I always think it’s interesting when people say they feel hollow after casual sex. Usually I’m the opposite in that I have a million feelings rushing through me the next day and feel like I’m going to have a panic attack. I almost prefer the times I’ve felt hollow, except not really because they occurred with someone who consistently treated me like nothing more than a hole for his dick. But really, the post hook up panic sucks, and it happens even if I do something as light as cuddling.
Okay, first of all, cuddling is not light. Cuddling is advanced togetherness. Cuddling is more intimate than anal sex after a big meal. Messier too, especially if you’re being all casual about it.
The key to your anxiety is physical intimacy. It doesn’t matter what form it takes. Whether it’s cuddling or casual sex, physical intimacy is a trigger for you, and you need to be aware of that if you’re going to engage in intimate behavior.
A big part of this has to do with your history of sexual abuse. (You submit questions through the tumblr ask box, which isn’t anonymous.) I’ve answered one of your questions before, and it would be ridiculous not to acknowledge the fact that your past sexual trauma is directly linked to your current post hook-up anxiety.
In fact, the rush of feelings and panic you describe is something known as hyperarousal, and it’s a textbook PTSD symptom for a rape survivor. Don’t let that bum you out. It’s actually good news, because you can treat that shit. Recovery takes time, but you really can get better.
Also, what you’re experiencing now is a helluva lot better than “feeling hollow.” You don’t want any of that shit. Feeling hollow is a form of dissociation, and it’s a very unhealthy coping mechanism. Of course, the hyperarousal sucks too, but that’s just a physiological response you will eventually learn how to control.
Remember, this is you healing. All of this stuff you’re going through is perfectly normal, and it’s not gonna fuck you up forever.
You’ll get there.