In What is ancestral trauma?, I wrote how traumas that occurred thousands of years ago yet remain embedded as genetic memories in our collective unconscious. As we go deep into our healing journey, these age-old traumas can surface for resolution through porn.

In that post, I posited the origin of these traumas:

How far back do they go? As far as I can tell, to the Biblical Fall: the expulsion from the Garden of Eden into the desert. The story in Genesis with the ultimate all-star cast—Adam, Eve, a snake, an apple and an irate god—appears to be a fictionalised version of a core traumatic event affecting humanity whose occurrence is supported by anthropological evidence.

Key traumas

The Fall seems to have inflicted four key psychological traumas:

  1. A fundamental separation from both nature and the mother figure. I link these because they’re macro- and micro-level versions of the same thing—the mother wound. Nature ceased to be a bountiful provider. So did mothers. Children were separated at birth to encourage violence. This conferred an evolutionary advantage by improving the odds of survival.
  2. A core sexual trauma stemming from separation from the mother and denial of sexually pleasurable breast-feeding. This led to circumcision of men, and the sexual subjugation and sexual enslavement of women.
  3. The embedding of core victim (feminine) or victimiser (masculine) energies in the human psyche, stemming from traumas 1 and 2. This dynamic, in highly watered-down form, still resides in the collective unconscious.
  4. The embedding of a slave mentality (including sexual slavery) whereby we unconsciously give away power to socio-political institutions and rules, e.g. the concept of nationality.

Each of these traumas is repressed within us—yet continues to affect us in many ways:

  • Our separation from nature allows us to abuse nature
  • Our separation from nurturing leaves many of us feeling isolated and alienated from others, including our own families
  • Our core sexual wound prevents us from revealing our deepest sexual selves to our partners, for fear of rejection
  • Our unconscious acceptance of the victimizer/victim dynamic surfaces any time we impose our will on others
  • Our unconscious slave mentality manifests in surrender to an all-consuming economic machine, and in surrendering our sexual sovereignty to our partners (in exchange for their sexual surrender)

During our healing journey, these traumas can surface as in attraction to images that literally or metaphorically represent these ancient wounds.

Return of the repressed

Sigmund Freud, the ‘father of psychoanalysis’, saw repression as an unconscious mechanism for warding off socially dangerous impulses. He considered this “the corner-stone on which the whole structure of psychoanalysis rests.” No impulses are more dangerous than sexual ones.

In The Psychopathology of Everyday Life (1901) Freud posited the idea of parapraxes, better known as Freudian slips, which are attempts by repressed impulses to break into conscious awareness. He termed this process the ‘return of the repressed’.

Freudian slips are usually thought of as spoken faux pas. Freud had a much broader view of parapraxes, including not only supposed errors in speech but also of writing, memory, action and chance events. What identified them as parapraxes was “the ability to refer the phenomena to unwelcome, repressed, psychic material, which, though pushed away from consciousness, is nevertheless not robbed of all capacity to express itself.”

Ancestral traumas in porn

When we are strongly drawn to porn, these ancestral traumas are trying to communicate with us from the depths of our unconscious. In Porn categories reflect historical taboos, I drew comparisons between contemporary BDSM images and woodcuts of witchcraft victims during the Inquisition.

Ancestral traumas run deeper—right back to the dawn of patriarchy. Millennia-old traumas about the dangers of sex—physical, moral and spiritual—seep to the brink of our awareness as we stare at 21st century digital images of nudity and sex.

Millennia-old traumas about the dangers of sex—physical, moral and spiritual—seep to the brink of our awareness as we stare at 21st century digital images of nudity and sex.

The next time you’re drawn to porn, ask yourself if you’re seeing a reflection of your own ancestral traumas:

  • Do you long for physical touch and nurturing, rather than sex?
  • Are you carrying buried trauma, anger and rage in your genitals?
  • Can you feel the victimizer in you as you gaze at porn images?
  • Are you stuck in a co-dependent, sexual slavery paradigm?

Porn is never random. Porn is never accidental. We are drawn to reflections of our deepest selves—and nothing is deeper than these ancestral traumas. Porn provides an opportunity for recognition, acceptance and release.

Break Porn Addiction
Main image: Jean-Léon Gérôme, Phyrne revealed before the Areopagus (1861)