Sexual Abuse, Body Image & Intimacy in Relationships
Sexual Abuse, Fear of Rejection & Intimacy
Your relationship with self and others is an important essence of being connected in this world. Often fear of intimacy stems from certain trauma early in our lives, and it may hinder our future relationships. It’s often the case that maybe there are some deep seated issues borne from childhood - for example in relation sexual abuse in women; In 2005, more than 950 000 Australian women reported they were sexually abused before the age of 15. (Quadara (2008) Responding to young people disclosing sexual assault. Australian Institute of Family Studies.)
Over the years I’ve been seeing more men who’ve lived with sexual abuse for too long, often suffering broken marriages and living in silence with ghosts from their past. There’s no place for judgement or shame regarding any experience, and together we can discuss what your needs are to help bridge a healthier alignment of thoughts, feelings and beliefs.
Our sexuality is a powerful force within us which is essential for expression of love. Its part of what drives us as humans to bond and procreate, and many cultures hold festivals for deities who uphold the very virtue of this joyful act. It’s good for the soul and extremely invigorating for your body, so why not embrace it? The very essence of being connected, not only with another being but also with ourselves, gives us so much more energy and joy. Sex is life and to embrace this energy will help you to lighten up and enhance your desire to live with passion.
Compulsions affect approximately 6% of the global population. This figure is increasing with the ease of availability of sexually explicit material on the internet, and along with sex texting there’s the issue of trust and appropriateness. Are you aware of the repercussions of your actions in the long term, or have you felt betrayed or unsure about your behaviour? Is your partner feeling betrayed, and do you fear this has led to a sexual addiction?
More than a million men in Australia experience Erectile Dysfunction, often as a result of stress and anxiety or because of poor diet and lack of regular exercise. It can be a difficult subject for men to broach but it’s an important issue and can be a symptom of other hidden health problems which you may not want to confront. In turn this may lead to lack of communication in relationships and invariably cause separation. SSRI’s known as Anti-depressants can also affect sexual desire and stimulation, and studies have shown that many men taking these medications experience a loss of desire.
(Betty Dodson Artwork)
There are other reasons for men to be more body conscious and feel relaxed to discuss openly any emotional blocks or concerns, as there is an increase in disease such as testicular and prostate cancers. Together we can discuss your fears or concerns, and where necessary I will recommend appropriate consultation with a specialist in the field of men’s health. In the meantime, consider prostate massage as part of our session; it helps alleviate built up toxins.
Premature ejaculation is another difficult subject for many men to face, yet can be treated with exercises designed to help you learn control and different sexual techniques. It’s my intention to be authentic, always acknowledging what appropriate action to recommend, depending on your situation and need. Breathing exercises and bodywork together will help alleviate anxieties, prolonging responses in the lead up to release.
There are many times during a woman’s life that can lead to poor health management. Often during pregnancy and post baby, a woman becomes tired and can often feel less desired. It’s also not uncommon to lose sexual desire altogether, and in some cases stimulation may not be possible. This can create an unspoken barrier between couples and in time this may manifest into feelings of anger. It’s important for your health to acknowledge these feelings and accept that being a mother can be exhausting, especially if you are working and have other children to take care of.
Also be mindful of the benefits of looking after you first. Maybe tiredness is making you feel depressed or you’re just ‘pissed off’ with everything, especially your partner. If this is becoming a constant mantra for you, then eventually you will have wasted a lot of energy and this may lead to serious illness. It’s important to talk about feelings, and to take time out for massage or any kind of pampering which can alleviate your body of all these ailments.
Good nutrition is vital also to help with good skin and bone conditioning. If you lose interest in yourself then down the track this may lead to disease, skin cancers or osteoporosis (brittle bones). Managing your health is essential. It just takes a few minutes to throw together a tuna salad at lunch.... slap on extra sun block..... You get the picture.
Menopause is another important time in a woman’s life. As we begin to age in a decade where we are more ‘aware’ of our longevity through positive health practice and in some cases ‘enhanced’ (i.e. botox) appearances, it’s important too that quality of life is embraced. We don’t have to be ignorant of the emotional rollercoaster that may ensue.
Maybe there are some feelings of despair or disappointment (never married or had kids), or possibly life seems empty and you think ‘what’s the point’. It’s important to remain centred and realise your full potential may not yet have been achieved. Life is full of promise, no matter which stage we’re at, and if there’s difficulty with managing emotions then remind yourself you don’t have to go through it alone.
