I understand that many people do not feel sexy, whether it is because of what society has portrayed as what a good-looking, sexy person has or whether it is because of difficulties with self-perception. I feel confident that the perception of my body being “sexy” is directly related to my sexual abuse.
For many survivors, their abuse began before puberty, forcing them to deal with sexuality long before their brain is ready to process that information. When I was sexually abused at thirteen, I was still too young to understand completely what sexuality was all about. Yet, I was beginning to process sexual feelings and relationships at that time. My abuse left me feeling shamed, dirty, and used, which is what most survivors struggle with. I believe that those feelings influenced how I viewed by body and my own sexuality.
The idea that someone could find me attractive or sexy just reminds me that sex was used to shame me, to make me feel used, or to remind me how dirty I am. Also, sex is not a pleasure for me, but a function that I can perform for other people for their pleasure. It’s very easy to view intercourse as a duty and an obligation, rather than a connection with the other person or something that can be satisfying for myself. Furthermore, an intimate, pleasurable sexual relationship is only for other people, making them better than me, more important than me, and causing my irrational mind to put me in a lower category of human species than others; one that I find myself being the sole occupant.
Therapy is helping, but I have a long way to go. I encourage all survivors to explore these feelings of inadequacy when it comes to sexuality and your sexual relationships. I hope that we all can heal from this part of our abuse so that our partners and us can enjoy the beautiful and intimate act of sex.