Sex, Abuse, Dreams, and Taboos

My hands are actually sweating writing this.  I’ve wanted to write it for a long time but how do you talk about it?  Well–you don’t.  So you write about it, and then no one 11111111111111111111111111111111111111can look at you.  Childhood sexual abuse, a well-known internet topic, but not-so-known is the secret many victims share–the abuse aroused us.  Maybe not all, but many, many, many survivors share this shame with me.  My therapist wasn’t surprised when I told her about it–which is the only reason I didn’t puke.

I’ve been looking around and found this place helpful–Pandora’s Project.  The opening of their page on Sexual Abuse and Arousal states:

A sexual response or orgasm in the course of sexual assault is often the best-kept and most deeply shameful secret of many survivors. If you are such a survivor, it’s essential that you know that sexual response in sexual assault is extremely common, well-documented and nothing for you to be ashamed of.

and I liked this as well:

If you were sexually assaulted as a child, you were victimized by somebody who had knowledge of how to touch and manipulate you to the ends of their own gratification, and ensuring that your shame and (false) sense of complicity rendered you less likely to tell. It is another dimension of the abuse, and not a statement of you being bad. As you heal, you will come to give the abuser back the responsibility for all of the abuse, including the responses.

However, even though knowing that this reaction is normal, I just can’t accept it, and for very good reasons.  But before I get into that awfully private shit, I want to talk about shame.  I don’t even understand what the word means and I want to know why I don’t.  It’s not in my vocabulary.  I don’t feel like I caused the molesting in any way.  I did not provoke.  I was four for Christ’s sake.  Then why do I hate myself for it?  I don’t understand.  Like this part of my brain is blocked.  I want to do more EMDR.

I have dreams where I am being molested or raped and I wake up in an orgasm.  And the worst part?  The “dirtiest” part? Is in the dream…I like it.  I wake up nauseous and cry my eyes out, wondering what kind of person am I?  And it take A LOT for me to cry.  I have nightmares all the time but these ones kill me.  And then 11111111111111111111111111111there’s the other reason I was hinting at before–my sexuality.  I am a submissive heterosexual bordering on bondage.  Utter submission.  And there are fantasies in my head I’ve only shared with one other  person, and luckily he’s as fucked up as I am, so there’s that camaraderie, lol.  OK, why am I making jokes.

I know arousal is a normal response.  I know that.  But what about now?  What about current sexual desires? –the submissive, bondage, etc.  And is it normal to be having these sick dreams at the same time that I am figuring out my sexuality?  yeah, I’m a late bloomer.  I was very…inhibited and numb until my thirties. 

Now I know what I want.  But now the dreams are changing into darker things.  Any advice out there? Or maybe not advice but…similarity?  Or, shit, compassion? Please?  Or maybe I’m just fucked up.  Huh.  Wouldn’t be the weirdest thing about me.

I posted one of my nightmares because I had to write it out.  Here’s the link or you can read below.

Break Her Neck

December 2014
I am finally writing about my dreams. Well two in particular, because there is something about them, something telling. They are not dreams. Right now I am listening to Yo Yo Ma’s Bach: Prelude from Unaccompanied Cello Suite No. 1 in G Major, Bwv 1007. Okay.
In the last dream I am in the shower and I think I am a man. The shower is open and it feels like blue-green tiles. I don’t see a curtain but I see a clear plastic one when the small girl comes up to me. I am naked, my chest is a man’s but she is laughing this inhuman giggle and reaches to touch my skin, my chest, stomach, and ass. I am il_570xN.359268481instantly mad and pushing her away but trying not to scare her. Her face isn’t human either, it’s a blur but her smile is like, stitched on but nicely done. She wears a dress and has ponytails. A layered dress. Old looking. I tell her more vehemently to get away, that I mean it, and she giggles as if she had a pull-string. She keeps grabbing and her squealing gets louder and I am an exposed man, furious. I go down the hall, dressed suddenly, and she tags behind laughing and holding a stuffed animal, her grin beaming in the dream. I can’t stand her. I hate her. I want to hurt her. She is taunting me and she may not be real, but she has feelings. I know she does because I go through some sliding glass doors out onto a patio with wooden slat flooring and it is raining. She sits on built-in bench and looks at me stupidly. Her false smile. I near her and it’s like she knows, SHE KNOWS, I am going to finally hurt her. She wanted it but didn’t. There is something beneath her stitched grin, her eyes kind of glaze over and go empty and all I can think of is dissociating, she is in there, she is real, but she’s not. I know all along this doll is me. I pick her up with one hand by the neck, raise her off the bench, and break her neck. I throw down her body onto the wet wood and the rain beats down on that goddamn grin and I feel a tinge of overwhelming grief. Just a little, but it’s huge. And I wake up.

