Must I Give Sex To Get Love?

The Pink Lady

The Pink Lady

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.

This was originally posted by “The Pink Lady” @ Scratch Paper by one of my students who now has her own blog.

Related Posts on BroadBlogs
I Made Fun of Feminists… Before My Abuse
Textual Harassment
Past Life

 

About BroadBlogs

I have a Ph.D. from UCLA in sociology (emphasis: gender, social psych, women's psych). I currently teach sociology and women's studies at Foothill College in Los Altos Hills, CA. I have also lectured at San Jose State University. And I have blogged for Ms. Magazine, The Good Men Project and Daily Kos.

Posted on June 4, 2014, in feminism, LGBTQ, objectification, psychology, rape and sexual assault, relationships, sex, sexism, violence against women, women and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 37 Comments.

  1. Goodness :-( . I really feel bad when I read such stories. I doubted whether I should “like” the post or not as I am really feeling sad for the girl. But I liked it and the reason is the girl’s openness and thanks to you Georgia for sharing such a story. Even sharing such a personal story is not easy for anyone. !

    • Yes, it takes courage to share this sort of thing. I suspected a few others could relate, and maybe it would be helpful to know they’re not alone. And sometimes hearing others’ stories helps us to think through our own.

      Also, I think that a lot of men don’t understand how the sexual violence of other men can end up affecting them, whether through the hurt that is felt by mothers, sisters and friends or from girlfriend who are sad, depressed, and uninterested in, or confused about, sex. All men should join the fight against sexual abuse of women.

  2. So much courage and fierce honesty. I have a feeling the writer will give words to the experience of others.

  3. So brave and so important to share stories like this, and I hope that the writer can take the time to find her own pleasures.

  4. Yeah this brutish testosterone fuelled sexual aggression is of course not acceptable, and makes women understandably fearful and objectified. Although irrationally some begin to fear all men at some level, which is understandable, which is bad for the majority of men. Even those cocky types who approach every woman they see in the bar, who make women guarded and shielded, make it hard for the rest of us.

  5. Thank you so much for sharing. These experiences resonate very strongly for me and gives me a lot to think about. Much love. ♥

  6. I’ve had similar experiences as a teenager in Middle School. I still remember when a boy my age pushed me to help him masturbate and have felt very ashamed of the whole thing until now. I have a hard time talking to guys, and feel like I should be an innocent person. As a twenty year old, I’ve never had sex, but do believe that to keep a guy interested, I need to do something sexy like talk sexy and look good. It’s frustrating because it’s an automatic act, and I feel so bored and uninterested. My current boyfriend is very loving, and wants nothing more than to help me and never once asks for anything sexual, yet I offer them because I am afraid that it will ensure love. I am also afraid that by not offering, he will find someone else who will.

    I found this blog post very helpful, it’s comforting (yet sad!!) to know that my case isn’t all that unique. I find myself interested in studying human sexuality for this very reason. To understand and heal.

  7. This is very difficult for me to read. Being that I grew up in a town that was very accepting. My high school had a zero tolerance policy so there was no bullying. Not on the surface and not underneath the surface. Through out my life I’ve never actually seen anyone that was bullied nor have I been bullied myself. So it’s almost hard to imagine how this could happen to someone from a young age. I don’t think I would be brave enough to come out with these thoughts.

    • I’m so glad that zero tolerance for bullying is now more common. It’s about time! And so glad to hear that it can work so well! You are Lucky to have gone to such a school.

  8. Every time I read these stories I feel very sad for these girls. This girl was raped by two male partners and one bisexual partner. No girls should feel like they HAVE to give their guy sex to please them. If they are not happy with you not wanting to have sex, well than that is their own problem. I think that more girls would feel more positive about themselves if they said no, and knew that they are better than they think they are without giving sex. If you have to give sex to get love in return, it isn’t love, its a trade off.

  9. I have been a-sexual for a while now and though i do enjoy having sex with my boyfriend from time to time i have become more of a cuddled. I feel it really depends on the agreed upon relationship “rules” whether you need to be one way or another in a relationship and that really communication is the biggest thing above all else. And if you get communication resistance that that is the biggest form of bullying in a relationship when one needs to communicate and speak how they feel or what they need.

