What is sexual grief? According to Edy Nathan (2023), sexual grief is a natural response to an unnatural sexually traumatic event or experience which can occur over the span of one’s life.

I recently took a webinar from Edy, who was talking about her book-in-the-works, Healing Sexual Grief and wanting to share her thoughts on sexual grief and how to heal from it.

Nathan says we don’t talk about sexual grief, and that we really didn’t have an accurate label for this experience that is felt by many, and spoken by none. Sexual grief is about the primal part of you that has a sexual self, a sexual birthright, and when that sexual self is harmed, traumatized, neglected, hurt, it results in
– self-loathing

What’s left in the shattered soul is a lost sense of self.

Sexual grief can play “hide-and-seek”, or lay dormant and resurface throughout ones life. I describe grief and trauma as something that never quite goes away, even if you do the work, but it comes back around and around throughout your life. Each time it emerges, powerfully, triggered, activated, raw, its time to focus a new strategy on managing it.

Sexual grief can look like a lot of things, but I’ll share a few examples that I have come across in my work that I think does a good job of explaining what sexual grief actually is.

Sexual grief resulting from an interrupted sexual development. This results in the loss of sexual innocence, ones sexual “purity”, disrupts their entire sexual sense of self and beyond. Grief relates to what happened, what could have been, who the person could have been, sexually and beyond, had the incident(s) not occurred, the responses of others, and the loss of a life that was supposed to happen except for the traumatic event.

Sexual grief because of sexual dysfunction, injury, pain, medication side effects, just not being the sexual person that you thought you would be. Letting go of sexual myths, ideals, and expectations that cause grief around that. Not having sex or pleasure in the way that “everyone else does”. Feeling different or othered because of what is perceived as an abnormal difference in sexual functioning.

Sexual grief because of you are living a sexual life you didn’t expect to be living. Perhaps you are married and expected a blissful lifetime of sexual freedom and pleasure, but instead you or your partners expectations aren’t met. Sexual grief because of orientation issues, including asexuality. Sexual grief because decisions that you made lead to low sexual desire, drive, or pleasure.

Nathan describes sexual grief as a “hostage taker”. Edy presents six “hostage negotiation strategies” to tackle sexual grief. If you want to learn more about sexual grief and how to negotiate with the hostage of sexual grief, Edy Nathan has a 5 Part Video Series on YouTube on Sexual Grief. You can find the first part here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=udd50DhH9mc

If you would like to tackle sexual grief and start living a more healing and whole sexual life, please reach out using the form below or email info@sextherapy-online.com to get started on that journey.