I had another dream once about these two dolls that I was holding–they had huge bullet-like, burnt holes in their skirts from being raped so bad and I dropped them and they shattered.  And all these doll dreams, aaand I found this poem by Amy Gerstler that stuns me:

Touring the Doll Hospital
Amy Gerstler

Why so many senseless injuries? This one’s glass teeth
knocked out. Eyes missing, or stuck open or closed.
Limbs torn away. Sawdust dribbles onto the floor
like an hourglass running out. Fingerless hands, noses
chipped or bitten off. Many are bald or burnt. Some,
we learn, are victims of torture or amateur surgery.
Do dolls invite abuse, with their dent-able heads,
those tight little painted-on or stitched-in grins?
Hurt me, big botched being, they whine in a dialect
only puritans and the frequently punished can hear.
It’s what I was born for. I know my tiny white pantaloons
and sheer underskirts incite violation. Criers and crib-
wetters pursue us in dreams, till we wake sweat-
drenched but unrepentant, glad to have the order
by which we lord over them restored. Small soldiers
with no Geneva Conventions to protect them,
they endure gnawing, being drooled on, banishment
to attics. Stained by cough syrup, hot cocoa, and pee,
these “clean gallant souls” wear their wounds as martyrs’
garments. We owe them everything. How they suffer
for our sins, “splintered, bursted, crumbled . . .”
Every bed in the head replacement ward is occupied tonight.
Let’s sit by the legless Queen doll’s tiny wheelchair
and read to her awhile if she wishes it. In a faint
voice she requests a thimbleful of strong dark tea.

10 thoughts on “Sex, Abuse, Dreams, and Taboos

  1. I’ve often thought that some part of sexual response can be conditioned, and when kids are sexualized at a young age it is a horrible wrong against them. I’m glad you are brave enough to write about it, and seek meaning and solutions behind it. – bw

    Liked by 1 person

  2. You are not alone. Due to your post for the first time ever and I mean ever I say I too have experienced arousal. My sexual preference now is rough bordering bondage as well. When my incidents occurred I was a very young and virgin. I just didn’t get why when I became sexually active years later thoughts of really rough intercourse would occur. I buried them so damn deep that nobody knew. I was disgusted with it so much so that I wouldn’t watch pornographic films with my significant other due to its raunchiness.

    Oddly enough any film I saw which had rape scenes in I would walk away from. The screams trigger an emotion in me that only sexually abused victims could understand. I suppose that bothered me more than the porn because the porn there was at some point a consent.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Thanks for sharing this, Amy Jo. As with so many of your writings, you are speaking directly to my own experience. It breaks my heart that so many have gone through this, but heals it at the same time to know that I am not alone.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I don´t think you´re fucked up. I´ve been reading around in your blog and you seem a sensitive, well grounded woman that lives life in a profounder way. Why would you say that you´re fucked up.
    I think you´re being honest with your thoughts, most people aren’t, they don´t even acknowledge them. The fact that you are aware of them goes on to show that you are in touch with yourself and that is something rare in this world of ours.
    You shouldn’t feel shame for your dreams or anything that has happen to you, you are a fighter and to be able to write about such a painful experience shows the strength you have within yourself.



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