TRIGGER WARNING- I’ve managed in this post to talk frankly and openly about sex and how screwed up I am over it. Please stay safe, everyone. Some of this is quite graphic, although not all of it is the usual sad stuff I post. Be careful.
So, I have been recently discussing some really difficult shit with Dr K, and of course, it’s haunting me a little. I feel like the fragmented parts of me (the nineteen-year-old in particular) are really freaked out about sex and not sure what is normal any more. In fact, I know that at nineteen, I had been actually having proper sex with my ex for nearly a year and I was confused as hell about why it didn’t feel like all the films said it should.
I was confused by how it used to happen, too. I thought it was attractive to the guy you were with if you crawled into his lap asking for sex. I thought that it was a good indication that you were really interested in him and you thought he was sexy. Apparently, to my ex, it just meant you were a whore. I cannot count the amount of times I was pushed away by him, only for him to re-initiate at least twenty minutes later, once my drive was well and truly off. Then, he would expect a show and I would perform like some sort of whore. At least, that’s what I thought it was like to be a whore. Surely sex was like this for everyone, then, and all the films and movies were lying?
Talking to Dr K about this has thrown up my poor fractured sense of ‘normal/healthy’ again. I told her all of this, and she said it wasn’t right that every time I wanted sex it was thrown back in my face. This reminded me of something that happened between J and I, something that’s hopefully re-wiring how I see approaching J for sex.
So we were pretty tired for about a week whilst I was staying with him, mostly because of the sweaty, baking weather. I was, inexplicably, about as turned on as you can get and had not a clue about how to ask J to help me out with it. Of course, you’re not meant to ask the person you’re with for sex, so I had to just hint and hope. When that didn’t work, I resorted to just pushing all those feelings away, resulting in a horrible depression for at least three days.
J saw there was something wrong and asked me every day, but I couldn’t tell him. I must be warped to want sex this much, it must be programming from my ex to perform, so I just told him I was feeling bad but not why. Eventually though, he decided that it was bad enough to keep pushing me about it. When I did tell him, there was a huge sense of relief.
J did not push me away, reject me, or call me a whore. He was amused that I was that horny and actually very flattered, and told me outright that asking him for sex was really attractive and a huge turn-on for him. I felt suddenly very appreciated, and very relieved. He let me know that of course I wasn’t warped (and so did Dr K as I related this story to her) and that being young and with someone I care about that much will of course make me tick over like a well-oiled engine!
All of this is flies directly in the face of what my ex forced on me. I used to feel so dirty a lot of the time with him, and I’m trying to shake that feeling and re-work my head to accept that what J is telling me is what most people think.
I haven’t mentioned this to Dr K yet, but one of the other things I really struggle with is – gah, I can’t type it without feeling like a fucking whore – masturbation.
Ugh, I remember feeling guilty and wrong and sick over it ever since being really small. I hate guilt. It kills whatever drive I have and gets rid of it faster than a blink. I know logically that it’s not wrong, but I feel horrible for even thinking about it sometimes. In my more manic moments, I literally don’t care, but I am not manic right now and it actually scares and angers me in equal measure that I just can’t process it properly.
J’s helped me a lot. He’s told me so many times it’s good for me, and that I’ll feel less stressed and anxious- after all, after a good orgasm, it’s almost impossible to feel horrible. What I struggle with it that the Church is so condemnatory of any and all sexual feelings and behaviour that I am still conditioned to believe I’m a proper Jezebel, a total whore, for feeling like J is the hottest man on the planet and remembering all the lovely times we’ve spent together in bed. I wish that I’d never been brought up in the Church. It’s responsible for so much of the damage to my psyche.
I’ve also read on various sexual healing sites (like Aphrodite Wounded) that masturbation is actually good for survivors of sexual violence and that it can help you feel less dissociative, and more in touch with your body. I didn’t realise it, but I actually spend a lot of time out of my body, not feeling its aches, pains or pleasures. I’m always fully present when I’m with J, out of necessity, because I don’t want a flashback ruining my mojo! I also don’t want to be trapped in the ether forever, and feeling that safe with J is a great help.
