Updated: Jan 5, 2022
Finding Pleasure After Sexual Trauma By Laura Zam, Sexuality Educator, Yoga Instructor
Finding Pleasure After Sexual Trauma Finding erotic pleasure is tricky after violation and other trauma. Extremely vulnerable body parts have been harmed. How are these same areas supposed to respond afterward without fear, numbness, or both?
In my work as a Sexuality Educator, I help people reconnect with these aspects of self. I’m involved in this kind of journey through my work with clients. However, it’s also something I experienced myself healing from childhood sexual abuse. From all these perspectives, I can unequivocally say: reclaiming sensuality can bring a person wholeness, intimacy, joy, and a profound sense of agency.
One tool I recommend for everyone, regardless of history, is something I call a Pleasure Hour. A Pleasure Hour is a one-hour solo self-love session. The self-love part can be defined as you wish. Time alone, concentrating on our body, takes the pressure off having to perform—a common pitfall for trauma survivors. For that reason, it’s a great laboratory for recovery and discovery. Recovery can be practicing being present in our bodies by doing mindfulness activities (like slowly eating a piece of fruit or rubbing lotion into our skin. We might also journal about what triggers us, so we have more clarity around this.
As far as discovery is concerned, discovery can be finding out what turns you on—again without pressure to perform. Clients have experimented with sensual touch, erotica, and sex toys.
Please know a Pleasure Hour can be explicitly sensual, or not. Many times it’s a perfect excuse to chill out with some music, or take a nap. Any delight rewires our nervous system, training us to feel unthreatened, to relax, and to be allowing of great physical experiences.
I believe fantastic sensations are the opposite of sexual wounding. Pleasure is like an antidote. For that reason, it’s a critically important part of healing, as well as continued overall health.
Laura offers meditation, mindfulness, yoga for all bodies, and her own style of movement, YES! Yoga, as well as sexuality education.