For many years I thought that men didn’t care. That they would feel burdened if I told them of my trauma. I felt that they didn’t have the capacity to understand; all they wanted was to have sex – no matter what!!
The trouble was that I NEVER confirmed or validated any of these beliefs. I just behaved as if they were true and my relationships failed one after another exactly the way I described in my blog post Why do Relationships fail for the Abused.
Albeit things have changed but the question remains – I have literally never asked my partners how my trauma impacted them.
I really wanted to know if our male partners “wanted” to support us through our healing journey
This thought initially was a facebook post but that didn’t go too well. I realised that it was quite a heavy topic for a facebook post. I then created an anonymous survey and sent it to the universe.
The responses that I have received have humbled me and shocked me all at the same time. If I had known any of it, I would have tried to communicate more with my partners.
I am sure that many of the abused feel the same way so I thought that I would share these with you. If you are in a relationship, I hope that this gives you hope and inspiration to start a dialog with your partner and help them help you heal.
Survey – Experiences of Male Partners of Female Survivours
This has been my first attempt at creating a survey and it was definitely a great learning experience. I am actually quite proud of myself as I received more responses than I expected (Yayyyyy to that!).
Before you read this, please also note that this survey is about “subjective” experiences of our male partners. It’s meant to serve as a guideline rather than an exact science. If our male partners are affected by our trauma (just as we are affected by theirs), then it helps to understand how they are feeling so that we can be inspired to work with them – together.
Demographics of the respondents
Respondents’ knowledge about the impact of Sexual Abuse
This question was really important to me. While there are many adults who could intuitively navigate through trauma (their own and their partners) but there are many others that need information and understanding about trauma. I was pleasantly surprised that many of the men knew about it.
Respondent’s Sexual Experiences
I was really curious if our male partners “felt” any difference in our sexual behaviours. I know for myself that I behaved differently. I wanted them to get over it as quickly as they could; I wasn’t “really there” and I felt sexually challenged because I didn’t enjoy sex.
It is no surprise that our sex partners feel our troubles. They may not be able to always pinpoint what’s wrong – but they can sense that “something’s not right”.
Respondents’ willingness to seek therapy themselves
It was an enlightening moment to read a unanimous “Yes” to this question.
Respondents’ Response to the question: Women struggle with saying No to sex. In many cases, they may keep doing it even if it repulses them because they feel that it is their social and sexual role. How do you feel about that?
Their answers blew me away. How “wrong” was I! When I read these responses, I realise how “misunderstood” male-female relationship is. We probably both assume things about each other rather than openly communicate and clarify.
I am grateful to have received these responses. I am grateful to learn that men want to help; they want to enjoy sex but they also want us to enjoy; It’s about the partnership and working together. And it all starts with communication
Enjoy these 🙂
Between ages 26-35:
#1: I’ve been very clear with my partner that no is no, and the answer will be respected. It’s a request, not a demand, and I’m happy to wait until she initiates at a time when she’s comfortable. In general, I think it’s upsetting that women feel that way towards sex – especially with someone who loves them. I’d hate to think that women feel that pressure under any circumstances. I also hate how society ties all sorts of shame to sex and its enjoyment – everyone needs to get over this whole “sex is bad” mantra. It’s a completely unrealistic and unhealthy viewpoint, which isn’t necessary, in this day and age and only causes psychological distress.
#2: Sad. No one should have to be in that position, however, I feel hopeful that our society will continue to progress past such restrictive and oppressive gender roles.
Between ages 36-45
#1: I couldn’t enjoy sex if my partner wasn’t
#2: It’s a lose-lose situation for both parties
Between ages 46-55
#1: Sex should be a joyful sharing between two people in love. It is the ultimate trust. And sex isn’t only intercourse. It entails non-sexual touching, talking, kissing, laughing and all the little things that bring true intimacy.
#1: it’s unacceptable that they feel they have to do that
I hope that these survey responses give you hope. I hope that we can start a dialog with our partners about how we feel and what we need and listen to their needs. I hope that we can find a way to work together and create a better life for ourselves and our partners.
Blessings and Love