Ask Your Heart If It’s Safe Enough For Sex
If You Don’t Feel Safe Enough For Sex, It’s Okay To Say No
Anne, founder of Betrayal Trauma Recovery, talks about when she reached a point in her marriage where she didn’t feel safe enough to have sex with her husband.
“You know in the ED commercial when the narrator says, ‘Ask your doctor if you are healthy enough for sex’? Today, it struck me how many people are not emotionally and mentally healthy enough for sex.
“Being emotionally and mentally safe means that you CAN be emotionally intimate with someone, not just have sex with them.
“I am sad to say that I never felt emotionally connected when my ex and I had sex. I finally set a boundary and told him I wouldn’t initiate—98% of the time, I initiated. I told him that if or when I felt emotionally ready, I would initiate again.
“He was welcome to initiate, just as he’d always been, and I would respond depending on how safe I felt. After that, he only initiated twice in six months—which, of course, made me feel totally unsafe. The circumstances around when he initiated were totally traumatic.
“One time, I went along with it, but ended up feeling violated. The other time I said no.
“He made no efforts, that I could see, to help me feel safe. When I asked him what he was doing to help me feel safe, he said, ‘Mowing the lawn.’”
Safe And Healthy Intimacy Can Lead To Emotionally Safe Sex
Many people confuse sex with intimacy. Intimacy is more than just sex. Sex can be part of intimacy, but it isn’t exclusively intimacy.
Intimacy is the sharing of the most vulnerable parts of one another. This can be done through creating emotional connections by talking or spending quality time together.
If we are being abused, lied to, or betrayed, it’s difficult to feel safe enough to share the most our most vulnerable self.
As our spouse enters and works recovery, not just sobriety, we begin to feel safer and want to be vulnerable with them.
If your spouse chooses not to enter and work recovery, please continue to set and hold boundaries until you are safe.
As Anne works on her own healing, she hopes to get to a place where she feels safe enough to be intimate.
“Part of my healing will be to get to a place where I can be vulnerable again, but I’m not there yet.”