  10. Caroline Tran

    This person is so incredible, I don’t know how I would stay sane if I was in her position. I’m the type of person who doesn’t really care about whether I fit in and I’d rather be alone than have to deal with people who’d treat me like crap, but this story is just so heart-wrenching I want to give her a hug and apologize for all the stuff she’s been through of life’s behalf. We all have our own ways of dealing with things. I clicked this article because I’m wondering myself if I have to give sex when I get into a relationship, since I’ve never been in love before or dated. I’m way too antisocial to let people get that close, but I can imagine falling in love and doing the family thing one day so I thought this post would be a good reference.

    I wasn’t expecting this mess. She doesn’t want to be treated like a victim, so I though I sympathize with her and I don’t blame her at all, there’s a part of me that wants to know why she didn’t fight back. Reading the part about how the boys in middle school harassed her more than once horrified me. I’ve been bullied before. Two boys in elementary school made fun of my sweatshirt while we were waiting in line. I felt so humiliated, I kicked him in the shin so hard he cried and we both had to write notes home to our parents. In middle school, a boy used to tease me with a stupid nickname until I couldn’t handle it anymore and punched him in the back of the neck after class one day. Needless to say, he stopped and actually started treating me better. We almost became friends. I’ve been called nerd, bullied by girls in middle school, I don’t really know how to deal with them still since I don’t want to hit girls even though I am one, but a part of me is just screaming why won’t she fight back? Scream, struggle, please don’t let this happen because those who hurt you won’t give a second thought about doing it again unless you let them know you won’t put up with their crap.

    I haven’t been sexually assaulted. I’ve grown up with my own set of problems so I know how it feels like to be on the edge of breaking down and scared of everyone around you but just argh… It upsets me that I can’t do anything about this since again, everyone has their own way of dealing with things. I really do hope she ends up in a relationship where the person loves her and she won’t feel pressured to have sex unless they both want it. I’ve found my answer and won’t settle for less. Also, screw what everyone else thinks, there is nothing wrong with wanting to play a board game instead of having sex no matter how old you are.

    • When a girl is bullied by boys who are typically bigger and stronger it can be hard to fight back. Partly because of the size differential and partly because of socialization.

  11. wow just as the other people have said, this is such a strong well written story. It must take a lot of courage to overcome such obstacles. Id like to thank the author for sharing. I feel that this article should stand for other people who might be suffering through the same trauma or now of people who have. Its really a shame that in our society most people don’t have the courage to speak up on abuse of any kind because of the repercussions that it might bring. We should encourage a more accepting society to that everyone has the ability and opportunity to come to anyone for help without fearing shame or any other emotion that might keep them in the dark. Again I thank the author for their courage and strength.

  12. Some people throw sex around like its nothing. Not just men, but women too. But when I was little my grandmother was very graphic with me about adult things in life including sex. She wanted to make sure I was smart enough to handle things and get mature quick. At the time I hated it because I felt so awkward. Now that I am older I greatly appreciate what she taught me. I never have sex with anyone unless I am officially dating them. Women are scared they will be called so many names if they do that but in reality, every man and woman that tried to get to that point with me was amazed and actually liked it better when I refused because we had just met or have only been hanging out. Maybe if your friends or just the people you hang around with put you down for good choices like that, maybe you need to rethink who you hang out with.

  13. Tiffani Bartlett

    Its sad to say that kids are learning what its like to be sexually active at a very young age and are forcing kids in their age groups to act along with them even when they don’t want to and are too afraid. Whether its from the media, an older sibling or even their parents, it is not okay for these kids to be sexually assaulting others. This is how kids grow up to think this is all okay when its not. Obviously from this post, the many people that go through this get scarred and are afraid when it comes to future relationships. We need to make it to where kids know that they can let someone know if they have been harassed. Maybe it can take away some of the emotional scarring these kids go though

  14. This writer is very brave to openly discuss the sexual assaults she experienced. I think the main question posed “Must I give sex to get love?” is something a lot of young women can relate to. We unfortunately live in a society where women find themselves in a double bind. If they give into sex they are slut-shamed but if they hold back they a prude and/or tease. These conflicting messages and the pressure from their partner causes women to give sex and they in turn become conflicted about love and sex. Our patriarchal society teaches male dominance when it comes to sex and this leads to violence against women, which is evident in the Pink Lady’s experience.

