Sex After Trauma

Sex After Trauma

Dear Sex Talk,

How do I feel sexy again after tragedy?

After having a heart attack this past March, it has been a real struggle for me to feel like myself again. I have a difficult time feeling sexy, especially when it comes to being affectionate and intimate with my husband. 

I used to be a very affectionate wife and I don’t know why, but my sexual interest has decreased tremendously since my recovery. It feels as though something changed while I was in the hospital. I’m sure quarantine isn’t helping with the added stress. 

I’m not sure if there is a way to feel like my old self again or if maybe I just need to find a new normal, but I’m saddened by the fact that I don’t want to have sex and I know it’s affecting my partner as well.

-Not Myself Lately, New Jersey

Dear Not Myself Lately,

Thank you for sharing your story and your intimacy concerns. The fact of the matter is that when a couple goes through trauma such as a medical event, loss of their home, a sick child, even quarantine, the subtle dynamics of the relationship often change. 

While it’s important to reconnect in order to be able to return to the same intimacy you once had, it’s also important to dive deep to discover what’s really standing in your way. The truth is that post-trauma, many survivors feel like they are not safe in their own skin. Safety plays a huge role in allowing boundaries to dissipate so that intimacy can emerge. How do you feel in your body these days?

Surviving medical trauma isn’t easy. And since your recovery has impacted your intimacy,  it’s essential to take some moments for self reflection. You will gain tremendous clarity as you begin to approach acceptance, self compassion, and self-love as part of your recovery plan. 

If physical acts of affection and sexual acts are not doing it for you at this time, look for ways to share your love, adoration, and intimate words with your partner.

You can begin by taking things slowly and learning how to date your partner once again. Now is the time to tell your partner how much you appreciate them, love them, and find them attractive. Make plans to share special moments, hold hands during walks, or enjoy a glass of wine together. Allow your partner to take an active role in helping you to feel safe and connected to yourself once again. 

Your body has brought you this far. Once you work to incorporate self compassion and acceptance into your daily life, you will reignite the spark within yourself that will translate to more intimate moments for you and your partner. 

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