make a world of difference. They will understand if you need to take things slowly. They will care about your pleasure just as much, if not more, than their own. This will help you to feel safe as you attempt to re-connect your mind and body as a necessary step to sexual trauma healing.

God desires for you to have great, safe, consensual sex! These tools have been tremendously helpful to me on my journey to healing and freedom. I am so thankful to my partner, my counselor, my God, my tribe, and all of you for being on this journey with me!




Unapologetically,
Pam

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2 comments

  1. Love!!!! Thank you for being bold and vulnerable. Beautifully written. Also thank you for adding the links to the various organizations for clarity!

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    Replies
    1. Thank you sis! Vulnerability makes us stronger:) I'm happy you found the resources to be useful! And thank you for being with me on this journey. Love you deep 💖

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