The last man to hold me…

This topic contains 10 replies, has 4 voices, and was last updated by Profile photo of Tiffany Tiffany 1 year ago.

  • Author
  • #48615
    Profile photo of Tiffany Tiffany 

    I am really struggling with the fact that the last person I had any kind of intimate contact with was my abuser. I have found myself dreaming about sex and intimacy with a couple of men I know who are the opposite of my ex in character, some of whom I am attracted to in real life and some who I am not. Has anyone else experienced this? I feel like I want to spend the night with another man in order to override these memories – or at least to have someone else to imagine in these contexts. I have a really tactile memory – and have always been able to recreate the feeling of being held in my mind to comfort myself when I am feeling anxious. But now I can only remember my abusers touch which obviously makes the anxiety worse. I don’t really think I am ready to actually trust a man in that situation unless I knew him very well, but I don’t know how to remedy this alone either.

  • #48617
    Profile photo of SunshineRainflower SunshineRainflower 

    Hi Tiffany,

    I read that abusers create a sort of sexual addiction the way they create an addiction/dependency in other ways. When we leave it feels like going cold turkey for a heroin addict.

    When I left my ex I felt like I craved him, despite being terrified of him and in incredible emotional pain. It was an awful feeling but thankfully passed after a few weeks. I know what you mean about wanting to move on and override the memories, but I think if you slept with another man at the moment it could be very triggering and upsetting for you, although only you would know. Unfortunately we are also prime targets for other abusers, I have already had to fend off one and a few more have appeared, they are like sharks that smell vulnerability and will always circle until we are healed making us no longer attractive to them.

    It also sounds like skin hunger so it might help if you did some other tactile things like had a bubble bath, give yourself a pedicure, book in for a massage, that sort of thing? I know it’s not the same, but it would be healing and then when you’re healed emotionally you could start to explore dating again.

  • #48621
    Profile photo of Tiffany Tiffany 

    I think I would have to really trust a man before I would sleep with him. Which rules casual sex out. And I am in no way ready for dating. I downloaded a dating app about a week ago, input my details, freaked out and deleted it. But it still frustrates me. You are right about the element of skin hunger. I have been treating it with exercise, music and baths. It doesn’t entirely fix it though. I actually came back to the list you wrote me months ago, and decided to clean my room as part of that today too. Hopefully it will help.

  • #48624
    Profile photo of SunshineRainflower SunshineRainflower 

    Yes I am the same with casual sex, it has never appealed to me and now more than ever, I’d be terrified they would murder me. I also realised with my ex when the sex became cold and clinical like he was using my body as if I was a sex doll that what I like most about sex is the warmth, closeness, love and affection involved when you’re in a healthy relationship.

    I did the same thing with a dating site, was on it a few days then deleted. I’m glad that list is helpful, I think I need to revisit it myself! One idea I’ve just had which I can’t remember if I wrote before was some sort of fun partner dancing. Another abuse survivor I know loves salsa dancing. For me salsa would be too much body contact but it has been very healing for her. There’s also dances like jive or ballroom, you could be held by a handsome man without any sort of expectation or danger.

  • #48628
    Profile photo of Amaguq Amaguq 

    “I read that abusers create a sort of sexual addiction the way they create an addiction/dependency in other ways. When we leave it feels like going cold turkey for a heroin addict.”

    That me cry when I read that Sunshine, thank you so much for opening my eyes!

    I can also identify with your words Tiffany, I am not sure if my words will be removed but have you tried sexting?
    A friend whom doesn’t live in this Country but does live in a English speaking Country declared his love to me and I was/still am scared.
    This man made the first move and I was blown away! I am a woman of a certain age and had never done anything like that before, this is such a personal thing for me to reveal but I find it satisfying without the fear of penetration.

    The feeling of a someone holding you close is not there but also, the feeling of fear isn’t also.

    Things will return to some kind of ‘normal’ eventually, really hope so.

    Now sitting here thinking “should I post this?” lol

    Take care ladies <3

  • #48632
    Profile photo of Tiffany Tiffany 

    I really want to do more dancing. I am trying to persuade a friend who works in community arts to organise a monthly class, but it hasn’t happened so far… I don’t think there are any classes groups nearby, but I will look into it. Also in my area dances are more common in winter so there should be a few in a month or so.

