• Panic attack during sex. Advice needed please!

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    VR [sign in to see picture]
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    Add me to the list of people who have had similar experiences.

    I'm still trying to sort myself out many, many years on, but the physical reminders are also still there (never likely to get rid of those). I'm now seeing a psycho-sexual counsellor at my local GUM clinic. Hands down the best help I've had. I've had three CBT counsellors that have actually made the problem worse so would never suggest you see someone not specifically trained in this area.

    I wish you (and all our fellow sufferers) well and hope you can overcome these horrible episodes and heal properly.

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    Daelia wrote:

    I was thinking more specifically saxon, celtic. The Romans were very progressive though so that doesn't surprise in the least!

    Either way, hopefully one day it'll just click for people. And we get on with sorting out things that shouldn't be so obvious.

    WTH!!!

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    bex1213 wrote:

    I've been unsure about whether or not actually posting about this will do me any good but I've seen in the past how supportive the community has been with others in similar situations so I thought it would be worth just getting it out there and getting some advice.

    Basically, I was sexually assaulted by my ex boyfriend when I was still a virgin. He did it anally to 'save my virginity' or whatever and until recently, I've been unable to do anything of that type of thing. I never pressed charges because I was a naive teenager at the time of the assault and thought as he was my boyfriend and that I was in a compromising position (we were heavy petting in an alley) so I thought it was my fault for not being smarter (which I now know is completely INSANE).

    I started getting heavily into feminist theories and literature and I realized that for years I'd let it grow into an issue and giving him power over me and my body by never talking about what happened so I've been to therapy and have developed great techniques for coping over the last few years. I feel pretty proud of myself for getting my ass into counselling (seriously recommend it!). Fastforward to today and my new partner is unbelievably supportive and we have a very open and communicative relationship. I've now had anal sex with my OH and LOVE it, we've had no difficulties with panic attacks or flashbacks at all, except for a few relieved emotional tears after the first time.

    The other day, however, I had a breakdown during sex. We've invested in bondage restraints. I've used ties and basic cuffs before with no problems so I thought it would be okay and I was super excited about it. During, he suggested anal and I flew off the handle. Crying, well sobbing like an animal basically, I shared the entire experience which I'd only hinted at before. My partner basically said he thought I had been raped, which I'd never defined it as before because it's one of those hard to define moments and I'd always thought of my assault as smaller than that term. I know this thing will stay with me for life but I've never really felt like a victim before now and I'm a bit worried about the impact this might have on my current sex life and relationship. I feel nervous again and any advice or words of wisdom would be greatly appreciated.

    Sorry for such a tome of a post and just dumping my problems on y'all but I think it needed to be said.

    Bex I'm utterly devastated that this has happened to you darling. I'm not shocked to read of the melt down with your partner, what a bave lady you really are. To even try that with him showed such courage. He's right honey, you were raped! Perhaps in your mind making what happened smaller, helped a coping mechanism you developed, I really don't know.

    Perhaps re starting your therapy might be of use to you, maybe something you didn't want to do again, bit it just might be worth it. Your partner sounds like your rock, I'm so happy he's like that. You talk, you share and that goes a million miles as a couple, keep doing that.

    Please please please, never apologise for off loading. There's some really beautiful people here, always willing to listen and help where they can, so vent, lean and use us you darling girl xx

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    bex1213 [sign in to see picture]
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    Ozz wrote:

    bex1213 wrote:

    I've been unsure about whether or not actually posting about this will do me any good but I've seen in the past how supportive the community has been with others in similar situations so I thought it would be worth just getting it out there and getting some advice.

    Basically, I was sexually assaulted by my ex boyfriend when I was still a virgin. He did it anally to 'save my virginity' or whatever and until recently, I've been unable to do anything of that type of thing. I never pressed charges because I was a naive teenager at the time of the assault and thought as he was my boyfriend and that I was in a compromising position (we were heavy petting in an alley) so I thought it was my fault for not being smarter (which I now know is completely INSANE).

    I started getting heavily into feminist theories and literature and I realized that for years I'd let it grow into an issue and giving him power over me and my body by never talking about what happened so I've been to therapy and have developed great techniques for coping over the last few years. I feel pretty proud of myself for getting my ass into counselling (seriously recommend it!). Fastforward to today and my new partner is unbelievably supportive and we have a very open and communicative relationship. I've now had anal sex with my OH and LOVE it, we've had no difficulties with panic attacks or flashbacks at all, except for a few relieved emotional tears after the first time.

