None of what you’ve experienced means you can’t or will not have pleasurable and meaningful sex again. It may mean you need to learn some new skills, and it will definitely require you to talk about sex with your partner or with a professional to figure out what you want to do and how you can do it.
Sexual Thoughts You Want & Unwanted Sexual Thoughts
If you’re interest in sex has decreased, increased, or feels out of your control, you may want to start by talking to a mental health professional. Because sex is about mind, body, and spirit, it can be very hard to figure out where one cause begins and the other ends. One of the benefits of all this sexual sleuthing is that it forces you to ask yourself sexual questions you may never have asked, and knowing the answers can lead to better sex. If you don’t feel ready to talk to a mental health professional you might want to start with your partner, a trusted friend, or clergy member.
Sexual Thoughts about Your Body
There’s no question that when your body changes it takes time for your mind to catch up. A new definition of what you consider masculine or feminine doesn’t happen overnight, and you may find it helpful not only to talk with a counselor about how you feel about your body, but talk with people you trust (friends, family, clergy) and others who have gone through these changes in the past and have found a way to enjoy sex again.
Sexual Assault/Military Sexual Trauma
Sexual assault is a traumatic experience that no one should deal with alone, but if it is never addressed, it will usually create problems that interfere with your sex life and overall happiness and health. Remember that this is something that can happen to anyone and it happens too frequently. When you’re ready, talking with a mental health professional, a trusted friend or clergy member, and/or your partner is a good first step to take.
Changes in Memory & Understanding Sexual Situations
You may have had all sorts of rehab to deal with changes resulting from trauma including TBI. But your rehab professionals may not have mentioned sex. If you think memory problems or the way you interact socially are getting in the way of your sex life, you may have to take the initiative and go back to talk to your doctors and rehab workers about it. They should be able to help with exercises or techniques to reduce the impact your memory loss, communication problems, or other social skills are having on your sex life.
Generalizing Your War Time Experience
If you find yourself having a generally negative view of sex but at the same time crave sexual connection, it can be helpful to talk to a psychologist about how you might be generalizing your experiences in combat and how this could be affecting your sex life in particular. Remember that a lot of mental health professionals lack training in sexuality and they may not bring up sex. But sex is a part of overall health and if you raise the issue they should be willing to at least help you find answers to your questions. If you’re not comfortable getting a referral or talking to a counselor, a trusted friend or clergy member can be another way to start talking about these issues.
Learn how combat experience can affect:
- Sexual Function and Response
- The Mechanics of Sex
- Access to Sex
- Sexual Feelings
- Your Spouse or Partner