Today’s post is about the relationship between sexual attraction and trauma.  Love makes the world go round.  We spend so much time singing about, wishing for, working on, or crying over love.

That said, what is it about love that can be so addictive?  Why do some people have seemingly satisfying, model relationships and then others of us choose the wrong person, over and over again?

Eros the Archetype of Relationships

The Greek God Eros, aka Cupid, is the myth related to the archetype of love and relationships.  However, the archetype is not just related to what we would consider erotic or romantic love.  The archetype of eros is at play in all relationships.

Psychological Projections

Psychologically, relationships start with projections.  Like Cupid’s arrow, first, we gaze upon someone, then fantasize who they are and what they might be about.  In the case of sexual attraction, our fantasy (or projection) is the hook (arrow) with which we attach our desire.  An accurate projection would show us the person is the qualities that we imagined them to have.  An inaccurate projection would show the person to have qualities vastly different than the ones we first imagined.

Lifting the Veil

For example, have you ever fallen in love with someone and then weeks, months, or years down the road, found them to be a person completely unlike the person you thought you fell in love with?  Like Psyche using the lamp to gaze upon her lover, Eros, the person’s true nature is unveiled.  Once the “blindness” of the possession of the archetype of love fades, we start to become aware of who the person really is, the good, the bad, and the ugly.


So why is it that you find yourself falling for the same person, with the same awful traits over and over again?  The answer is trauma.  Unresolved (read here, unconscious), trauma projects onto familiar traits of people who will reenact that which is familiar.  This person unconsciously satisfies the requirements for you to relieve your trauma story.

Therefore, the more you know about the archetypal story that you have been living in your life and how those patterns play out in your life, the more likely you’re going to be consciously able to recognize them.  Then, when someone “hits a cord” within you that rings true with your trauma you may be able to make a different choice. The key here is that the choice becomes conscious through psychoanalysis.

Repetition Compulsion – Your Unconscious sexual attraction is a result of your trauma

Sigmund Freud called this cycle repetition compulsion.  The theory states that the reason you feel compelled, overwhelmed, or enthralled with a person who fits your archetypal trauma pattern is that unconsciously, you are trying to react differently to the story and the pattern and therefore resolve the trauma.  This is incredibly hard to do without a psychotherapist.  Why?  Because the instinctual, emotional response is unconscious; it just feels right.  That’s the rub.

Resolution of Trauma

For those with trauma history, resolution of the trauma is possible.  Through in-depth psychotherapy, you can not only identify emotions and be able to face your trauma story, but also change your relationship to the patterns of behavior that revolve around the archetypal story.  Through this uncomfortable, but worthwhile work, then you are able to realign your relationship to the archetypal story and chose a generative alliance to the archetype rather than a tragic one.

You may still recognize the wounded part of your rising up as an impulse or emotion that would tempt you to react according to the degenerative, traumatic alliance with the archetype.  However, you also start to recognize it for what it is, a wounded part of you that acts up like a trick knee when a storm is coming.  From that, you then learn to make conscious choices that benefit you rather than being at the mercy of the tragedy of the trauma.

Healing Sexual Trauma for Healthy Relationships

When you examine and process trauma, feelings, and patterns in therapy, you are able to untie some of the energetic blocks and knotted energy.  Recognizing these patterns allows you to speak up when you need support or space.  Basically, you own your stuff.  This doesn’t mean life will be perfect, but you will be able to verbalize your needs.  In a healthy relationship, both partners endeavor to own their flaws and verbalize their needs honestly.

It may also be the case that you don’t see a direct connection between the relationship of sexual attraction and trauma.  So, this might be something you’d like to explore further.

Ready to get to work on creating a life you want to live?  I’m happy to help and I’d love to hear from you.