7 Signs of A Sex-Based Trauma Bond, Not Love

Have you ever wondered if what you feel for someone is true love or something else?  Have you ever felt stuck, loving someone even when you knew it was hurting you? Sometimes, our feelings can get tangled, especially when strong emotions like passion and trauma are involved. One moment you’re on cloud nine, and the next, you’re in the depths of despair. If this sounds familiar, you might be experiencing something called a trauma bond.

A trauma bond is a strong emotional attachment that forms between a victim and their abuser. This bond is often created through cycles of intense emotional experiences, where good times are mixed with periods of abuse. When sex is part of this dynamic, it can make the bond even stronger and harder to break.

With that said, here are some warning signs of a sex-based trauma bond, according to experts:

Things Are Going Too Fast Too Soon.

Have you ever felt like your relationship was moving too fast, too soon?  While whirlwind romances can be exhilarating, they can also mask underlying issues that need time to surface. Trauma bonds often escalate quickly, fueled by intense emotions and a sense of urgency to solidify the connection. 

Picture this: your partner showers you with compliments, lavish gifts, and acts of devotion at a dizzying pace. This initial phase, known as love bombing, can feel overwhelming. Your head might be spinning with doubts, but your heart is too busy basking in the attention to listen to reason. And that’s exactly what they want! 

They Demean Your Sexual Performance.

In a healthy relationship, partners communicate openly and respectfully about their needs and desires. They might say, “I really like it when you do this,” or “Could we try that?” These conversations are meant to enhance intimacy and bring you closer together. But in a trauma bond, criticism isn’t about improvement; it’s about control and manipulation. Your partner might say things like, “You’re terrible in bed,” or “No one else would want you.” These remarks aren’t meant to help; they’re designed to hurt. They strike at the core of your self-worth and leave you feeling worthless and rejected.

You Have A Decreased Sex Drive.

You used to enjoy sex, finding it a natural and joyful way to connect with your partner. But now, the fear of more criticism and rejections leaves you feeling anxious and doubting yourself. Instead of excitement, you’re filled with dread. And the worry of being judged again turns what should be a loving act into a stressful experience. 

Your Self-Worth Is Tied to Their Approval.

Have you noticed that your self-esteem rises and falls with your partner’s approval? You feel worthless when they’re unhappy with you, and on top of the world when they’re pleased. So despite the abuse, you can’t help but crave their affection. Psychologists say that trauma bonds form because of intermittent reinforcement. Your brain becomes addicted to the unpredictable rewards of affection and attention, much like gambling. This keeps you hooked, even when you know the relationship is unhealthy.

They Use Sex as Both a Reward and Punishment.

In a healthy relationship, sex is an expression of love and connection, but in a trauma bond, your partner might use sex as a tool to control you. One moment, they’re incredibly loving and attentive, then the next, they’re cold and distant, leaving you feeling confused and rejected. They might use sex to reward you for good behavior, and withhold it to punish you. This drastic change in behavior can be extremely disorienting. But the highs feel so good that you might overlook the lows, making it hard to see just how toxic the relationship really is.

You Use Sex To Solve Your Problems.

Imagine this: after a heated argument, you and your partner turn to sex as a way to smooth things over. In the moment, it might feel like a temporary relief — a way to bridge the emotional gap between you. However, using sex as a quick fix can gloss over the underlying issues that need to be addressed. Instead of openly discussing your feelings and working through problems together, you might find yourselves falling into a pattern of using sex as a distraction from deeper issues. This creates a false sense of intimacy. And because sex is such a vulnerable and powerful experience, it can make a trauma bond feel more like love than abuse.  

You Ignore Their Red Flags.

So, you’ve read through the list, and a lot of it hits close to home. Yet, you still find yourself rationalizing your partner’s behavior. It’s a tough spot to be in, especially when you’re caught between wanting to believe in the best of your partner and grappling with the reality of their behavior. There might be moments where you blame yourself or hold onto the false hope that they’ve given you, promising to change and make things better. 

It’s admirable for you to try so hard to see the best in the people you love. But ignoring these warning signs only fuels the toxic cycle. Trauma bonds can cloud judgment and distort perceptions, making it difficult to recognize warning signs of abuse or manipulation. But acknowledging these patterns is a crucial step towards breaking free from their grip. 

So, did this video help you understand the difference between love and a sex-based trauma bond? Share your insights in the comments down below! And if you found this video valuable, hit like, share, and subscribe to our channel to support our content. We also have videos on the “7 STAGES of Trauma Bond, NOT LOVE” and “How To Heal From A Trauma Bond.” Thanks for watching!


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