    The other day, however, I had a breakdown during sex. We've invested in bondage restraints. I've used ties and basic cuffs before with no problems so I thought it would be okay and I was super excited about it. During, he suggested anal and I flew off the handle. Crying, well sobbing like an animal basically, I shared the entire experience which I'd only hinted at before. My partner basically said he thought I had been raped, which I'd never defined it as before because it's one of those hard to define moments and I'd always thought of my assault as smaller than that term. I know this thing will stay with me for life but I've never really felt like a victim before now and I'm a bit worried about the impact this might have on my current sex life and relationship. I feel nervous again and any advice or words of wisdom would be greatly appreciated.

    Sorry for such a tome of a post and just dumping my problems on y'all but I think it needed to be said.

    Bex I'm utterly devastated that this has happened to you darling. I'm not shocked to read of the melt down with your partner, what a bave lady you really are. To even try that with him showed such courage. He's right honey, you were raped! Perhaps in your mind making what happened smaller, helped a coping mechanism you developed, I really don't know.

    Perhaps re starting your therapy might be of use to you, maybe something you didn't want to do again, bit it just might be worth it. Your partner sounds like your rock, I'm so happy he's like that. You talk, you share and that goes a million miles as a couple, keep doing that.

    Please please please, never apologise for off loading. There's some really beautiful people here, always willing to listen and help where they can, so vent, lean and use us you darling girl xx

    Thank you so much Ozz! It's been difficult coming to terms with and I still feel very uncomfortable expressing my feelings about it. I definitely have a British stiff upper lip and I tend to plough on rather than dwell. Not always the healthiest choice. Also, I think you're right and I'm going to look into some counselling after Christmas. I'm just not very good at it. Talking about feelings makes me feel totally awkward.

    People here have made this a positive experience, which talking about these kind of events really should be because it's so liberating. I doubt I'll ever be able to talk about it in real life but this is a wonderful outlet. xx

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    NatandTom [sign in to see picture]
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    Thought I'd just pop in to say that you are definitely not alone, I've had a similar experience and I've been in therapy ever since. It can definitely be helpful to offload and open up, there are types of therapy available that can help to change the way you think about and deal with what happened. Talking about it is probably the best way for you to move forward. You're lucky to have a very supportive partner who seems to be understanding of your situation, that will hopefully be comforting to you and help him to understand any upset you may have now or in the future.

    I do think the R word is horrible and I don't use it - but that's a coping mechanism for me, I think it's possibly what Ozz said about making the situation smaller/making it out to be less serious than it was in order to get through it.

    Feel free to talk if/whenever you need to, you are not alone and this wasn't your fault. Stay strong xx

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    Bex we're all here for you, so please just let it out. We love you and support you 100% and I know I do speak for every single member here on that score. Take your time when getting it out there to your counsellor, no hurry, but you will get there of that I'm sure.

    What a wonderful human being you are, and dealing with this the way you have. You have a stong supportive man by your side, hell you can't go wrong with him there.

    Snding love and hugs

    Corinne xx

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    bex1213 [sign in to see picture]
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    Thank you so much for the support. This has been so worth doing!xx

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    sugarboobies2232 [sign in to see picture]
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    Hey bex, you really aren't alone here.

    I lost my virginity to my first boyfriend. Actually had a couple of nasty experiences with him, and was too scared of him to leave him or do anything about it. Basically first time, he forced himself on me and had sex against my will, with me repeatedly trying to get him off me and shouting for him to stop. He had me pinned to his bed and I couldn't move. I can still see the tree outside his window in my mind. The next time he forced himself inside me anally, I had never even explored this side before even on my own, and he thought it would be funny.. Honestly the pain was horrific. He then liked to threaten me by saying "do this or I'll shove it in your ass"

    Unfortunatley I had another encounter with a man I used to work with. Long story short I went to his cabin (worked on a ship) and he pinned me down in his chair and tried to rip my knickers off as I was wearing a dress, i even had my thumbs in his eyes to get him off, eventually after a hard struggle and managed to ge away, but was covered in bruises around my neck and wrists, God only knows what would have happened if I sat on his bed.

