I never got to understand what intimacy was before an abuser poisoned my experience. As a survivor of childhood sexual abuse and assaults as a teenager and adult, developing a healthy connection to my sexuality felt impossible.

And although the taboo on discussing sexual assault—due to movements like #MeToo—is weakening, many survivors still suffer in silence when reconnecting with their sexuality in the wake of sexual harassment, abuse or violence.

Reclaiming a healthy sexuality is like crossing a battlefield—each step can trigger flashbacks and allies may lose patience waiting for their loved one to reach the other side. Although it can feel like a thankless fight, there are many paths that lead back to pleasure. I have waged war on many of them.

Through the power of solo pleasure, therapy and regularly checking in on my boundaries and triggers, I have found a light at the end of a dark tunnel.

Trauma impacts us all differently

When it comes to how sexuality is affected, there is no uniform response. After a sexual