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Asexuality and Sexual Trauma

by @UntilThen

Before I even begin to get into this I would like to remind us all of 5 things:

 

1. There are plenty of people who have experienced sexual trauma and still crave and enjoy sex

2. If someone who has experienced sexual trauma does not want sex, that does not make them asexual

3. Asexuality is not caused by sexual trauma, it is just a sexual orientation

4.  If someone who has experienced sexual trauma does not want sex, that is not necessarily a permanent thing

5. Sexuality in general is fluid and subject to change


 

What is asexuality?

 

Asexuality is a lack of sexual attraction to others or low/absent desire for sexual activity. This does not define a persons romantic orientation, only their sexual orientation, though people can also be aromantic.


 

How is asexuality different from the low/absent desire for sexual activity that some people experience after sexual trauma?

 

These things can sometimes appear the same from an outside perspective because much of the difference is the REASON that the individual does not wish to have sex. While an asexual person may stay away from sex because they do not feel sexual attraction or because they have little to no interest in sexual activity, a person who has experienced sexual trauma and does not want sex usually doesn’t want sex because it upsetting or triggering in some way. Also, though asexuals have little to no interest in sex, they sometimes still have sex because it’s not necessarily unpleasant or unenjoyable for them, whereas a person avoiding sex due to sexual trauma would find these acts uncomfortable or upsetting.


 

Can sexual trauma change your sexuality?

 

Sexual trauma can not change your sexuality, though it can make individuals with certain body parts or gender expressions upsetting to become sexually intimate with. This is the difference between your sexuality and who you have sex with. You do not need to have sex with both men and women to be bisexual because sexuality is not about action it is about attraction. Because of this, even if trauma changes how someone acts and who they engage with sexually, their orientation has not changed. If after trauma a person has an adverse reaction to individuals of a specific sex/gender when in sexual situations, this is an effect of the trauma and not a reflection of sexuality. If one is able to erase their associations created by trauma (which is very difficult and is a long process) this reaction would be different or absent and whatever their sexuality may be would be expressed over the fear.

 

An important note:

We should always respect people, and that includes not pushing them on the topic of their sexuality after trauma. It is to be expected that a person's sexual behavior changes to some degree after trauma and questioning them about it can make them feel guilty or responsible for their triggers or associations. Even outside trauma we should not force people to define themselves for us. We can only ask what is okay. Be kind to each other.

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