How To Get Over Sexual Trauma

healing sex trauma soriibel martinez

Have you ever had a partner reach out to touch you sexually only to recoil in fear? Do you avoid sex with your partner because it feels icky or wrong? Do you avoid self-pleasure because of feelings of shame? If so, you may wonder how to get over sexual trauma so you can enjoy pleasurable sex during masturbation or partnered experiences. 

Sexual trauma can cause feelings of shame about sex. You may feel helpless or even like you’re defective if trauma affects your libido or sexual response. All of these symptoms are normal for victims of sexual assault and other types of sexual trauma. 

If you have a history of sexual trauma or suffer from feelings of shame, helplessness, or a negative response to sexual stimuli, you are not alone. These symptoms don’t make you defective, nor are they your fault. Exploring your sexual history, identifying traumatic experiences, and working to heal from them may help you have the sex life of your dreams. 

What is sexual trauma?

Sexual trauma involves long-term emotional, psychological, or physical symptoms stemming from sexual assault or mistreatment. The trauma could be intimate partner violence, rape, stalking, child sexual abuse, or sexual harassment. But even experiences of infidelity in a monogamous relationship or being raised in an environment where sexuality is shameful can cause trauma response symptoms in some people. 

Only you can define what sexual trauma means for you. If you experience sexual dysfunction due to a traumatic experience, you don’t have to accept it as final. You can work through the trauma and create the sex life you crave (with lots of orgasms!). Paying attention to what happens in your body when you begin a sexual experience can help you recover. 

What are some signs you have sexual trauma?

Many of the signs of sexual trauma mirror symptoms of PTSD or post-traumatic stress disorder. People struggling with sexual trauma may feel anxious, depressed, have flashbacks, panic attacks, or other nervous system symptoms. 

None of these symptoms means you carry around sexual trauma by itself. Still, if you arent’ having the sex you want, and these symptoms sound familiar to you, you can use this list as a starting point for a conversation with a mental health professional or your physician. You can develop coping skills that will help you build fulfilling intimate relationships. 


If sexual contact or stimuli causes you to recall parts of traumatic sexual experiences, you may have flashbacks related to your trauma. Flashbacks usually involve seeing pieces of the event in your mind and an emotional response that triggers your body’s desire to fight, run, or freeze. 

One woman I spoke with explained that if a lover put his hand around her neck, she’d immediately respond by punching him. She even broke someone’s nose once. That type of behavior was a flashback related to a traumatic experience that she wanted to work through. 

Feelings of shame

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If partnered sex or self-pleasure causes you to feel dirty, bad, or anything other than a goddess of sexual pleasure, you may have sexual trauma. Sexual pleasure, orgasms, and intimacy are normal parts of being human, and you have a right to enjoy them without shame or guilt. 

Working with a mental health professional to address feelings of sexual shame can help you better develop a sense of self so that you can enjoy the sexual acts you want to try without feeling bad about yourself. 

Panic attacks

For some people, some forms of sexual activity cause panic attacks. These attacks involve trouble breathing, heart palpitations, and a racing mind. They can find a specific sexual act triggering, general intimacy, or even just a kiss from a loved one. 

Panic attacks can be debilitating, but you don’t have to live with them. You can develop coping mechanisms such as mindfulness to help you connect with your partner in the ways you want. 

What do I do if sexual trauma impacts sexual experiences?

Remember that woman who broke a nose? She decided she wanted to get to a point where a lover could place a hand near her throat without her throwing a right hook. First, she identified the exact trigger. Then she learned how to navigate around it during sexual experiences. 

The first step to dealing with sexual trauma is learning to communicate about it with intimate partners. For our nose breaker, that meant telling new partners not to touch her neck until she gave them permission before things even got sexual. That solved much of the problem. Once she was in a trusted sexual relationship, she started experimenting with safe touch on her neck until she enjoyed it during penetration. 

So, if you’re wrestling with sexual trauma, the best way to handle it during a sexual experience is to talk about it before your clothes come off. 

How do I overcome sexual trauma?

You may not ever what a hand around your neck during sex, but you may want to be able to give and receive oral sex or enjoy a vibrator, butt plug, or other sexual aid without feeling afraid, shameful, or triggered. Communicating your trauma with a partner is the first step, but sexual dysfunction caused by trauma requires collaboration with a trained therapist. 


sex coaching with soribel martinez ct

Taking care of your physical and emotional self will help you address complex pieces of your life. Self-care doesn’t have to be pedicures and expensive vacations (but it can be!)-anything that improves your wellbeing counts. 

Some people think walks in the woods or afternoons with a favorite book are the best way to care for themselves. Healthy eating, regular exercise, and staying accountable in finishing necessary tasks count as self-care for many people. 

Start a journal of your healing journey

Journaling about the traumatic event or your responses to sexual intimacy can help you identify patterns and find a path toward healing. Sometimes putting things on paper helps take them out of our emotional brain to look at them logically. 

A mental health professional skilled in sex therapy can help you with journal prompts to support your healing process rather than trigger a trauma response. 

Find support 

You don’t have to go on your healing journey alone. There are support groups for survivors of sexual assault, childhood sexual abuse, and anyone else dealing with sexual trauma. 

RAINN, the Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network, offers a National Sexual Assault Hotline that offers free, confidential support to survivors of sexual abuse. They offer 24/7 support through online chat, phone, or a mobile app. 

Find a trained sex therapist/coach 

As a sex therapist with a background in mental health and women’s sexuality, I can help you identify the causes of your sexual trauma. I will work as your coach to develop new coping mechanisms and strategies for overcoming your trauma. We will explore your relationship with sex and pleasure and identify goals that will move you toward the sex life you crave.  

The process of healing sexual trauma is complex

You may find it helpful to see a mental health professional who specializes in sexual wellness. I am a sex therapist with 25 years of experience in the mental health field who recently sought certification as a sex coach. I believe women are born with a purpose, and we are here to do amazing things. I think that women deserve pleasure in their lives. The kind of pleasure that connects them with themselves, who they are, and what they desire. 

soribel martinez can help you heal from sex trauma

If you want that level of pleasure in your life, but sexual trauma is holding you back, reach out! I’ve created my 90-day Sexual Trauma Healing Program just for women like you. 

If you are ready to develop the mindset, skillset, and implementation skills to get sexual pleasure and orgasms, you crave then this program is for you!

The best way to start working with me is to apply for a FREE 20-Minute Sexual Trauma Assessment. This assessment is for women ready to STOP living in fear of sexual pleasure and experience hot, sexy & juicy orgasms that make them lose control.

This call is your opportunity to meet privately by phone with Soribel to discuss your sexual health goals and the challenges that keep you from having a genuine organismic experience with yourself or your partner.

During this call, I will help you clarify your sex or relationship goals, find out what’s holding you back from achieving an orgasm (or multiple orgasms), and decide whether I can help you get the results you want through one of my programs!

Talk to you soon!

Soribel Martinez, LCSW, Sex Therapist & Coach

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