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I am not sure how to handle my girlfriend. 6 months before we met she was sexually assaulted by three males at a party when she was drunk.

I really love her but we have no intimacy at all. She trusts me and I know it. I just don't want to pressure her into sex. We do get physical but only to a point.

I am worried that maybe she needs time to heal and a relationship might not be the best thing for her right now. She struggles a lot with substance abuse and low self esteem.

Please tell me what to do? I am worried I will start pressuring her into sex and I know a lot of the time she doesn't like to be touched. It is tearing me apart because I know love and sex go together but I don't want it to be bad for her or for her to feel bad.

She is probably going to seek counseling soon, I just don't want to become part of her problem. I want to love her but not hurt her.

What can I do......



Walter --

Thanks for your note and as with most of the ones that I receive at Feminist.com, I wish that it was sent under better circumstances.

I have actually received notes from many men who are writing under similar circumstances. What seems to be key is just patience. She needs to know that she can trust men again -- and you seem to be in the role of providing that reassurance to her.

When women have gotten over this hump most credit a boyfriend who showed them that sex didn't have to be violent and that they could be loved without being taken advantage of. I think that you also need to communicate all this both verbally and physically.

I know it's unfair to ask you to abstain--so hopefully together you can find ways to be sexual that are comfortable to both of you. I'm not sure what that magic combination is, but by communicating, hopefully you can figure it all out.

Also, you can't be her only support system she should see a therapist or someone who can help her on a professional level.

Good luck,

-- Amy