Sexual Healing and Intimacy after Assault

Sexual Concerns

You may experience a variety of sexual concerns after an assault. You may not want sexual contact whatsoever, or you may need intimacy – stroking, nurturing, holding and not want to be sexual. You may experience some confusion about separating sex from sexual abuse. Particular sexual acts engaged in by the assailant may provoke flashbacks and thus be very difficult to engage in.

  • Sexual healing takes time.
  • It is okay to ask your partner to nurture you and not ask you to be sexual at this time.
  • A patient, gentle, intimate partner is helpful in your healing process.
  • To retreat sexually is a normal coping mechanism.
  • You have the right to refuse to be sexual until you feel ready.
  • Rape is not sex. Intimate consensual love-making bears no resemblance to sexual assault.
Remember, YOU ARE NOT TO BLAME, even if:
  • Your attacker was an acquaintance, date, friend or spouse, girlfriend or boyfriend, parent, sibling, guardian, other relative, professor, coach, or even employer.
  • You have been sexually intimate with that person or with others before.
  • You were drinking or using drugs.
  • You froze and did not or could not say “no” or were unable to fight back physically.
  • You were wearing clothes that others may see as seductive.
  • You said “yes” but later said “no” and were not listened to.

Having safe and consensual sex can allow us to feel that sense of satisfaction that is aspired by so many and you have the opportunity to connect with your partner(s) more intimately. Here’s what we mean by having consent during sex.

Consent means...
  • Everyone involved should be able to freely communicate what they do or don’t want, as well as read and respect each other’s signals and boundaries.
  • Everyone involved is sincere in their desires and has clearly communicated their intent.
  • Anyone can change their mind at any point in time and they should not be pressured or shamed if they want to stop sex.
  • Choosing to have sex once does not mean you are choosing to have sex every time.  You need consent every single time.
  • When a person is under the influence, they cannot give consent.

Printed with Permission From: UNLV Care Center
Title: Student's Guide to Radical Healing zine
First edition: April 2020
Second edition: May 2021

Crisis Center Resources: