Must I Give Sex To Get Love?
By The Pink Lady @ Scratch Paper
Let’s talk about sex.
In all honesty it’s never been a very comfortable subject for me, and it’s taken a long time to figure out why. It wasn’t until my women’s studies class in college that the pieces started coming together, and I really started to figure out why I relate to sexuality the way that I do.
Trigger Warning: May be triggering for victims of sexual assault.
When I was younger (early teens) I was assaulted a number of times on my middle school campus, at my church, on various church events, and even in my own home by people who until these acts were committed I was pretty convinced were interested in me as a person.
I have always fit in fairly well with society’s beauty norms. I am tall, slender, and feminine. I have a long torso, “perfect handful” breasts, long legs, and delicate facial features. I was a late bloomer, but that didn’t seem to bother most people even though it made me very self conscious.
It started out in seventh grade when two boys one grade above me cornered me in a hallway, pulled my sweatshirt over my head so I couldn’t see their faces, and started grabbing at my practically non existent breasts and ass. That wasn’t the only time they harassed me.
It became more and more of a problem once they told people what they had done, and started giving other people ideas of how they could treat me, and get away with it.
I was always rather shy in social situations with people close to my age, so I never said anything about it. I was already afraid of what people might think of me, as fitting in was a big deal to me, so I didn’t want to make any waves.
I started telling people I was gay, thinking this would divert their attention to other more willing parties, and then the verbal abuse started to flow. One of my “friends” told me one day on the football field, “So what if you’re a lesbian, pretend my dick is a tittie and suck it!” Still, fifteen years later these are things that I think about, and to some degree they still dictate how I relate to sex.
I thought I found a way to hide. I dyed my hair black, cut it short, and started wearing baggy clothing. It bought me a little time, but not long after that, a female friend of mine (openly bisexual at the time) locked me in her room and tried to take off my clothes while talking to me about how great she thought my pussy would taste. There didn’t seem to be anywhere I could hide.
I was very sexually inexperienced at the time (unlike most of my classmates) and didn’t have a problem with it, or feel like I was being judged for my inexperience. If it were entirely up to me (as it should have been) I would have waited until I was much older to start experiencing sex, but that was not how it ended up working out.
I started dating someone much older than me, who did have an active sex life, and who — without considering that perhaps I didn’t — began having sex with me on a regular basis. I was fourteen, much too young to understand what sex means, how to do anything, or figure out if it’s something I want or not. She took care of me in all other respects. She fed me, bought me gifts, gave me her jacket when I was cold, convinced me to quit smoking cigarettes, and defended me when others tried to give me a hard time.
I thought it was love, so I was okay with the sex, but it was never something I wanted. It felt like a chore to undress (especially in the winter time) and I would always rather be doing something else, but I wanted to make her happy, so I did what she wanted.
After that relationship ended, I was very aware of the fact (in my own mind) that if I wanted to be in a relationship, have a companion, and feel loved I had to have sex. I used it as a tool to feel close to people, and every time I did I retreated further and further into myself until it was nearly impossible for me to be present in any sexual encounter.
Now according to the world around me, I am an adult. I don’t get to be a child and tell my partner I would rather play board games, watch a movie, or cook dinner than have sex. If I do that then I am told there is something wrong with me, that I must be cheating on them, that I am not attracted to them, or that the relationship won’t work. In many ways I feel like I was robbed of having a normal relationship with sex, and with myself. I know I am not unique, and my heart hurts for all the other people with stories like this.
I’m almost twenty-seven now, ten years after last seeing the first boys who treated me like a sexual object, and I had a dream about them. They were kidnapping a close friend of mine to publicly rape, and murder her as a part of a ceremony done every year. I chased them down, enlisting strong male friends of mine to try to get the girl back, but we ultimately failed and she was tied up naked and shot in the head. The fact that I am dreaming something like this so many years after my first experience with sexual assault shows me how greatly influenced I have been by acts both large and small (most of which have not been included in this writing) and how it still plagues my mind.
I have absolutely no idea how to relate to sex as an adult, and it is putting a huge strain on my life. I refuse to refer to myself as a victim even though that is exactly how I feel much of the time when I think about it. More than anything I feel trapped by the experiences of my past, as if I am still being held prisoner by them, and am unable to escape like the girl in my dream.
I have written poetry about this subject many times, but have never just told a story about my past and what really happened to make me the way that I am today. I believe it is important to talk about things that are uncomfortable. It is an attempt to purge the demons inside myself, and let other people know that they are not alone, that certain things are not okay, and that these struggles are very real. I hope to one day have a normal relationship with sex, but I know that no matter when that happens, it is going to take a lot of work. It is very easy for me to demonize people that have a healthy desire for sexuality, and run scared in the opposite direction. But hopefully, I will not always have to suffer from the haunting of these ghosts.
Posted on June 4, 2014, in feminism, LGBTQ, objectification, psychology, rape and sexual assault, relationships, sex, sexism, violence against women, women and tagged feminism, objectification, psychology, relationships, sex, sexism, sexual assault, violence against women, women. Bookmark the permalink. 37 Comments.