The effect of sexual abuse

images-24Sex expert Layla Martin has helped thousands of men and women across the country reclaim and revamp their sex lives. Watching her blog videos on how to explore tantric sex or master your pleasure zone, many people are surprised to learn she once struggled with sex for decades and is a survivor of sexual abuse, a traumatic event that can permanently scar individuals emotionally.

Thirty-two-year-old Martin was sexually abused by her father from age 3 until she was about 7 years old. She struggled with depression and broken relationships for years. To try to heal from the trauma, she used traditional and non-traditional therapies, some of which she learned about when she studied sexuality at Stanford University and in the jungles of Asia with tantric masters.

Fox News’ Julie Banderas recently sat down with Martin to talk about her story and how others can help rehab their lives in the face of struggle, too.

“[Sexual abuse is] one of the secret killers inside of people, and contributes to so much depression [and] self-hatred, they have difficulty with relationships, sexuality, finances,” Martin told FoxNews.com. “It goes so much deeper than most people realize … and I don’t think what we do as a society is as much as it needs to be to stop it.”

In the United States, one in two women and one in five men are sexually abused in their lifetime, according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). One of the biggest challenges victims face is speaking out and admitting they were abused.

According to the National Sex Offender Public website, about 70 percent of sexual assault cases are not reported to authorities.

“I actually did try to tell my mother when I was young,” Martin said. “A lot of children they feel such shame and they take it on themselves, I certainly took it on as being my fault.”

When Martin reached her early 20s, she felt ready to share her story. Her journey to sexual healing started with talk therapy, but that only took her so far.

“I eventually realized that talking about it wasn’t quite enough,” she said. “It was really sitting in my body— it was tension, it was pain, it was numbness. So I went to Asia to actually learn the deep healing practices of tantra, and I spent about seven years working on releasing the trauma and the pain.”

Yoni Massage
Yoni massage was one of the practices Martin learned from her tantra teachers. She describes it as therapeutic vaginal massages performed by your partner or a trained practitioner— though she cautions her clients to be careful when choosing a specialist as there are many frauds in the business.

“It’s actually designed to be a healing and a release because so many women who’ve been abused, they never actually have a way to revisit the area and do really deep healing,” Martin said. “Yoni massage was really good for me to release the pain and tension that was inside my body.”