Sex and Sexual Abuse

Sex and Flashbacks

For those with a well developed sexual appetite, flashback sex can seem like a dream come true. However, memories and flashbacks are two different things and not always welcome in the bedroom or anywhere else.

What the difference between a memory and a flashback? A memory is a thought of an event from the past. It may even be welcome and enjoyable. A flashback is when a person is actually immersed in the past and is usually unaware that they are not in the current reality. Some of you are thinking something like “Wow, I want one of those!” and fondly remembering your most creative lover. Well, don’t get too excited, because flashbacks don’t usually come in the form of a welcome time in your past. In fact, it’s just the opposite.

Flashbacks about sex usually happen to those that have been sexually abused. The younger the abuse, the more likely the flashback. The more abuse a person suffers in their life, the more potential they have for flashbacks when they are in a safe situation. So, what causes these unwelcome sexual flashbacks? Let’s take a look at the human brain to answer that question.

Many times people will say “I can’t take anymore.” but do not realize what a wonderful thing the human brain is. You can and will “take” what is dealt you and the brain will adapt. It can do this because the brain avoids the most horrible moments, storing them in a little room in your mind where you can’t knowingly reach them. Why? Because we were built for survival. The brain can recognize when too much may just slide your cheese right off your cracker and it says “Hey..let’s put this on a back burner until we are ready to deal with it.”

Sexual abuse is one of the most damaging types of abuse that exists. The younger you are, the more damaging it is because the mind is not ready for the information it receives and young children’s bodies have the ability to be aroused. The child may even be young enough to not realize what’s happening is wrong. But if the child is stimulated and therefore aroused, they will feel immense guilt about the situation, though it is no way their fault or responsibility.

Sexual flashbacks are most likely to occur when a similar scenario happens to them. Does this mean if you touch your lover who has been sexually abused that they will have a flashback? Not necessarily, but it can happen. For example, if as a young girl, an obscene uncle began the abuse by waking the girl up through touching her hair, it’s entirely possible that if you wake your lover up by touching her hair she may have a flashback. Sadly enough, this is especially true if the relationship is a good one. Sound odd? Consider that the brain stored this information because it was to horrifying to deal with. But that information needs to get out sooner or later. The more comfortable and safe a person feels, the more inclined a person’s brain is to say “’s OK, you can come out now.” and here come some sexual horrors that the victim may not have remembered happening.

If you are with someone who has suffered sexual abuse, speak with them about it in such a way as to encourage them to let it out. Anger over sex or withdrawal from sex is the surest way to make this person feel that her only value is sex and there is no way she is going to tell you anything about it!

Remember too that these sexual flashbacks are in no way pleasant for the sexual abuse victim and can be quite scary. They are not remembering the sexual abuse, they are actually reliving it. Try to be understanding, but let them go at their own pace.

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