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  • Writer's pictureDiana Pompilii-Rosi

Sexual Trauma Healing with Tantra

A dark image of a women on the bed possibly suffered from sexual trauma

Sexual trauma. Most people hearing those words will instinctively wince and attempt to redirect the conversation. But why? Sexual trauma is one of the most common woundings I see as a practicing Sexologist and Certified Tantra Practitioner. Healing the wounds left by sexual trauma can open us in ways nothing else can. It can leave us free of burden and able to truly love ourselves again.


Understanding Sexual Trauma and Its Effects 


Sexual violence is one of the most prevalent forms of violence in our society. However healing from sexual trauma is also one of the least discussed and least supported recovery processes.


So why many people shy away from healing those wounds?


In many parts of the globe, victims of sexual violence are even ostracized by friends and family after an assault. The separation from ones familial or social support structures can be devastating to survivors. Additionally, the lack of support for victims can lead to those survivors not healing fully as they struggle to find any path to peace without assistance and often resort to the quickest way through. And this is only the tip of the iceberg.


While physical forms of sexual violence are extremely prevalent, we must also consider the equally prevalent non-physical forms of the same issue. Catcalling, verbal abuse of a sexual nature, coercion, sexuality or gender identity-based violence, witnessing sexually violent acts done to others, child pornography, and even chastity culture can have deep impacts on our own intimacy and sexuality.


The Role of a Sexologist in Sexual Trauma Healing 


Coming to a place where we can acknowledge and confront these woundings is how we can take our power back, and this is where a sexologist can come in.


Healing from sexual trauma, whether it is of a physical nature or another form, is not an easy road. It is also a uniquely personal journey, one that must take into consideration many factors and our own emotional ecosystems.It may sound like a lot, and it is indeed an epic journey, but I promise you it is one that is very much worth taking. 


Healing From Sexual Trauma


So how does one begin to heal from sexual trauma?


Well, first we must begin to define the traumas we have suffered. Sexual trauma is popularly defined as “the physical and psychological challenges endured by survivors of sexual assault.” While this is accurate on the surface, limiting the scope of the violence to acts such as childhood sexual abuse, rape and other physical acts fails to account for the wounding and damage caused by non-physical forms of sexual violence.


In truth, the first definition is, in its own way, part of the problem as it delegitimizes the wounds incurred through non-physical sexual violence. 


Even persons who have never experienced a physical assault may have experienced sexual violence. The experience may leave someone with short or long-term struggles. These aftereffects can have an impact on ones mental and or physical well being. Effects can range from such conditions as PTSD, depression, anxiety, and other such conditions through to other expressions like chronic pain, low libido, difficulty in reaching orgasm, and other sexual dysfunction.


Survivors can also find themselves facing such challenges as emotional dysregulation, loss of sense of self, dissociation, body armouring, and depersonalization tendencies. All of this can lead survivors to shy away from sexual acts and sexual experiences, which can cause discomfort with intimacy in general, cause sexual dysfunctions, or greatly disrupt their ability to take pleasure in them.


This problem deepens when the survivor is someone who inhabits a “non-traditional” body, gender-role or sexuality as the already complex navigation of sexual pleasure for persons in these communities is often inherently challenging due to societal bias. Adding in the complexities of navigating disruptions caused by sexual trauma creates issues that can prove nearly insurmountable without assistance.

A strong an healthy woman posing for the camera, representing even worst sexual traumas can be healed, tantra is just one way to try.

Tantra: A Path to Healing 


Enter, Tantra. Tantra is both a philosophy and set of spiritual practices that focus on the direction and manipulation of universal energy as a means of liberation and freedom from suffering. I am a Certified Practitioner of the Authentic Tantra® modality, which comes from the Shangpa Kagyu lineage of Tibetan Tantric Buddhism. In our lineage we follow the principles and practices of Tibetan Five Element Tantra as a path to sexual, spiritual, and emotional healing. 


We work with practices that enhance body awareness, cultivate pleasure, and allow us to address and dissolve trauma that blocks our paths to bliss. This allows an opportunity for people to connect with their bodies in safe and positive ways with the guidance of trained practitioners who are both well educated, and trauma informed.


In addition, the Tantric concept of sacred sexuality plays a role in reclaiming sexual empowerment. In Tantra, sexual acts are not just rooted in the physical, but also in the spiritual, psychological, and emotional realms. Sex is connection and intimacy, and we seek to embrace our pleasure, our desires, and our bodies as sacred parts of a divine embrace. This often proves to be a powerful path for those seeking to undo the harm and damage caused by sexual violence. And to be very clear, tantra is for all bodies, all sexual preferences, and all gender identities. 


How Can a Sexologist Help?


The other practice that can also help in healing from sexual healing is Sexology, which is the scientific study of human sexuality. Utilizing tools and understanding from numerous fields, such as psychology, biology and medicine to name a few, sexology uses a holistic approach to address and treat issues relating to a client’s sexual health. This includes working with clients to help them understand and heal the damage that results from sexual trauma. 


Sexologists can possess a wide range of qualifications appropriate to their field of study and expertise and use many tools to provide a safe and supportive environment for healing. Practices such as trauma-informed care, individualized treatment plans and many more can be used in concert with healing modalities such as tantra, talk therapy, somatic techniques, sacred movements, and mindfulness exercises to create a plan unique to each client that is optimized to best help them heal. 


Somatic and Emotional Healing in Tantra-Centered Coaching 


One of the techniques that has proven extremely beneficial in helping survivors of sexual trauma to reclaim their pleasure is somatic therapy. Somatic therapy is a body-oriented modality that incorporates such things as dance, breathwork and meditation to support and promote sexual healing alongside methods like talk therapy and mind-body connection exercises. 


