How Our Kinks Can Help Us Heal Our Sexual Trauma
When we engage in kinky play, we can enjoy a sense of power over something that traumatized us. This can help to heal sexual trauma. Even if the fantasy we are engaging in is one in which we are being rendered powerless. That is because when we engage in kinky power play in a consensual manner or in a fantasy, it is technically our choice to re-experience that feeling of powerlessness, which ultimately feels powerful and can be an intense turn on.
It feels empowering to actively choose to engage in an act that once made us feel powerless. It can also feel empowering to play the role of the person rendering someone else powerless. This is why sometimes when we are stressed, the intensity of our sexual fantasies can increase. The desire for a sense of power or control is so great when certain situations remind us of stressful situations in the past, that it can drive us to crave a recreation of scenario in which we felt powerless – just so we can feel a sense of power over it.
Choice is such a powerful thing, when we’ve experienced something in life we didn’t have a choice about. Our attraction to that which traumatized us is often an unconscious thing. Many experience shame around be attracted to the very thing that caused harm in the first place. It is very common, for example, for a woman who got sexually assaulted or harassed to go on to have fantasies about being violated sexually, or violating someone else sexually.
For a long time, the kink world has been treated as if it is a separate space, where only people who are really liberated go, sexually. Kinky fantasies are actually so much more common than most realize. They are a very natural way of dealing with and responding to our past experiences.
For example, if a woman grew up in a home with a lot of boundary crossing when it comes to sexuality, she might have lots of fantasies as a grown woman about people crossing her sexual boundaries, or the flip side, her crossing other’s sexual boundaries.
If a young girl grew up in a home with a father, a sibling, or other extended family member who had leaky sexual energy – if he was lustful and made comments about women around her, or made comments about her body specifically – she is much more likely to harbor fantasies about inappropriate attraction. She may fantasize about her doctor crossing professional lines or the plumber taking advantage of her while on the job.
Why harbor these fantasies if the original experience was so distasteful? See, when the original trauma occurred – when a young girl is objectified and receives sexual energy inappropriately from a man, she is both disturbed by it, and stimulated by it. She is disturbed by it because it feels wrong to receive energy like that from an adult. It may be incredibly emotionally confusing, and a young girl does not possess the context in life to have an awareness of what kind of emotional interactions are appropriate between children and adults. But a young girl can still feel that something is not right about the situation. It may even actively be causing her harm.
So, a young girl is disturbed, but she is also stimulated. When she receives leaky sexual energy from a man, she feels the energy of his attraction to her in her body, and her body naturally has it’s own sexually stimulated response. It is often completely compulsory for a young girl’s body to have it’s own sexual response when feeling the energy of a man who is attracted to her.
But as a really young girl, she doesn’t possess the context or understanding of self enough to be aware that the energy she is feeling in her body is not necessarily her own. She may not have enough awareness to know that what she is feeling is someone else’s sexual attraction. So she may just assume that the sexual energy in her body originates from self, creating an incredibly confusing interaction with an inappropriate person.
From a little girl’s perspective, all she knows is she is experiencing sexual stimulation. That may lead to her feeling attraction to an inappropriate partner. It is the man’s leaky sexual energy that instigates that interaction. A young girl doesn’t possess the awareness in life to understand the complexity of the energetic interaction that’s happening. That is why these interactions are traumatic. Because there is more going on under the surface than a young girl can truly grasp.
So, why can it be empowering for a woman to experience playing with fantasies of being violated or victimized by an inappropriate partner? Because it is healing for the inner child. It can take the experience from one of confusion and harm, to one of feeling in control and sexually gratified. It can work both ways for women. It can be appealing to be the violator or the violated, depending on the way that she is coping with what happened to her earlier in life.
That example was an energetic/emotional one. This experience can be even more powerful for someone who has actually physically been violated in the past. Choosing to engage in kinky play can really shift one’s relationship to the original event. It can relieve it of it’s limiting power, recalling all creative power to an individual, free to direct their own experience.
It can be very healing to find a trusted person to play out these fantasies with. The ideal scenario is in a slightly more “professional” setting, in which there are formal agreements around kinky play, and a deeper understanding of the potential healing that is taking place through the erotic scene.
When you partner with someone who is capable of holding space for the physical, emotional and energetic complexities that come into play during an erotically healing scene, you open up the space for yourself to truly explore new territory within your relationship to your sexuality.
It can be easy to shame our most taboo erotic fantasies, the ones that seem just “wrong,” but in reality this exploration brings us back to a wholeness of self that is difficult to claim otherwise. The parts of ourselves that we’ve shamed are generally the parts of ourselves where we are holding the most pain. We try so desperately hard not to acknowledge that pain, but that is not a healthy habit. Erotic and kinky play can transmute that shame into sexual satisfaction and more fullness of self.
Seeking someone trustworthy who will hold boundaries precisely where they need to be held is key. Lots of communication is needed and exploration of the underlying themes of the fantasy, which elements are most appealing or stimulating about it. Clear lines need to be drawn around the experience that is desired and anything that is not desired.
The ability to relax into the safety of free expression is very important. For the healing affect to take place, one must have the opportunity to feel immersed in the fantasy, in touch with the frequency of the original trauma, safe to experience their sexual turn on around it, and free to explore a sense of power over that sensation and experience. The feeling of choice. The ability to say no at any point.
Playing safely with a taboo or kinky fantasy can dramatically shift one’s relationship to sex and their own sexuality. It can be incredibly liberating to explore what has not felt safe in the past, in a truly safe, consensual, agreed upon way.
It’s natural to have desires that seem strange, or like the opposite of what you might think you want to experience when it comes to your sexuality. It is helpful to recognize that this is often our way of compensating for an experience that occurred when we had little understanding. We unconsciously create attraction to these experiences, not realizing we are simply responding to energy we are receiving. And of course, this affect is more intense for those who are actually assaulted.
It is so incredibly common for women, especially, to have sexual trauma of some kind in their past. Finding ways to engage in one’s sexuality by choice, actively, and consciously, is a way of healing the relationship with self and one’s sexuality that was originally wounded.
Kinky and taboo fantasies are a signal that someone is looking to experience a sense of power, even if what they desire is to relive a sense of powerlessness. It’s a healthy space to play in, and one that can be really supportive of your overall sexual experience, if it feels like it is a challenge to go there. The juice is completely worth the squeeze.
Look for a yoni massage therapist or similar sexual professional in your area. They are becoming more and more common, because the benefits of this kind of sexual healing are showing themselves everywhere!