I just wish I was less conflicted about all of this. It’s really hard to actually relax about all of this, what with my ex’s abusive ways and the Church’s abusive sayings floating around in my head. The nineteen-year-old part of me that I talked about before is horribly conflicted. Her view on things pretty much sums it up- want it, shouldn’t want it. Dirty whore.
J would never call me a whore. He thinks my every move is brave, and has been gentle and patient with me since day one. This also brings me to something else that has been conflicting my poor head, something that I know is slowly feeling less weird but is also still a little anxiety-provoking.
I was with J for the first time since Florida last year, in January and February. I remember feeling excited and nervous and a bit frightened of sleeping with him, even though I desperately wanted to. I didn’t want to have a flashback or see my ex where J should be. As you’ve read, I managed to, and I actually enjoyed it, and cried in happiness when it was over. J was lovely with me, held me tight, kissing me and then making me laugh.
What happened a couple of days after was really strange.
My ex used to lash me with a belt, metal side to skin. He would tie me to the bed with handcuffs and leave me there for a while. He would force his hands round my throat and choke me whilst having sex with me, and I’d just lie there and take it all. He called it BDSM. Dr K calls it abuse, and she’s right, it is. Real BDSM can have all those components, but both parties involved agree it’s what fries their chips and gets them off, and they usually sign a contract and also have a safe word AND aftercare when the scene is done. I had none of that.
I was writing something on J’s kitchen table, bent over, and he came up behind me.
“What are you writing, babe?”
“Just a shopping list so we don’t forget anything when we go out.”
“Ok,” he said, and lightly slapped me on the ass.
I froze. That did not feel anything like the awful spankings I would endure under my ex. That… that felt good.
He saw my eyes widen and the pen fall from my hand. “Are you ok?” he asked, and spanked me again lightly.
I shivered. “Y-yes,” I said, and he grinned and spanked me again.
Through clothes, the sensation was incredible. I didn’t get why I was enjoying it, but a few well-placed slaps later and my elbows and knees buckled. J grinned, and helped me upright. I was shaking with pleasure and I’m pretty sure I had a grin plastered on my face.
“That… what was that!?” I asked him. He laughed and kissed me on the forehead.
“So you liked that, did you? More of that later. We have to get to the grocery store now. Can you walk? Are you ok?”
I smiled back and said I could, but he might have to hold onto my until my legs felt less jelly-like. He laughed and stayed there til I trusted my knees enough to walk again.
Since then we’ve explored more with spanking. I told Dr K that I felt really weird about it- on one hand loving it and actually feeling good when we did it, and one the other terrified that my ex’s violent ways had warped me and twisted me, forcing me to re-live my abuse in a different way. She explained to me that this is not the case, that many people enjoy it and it’s not even at the scary end of the scale. All of this made the nineteen-year-old inside me feel a little less freaked out.
Dr K also explained that I am not re-living my abuse because I am actually enjoying myself about it. It’s true- I never thought it was possible to enjoy it, but I am boneless when he’s finished and usually ask him not to stop. J always respects my wishes, and the whole thing is done safely- something that Dr K has pointed out to me. I do feel a little better now writing about it, and I feel a lot more like I am moving on with some aspects of feeling weird and fucked-up and guilty.
What I really want out of my stupid roiling mass of feelings over sex is some true clarity, and not to feel so triggered or have so many intrusive thoughts when I’m alone and thinking about sex. Has anyone out there got any advice over this? I would really love a bit of extra help. I feel like even posting this will take a huge amount of courage, because it was so hard to write this, but I would like a bit of advice about how to heal from what my ex has done to me and to be able to express myself better (sexually that is) to J. Dr K is helping as much as she can, but I only see her once a week.
If there’s one thing I’m learning about sex, it’s that it is not what I thought it was- it’s much more exciting than I thought, and that what I had before was just pain.