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Trauma Thursday: How to Help Abused Child Deal With Orgasm During Sexual Abuse


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By faitha - Posted on 20 November 2008

Traumatized Adopted Child (c) JulieC

On Trauma Tuesday, I talked about a difficult topic: Trauma Tuesday: Orgasms during Rape and Sexual Abuse. See that blog entry for an explanation of how experiencing orgasms during rape and sexual abuse messes with a child’s head. In this blog entry, I am going to focus on how you, as the foster or adoptive parent, can help your abused adopted child heal the wounds that resulted from experiencing orgasms during sexual abuse.

1. Explain that having orgasms during rape or sexual abuse is normal.

Most adult survivors of sexual abuse are not aware that experiencing orgasms during sexual abuse is normal, so most abused children are not going to know this, either. Reassure your abused child that his body reacted just like anyone else’s body would have responded to sexual stimulation. He bears no shame in having experienced an orgasm while being sexually abused.

2. Tell your abused child that the sexual abuse was not her fault.

Even if the child experienced an orgasm with every single rape, the child was still not responsible for being raped. The responsibility for sexual contact between an adult and a child always falls squarely on the shoulders of the adult -- always. The fact that the child’s body responded to the sexual stimulation does not shift responsibility to the child.

3. Emphasize that experiencing an orgasm during sexual abuse makes the abuse worse, not better.

Some abused children react to orgasms during sexual abuse by believing that the “pleasure” involved somehow mitigates the horror of what was perpetrated on the child. It doesn’t. If anything, harming a child and causing “pleasurable” feelings to occur while the child is frightened makes the abuse even worse.

Adult survivors of sexual abuse who enter into consensual sexual relationships wind up being haunted by this duality of feelings toward orgasms. Orgasms during consensual sex trigger the shame and terror of the childhood trauma. The adult winds up hating her body when it climaxes and when it doesn’t, which sets the person up for all sorts of conflicting feelings surrounding sex.

4. Talk to your abused child’s therapist.

Many survivors of sexual abuse feel betrayed by their bodies because of the orgasms during sexual abuse. Therapy is a necessary part of the abused child learning to love his body again. If you know that your abused child has experienced orgasms during rape or sexual abuse, be sure to talk with the child’s therapist about the issues so he or she can address it with the child.

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Photo credit: JulieC