• Athena Ives

Sex and Intimacy After Rape

This is not a representation of how all individuals deal with sex and intimacy after rape, it is MY experience. Some of this will be graphic, difficult to read and can trigger some memories so please be aware of that.

At the age of 11/12, my older brother began raping me. One of the most difficult aspects of the rape was him performing oral sex. To some, oral sex can be much more intimate than penetration. When oral sex is performed by a man, it is typically to please a woman and it is extremely intimate. For example, a man can penetrate a prostitute but would never kiss her or perform oral sex because that is how many men display their love they have to their partner and with a prostitute, it is strictly sex. My first sexual experience involved my brother going down on me while I pretended to be asleep, in terror he would kill me.

The second time I was drugged and raped by a male Marine while I was at engineer school prior to going to my first duty station. Both of these assaults occurred before I had chosen a sexual partner. The first time I had consensual sex was mainly to get it over with. I was dating a guy in hopes that it would help me get over an emotional breakup with someone I had not had sex with. The third time I was drugged, raped, and sodomized by a brother Marine I considered a friend. I didn’t report this one because the man I was dating and had consensual sex with for the first time, was engaged in an orgy with two women and three other men the same night I was raped. Another Marine was trying to join in but they wouldn’t let him, so he called the police and said the women were being raped. NCIS and my entire command found videos and pictures of this orgy and rape became a joke. This is why I did not report my assault.



Dating and sex after that became an intense battle of emotions, distrust, and an inability to climax. I had to be drunk to have sex and it would take me months of sleeping with someone to be able to not drink before. With these men, I was never able to climax. Oral sex, while it felt amazing, every time I would flashback to that 12-year-old terrified innocent girl. I was not in any way promiscuous because I chose sexual partners with men I was dating. I wish I could be promiscuous because I have a very high sexual appetite but I needed intimacy as well! Intimacy involves trust which I seriously struggle with. Many women and men that have experienced rape become extremely promiscuous and it quite often becomes sex without intimacy, love, or emotion. It is simply an act that they perform to cope with their own inner demons.


It took the amazing love of an incredible man that helped me overcome so many challenges in bed. For a very long time, I thought I was damaged goods and would never be allowed to completely enjoy sex and be able to climax. It hurt even more when this amazing man felt responsible for not being able to make me orgasm. Our sex was passionate, mind-blowing, felt incredible, but I still couldn’t climax! I trusted him completely and he is by far the best lover I have ever had. For most women, sex is such an emotional and mental event. I was able to make myself orgasm every time by myself, but I had never been able to with a man inside me. While most women do not climax through penetration alone I couldn’t even with oral sex because of my past.



I felt damaged, angry at myself for not being able to climax with my partner, and even angrier that I allowed these bastards to take this away from me! The more I tried the more I would become stressed out and unable to. My partner and I are able to talk about everything including all types of sexual desires. When I mentioned how amazing he was with oral sex he was surprised and said he thought I didn’t enjoy it because of how I reacted. When I told him why, but I still enjoyed it, it was difficult for us to get through but eventually, we did.

When I talked to him about my difficulty climaxing, I could tell he took it as a personal challenge and it would bother him when I couldn’t. This caused an incredible amount of stress because I was trying so hard, it ended up having the opposite effect and made it even more difficult. So here we are both trying our absolute best to please the other person. I knew most of it was all in my head and I started to practice blocking everything else out and only focus on the moment and how incredible my partner was.

One day, after years of never being able to, I climaxed with him. It was the most intense orgasm I have ever had, so much more amazing than any I experienced through masturbation. I started crying in his arms and then was laughing. I cried because I was so relieved! I laughed because I could only imagine how confused he was. It took his incredible love, patience, loyalty, and communication to finally be able to experience this sensation. I cried because I finally took back the power and control those men had taken from me. I wasn’t broken beyond repair, I wasn’t ruined for life, I was healing. What I went through was normal and healthy! What isn’t healthy is giving up on sex; allowing the fear to prevent you from this beautiful form of love. There were times where I was scared of what he would think. I was afraid I would disappoint him because I wasn’t like other women who can climax every time.



From my experience, I have learned that burying the truth and not talking about it only makes the situation worse. It took some serious and honest conversations, years of trust, never giving up, and understanding the impact your brain has during sex to heal! Being able to open up and be honest about what happened to me was crucial. Some of my previous sexual partners treated me, quite often without knowing or unintentionally, like damaged goods, and that only made me feel more broken. Opening up to him was liberating because he treated me the same and cared about me even more. Most individuals that experience extreme trauma don’t want pity, they want people to treat them the same way they always had before the trauma. He never got upset with me and was unbelievably patient. I never gave up on myself which is very important! I worked on myself and continued to practice and try. Our intimacy and close relationship were directly responsible for improving our sex life.

I’m sharing this because it is such a difficult topic to approach! So many men are at a loss of how to deal with a significant other that has been raped. So many women are terrified that they are broken and unfixable, giving up all hope of ever being able to enjoy sex, and convinced that no man would want them if they knew the truth. There is hope! What you are feeling is normal and healthy. You were raped and experienced a traumatic event and your body and brain are protecting you. It can take a lot of time to convince your body and mind that sex with someone you choose is a good thing. If you don’t try and work on it, your body will never heal and you will never experience the amazing intimacy of sex with someone you choose. It’s terrifying I know, but don’t allow your rapist to take that joy and amazing feeling away. Fight back. Get back on that horse and go have sex.

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