One of the main ideas behind somatic therapy is that we store trauma not only in our minds, but in our bodies. By focusing on the physical sensations, one experiences when talking about a past trauma we can begin to locate the physical home of that trauma and use a variety of different techniques to promote grounding and mindfulness as we gently and lovingly heal the area and learn how to release that hurt. 


By bringing Tantra into the mix, we can now begin to expand the benefits of somatic therapy by incorporating things such as sacred movement, meditation, visualization, and breathing techniques to further expand the mind-body connection and begin to see our interactions with our bodies as divine and joyful. As well, traditional practices for the healing of sexual dysfunction like sensate focus exercises and understanding your needs and desires for self-pleasure, begin to change your perspective, help you ground into and rejoice in your sensual nature, and open the door to further healing. 


Further strengthening this mind-body connection allows us to deepen our understanding of ourselves, leading to increased confidence, sexual arousal, and overall pleasure. Additionally, tantric practices used both singularly and in conjunction with other modalities such as somatic therapy have been proven to help clients regulate their nervous system and reduce hypervigilance. There is also the benefit of being able to reach places of emotional catharsis as well as increases in emotional processing capabilities and greater communication skills which allows for healthier dialogue with partners and others.  


In any attempt to address and heal trauma of a sexual nature, it is imperative that survivors have help and support to heal. As mentioned above, societal attitudes often do not allow space for this support to come from the standard methods in the same ways that it can be found in body-based healing techniques such as Tantra and Sexology. This does take time, as the most important piece of the puzzle is developing a sense of trust and intimacy with your chosen provider or care team. Healing can not truly occur if we feel mistrust or fear of those who are there to guide us along a path to healing.


Resolving Sexual Dysfunctions with Tender Guidance 


Another skill my self and other providers can help with is helping you manage and understand interactions such as communicating and collaborating with a partner, both within your healing journey if you wish to include them, or in other settings. The act of intimacy is one of the most beautiful things we as humans can engage in, sometimes that act is one of self pleasure, but sometimes it is nice to share the experience as well. 


Throughout the healing journey you will learn many lessons. Some will be difficult to embrace, but all of them are steps on a path that will lead you towards the ability to reframe your pleasure, dissociate from trauma and learn to cultivate self love and body acceptance. As you move through your journey, you will find yourself rediscovering things like sensuality and sexual desires as well as learning to celebrate your victories and honor your healing process. 


Sexual trauma in any form is a harm no human should ever have to experience. But due to its prevalence and societal attitudes towards it, it is a nearly inherent part of our culture at this moment in time. As terrible as its effects are, they do not have to be permanent. True healing from sexual trauma is possible through the use of holistic modalities such as Tantra and Sexology. 


The power of cultivating your mind-body connections and embracing your innate sensual nature should not be something to live in shame and fear of. The after-affects of sexual violence do not have to be faced alone and compassionate support is available to help one navigate the aftermath of sexual violence. Each of us is worthy of living freely and fiercely as our authentic selves, and of enjoying our pleasure, in whatever form it comes to us. 


The road to healing from trauma is a uniquely painful one, and yet there is power there as well. Power gained from taking back control, power found in reclaiming your sexuality or even expanding it to places you always wished you could go. It is a road best travelled with a guide, one who knows the best routes and where the difficult parts lie, someone who is invested in you and wants to see you succeed in your journey. 


Remember that you are worth the time the healing journey will take. What you experienced was real and valid, you are valid and worthy of all the finest things in life, including love, sensuality, and pleasure. What happened to you was neither something you asked for or deserved to have happen. I wish you the best on your journey. If you have any questions, please feel free to reach out though my contact page, I would be delighted to speak to you.


Picture of a hand reaching to the sun, representing help is always available.

Resources for Help


IF YOU ARE CURRENTLY EXPERIENCING SEXUAL VIOLENCE, PLEASE CONSIDER REACHING OUT TO ONE OF THESE RESOURCES


SALAL Sexual Violence Support Center (Canada)

Nationwide toll free # 1-877-392-7583

Salal provides support services to survivors of sexualized violence who have shared experiences of gender marginalization: cis and trans women, Two-Spirit, trans and/or non-binary people. Salal is known for not practicing non-consensual intervention. 


Support Services for Male Survivors of Sexual Abuse (Ontario, Canada)

Nationwide Toll Free # 1-866-887-0015

The Government of Ontario Support Services for Male Survivors of Sexual Abuse program provides help for male survivors of sexual abuse, both recent and historical. The program is the first of its kind in Canada and is delivered by agencies across the province.


RAINN National Sexual Assault Telephone Hotline (United States)

Nationwide Toll Free # 800 656 HOPE

Anyone affected by sexual assault, whether it happened to you or someone you care about, can find support on the National Sexual Assault Hotline. You can also visit online.rainn.org to receive support via confidential online chat. RAINN does engage in non-consensual interventions as obligated by law.


Trans Lifeline (U.S. and Canada)

U.S Toll Free # 877 565 8860 (English and Spanish)

Canadian Toll Free # 877-330-6366 (English and Spanish)

Trans Lifeline’s Hotline is a peer support phone service run by trans people for our trans and questioning peers. Call us if you need someone trans to talk to, even if you’re not in a crisis or if you’re not sure you’re trans.


Canadian Association of Sexual Assault Centres: www.casac.ca

CASAC is a Pan Canadian group of sexual assault centres in Canada with a list of rape crisis centres and transition houses across Canada.  


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