You also have the option to opt-out of these cookies. But opting out of some of these cookies may have an effect on your browsing experience. Read more here. Necessary cookies are absolutely essential for the website to function properly. This category only includes cookies that ensures basic functionalities and security features of the website. There can be no true love under constant stress. JP: Literally, physically, fight-or-flight mode directs blood and energy to the limbs and away from digestive and reproductive organs.
The opposite of fight-or-flight is often called rest-and-digest, or, more pointedly, feed-and-breed. In order to make stress hormones, the brain essentially steals from our sex hormones. Part of the reason I believe our sexual energy is so sacred is because it has an intimate relationship with our sense of safety and empowerment. Not only do we stop wanting to have sex, we stop feeling able to fully engage with our work, our non-sexual relationships, and whatever brings meaning to our lives. To access the wisdom of our bodies and the power of our sexuality, we have to feel safe. Connecting with our sexual desire necessarily means connecting with our needs, our feelings, our boundaries, our sense of personal power, and our willingness to change ourselves, if not the world.
‘Sexual Assault is Not the End of My Story’
JP: There are a lot of reasons consent is complicated. Knowing what we want requires that we feel our bodies and correctly interpret their signals. Right now the gold standard for consent is verbal: well-meaning men have learned that they need to ask the women they date before they do anything, and the women are supposed to either say yes or no.
It sets up the female as a gatekeeper, not someone with desires in her own right — and women have been conditioned to say yes to men, no matter how they might feel. Oppressive social systems play into our most intimate moments, whether we like it or not.
BJB: Why is moving out of denial and telling your story a vital stage in healing? Does that make me ugly, broken, stupid, or even rare? Time heals some wounds, for sure, but not trauma.
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It is not something that will heal in isolation. A major piece of healing is coming back to choice and personal power, which can include how we want to clean up that pee on the floor, when, and with whom. Telling your story to your therapist or even just to yourself can bring all that unconscious crap up to the surface so it can stop festering.
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The story that matters is how you feel about what happened, how what happened affected you and changed the way you see yourself or the world around you. BJB: What is the one thing you would like readers to take away from Want? JP: I want survivors to know that going through a sexual assault does not mean your life is over.
There is so much life after trauma, and while the recovery process can certainly be difficult, it is also full of gems that can make our lives better than they ever were before the bad thing happened. What matters is that we choose to heal. That healing can generate wisdom, patience, compassion, and more joy than there ever could have been before the assault took place. Recovery is about healing the generations of violence and oppression that came before us. Sexual assault is not the end of my story.
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My story is about how I went from the fog of trauma to a life of full color, creativity, empowerment, joy, and sexual health. For all those reasons, I think the survivors could be the ones to change the world. As a survivor, you have the power to turn your wounds into wisdom. Otherwise the editor won't know which article you are discussing.
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