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Question
Posted by: Concerned | 2011-12-12

Child abuse affecting sexuality

My husband revealed to me that he was sexually abused by his father as a child aged 5-7years - we''ve been married for only a few months and he''s lack of libido has been a very sensitive topic. He suffers from epilepsy and is on chronic mediation - so we assumed that the meds have affected his sex drive. I am now however concerned that the abuse has an an irreversable effect on his sexuality. We are a young couple, both physically fit and we do not have kids so therefore no turn-offs or hang-ups where exhaustion or physical insecurities are concerned. Where to from here and what do we do to get him on a path of recovery and healing? I ofcourse felt a huge sense of rejection (as a newly wedded wife) where sex or lack there of was concerned before he revealed what had happened to him to me.

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Our expert says:
Expert ImageCyberShrink

The issues are complex. People vary widely in how childhood sexual abuse affects them, fropm barely noticeable effects to being very troubled by sexual matters ; but the effects are NOT irreversible, and psychotherapy / counselling can help.
Various meds can interfere with sexual function in various ways, too.
best to see a good local shrink, maybe even together if your husband would agree, to discuss the broad range of issues, assess what might be contributing to this problem, and reviewing alternative ways of solving the problem

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Our users say:
Posted by: Concerned | 2011-12-13

Thanks so much for your reply Maria - so sweet and thoughtful -thank you for the sound advice. Its ofcourse one of those cases that one has ALL the answers to if its not happening to you but I''m all dumb-struck now that this is a part of my life. Agreed though, his neurologist first then counselling and we''ll take it from there. xx

Reply to Concerned
Posted by: Maria | 2011-12-12

There is no real reason for him to approach his parents about it after all this time, unless he feels he has to do that in order to heal. Nobody needs to know that he or both of you go to counselling, and if they do find out they don''t need to be told why you are going either. I agree with you, pretending that it didn''t happen is not helpful, especially if he thinks this is contributing to his sexual problems. It is important to firstly explore the effects that the medication might have, and then speak to a psychologist or counsellor. He should discuss the pros and cons of speaking to his parents with the counsellor, rather than feel he has to speak to them before going for counselling. Good luck, he is lucky to have you for a wife.

Reply to Maria
Posted by: Concerned wife | 2011-12-12

Thanks for the reply Shrink! He actually hasn''t approached either of his parents about the abuse (his mom to confide in and his dad to confront)..and he feared that if we do seek counselling that this secret of his might come out - he sort of felt obliged to tell me before I had to hear it from a stranger i guess. We have to deal with whether or not he will approach his Dad, what the repercussions of this will be, then deal with the reality of what happened - he has been in denial all this time - and then establish if this has in fact affected his sexuality or if it is his medication and what can be done about it. I am so sad for him and told him that I will stand by him regardless of what he decides to do about it - i dont however want him to continue pretending it didnt happen and that it hasnt affected him, if only psychologically (because that alone, is HUGE enough!)

Reply to Concerned wife
Posted by: cybershrink | 2011-12-12

The issues are complex. People vary widely in how childhood sexual abuse affects them, fropm barely noticeable effects to being very troubled by sexual matters ; but the effects are NOT irreversible, and psychotherapy / counselling can help.
Various meds can interfere with sexual function in various ways, too.
best to see a good local shrink, maybe even together if your husband would agree, to discuss the broad range of issues, assess what might be contributing to this problem, and reviewing alternative ways of solving the problem

Reply to cybershrink

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