CW: This whole post will contain talk about abuse and trauma.
While I have written in the past about healing from non-sexual trauma in the past. I have only written about dealing with sexual trauma tangentially. While I was at Woodhull, I had the pleasure to attend Using Sex Toys as a Tool to Heal From Trauma run by Sarah B Holl from Formidable Femme. It was one of many I was looking forward to. Healing sexually has been the most recent focus for me. Going to this workshop, was validation and I felt like I wasn’t alone.1
After the relationship, as I was left feeling like my pleasure wasn’t important. I was going through the motions. Not only with my blog but with my cam work. I was avoiding certain kinds of toys because they had been used against me by my abuser to harm me. I wasn’t sure if I could ever bounce back from it.
Reclaiming My Pleasure
This is one of the first lessons, I had to relearn. Using toys that penetrated me was not where I wanted my first steps to be. Too often it would actually trigger bad memories if I was using a toy that was shaped anywhere near close to a human penis. So I started with external touch first, my Magic Wand was often a go to. While I could not at first use it at the start. It was perfect for after my hands would tire. Once I was most of the way there and already aroused the toy was a nice addition. The vibrations a pleasant treat that felt nothing like I was used to. Pleasure is a human right, a right I was learning finally to take back.
“Sex toys are tools to access pleasure” – Sarah B Holl
After that, I started to very slowly take more back. Each different toy was something just a little bit more than was mine again. Every orgasm that I had was something more. However, it was more than just finding what I liked. There was so much learning about what I did not. During the workshop, Sarah brought up making a Yes/No/Maybe list for toys. That was something I actually never thought about for myself. Even though I have been working on one for other kinds of play. I have been learning I am allowed to set boundaries with my toys as well.
Not Always Easy
More and more, I find myself becoming more open to toys. It is almost like immersion therapy of sorts. Realistic toys a rough for me. So I find one that is still a little out there but counts because of its shape. The biggest hurdle for me at this moment is actually anal toys and using toys anally. There is a lot of trauma in that area, however, I also find myself wanting it. My older toys while perfectly safe, I found that they were too much for me. So I found myself taking a step back, looking at toys meant for beginners.
However, I didn’t feel like I was a beginner. The whole thing felt like I was taking a step backwards. This particular thing being inaccessible angered me. Being able to take pleasure back, also does come with a lot of mental work as well. There is no, finding the perfect things right off the bat that works. The harder ones, come with trial and error. Tears and tossing butt plugs across the room.2 But I am getting there, I am taking it back even if it is going to take time.
Words of Thanks
Walking into the Workshop, I wasn’t sure what I would expect. Walking out. I felt like a weight had been lifted from my soul. Once more, it was hearing things that I had only been thinking in my own head that helped so much. Knowing what I had been doing was okay. That taking my time, relearning and remapping my body after my sexual trauma was okay. It also allowed me to speak up the next time I was in therapy, talking to my therapist so she knew what I was working on. Something about being in a place that I felt safe, gave me the strength to not only write this. But also to continue pushing further in my own healing.
Thank you, Sarah, for holding such an amazing workshop. Giving folx a safe place to hear things they needed to hear. Learning that their pleasure matters, no matter what they have gone through.