In many ways, the recovery steps for sexual abuse are very similar to those of physical abuse.
In both cases, there is a clear emotional and psychological aspect of moving on from the abuse, and because of that, the key final step of living life to the fullest is identical in both cases as well.
So rather than rehashing many of the same things mentioned in our “Recovering from Physical Abuse” page, we are going to look at the unique challenges facing victims of sexual abuse, and how to ultimately handle them.
One key thing to remember in many of these cases is that sexual abuse comes at a time when the child doesn’t even know what sex is.
They are often abused in ways that they cannot even fathom until someone tells them outright that they have been wronged.
And even then, they don’t fully understand what they went through until months or even years after they have been removed from the situation.
Ultimately, this can often significantly alter how they look at not just sex, but relationships in general moving forward.
Although the person may grow up wanting to be intimate with another person consensually, sometimes their body will freeze up and they physically are not able to go through with even, even though they so desperately want it on a surface level.
This often means a lack of sexual experience for many years after their sexual abuse has occurred.
For people who suffer from these afflictions, we definitely don’t recommend wallowing in self-pity and just longing endlessly for sexual satisfaction.
Sex toys are a great way to experience amazing sexual gratification without even coming close to an actual human being.
In this way, sexual abuse survivors are able to experience “sex” on their own terms, while they slowly but surely learn to accept and invite physical intimacy with another human being.
But when it comes to said physical intimacy, it is important that a strong emotional connection is established first.
These survivors are not going to be the types who are willing to just go into a bar and find a random hookup.
Instead, they will be looking to make a real connection with someone that they can trust.
But even then, that trust will take time.
If you are the person that is trying to gain his or her trust, and assuming they have told you why they are so reserved in general, keep in mind that opening up to you will be one of the hardest things they will have to do at this point in their lives.
If you truly care about them, you will give them all the time they need.
When it comes to sexual abuse survivors, their physical wellbeing and their emotional wellbeing are inevitably tied into one another.
Because of this, their romantic and sexual lives are not the easiest to navigate, especially when it comes to the very first serious relationship that they engage in.
But always remember that facing and overcoming the unique challenges presented to them are all paramount to them ultimately recovering from the sexual abuse of their past.