Here are my top three tips for being a trauma-informed sexual partner:
1. Communication is Everything
Knowledge is power and in order to be a trauma-informed sexual partner, we need to make communication central to everything we do. Explaining what we are feeling, what we desire, and regularly checking in with our partners needs to be integrated into every interaction.
This also includes non-verbal communication and noticing when our partners seem tense or pensive and then checking in to make sure that we are on the same page.
In order to facilitate an openly communicative environment, we have to check in with ourselves and assure that we will not push away or punish our partners for communicating their needs, even when it may be hard to hear.
Read: Sex Communication 101
2. Empower Each Other
Interpersonal violence and trauma of any kind rests on one main aspect of abuse: power. Victims are denied their power and any ability to feel in control of what is happening to them.
By understanding this we can work to make sure we are empowering each other in intimate encounters. Everyone should feel heard and appreciated before, during, and after sex of any kind.
Read: What to Do When You're Triggered During Sex
3. Let Go of Expectations and Scripts
By increasing communication and working to actively empower one another we create new norms when it comes to sex and intimacy. Being a trauma-informed partner means releasing expectations of what love and sex have to look like, what counts, and how we see ourselves as sexual beings.
In this space, we create sexual scripts that hold no requirements or bars that must be met. Everyone is free is to experience and explore sexuality as they feel is right for themselves, and their partner(s), in the moment.
Read: Sex After Sexual Assault: How to Find Joy After Trauma
Being a trauma-informed sexual partner isn’t just about interacting with people who have openly disclosed trauma. It is the mindset we need to be working from with any intimate interaction.
In a world where we are all operating from a trauma-informed lens, everyone can feel safe, accepted, and celebrated for who and where they are.