    This does impact my relationship. Thank goodness I have a great man now, who listens and understands. We can be fine, or I can be fine for months, then out of the blue start sobbing and shaking and don't want him anywhere near me. I haven't gone to counseling as in my head it's not that big of a deal, but it is. It got so bad a couple of months ago I was seeking out places/organizations to help. As awful as it sounds, i think it never leaves you, it's just how you learn to cope with it I think. I hate calling it rape, as it makes it sound brutal, even though that's what it was, it is a coping mechanism. Please do whatever it is that helps, and keep on doing it. Big hugs Bex.

    I really do think more needs to be recognized about rape in a relationship. I often feel because "I wasn't chased down an alley" it isn't as serious of an issue as when it's your partner at the time inflicting the abuse. It's not spoken about enough.

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    bex1213 [sign in to see picture]
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    sugarboobies2232 wrote:

    Hey bex, you really aren't alone here.

    I lost my virginity to my first boyfriend. Actually had a couple of nasty experiences with him, and was too scared of him to leave him or do anything about it. Basically first time, he forced himself on me and had sex against my will, with me repeatedly trying to get him off me and shouting for him to stop. He had me pinned to his bed and I couldn't move. I can still see the tree outside his window in my mind. The next time he forced himself inside me anally, I had never even explored this side before even on my own, and he thought it would be funny.. Honestly the pain was horrific. He then liked to threaten me by saying "do this or I'll shove it in your ass"

    Unfortunatley I had another encounter with a man I used to work with. Long story short I went to his cabin (worked on a ship) and he pinned me down in his chair and tried to rip my knickers off as I was wearing a dress, i even had my thumbs in his eyes to get him off, eventually after a hard struggle and managed to ge away, but was covered in bruises around my neck and wrists, God only knows what would have happened if I sat on his bed.

    This does impact my relationship. Thank goodness I have a great man now, who listens and understands. We can be fine, or I can be fine for months, then out of the blue start sobbing and shaking and don't want him anywhere near me. I haven't gone to counseling as in my head it's not that big of a deal, but it is. It got so bad a couple of months ago I was seeking out places/organizations to help. As awful as it sounds, i think it never leaves you, it's just how you learn to cope with it I think. I hate calling it rape, as it makes it sound brutal, even though that's what it was, it is a coping mechanism. Please do whatever it is that helps, and keep on doing it. Big hugs Bex.

    I really do think more needs to be recognized about rape in a relationship. I often feel because "I wasn't chased down an alley" it isn't as serious of an issue as when it's your partner at the time inflicting the abuse. It's not spoken about enough.

    You are so right! I think it's also the culture of slut shaming. I know it's brought up a lot but we are all entitled to healthy, fun, and consensual sex lives. We don't talk about sex in a relationship because of the idea that women shouldn't really enjoy or invite sex into our lives and when we do it's almost unnatural and to be punished.

    It sounds like you've had some seriously traumatic experiences. If you do decide to get help, make sure it is with a specialist as other therapists can actually make the experience worse by using certain techniques. Lots of love and support from me! xx

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    NatandTom wrote:

    Thought I'd just pop in to say that you are definitely not alone, I've had a similar experience and I've been in therapy ever since. It can definitely be helpful to offload and open up, there are types of therapy available that can help to change the way you think about and deal with what happened. Talking about it is probably the best way for you to move forward. You're lucky to have a very supportive partner who seems to be understanding of your situation, that will hopefully be comforting to you and help him to understand any upset you may have now or in the future.

    I do think the R word is horrible and I don't use it - but that's a coping mechanism for me, I think it's possibly what Ozz said about making the situation smaller/making it out to be less serious than it was in order to get through it.

    Feel free to talk if/whenever you need to, you are not alone and this wasn't your fault. Stay strong xx

    Thank you. It's so good to hear that I'm not alone in this. To be honest, I knew there were a lot of women in this position but to actually see it on the page... the volume is staggering. I'm sorry you've also had something similar happen. Here's to all the strong men and women out there who deal with this everyday and the partners who support us!x

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    sugarboobies2232 [sign in to see picture]
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    bex1213 wrote:

    NatandTom wrote:

    Thought I'd just pop in to say that you are definitely not alone, I've had a similar experience and I've been in therapy ever since. It can definitely be helpful to offload and open up, there are types of therapy available that can help to change the way you think about and deal with what happened. Talking about it is probably the best way for you to move forward. You're lucky to have a very supportive partner who seems to be understanding of your situation, that will hopefully be comforting to you and help him to understand any upset you may have now or in the future.

