(Kingsville, Ontario, Canada)
I have an irrational fear of being raped. Sometimes when I am intimate with my boyfriend it feels wrong and it hurts, but not physically. Is it possible for the mind to suppress a memory such as rape?
The mind can suppress just about anything. But there are lots of different possible theories you could use to explain these feelings. It is possible to be "violated" by many means, rape or molestation being only one possibility. We can be emotionally abused in all sorts of subtle ways, looked at in an intrusive manner as a child, objectified during puberty. Some may say there could have been a trauma or abuse in your past life (if you believe in reincarnation). Sometimes also, the trauma of another person - often a loved one - can become our own fear. If a relative or close friend was raped and you empathize with them, you could find that you've taken on their fear or worry...
Sexual intimacy is a profoundly vulnerable aspect of relationship. It uncovers all sorts of unresolved emotional stuff. If you have courage, and trust, and keep your eyes and your heart open, while respecting your own boundaries - you may discover things that allow you to expand far beyond your limited views of yourself, and into a happier, freer and more self-accepting experience of life.
Don't live in fear of what you don't know. Trust your own feelings and your own intuition, and don't over-think it. But if you find that these fears or worries become too much of a burden, it may help to talk to a therapist about it, just to gain some clarity and explore things more deeply.
Ben Schwarcz, MFT
Santa Rosa Psychotherapist
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