DEAR DEIDRE: AS a child, I was abused by my older sister and it still affects my life.
I have never had a girlfriend until now. I’m 21 and my girlfriend is 20. We met when we were on an internship.
She had always make an effort to join me on our lunch break and soon enough our friendship blossomed into something more.
We have been official for six months but she is keen to take things to the next level and have sex.
She says she feels ready, but I don’t. Every time we even come close, I make an excuse.
I told my girlfriend it’s too soon and that I wouldn’t want to ruin what we have. But the truth is I get flashbacks.
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When I was seven my 13-year-old sister would touch me and ask me to do inappropriate things.
She made me swear never to tell our parents, but one day they walked in on us and I got the blame.
The shame has stayed with me ever since and any time I have a sexual urge towards my girlfriend I feel as if I’m doing something wrong.
I haven’t told my girlfriend in case she thinks I’m a weirdo.
She has already asked why I tense up when she makes public displays of affection and I honestly don’t know what to tell her.
A part of me wants to share this with her in the hope she may understand, but I won’t risk losing her.
Life has been so much better since meeting her.
I wish we could keep things as they are but I know she will leave me if we don’t have sex soon.
The thought of it gives me anxiety. What am I going to do?
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DEIDRE SAYS: I am sorry you experienced this as a child. It’s important to remember it wasn’t your fault and you should never have been made to feel ashamed.
Performance anxiety is common when uncomfortable memories are triggered.
You would find it helpful to talk through what has happened to you with the support of a counsellor first.
They will create a safe space for you to process what happened to you in the past so that you can move forward.
My support pack Abused As A Child explains more.
You can also get in touch with NAPAC: National Association For People Abused In Childhood (napac.org.uk, tel: 0808 801 0331) who will help you.
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