    I do think the R word is horrible and I don't use it - but that's a coping mechanism for me, I think it's possibly what Ozz said about making the situation smaller/making it out to be less serious than it was in order to get through it.

    Feel free to talk if/whenever you need to, you are not alone and this wasn't your fault. Stay strong xx

    Thank you. It's so good to hear that I'm not alone in this. To be honest, I knew there were a lot of women in this position but to actually see it on the page... the volume is staggering. I'm sorry you've also had something similar happen. Here's to all the strong men and women out there who deal with this everyday and the partners who support us!x

    It's a huge, huge eye opener. Considering how common it is, it's funny how it isn't spoken about as frequently as rape abuse outside a relationship. It's heartbreaking

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    Friday13 [sign in to see picture]
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    I'm so sorry you were assaulted by your boyfriend. It brings different issues when it is someone you know and trust who does it to you.

    Having a panic attack might actually be a good thing. It might be your way of fully expressing to your partner the horror of what you went through and, in the long run, it might be cathartic.

    What works for people is very individual. I tend to avoid definite triggers (especially one specific position), make partners aware of phrases and details so they understand why I react in certain ways to things, I have a few ways of bringing me back to the present (e.g. I tell myself I'm safe and that it was in the past, focus on the room and the feel of the floor/bedding etc), and partners know not to touch me post flashback (even hugs are off limits until I've calmed down).

    I don't tend to have flashbacks during sex very often now and when I do I can usually see exactly why it happened which makes me feel better. If you can work out exactly what triggered the panic attack it might be helpful. Was there a certain phrase he said? Did he have a certain look on his face (vacant staring is a huge trigger for me)? Were you in a certain position? What was going through your mind before and during? Had you seen/heard/watched/read something that had brought the assault into mind recently? (Just some things to think about).

    It sound like the restraints may have been a trigger. Perhaps get comfortable with those before attempting anal again using them. Gradual exposure might help (try a finger/small toy one day, a slightly bigger toy next time etc). You could also be in charge of suggesting anal so you feel like you are in control and safer.

    Make sure he knows that it was not his fault and that you don't want him to change how he is with you (unless you do, of course). I had one ex that treated me like a fragile doll when I started regularly flash backing during sex (constantly asking if I was ok, being overly gentle etc) and that just made things worse.

    It sounds like, while the panic attack was difficult, it actuallly opened up a useful conversation.

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    sugarboobies2232 [sign in to see picture]
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    Friday13 wrote:

    I'm so sorry you were assaulted by your boyfriend. It brings different issues when it is someone you know and trust who does it to you.

    Having a panic attack might actually be a good thing. It might be your way of fully expressing to your partner the horror of what you went through and, in the long run, it might be cathartic.

    What works for people is very individual. I tend to avoid definite triggers (especially one specific position), make partners aware of phrases and details so they understand why I react in certain ways to things, I have a few ways of bringing me back to the present (e.g. I tell myself I'm safe and that it was in the past, focus on the room and the feel of the floor/bedding etc), and partners know not to touch me post flashback (even hugs are off limits until I've calmed down).

    I don't tend to have flashbacks during sex very often now and when I do I can usually see exactly why it happened which makes me feel better. If you can work out exactly what triggered the panic attack it might be helpful. Was there a certain phrase he said? Did he have a certain look on his face (vacant staring is a huge trigger for me)? Were you in a certain position? What was going through your mind before and during? Had you seen/heard/watched/read something that had brought the assault into mind recently? (Just some things to think about).

    It sound like the restraints may have been a trigger. Perhaps get comfortable with those before attempting anal again using them. Gradual exposure might help (try a finger/small toy one day, a slightly bigger toy next time etc). You could also be in charge of suggesting anal so you feel like you are in control and safer.

    Make sure he knows that it was not his fault and that you don't want him to change how he is with you (unless you do, of course). I had one ex that treated me like a fragile doll when I started regularly flash backing during sex (constantly asking if I was ok, being overly gentle etc) and that just made things worse.

    It sounds like, while the panic attack was difficult, it actuallly opened up a useful conversation.

    I honestly couldn't put that any better.

    Hadn't realised it Friday, but that is actually a trigger for me too and didn't realise it. I was just thinking while reading your comment and a few things clicked in my head. It's that vacant staring look that strikes me to the core.

    Bex, have you tried keeping a diary/note of when things happen and what you think/done that triggered one? It could be useful to track them to notice a pattern if you can't pinpoint a specific trigger? x

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