Recovering from sexual pain

Flirting with the big bad wolf


Recovering from sexual pain – flirting with the big bad wolf

I lost my virginity, barely conscious, but with the strong memory of yelling No! and trying to shove a man off me.

I was 19. It was the year after high school. I was lonely. I did really want to lose my cherry, but I was saving it for someone special. I wanted love. The messages I was sending out, however, did not attract love, they attracted quick, fleeting romps and little respect. I was probably in the peak of my physical attraction, but I didn’t know it and I certainly didn’t feel it. I did not feel any right to be attractive. My sexuality was timid and awkward, it was not an aspect of myself that I was comfortable with, that is until you added alcohol.

At 19, I was in a pattern of lubricating myself with drink and then and only then I would let my flirtatious sexy woman out to play. What this sexy woman loved doing was picking out a hot guy and then using her magnetism to woo him. She would – normally, be after connection, light petting and a promise of something more. She would know her limits and call it off when it got too steamy – hoping for an exchange of numbers. But something about the chase was electrifying and filled spaces that were empty and painful. My strategy, however, was not working very well. I had never had a boyfriend. But it was all I knew.

Flirting with the big bad wolf

Me circa age 19 at a dress up party

On the night in question, I had my very first experience of lay-backs – where “friends” pour drinks straight down your throat. It was a college party. It seemed like a good idea at the time. I remember flirting still, I remember going back to his room, I remember consensual petting and then I remember screaming “stop, no! I don’t want this”.Then I vomited all over his bedside table.

The next day was the morning after pill. Hang over. Telling my closest friends. Wanting to curl up and disappear.

I started having nightmares. My friend reached out and I slammed her away. I knew that I didn’t want to deal with this. I shoved it down. I spoke to nobody. It was my little secret and I did not want to have to talk about it or even think about it.

Life was bleak. I felt guilty. Was it rape? I didn’t really think it was. Sure I didn’t want to have sex with this guy but I felt far too much responsibility to pass the blame onto him. I was responsible and it could have happened on many other occasions before it actually did. I had been like a ticking time bomb. Just waiting to go off in this way.

The next few years were a blur. My pattern was still similar. I still needed alcohol to lubricate and free my sexy woman. I still needed a sexual outlet, and without a loving one, I got fleeting and brief steamy encounters. But I was a bit more careful.

When Loving relationships did actually rear their head, I got freaked out. I ran away. I made excuses and became extra picky. Nothing lasted.

Now, when I look back and revisit my story, I can’t quite believe that I met my husband just a mere 4 years after this. I met a man that was to be my soul mate, best friend, & life companion pretty much as soon as I released myself from my perceived boxed-in life in Australia and headed off overseas.

Something happened to me on the back-packing trail. I let myself out. I allowed shame to become wisdom and street cred. I felt sexy. I was travelling with one of the most sexually comfortable friends I had ever known. We started in Italy. 2 redheads in Rome. I was free.

By the time I met my husband I had my choice of potential suitors. He thought I was such a score. We fell madly in love.

I thought that was it. Comfortable, safe, loving relationship. Satisfying, caring, intimate sex life. I was healed. No need to look back.

travel with Iain

On our way to Tunisa 1996

But I was wrong. Shoving away tricky feelings and thoughts does not make them go away. My shadow side had a rest for a few years. There was travel, adventure and romance, there was the expansive, healing pulsations of love coursing through my blood stream.

Then, back in Australia a few years later, settling in to cosy life, my pain hit me. My neck, my shoulder, migraines and anxiety. My healing journey had to start. I discovered kinesiology.

Then cut to, 12 years into marriage, with the pregnancy and breast feeding done and dusted as the time came to get back into our sex life – my libido tanked.

I still did not want to deal with this. But I knew I had to. If I couldn’t even let myself think about this, then imagine the amount of energy that I am being drained of just trying to control my thoughts, the situation and my life in order to avoid confronting it. If I can’t even think about this, I am not free. I do not accept myself, I do not love myself.

So I sought out help. I visited a life coach, I had (lots of) kinesiology, and I even went to a sex therapist. I journalled, I got really vulnerable with my man and I set my intentions.

I committed to my sensual self. I committed to my fullness.
I wanted to be whole.

I knew that this experience and all the feelings and challenges that came before and after were my grit. They are honing the pearl. I am the wisdom that comes from emerging from the other side of the pain. If I don’t feel the pain, I cannot learn from the wisdom.

So here I am at the other side. For many years I could not talk about this experience. Not even my best friends knew. Mentioning it felt like a big deal, a big drama and I just didn’t know how to lay that on people. But now it feels easy. Sharing this with you feels right. I know that there are some aspects of my story that you can relate to. I know that hearing that there is a lightness and ease could be tonic enough for you.

The factor that has helped me the most in feeling free and easy about my experiences is not identifying with it. I do not feel like the experience of rape (if we call it that- yes I am still uncomfortable with the term) defines me. I do not find my identity in the experience. I do not feel that the clothes I wear, or the job I do, or the car I drive define me.

I now find myself in the energy that I bring to every moment. I am the vibration, the feeling, the light in my eyes. That is me. And in knowing myself as my spirit, I am free to feel light about my shadow and my expansion. About my wholeness.

This is a dedication to wholeness. Incant this yourself. See how it feels.

To my wholeness,

To the shame, the pain, the guilt, the shoved away, to the freed, the adventurous, the love, the sensual, the sexual, the light and the easy. To all of it, I welcome you. You are a part of me. I see you and I hear your wisdom.  I accept you and I open my heart to you.

May you light the way for my growth and expansion,

Love unconditionally, me. x

I would love to hear about your sexual emergence and how you have recovered from any pain that you experienced.

I wish the light that you are in this moment, to be free,

If it is time to embark on healing your sexual pain – check out my Sensual Soul Workshop on 3rd August in Brisbane.

Take care


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Nicole Mathieson

Hi, I'm Nicole Mathieson, a relationship and body image coach, couple therapist and author.

My relationships blog helps couples learn practical ways to cultivate a deeper understanding of one another, find safety and connection in relationships, navigate difficult conversations and repair after conflict.