Dear Aunt Gwen,
I was abused and molested by my uncle. It was a long time ago, but I still have issues with sex that make me withdraw from relationships. Three months ago I met Mark. He is a really loving guy and I would like to be closer to him, but it is really hard for me. I’ve told him about the abuse. How do I explain to my Mark about how to handle someone who has been through that kind of sexual trauma?
Troubled — Winchester
Telling Mark about the abuse is an excellent start. Have you also explained to Mark how wonderful his love and support make you feel? Talking to our loved ones about problems means more when we remember to also tell them the ways their presence helps with those problems.
Your question about how to explain your needs to Mark make me think that you may not fully understand or be able to vocalize what those needs are. There are several good books out there on relationships. Why not visit one of our great local bookstores or library branches and thumb through a few to see if there’s one that explains your feelings better than you can.
You do know that three months is not an unreasonable time to be in a relationship without sexual intimacy? Even in this modern era, some people do wait until they are married. However, the issue here isn’t when to have sex, but how the two of you can get past your association of intimacy with abuse. That may take counseling. Don’t be afraid to seek out professional advice and/or a good support group. There are lots of other abuse victims that have gotten past the abuse and built happy relationships. You are off to a good start on doing that with Mark.
Need advice? Send your questions to “Aunt Gwen” at: firstname.lastname@example.org