    Sexting doesn’t really do it for me. Too many reminders of an ex who was always on his phone. I do have some girlfriends that I send risque photos to – and who send them to me also, in a kind of confidence boost thing, which is fun, but not really sexual. I am really lucky though in that rape didn’t feature as a part of my abuse, so penetration doesn’t hold the same kind of fear as it could otherwise do. The sexual elements of my abuse were mostly withholding affection and attempting to deny me control over contraception. It still makes me feel sick that I had to go alone to get emergency contraception after he ignored me saying I was in my fertile period and that unprotected sex was off the table. I am an intelligent woman. I still don’t understand how he manipulated me into that situation. So there goes my ability to trust men with contraception ever… I suspect they will all have to wear condoms forever before I trust them in the future.

  • #48640
    Profile photo of Amaguq Amaguq 

    Hi Tiffany, I never send explicit pics and neither does he, (detail removed by Moderator)

    I thought I was a intelligent woman but I have come to realise, manipulators are exceptionally clever, they do it so very cleverly, very slowly before your eyes but you don’t see it until afterwards, sadly.

    When my sibling (best friend) died suddenly, it made me realise that life is too short.
    Go with your gut feeling Tiffany, I used to ignore it but no longer.

    Take care x

  • #48642
    Profile photo of KIP. KIP. 

    I remember wanting to have sex with a man just to get it out my system. Thinking if i did it then it was taking a step forward. Kind of like going on my own for a coffee. Or something to eat in a restaurant. I found thses impossible in the beginning. But given time these things sort themselves out. Dont rush into anything. Every few months of recovery can make such a difference and feeling the way you do in my opinion shows you are still very vulnerable and not thinking clearly yet. Ive been there. What i would advise and it may sound strange but trauma victims are given pillows to hug. I find this really theraputic so surround yourself with big comfy fluffy pillows and hug hug hug. Taken them to bed and hug hug hug 👏

  • #48655
    Profile photo of Tiffany Tiffany 

    Amaguq, don’t worry, the photos I exchange with my girlfriends are never that explicit. Nothing that I would be embarrassed if anyone else saw, although I wouldn’t show them to others on purpose because that would be kind of weird, but we support each other to be more body confident, which is nice. You are also totally right about the skill that goes into abuse, although I think that sometimes we can’t compute their behaviours because their motivation is so alien to us.

    KIP, you have told me exactly what I needed to hear. I am still crazy vulnerable. It’s so frustrating, I sometimes feel like the deck is stacked against me on the whole dating front. I am physically striking in a way which a lot of men find intimidating, I fighting a chronical illness and now I am recovering from abuse. Fortunately there aren’t actually any dating opportunities around where I am at the moment, so any worries about what I would do if there were can stay kind of hypothetical. I had had a couple of months without panic attacks, but I just had a massive one this evening triggered by my father acting like my ex on a certain topic and I realised I am less far forward than I had thought. I got my electric blanket out tonight, and along with my fortress of pillows I hope I will be able to create my own snuggly kind of space. My mum flat out told me she thought the number of pillows I have is excessive. I told her that they are mine and I am keeping them!

  • #48661
    Profile photo of KIP. KIP. 

    Lol. Hey Tiffany. Men will always be there when you’re ready for dating again. We put a weird kind of pressure on ourselves not helped by society but in my opinion men are over rated lol. Not just because of my experience but because I have a new found freedom and I want to spend that time on me! I’ve had responsibility for other people all my adult life. I don’t want responsibility for anyone but me lol. Never thought I’d say that because in the early days I was crippled with thoughts of how nobody would ever want me again and I would never find anyone else. Such a destruction of my self esteem and confidence. I’m glad to say I’m not that person anymore. Time really is a great healer. And remember recovery is a real rollercoaster. Just when you think you’re on a high and fully recovered, that rollercoaster can take a great big dip. Sick feeling in pit of stomach, real panic, not sleeping, five o’clock frights etc. Don’t be hard on yourself. Keep moving forward x

  • #48667
    Profile photo of Tiffany Tiffany 

    I’ll try not to… It is actually the first time I have felt any kind of pressure to find a new relationship. Biological clock ticking and all that. (detail removed by moderator). I wanted my first one next year (seemed viable when I was engaged last year) but it’s obviously not to be. I spent such a long time with my abuser waiting for him to be ready for marriage. Then after he finally proposed he started physically and financially and sexually abusing me. The emotional stuff had been there all along, if only I had been able to read it, but it wasn’t until the rest kicked in that I realised things weren’t right.

You must be logged in to reply to this topic.


© 2015 Women's Aid Federation of England – Women’s Aid is a company limited by guarantee registered in England No: 3171880.

Women’s Aid is a registered charity in England No. 1054154

Terms & conditionsPrivacy & cookie policySite mapProtect yourself onlineMedia │ Jobs

Log in with your credentials


Forgot your details?

Create Account