When Childhood Sexual Trauma Impacts Your Marriage

This article is based on scientific evidence and clinical experience, written by a licensed professional and fact-checked by experts.

Posted: June 22, 2020

Estimated reading time: 3 minutes

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When Childhood Sexual Trauma Impacts Your Married Sex Life by Josh Spurlock

Crystal says, “I was molested at a young age. I have anxiety about doing certain things with my husband. How do I get past this and how can he help me?”

Read more to find out what Josh Spurlock, Christian Counselor and Sex Therapist, says about healing from childhood sexual trauma, including resources to help the healing journey, and ways that a spouse can be supportive in the process.

CASSIE

Welcome to My Counselor Online. I’m Cassie and this is My Counselor Says. My Counselor Says is where you submit a question, either for yourself, or for a friend,  and one of our incredible therapists takes their time and answers your personal question. So let’s go find out what My Counselor Says.

JOSH SPURLOCK ON HEALING FROM CHILDHOOD SEXUAL TRAUMA IN MARRIAGE

Well, Crystal, let me say that I’m sorry that you’re going through this; that something has been robbed from you and your husband, and that’s getting in the way of you guys enjoying your sexual relationship today.

Let me give you some hope and let you know that it is possible to heal, and to be able to move past that, so that you’re able to enjoy a full and robust, healthy sexual relationship with your husband today.

RESOURCES FOR WORKING THROUGH SEXUAL TRAUMA

The best way I know to do that is, first, connect with some reading resources, Diane Langberghas a book called On the Threshold of Hope. That can be very helpful, working through some of the trauma that’s associated with sexual abuse that can get in the way of a healthy sexual relationship.

The second book that I would recommend is by a gal named Wendy Maltz called The Sexual Healing Journey. This book walks you through specifically working on finding healing in your sexual relationship when you’ve experienced sexual trauma of this sort.

You can also connect with a counselor that would walk with you through those books and help you process that trauma in such a way that it doesn’t get triggered up and get in the way of you being able to enjoy your sexual relationship here in the present.

HOW A SPOUSE CAN SUPPORT THE HEALING JOURNEY FROM SEXUAL TRAUMA

One of the best ways that a husband can be supportive is, one, to encourage connecting with these resources, encourage connecting with a counselor, but also to have grace and be willing to engage a sexual relationship that’s mutually fulfilling for the two of you.

Pressuring a spouse to engage in things that are triggering of sexual trauma can actually create sexual aversions in your relationship, that will shut down your spouse sexually and lead to more difficulties and problems. You don’t want those traumatic sexual memories to get associated with you and your sexual relationship today. And if you pressure your spouse to engage in sexual activities that trigger that traumatic memory, they’re going to get paired together in a way that can be very difficult to unwind and unpair.

So I would encourage you, or encourage a husband in this case, to reach for and build a safe sexual relationship engaging activities that you both can enjoy, which may mean avoiding certain activities that are triggering, or remind of the sexual trauma that’s been experienced.

Be supportive of a spouse connecting with a counselor to process through those things and probably engaging in sex therapy with your spouse at some point after they’ve worked through the trauma, to be able to build on and heal the sexual relationship.

Thanks for the question, Crystal. If you have a question that you want to be answered by one of our counselors, submit it here!

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This article is based on scientific evidence and clinical experience, written by a licensed professional and fact-checked by experts.

About the Author
Josh Spurlock
Josh Spurlock

Josh Spurlock MA, LPC, CST, has a BA in Biblical Languages and a Masters in Counseling. He is a Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC), holding licenses in MissouriColorado, and Florida. He is also a Certified Sex Therapist (CST), Level 2 AEDP Therapist, and an Ordained Minister. He is an Advanced Practice Clinician, with over 10,000 hours of clinical experience. He specializes in Marriage Counseling, Sex Therapy, Family Counseling, and works with Executives, Pastors, Business Owners, and Ministry Leaders. Learn more about Josh Spurlock at JoshSpurlock.com.

Josh is currently unable to take on any new clients.

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