From a woman in India: I was sexually abused by my brother when I was 8-9 years old. My brother stopped it after a while and I never told anyone about it. The problem I have is that whenever I have any sexually related dream it is always my brother who is doing it. I don’t want to dream like this because after i wake up I feel disgusted and i am not interested in any kind of sex. Thinking about it makes me really hate myself. I feel repulsed when someone touches me. Please help

A: I’m very glad you wrote. I want you to know that, although very distressing, what you are experiencing is not unusual. Your first sexual experiences happened when you were too young to process what was happening. Your body responded even though your mind couldn’t cope with it. Sexual feelings got tangled up with disgust and fear, not love and tenderness.

It would be best if you could get yourself into therapy with a therapist who is experienced with the impact of childhood sexual abuse. Therapy will help you heal from the trauma and reclaim your adult sexual self. If therapy isn’t available where you live, find some self-help books about how to heal from childhood trauma. Also, consider joining an online support group, like what you can find here at PsychCentral.

Please don’t be discouraged. With time and attention to your healing, you can recover and enjoy intimacy with someone you love.

I wish you well.
Dr. Marie