  15. I feel so bad that she had to experience such bad things at too early age. Also, I feel so pity that she needed to do sex without knowing the exact meaning or role of sex. Since she did sex not by her own wants, but by other men’s wants without knowing the real meaning of sex, she still misunderstands or has no ideas about sex. She says “I have absolutely no idea how to relate to sex as an adult, and it is putting a huge strain on my life”. This saying shows the problems she has with the idea of sex, and there should be someone to help her understand.

  16. DeAnna Hooker

    In my opinion, I don’t think you must give sex to be loved. If a man really does love you then he will love you for you. Girls should have more thoughts about giving up sex because they think there man won’t love them. A girl controls the sex in the relationship and they should be comfortable with their man. It all depends on the relationship though. Some girls are different and they will give up sex.

  17. This person is brave and with courage to speak. It was difficult for me to read but then again, I understand this person’s pain and suffering. I don’t know if you remember last year when I wrote a blog about my true story of when I was bullied? Well, I hate bullies and sometimes I get a lot of flash backs of what those people did to me in the past. I cry from time to time. So I can really relate to what she went through in a different perspective but much the same pain.
    :(

    • I’m so sorry to hear this. I’m so sorry that so many people have to undergo these sorts of things. I hope it will help to know that you aren’t alone and that it isn’t about you, It’s about them and their problems.

  18. I would agree that it’s a perfect example of internal suffering but the truth is life is about choices we are making. It’s true that the person who just talked about had a shock after her relationship filling that she was trading love for sex but she chose to stay in this relationship. My point is why would you trade the freedom you can have choosing the way you want to love someone to satisfy someone else desires. Indeed, it might be shocking but everyone must know that if anybody try to bulli you, take advantage of you, you must face it in order to move on because the longer you stay in that kind of situation, the longer you expose yourself to more degrading relationship conditions.

    • When we are young we are still trying to figure life out. And that’s often hindered by the way we are raised or what society tells us. Girls are taught to be less assertive. And it’s worse when bigger, stronger guys are ganging up on you. Hopefully we can learn from our difficulties. And hopefully sharing our stories can help others think through their situations, too.

  19. This is so sad for me to read. This girl who tells her story really does speak from the heart. So many relationships now a days revolve around sex. A lot of people are having sex with someone else without ever dating or before they date. It is hard to read that this girl had to go through something that is so difficult. Sex is such a sacred thing and the fact that this girl will never be able to experience what sex can be and what sex can make you feel is really sad. This girl experienced something that is a lot of people’s fear. The fact that she has been able to come out of it and remain strong shows a lot about her character and the person that she is.

  20. This is a very inspiring and sad story. I feel like a lot of young girls these days get harassed by males constantly. In my opinion, this probably related to the fact the sex now plays a vital role in the media. This gives young males the wrong idea, and can lead to sexual assault. I know someone who has had a much similar experience, because when you are young you are very impressionable. At this young age, many people don’t know the difference between meaningless sex and love.

  21. I feel for this girl and relate to her feelings towards sex. I don’t think its entirely right to demonize people who do have healthy active sex lives, because it is a part of life..but its understandable why she doesn’t feel comfortable with it. The part that gets me the most is that she feels like she has to have sex. Its sad but most people do seem to feel like that and will just willingly have sex. Hopefully society will learn that you don’t have to have sex to be in a good relationship. And if you are having sex you should want to!

  22. I know what is like to be uncomfortable by sexual encounters as a result of first sexual experiences being frightening or hurtful. This is so common for women, I used to hear it all the time: “your first time will hurt” as if we are conditioned to be an object or destined to be an outlet for man’s pleasure. Even an adult that enjoys heterosexual sex longs to be loved without the need to put out. This need to feel cared for in sex can also be out of fear of being victim to slut shaming.

  23. have you seen this? Here’s not the article but another one talking about the recent nfl suspension or lack thereof. http://www.sportingnews.com/nfl/story/2014-07-25/ray-rice-ravens-reaction-women-reporters-nfl-domestic-violence-abuse-punishment-goodell

    It’s sad, I love sports and follow some forums, which is where I saw the article on Commissioner Goodell and the nfl’s ruling. Ray Rice, who knocked his wife out in an elevator and camera caught him dragging out his knocked out wife from the elevator. The legal case still on going, as the women now married to him. But this means nothing as unfortunatley many victims feel it’s their fault and stick with the guy or try to have authorities not arrest the man, etc. However, the nfl suspended Ray Rice 2 frickin games for this upcoming season. It’s been all over ESPN, and other channels with people upset and weighing in and the terrible example this sends. This is nothing new with some sports, but I was hoping now in 2014. progress would be made and thugs made an example of and disciplined severely., and not a slap on the wrist. Analysts and many people are not happy at all about this.

