Samara: “Masturbation was the way I coped with trauma. I was addicted to it.” (story shared through website's contact form)
"Originally I was scared of sex. But as the years rolled by, this fear of mine turned into a very strong attraction. At six years old I became hypersexual. I am currently sober and have been for four years.
"I always feel if I tell people my struggle with sex addiction they won’t believe me. I feel like most people automatically assume if you were ever sexually abused at a point in time, there is no way sex can possibly be something you can eventually become addicted to."
Natasza: "When it happened I thought it was my fault because I had been touching myself.
"I touched myself back then [as a child]. I found ways to do it. I always had a high libido. I had quite specific fantasies too. I felt like [the rapist] had read my mind and targeted me rather than other children, because he knew I was thinking those things anyway.
"I still feel very guilty about masturbating, especially if I fantasise when I'm doing it. I can't orgasm if I don't fantasise, but I feel that deep entrenched guilt again. When [the abuse] first started I stopped touching myself or thinking what I had been thinking, because I was convinced reading my mind was causing him to do these things."
Lyn: "Masturbation has always been easier than sex.
"I can stop if I start getting flashbacks. I don't have to worry about what someone else thinks or leading anyone on.
"I find it less stressful, but I do find it stressful. I can do it when I feel like it, but that isn't very often. I do it because I see it as a way of reclaiming myself, but I do find it stressful. I don't know how [to masturbate], because I feel absurd doing that after [rape] hurt me so much.
Lauren: "I have reacted to a sexual relationship with myself much better than with anyone else.
"I can focus on everything how I want to. It's very time consuming being with another person because you have to fill them in on years of history. Wanking is something I've spent my life working on, and it's worked out. But it would take a long time explaining all the rules to someone else because there's a lot they shouldn't do, otherwise I will freak out. A relationship with myself is a safe relationship.
"It depends on my mood. Sometimes I like it really hard, sometimes I like it soft, sometimes I don't go inside, I stick to the outside. I can get to my clit either way. I can't orgasm. I stop myself a long time before I get there, but I am getting to the stage where I enjoy it. When I started it was an exploration process. Now it's become something I am getting some pleasure from."
Hanifa: "I find a whole approach works, [meaning that] rather than focusing on my vagina I focus on other areas too.
"If I tense my thighs and the whole area around the top of my legs, and then unclench, that works for me. I have to get to being quite aroused before I do that, but that works.
"Some days I know I'll be triggered if I touch myself, but I can make my body work for me. It took practise to know how. Feeling horny hasn't changed, before my period that's what happens, that hasn't changed. But I don't touch myself now. I have other techniques."
Sarah T: "I feel a freak for saying this. I do masturbate. I thought about whether I should say this, but I decided I am going to say it.
"I have to think about what happened to get anything from [masturbating]. I don't imagine what happened with [the rapist], but I imagine it happening with someone else I fancy.
"During the rape I wasn't willing, but when I'm fantasising, I am willing. It is in the same place as the rape happened and I'm wearing the same clothes I was wearing then. I think it's a way of taking control over what happened.
"It was freaking me out and I didn't know if I should say it. It doesn't sound that scary now I've said it out loud. I think I'm rewriting what happened so I can have control of it. But I don't know if people will get that."