The #MeToo movement and the Aziz Ansari story have inspired much needed discussion about the boundaries involved in consensual sex. In today’s hookup culture, often sexual partners barely know each other, so they don’t have a longstanding, trusting rapport at the foundation of their relationship. They lack a deeper understanding of each other’s emotional, physical and sexual comfort levels and limits. This puts them at risk for having sexual encounters that may have started out as consensual, but then became uncomfortable, negative, disempowering, or traumatic on some level for one party.
Over the past 20 years of counseling clients at my practice, I’ve heard hundreds of clients (most often women, or men who have partnered with men) discuss these types of “bad sex” experiences. These events can trigger memories and feelings from previous boundary violations and traumas, as well as depression, anxiety, substance abuse or self-esteem issues.