In this episode…
How sexual trauma specifically impacts men
Ways to heal trauma while in romantic & sexual relationships
Understanding circumcision trauma
Personal stories from Taylor about how he has worked with past traumas
Sexual Trauma Happens to Men
When most people think of sexual trauma, assault or abuse, most people think of women in the victim’s role. The truth is that about 1/3 of all men have experienced sexual violence in their lifetimes. This is a shadow of society, and it’s important to talk about it.
And, men CAN heal from sexual trauma.
In this episode we’re joined by licensed therapist Papillon DeBoer, who specializes in helping men work with and heal sexual trauma. Papillon worked as a therapist at Our Voice (an organization dedicated to serving survivors of sexual abuse and assault) for many years before starting his own private practice.
Papillion also runs a podcast called Am I Broken: Survivor Stories, which gives survivors (people who have experienced sexual abuse/assault) an opportunity to share their abuse stories. *Listen with care and awareness that many of the stories will be upsetting because they describe graphic sexual assault and rape.
In today’s episode, in addition to the four bullet points above, Papillon and I will explore questions like:
- Does trauma ever go away?
- Why does trauma exist?
- What is generational trauma?
- What percentage of men are sexually abused by women?
- How can we work on healing our own trauma?
- What are good resources to help heal from sexual trauma?
Watch this Episode on Youtube:
If You Have Experienced Sexual Trauma…
I’m sorry this happened to you. No words on a screen could ever touch the reality of what can happen in an act of sexual violence. I hope you take the time and steps you need to heal and grow from your experience.
At 57:52 in this episode, Papillon gives a list of some great resources for anyone who wants to explore getting support for a past trauma.
It might feel hard or terrifying to talk about it with somebody, but often times that’s actually what’s needed. You could start by talking to a trusted friend, or if that doesn’t feel safe enough, you could call your local rape crisis hotline. Even if you haven’t experienced what you would call rape, these crisis centers usually support most people who have experienced sexual violence.
It’s Often Helpful to Talk About it
When we bottle things up and don’t talk about it, it might feel safe in the short term, because we don’t have to face any of the traumatic memories or things that disrupt our nervous systems… But we might be setting ourselves up for future failure if we push our feelings down regularly.
Even if you’re not sure if what happened to you was technically sexual trauma or not, it’s still worth it to get professional help from a trained & licensed therapist.
Some Common Symptoms of Sexual Trauma:
If you (or someone you love) have experienced a traumatic event related to your/their sex life, here are some sexual trauma symptoms you/they MIGHT experience:
- panic attacks
- intrusive memories
- a nervous system on high alert (strong anxiety )
- having a challenging time forming healthy intimate relationships
- having a challenging time relaxing into or enjoying sexual activity
- various kinds of sexual dysfunction
- lacking a sense of power and autonomy
- trust issues
All of which can fall under the umbrella term of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). To learn more about PTSD, check out this article by the National Institute of Mental Health. They explain it better than I could.
If You DO Start a Healing Process…
Working with a trained therapist can be a VERY good idea. You’ll probably hear about different types of therapy like:
- cognitive behavioral therapy
- emdr therapy (eye movement desensitization)
- traditional talk therapy
- exposure therapy
- cognitive processing therapy
- and possibly more…
You could also look for a support group for sexual abuse survivors. Getting social support in a safe space like that can be incredibly helpful. Many recovery programs include social support as an integral part of any person’s recovery process.
When Papillon and I talked before hitting record on this podcast, they said one of the most helpful things for the people in their therapy support groups was to hear the stories of other survivors. And simply hearing these stories from other survivors was a massive part of these people’s healing journey.
Here’s My Request:
Please remember that I (Taylor) am not a trained therapist or expert with supporting survivors of sexual assault. My hopes with this podcast/page are to create more understanding about recovering from sexual violence, AND to point you in some directions that could be helpful for your (or anyone’s) healing process.
If there are any other resources you’d like me to add to this page that you think would be helpful, please shoot me an email and let me know.
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