“Swoon” Show Notes: Episode #37 – Trauma & Sex

Jeff Guenther, MS, LPC on Nov 24, 2019 in Swoon

We’ve been putting off this topic a while because it’s both a huge topic and a really important one: today, Julie and Gina talk about trauma and sex.

This episode covers:

  • How common trauma is
  • How it can impact a relationship
  • Why it’s so hard to define what trauma is and isn’t
  • Why trauma can be so different with different partners
  • How to deal with trauma when you realize you have it

                    Memorable Quotes

                    “What makes me feel safe is likely to be different than what makes you feel safe.”

                    “Trauma is how you feel about what happened, how you process what happened and how other people respond to your experience can have a bigger impact that what actually happened.”

                    “Trauma gets stored in our brain and our body but not in the strongest problem-solving areas… which is why it can feel deep, old, or visceral, instead of logical.”

                    “It’s not about thinking it through or making sense of it… sometimes it doesn’t make any sense, and still your experience is valid.”

                    “Imagine how scary it might feel if you have experienced trauma to listen to our podcast telling you to get into your body.”

                    “People can have a lot of pain and shame about not being able to access their body.”

                    “It’s easier to define trauma by looking at the experience and impact than the facts of an event.”

                    “If we want to compare, there’s always going to be someone who seems to have a more traumatizing experience than mine... when we look externally to make meaning it’s hard to heal our own experience.”

                    “You can I can experience the exact same thing, and it might be deeply traumatic to one of us and only mildly distressing to the other.”

                    “When we’re in an environment of chronic trauma and oppression it can be really challenging to relax into an embodied state and experience sexual connection.”

                    “Every time sexual expression has been activating my trauma it becomes more challenging for me to want to show up for it.”

                    “When sex is so loaded people will either avoid sex or dissociate during sex.”

                    “Not just sexual trauma, but all kinds of trauma can create problems sexually.”

                    “Something scary happened around you and parts of you still feel scared.”

                    “You are not crazy for wanting to feel safe and comfortable.”

                    “When many of our early sexual experiences involve non-consent it can be really hard to figure out what consent is later.”

                    “I’ve done all this work. Why is this still a thing for me?”

                    “There is a really good chance you or your partner has experienced at least minor traumas that are impacting our connection.”

                    “Some people with trauma will have a lot of sex and connect with a lot of people sexually and some people with trauma won’t have any sex or sexual connections and then we have everything in the middle.”

                        Resouces from the Podcast

                        Emily Nagoski TED Talk

                        Trauma History Checklist

                        The Body Keeps Score, Bessel VanderKolk

                        Consent Worksheet

                        Healing Sex: A Mind-Body Approach to Healing Sexual Trauma by Staci Haines

                        Secret Bad Girl: A Sexual Trauma Memoir and Resolution Guide

                        by Rachael Maddox
                        The Sexual Healing Journey: A Guide for Survivors of Sexual Abuse by Wendy Maltz

                        Action Steps

                        Get a Therapist

                        Ask yourself:

                        · What will make me feel safe?

                        · What things help you feel comfortable?

                        · How can someone check in with me?

                        · How do I know when I feel activated/triggered/checked out/overwhelmed?

                        Ask your partner:

                        · What will make my partner feel safer?

                        · How do you want me to check in with you when this comes up?

                        · How can we stay connected safely if this comes up in vulnerable moments?

                            Your Swoon hosts

                            Gina Senarighi, MS, MA, CPC is a sexuality counselor and communication consultant specializing in healthy boundaries, passionate relationships, jealousy, and infidelity. She supports non-traditional couples all over the world as a retreat leader and certified relationship coach.
                            Connect with Gina

                            Julie Jeske, LPC is a sex and relationship counselor. She has a private practice where she helps clients increase intimacy, ignite passion and deepen their connection to themselves and others. Julie especially loves to help women discover who they are sexually. Through counseling, online classes, or in-person retreats; her clients learn how to talk about their sexual and relationship desires, and explore ways to make them a reality.
                            Connect with Julie

                            Jeff Guenther is a Licensed Professional Counselor in Portland, OR.

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