SPICY TAKES: Overcoming sexual trauma


Photo and illustrations by Emily Rabasto - The State Hornet

Meet the face behind the new advice column at The State Hornet "Sierra's Spicy Takes," Sierra Savage.

Sierra Savage, Distribution manager

Reader warning: the following story contains graphic descriptions of sexual assault.

Being an advice columnist is typically pretty fun. I get a lot of crazy submissions and for the most part, I almost immediately know how to respond. I am a Spicy Take queen, after all.

This week was different: I received a question that had me stumped at first, but after thinking of a response all weekend, I’m re-energized and ready to help.

Body Betrayal, your question is composed of two complicated parts, so I’m breaking it up into two separate weeks. Hopefully, you won’t mind. This week, we’ll address how to process trauma and next week, we’ll discuss how to move forward after.

Q: I’m overcoming trauma from a sexually abusive ex, and everything sexual (sexual music, random sex scenes on my fave shows, seeing someone attractive, lots of things) both riles up post-traumatic emotional pain as well as making me wanting to fuck anything that moves. I mean, I am c o n s t a n t l y thirsty for dick. Like, daily, even despite the fact that my mental health is in shambles.. what gives? What am I going to do, horndog after a guy for a one night stand (which I haven’t had before yet) and cry on his dick while it happens? I had someone force me to have sex with him over and over for over a year, and I’m definitely traumatized, so why is my body betraying me like this when I need to heal? This is like the opposite of what people have always said survivors were like, I thought that after I was free from my ex, my kitty would be dry and my libido way down from all the hurt.. victims aren’t “supposed” to be/get hypersexual and horny like this. Apparently, that was all a stereotype lie, or else I am a freak exception. I feel like my body is betraying me, because sex is absolutely the LAST thing I want on my mind, but here it is anyways.

Also, whenever I use my vibe and orgasm, I do get immense pleasure from it like most everyone else, but I do also get flashbacks of the abuse I dealt with in the form of sexual nightmares later the same night that leave me crying and distraught. It should be teaching my body that the orgasm isn’t worth it (orgasm = emotional distress), but my puss and libido have other ideas and a mind of their own.

  • Body Betrayal

A: First and foremost, I am really proud of you for getting through such a terrible situation and coming to a healthier place. Thank you for trusting me to address this. Thank you for reaching out.

I want to get something clear from the get-go: I am not claiming to be a therapist, but I certainly have some advice for you.

You are not alone. Approximately one-third of women will experience some form of sexual violence in their lifetimes.

There is often times a disconnect between the mind and the body of a survivor, sex therapist Vanessa Marin writes in Bustle. Reconnecting those two pieces of yourself is important and also a process in and of itself.

Your post-orgasm nightmares seem like an indicator of that disconnect. Also, this may explain why you are still physically attracted to people when you still don’t feel 100% there mentally.

How long this process takes and how it happens is going to be entirely different for you compared to someone else. Every trauma is unique and so is the healing process.

Victims are people and people are diverse. Therefore, their responses are always going to be varied. Your quotes around “supposed” are accurate AF.

RELATED: How Sac State helps survivors of sexual assault

Some people have reckless sex, and that helps them feel more in control. Others feel out of control and have reckless sex as a consequence.

Most articles recommended having sex if you want to and feel ready. Some say you should definitely not do anything sexual until you have your mental health under control.

Based on your submission, I feel like you’re pretty aware of what is going on in your head, for the most part.

I would encourage you to explore different levels of sensuality with yourself before thinking about getting with anyone else. This might mean something as minor as taking the time to acknowledge touch when applying lotion post-shower.

Even though your body is telling you it wants sex, it may not be worth it to indulge until it’s not hurting you mentally to engage. Taking smaller steps towards larger acts of intimacy while also working on mentally healing should help.

And of course, if you’re hitting roadblocks, please reach out to a professional for more resources and guidance.

RELATED: Sexual assault and Sac State: A special package

Hopefully, this provides you with a good place to start. I don’t expect to have every answer for you, but I really do want to encourage you to reach out again if you need support or more answers.

Next, we’re going to address the second half of Body Betrayal’s question and look at how to move forward after trauma outside of healing.

If you have better advice for me or for my readers, please write in and your responses may be published. Don’t forget to submit your questions here or below and come back next week to read more Spicy Takes with Sierra!