    Since I follow the nfl as a fan this is how absurd it is.Josh Gordon, WR for the cleveland Browns, is set to be suspended or is fighting a year suspension for marijuana use. He had a 4 game suspension last season and it’s a year for the second time. Oh and other athletes suspened 4 games or more for use of Performance enhancing drugs. Not to say those aren’t punishable. But let me get this straight weed and PED use 4 to a year or suspension but runningback clocks his gf, now wife and gets a 2 game suspension? Unfortunately what it is and what I felt it is and happens with huge businesses is they bullshit you. They say we care about character and integriity and all this Public service bulls shit, but it’s so fake. And now it';s obvious, the nfl like other huge companies REALLY just care about the bottom line, which is $. Character is only so important until it gets in the way of revenue. A star player like Ray Rice? Oh well, we’ll just put a 2 game suspension, afterall we can’t let this suspension go to long and hurt how money making chances right?

    • “let me get this straight weed and PED use 4 to a year or suspension but runningback clocks his gf, now wife and gets a 2 game suspension?”

      I really worry about our society when that’s how things turn out. Not to mention how we still often coddle people who help our bottom-line.

      Thanks for sharing this story and your thoughts.

  24. You’re welcome. Here’s another thing or follow up now and unfortunate about people sometimes. I said how there was outrage through social media and many people upset over the slap on the wrist ray rice got. But look at this article

    http://profootballtalk.nbcsports.com/2014/07/29/ravens-fans-cheer-ray-rice-at-open-practice/

    Fans are opening practice for training camp, Ravens fans, the team Ray rice plays for. They cheered him as he showed up at training camp today for practice. I don’t want to paint a broad stroke as it doesn’t say how many people cheered and I’m sure many fans didn’t cheer for him too. And I can’t say it’s ravens fans as unfortunately there are people and fans like this for just about every pro sports team. There’s a part that stood out to me from the article and I’ll quote it to show.

    “Many fans wore Rice jerseys, and several Rice jerseys were spotted on women and children.”

    I find this weird, how women sometimes will and can support anti-women things themselves or support a man who just hit a woman. I can understand children as children might not understand or too young to understand what exactly is going on and they just see a player they like. Or they will just follow what their parents do. But I don;t understand adults doing this and women wearing jerseys specifically of ray rice. It’s one thing if it was another player on the team who is a decent guy and good player but not ray rice especiially what has happend and the fact the nfl hardly punished him at all.

    • “I find this weird, how women sometimes will and can support anti-women things themselves”

      My post tomorrow will touch on this. And I have a follow-up post that gets more into it, coming up soon after.

  25. I saw this comment on yahoo regarding ray rice and Stehpen A smith. But a commenter said something interesting and what I was saying about the nfl and not so much the nfl but the nfl operating just like many other companies of corporate america. And what I dislike about corporations.

    “My wife have treated many domestic violence victims and she also does drug testing for many companies, and what she said shocked me. When a company send an employee for drug testing, they test that person for drugs, not personal issues, because at the heart of it, drugs will affect your work, it will make you make you run faster or slower, active or depress, and when you violate their drug policy, they can discipline you, but corporate America don’t cared much for personal issues because it doesn’t affect the bottom line, whether its cross dressing domestic violence, your company will provide you with the necessary counseling, but to them, that doesn’t affect your work or their bottom line. So the NFL is in line with Corporate America on how they “punished” Rice, they looked at it as a personal issue between Rice and his family, but if you smoked weed, you punishment is harsher because it affects the bottom line. I am not saying this is right, I am just saying this is how your company, my company, this is how they work.”

    • Yeah, it’s pretty sad. And made worse when the Supreme Court says corporations are people — who have more rights than actual people, given that they have way more money for “Speech.” Sociopaths with a huge megaphone, apparently.

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