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Trust is the Key Ingredient to Miracles

Trust Betrayal, Betrayal Blindness, Trauma and It's Underlying Effect on Your Erotic Life

What if the core issue to your relationship difficulties, being out of alignment with your libido and your body, is rooted in a betrayal of trust? I have been talking about Trust Betrayal in a series of posts on my time line and it's symptoms, as well as how to calm hyper-vigilance.

Trust betrayal produces conflict between external reality and a necessary system of social dependence. Betrayal trauma theory was introduced in this context by Dr. Jennifer J. Freyd: "The psychic pain involved in detecting betrayal, as in detecting a cheater, is an evolved, adaptive, motivator for changing social alliances. In general it is not to our survival or reproductive advantage to go back for further interaction to those who have betrayed us. However, if the person who has betrayed us is someone we need to continue interacting with despite the betrayal, then it is not to our advantage to respond to the betrayal in the normal way. Instead we essentially need to ignore the betrayal." Dr. Jennifer J. Freyd, a Professor of Psychology at the University of Oregon, is the author of the terms "Betrayal Trauma" and "Betrayal Trauma Theory." 

How many people are in relationships in which they are dependent as well as deeply immersed with the person whom they have "Trust Betrayal"? How many of them are "Ignoring", consciously, the betrayal and instead living in a state of ongoing trauma? What starts to develop is a concept that Dr. Freyd calls "Betrayal blindness". This blindness is the unawareness, not-knowing, and forgetting exhibited by people towards betrayal. This blindness may extend to betrayals that are not traditionally considered "traumas," such as adultery, inequities in the workplace and society, etc. Victims, perpetrators, and witnesses may display betrayal blindness in order to preserve relationships, institutions, and social systems upon which they depend. Continuing to live with a person who has cheated out of financial necessity. Tolerating less from a relationship because you are raising kids together. This list goes on.

So take a breath and take a look. Are these concepts new to you? How could they be effecting how you function in your romantic life, erotic life and financial life? In so many ways these things are connected. At Back to the Body: Sensuous Retreats for Women, we are looking at how we support women with various types of trauma that often go unrecognized and are sometimes even gas lighted.

Understanding the various types of trauma that exist and how we process them could be THE KEY to your own erotic transformation. You are not a victim. Bringing consciousness and language to experiences is a step towards taking back your life. Living with the constant vibration of hyper-vigilance is a key factor in some women’s erotic distress.


Touch, pleasure, the reduction of hyper-vigilance, and a safe container is available.

Dan Powers and I recently addressed this in a webinar, Are You Ready to Feel Better? The Impact of Trauma on Pleasure. Watch here as we address hyper-vigilance, safe containers and pleasure.

Betrayal Trauma, Hyper Vigilance and Your Erotic Life

Betrayal trauma changes you and can put you in a state of hyper-vigilance which can deeply impact everything from your relationships to your orgasm. If you have had a life-altering experience such as an unexpected break up or life change you may be living with the biggest orgasm blocker of all. Broken trust can shut down your libido, including your ability to focus and regulate your emotions.

What happens is that traumatized individuals pay more attention to cues of threat than other experiences, and they interpret ambiguous stimuli and situations as threatening leading to more fear-driven decisions and emotional reactions.

When it comes to being able to drop into our bodies, relationships and sexuality -- we need to support people to let go of living in the perception of danger which can bring up feelings of fear, sadness, rage or terror. Sexual ecstasy cannot flourish when we are dropped into defensive behaviors such as freeze, flight, fight, or collapse.

I think we need to talk more about this, especially today when everyone --- especially women seem to be on high alert as a state of being.

It's a conversation around sex, libido, desire, arousal and orgasm that is under served.

I'm serving it as a path to healing and finding sexual freedom.

Pamela Madsen is the author of Shameless: How I Ditched the Diet, Got Naked, Found True Pleasure...and Somehow Got Home in Time To Cook Dinner and creator of Back to the Body: Sensuous Retreats for Women.  Her work can be found at

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Pamela Madsen