Sexual Trauma Excerpt from Biblical Sexuality& The 21st Century by Rev. Jayson Graves, M. MFT

We’re going to spend some time on how the Bible paints a picture of how our psyche is affected in some particular ways. Luke 17:12 talks about things that happen to us. This next root area after spiritual, neurological, and psychological has to do with trauma-based roots. Listen to this Scripture. Luke 17:12, “It would be better for him if a millstone were hung around his neck and he were cast into the sea, than that he should cause one of these little ones to sin.” Vulnerability requires extra protection. When we’re young and vulnerable we can be easily traumatized. The Bible paints a picture of how little ones are protected by this deterrent of if anybody hurts them having a millstone tied around your neck and being cast into the sea would be better then what’s going to happen to you. Ephesians 6:4 says, “Fathers don’t provoke your children to anger but bring them up in the discipline and the instruction of the Lord.” Sometimes trauma can happen relationally when there is a power differential. People can be traumatized at many different kinds of ages not just when you’re young. They can have things that affect them in a negative chronic or lasting way and impact their sexuality, their sense of an understanding of sex, and their sense of themselves as a sexual being through all of these different channels, harm, embitterment, or relationally. The definition of sexual trauma is just that a chronic negative affect on sexuality or sense of sexuality due to an event or a pattern of events featuring a power differential and/or a dissident feelings association. What do I mean by dissident feelings association? If you have an event in your development of a sexual or sex-related nature that has a dissident or disharmonious feelings associated with it like excited yet scared, that combination was never meant to be infused into our understanding of sex and sexuality. What happens then is the addiction lies the compulsion to repeat that trauma and a person will go seeking situations and sexual type events that have the components of, guess what? Excited yet scary. When I was exposed to pornography when I was 13 everything clicked for me. This is it. This is what I’ve been looking for. This is what I’ve been searching for. There’s her example of that. Sexual trauma can happen in a lot of ways. It can happen in abusive ways like that. It can happen in much more subtle seemingly innocuous ways. Even normal childhood exploration kinds of events like playing doctor or playing house can have traumatic events especially when there’s a power differential. A power differential is where the other person is older, bigger, stronger, even more experienced, or in a position of authority, or trust. Even something as simple as playing doctor or playing house can scar you. You can have and experience those dissident feelings associations. Sexual and sex-related contact is pleasurable. It can be a very confusing thing when something is pleasurable yet you feel some guilt about it or you feel ashamed like there’s something wrong with me because I did this. It’s very confusing. That essential confusion gets tied into or sewn into the fabric of our sexuality and our understanding of sex. When a person experiences sexual trauma and then begins to enact that part of why that happens is because there is an illusion of control. Especially with a person who’s been abused… We talked about the hurting person hurting people… When you go and then perpetuate that it gives you a sense of trying to repair that or at least in being in control of that. In other words at least this time, I’m the one doing it it’s not being done to me. Trauma bonds can be formed and that’s where we attach to the dynamics of the trauma.

Excerpt from Biblical Sexuality& The 21st Century by Rev. Jayson Graves, M. MFT

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