As someone who suffers from C-PTSD, I have a lot of trauma. I was a child sex abuse victim, and that has colored my sexual life as a result. There are some acts I can’t do at all without getting flashbacks, even if my partner is someone I trust. But of course, I still have a sex drive and want to experience pleasure.
This is where sex toys come in. When I have a partner use a toy on me, they’re not directly touching me, and as a result I feel more comfortable. I don’t have any negative associations with toys at all, and by using them I’ve been able to reclaim some of the pleasure I lost.
Masturbation has been a very healing way to reconnect with my body and with pleasure. I can experience sensation on my own terms, as strong or as gentle as I want, for as long as I want. It puts me in control of my pleasure, and that has been really beneficial.
Consent also matters. Consent needs to be enthusiastic, and it never hurts to have a partner check in with me during sex. “Are you OK?” or “Does this feel OK?” are great questions to ask. Having an understanding partner and the right communication tools makes all the difference in the world when it comes to sex after trauma.