Lack of Self Esteem
It’s a sad fact that all too often dissociation between one’s body and thoughts can endure throughout our lives when we encompass an obsession with how we believe we should look and feel. This is an ongoing topic in our society and it seems we still haven’t got the message. Just look at how much is written about the issues relating to body image and eating disorders. Lack of self esteem can embody a person’s whole sense of wellbeing and in the end manifest in ways that can not only create illness, but often become destructive to our relationships.
Building Self Esteem can be a difficult and sometimes painful experience; however it’s a journey worth beginning now. The result can be a more clear understanding of how happiness is possible when barriers are finally removed, especially if you have a poor sense of body image too. Everyone has their grudge with at least one aspect of themselves so it’s time to deal with it – you have one body and it needs your love to survive.
Accepting that life’s full of imperfections will also provide you with a better mindframe for coping with life’s little surprises and difficulties. Through letting go of certain negative and restrictive beliefs and expectations you will be free to grow in a more constructive and healthy way.
I guess there are many aspects of being a man and woman I’ve already touched on which may lead to certain issues within a relationship. Of course we all know what’s also important is to talk about it; what do you need from your partner that you don’t feel he hears? By talking to someone other than your family or girlfriends, who are great at always acknowledging the crap times but not so good and offering constructive and ‘real’ solutions, getting an outside perspective may help you recognise certain aspects of your lifestyle that may no longer work and therefore gain better strategies for aligning new balance. Or it may simply be that what you expected in your relationship just doesn’t ‘fit’ with who you are anymore.
Sometimes people need a helping hand to get through difficult stages in their relationship. Taking the initiative to seek advice is the first step in releasing negative energy. The next step is to embrace the love and positive feelings you already have and begin to feel nurtured again.
Feel motivated once more to breathe life back into your partnership and be equipped to handle your energy levels to support your own needs first.
Mind-Body Mapping of our Emotional Wellbeing
By reducing symptoms of anxiety, depression and emotional stress we can often discover the trigger to our ongoing battle with food. Also, sustaining a healthy relationship with someone may be difficult when we don’t have a healthy and loving relationship with ourselves first. This is such a basic fact but one which many people push back into their subconscious minds when seeking love and companionship. It’s too easy to expect that by having someone love us, all else will be just fine.
Development of better social and emotional skills will help increase the awareness of those triggers which set up bad habits. By knowing what it is that creates this, you will be free to enjoy greater physical health plus a better quality of life will prevail.
Poor Diet and Lifestyle Habits
Simply being happy and enjoying too much of all the good things in life may have led to a slip up in healthy eating practice. Exercise is also a factor in the feel good process, and having worked in fitness centres I couldn’t help but be amazed at how people could commit so much money to joining a gym and yet still have very little commitment to or passion for their lives. Often a cycle may begin whereby weight loss and body image become the goal, hence an ongoing battle begins. Personal trainers are great in helping you to keep on track and understanding how equipment works, however if you aren’t in it for the love of an overall overhaul, then you will soon slip back into bad habits. Be mindful of what your goals are and be realistic about what you are truly capable of committing to.
Also are you really enjoying the exercise and is your spirit moving you, or does it all become overwhelming and depressing? If it all seems too hard, maybe it’s time to get some support, and together we can look at ideas and ways in which you can make some small change, helping to make living less an effort and more enjoyable. This too will hold you in good stead health wise, especially if there is any history of diabetes or heart disease. So let’s get started then.
When we talk about diet and food, there’s more to think about for some of us. These days we’re bombarded with products on our supermarket shelves claiming to have certain health benefit. Whilst there’s a governing body set up to keep many companies in line with specific standards and guidelines, often it is our responsibility to know what it is our body will like or reject.
Too much processed food can be harmful as it may contain high levels of salt or sugar. It’s important to listen to any signals your body is giving you when eating these foods as it may be an indication of sensitivity. Also be aware of any additives which may be the cause of some allergies or bloating. Our bodies rely upon natural organic foods to survive, and I do realise that it’s not always possible to eat fresh, however, it’s important to stock your trolley responsibly. Be mindful each time you reach for certain products; having a problem with knowing how to balance your eating effectively may mean your body has forgotten how good the ‘real thing’ tastes. Why not try experimenting with some new foods such as exotic fruits; or oriental vegies in a stir fry? Your health will benefit in the long run, and food will become more exciting and enjoyable again.