Monday, October 04, 2004

notes on sex

Can't sleep.

I'm exhausted but my mind...


My mind is processing, and processing. It has felt very safe for me to be alone. There is no one here to put their hands on me to request sex. I have memories going back at least as far as 11 years old or so of a cousin crawling into my sleeping bag and touching me in ways I did not want. Why didn't I stop him or speak up? Then my neighbor when I was about 12. He felt me up and down on the corner, stuck his hands down my pants. I froze. I didn't know what to do. Why did no one teach me it was ok to stop it or say no? Then starting to 'date' boys at age 13. Thirteen year olds don't need to date. Why did my mom let 17 year old guys spend time with me in the basement family room? Thirteen year olds should not be left alone in the basement with guys 4 years older. I figured all the unwanted touching was just part of the deal. I mean, so far in life, that's what boys did. So I guess that's what is supposed to happen. I felt ashamed.

At girl scout camp that summer, two girls invited me to sneak out with them one night. Not being able to say no, I went. We went down to the dining hall and met up with the "kitchen boys" - teenage guys who worked there. They stole pop-tarts for us. We all got paired up and were rolling around in sleeping bags on the floor. Ugh. Why do guys like this?, I wonder. It happened every night for part of the 2 or 3 weeks at camp that year. I felt ashamed.

I was cute. I got a lot of attention because I was cute. But found that along with that attention, which was kind of fun, there was unwanted attention in the way of hands on my body.

Then I fell in love at 16 with a guy from my church. We 'went steady' for some period of time, I don't remember. I liked kissing him a lot. That's all we did. Until one night, we stayed out necking in the car a bit longer and he touched and kissed my breasts. I liked it. I didn't really want it to stop. He freaked himself out by going 'that far'. He was a good Christian boy. He left a few days later on a handbell-ringing trip to the Bahamas. When he came back, he broke up with me. I was devastated. Our minister told him the best thing to do would be to just cut off contact with me - it would be easier. I believed that he broke up with me because of the night in the car. So, enjoying something sexual was too risky for me. It just lead to pain in the end. Don't get attached! Don't let yourself enjoy anything - it will just hurt that much more when it ends. And it always ends.

My mom told me - 'don't have sex with boys. Everything changes once you do that. It's better not to.'

My dad told me - 'men are horrible, they are only interested in one thing. That is sex. Never trust them.'

Went to college in Athens, Ga to be a music therapy major. Still heartbroken over high school love. Mom left me in a coed dorm. My room was the last girls room next to the guys wing. My neighbors were David and James. The first night, James came over with some beer. We drank. He tried to have intercourse with me. I was a virgin, and he couldn't 'get in', although I did bleed. I didn't quite realize what had happened until later. Way deep down I felt anger somewhere. I didn't know why I had let myself get into the situation.

And so began the relationship between sex and drinking. Drinking made it all ok. I could just leave my body and no one really noticed. Pretty much what I did for four or five years.

Out in NYC one night, and met a guy who used to work for my stepfather's company. Ok, he must be safe. We were drinking. Everyone else split. He wanted to go to the Red Parrot. We never made it there. He stopped to go up to his apartment for one of us to use the bathroom. Was it me? I don't remember. He shoved me down on the bed. I said no, I don't want to have sex. He did want to. So he did. I left my body. He did oral sex on me so I was wet for him. Then intercourse. I just waited and waited for it to be over. Frozen. He rolled over and passed out. I got up. I wondered if I could leave without waking him up. I remember thinking he would be mad at me for sneaking out. I remembering wondering if I should leave a note. Leave a fucking note. I left as quietly as I could. I felt ashamed. I should never have gotten myself into that situation.

I was finishing my bachelor's degree at the time at Montclair State in NJ. I had a psychology class. The woman who taught it was a rape counselor. It was a few months later that she talked about rape in class. My stomach heaved. My skin chilled. I left the classroom for the bathroom. I couldn't think or feel straight. I didn't understand. And then she came in to the bathroom. "Having flashbacks?" she said.

How did she know, I wondered. "yes," I whispered. She spent about a half hour with me. She told me "that is called date rape." I didn't know. It wasn't until 20 years later that I began to even vaguely understand what "consent" really meant.

I met S. right around this time. Before that night, maybe. I just don't remember. I was engaged to John, an alcoholic. Did I enjoy sex with John? I don't know - I was always drinking. I got involved with Scott and broke off the engagement a month before the wedding. I was getting married because I thought it was the thing to do. It is a blessing I did not go through with it. Did I enjoy sex with S. ? He was technically a great lover - the best I had ever been with. I was always drinking with him, too. I think he was only the second guy that I had an orgasm with that I didn't create for myself. A few months later, it started getting weird with S. He would drink to the point of blacking out. He was too obsessed with me. I thought maybe he was spying on me because he would always somehow call a few minutes after I walked into the door of my house. I told him I needed a break and focused on school for a while instead. Then, I decided to go to graduate school. He had decided to buy a coop in the town I was living in. I was relieved to be going to Chicago and get away from him.

Horrible, horrible relationships and experiences in Chicago. Some good things, like my two friends Patrick and Michael. But mostly painful stuff. The compulsive eating came back,not coincidentally.

My relationship with S. continued and turned into sort of a friendship. We occasionally slept together if I drank too much. It was weakness on my part.

I was still going through depressions. Still struggling with food. S. was having a fling with a girl he met in Colorado, who lived in Pennsylvania. He was planning on moving to Colorado, after spending many winters there skiing. I had a dream that I was back with him. I was needy, and was jealous of this girl. I told him I thought we should try having something again. He said he had just finally broken his...addiction to me. I didn't care. I was the needy one now. Then I got a job offer in Colorado, so we moved out together.

He was really getting ready to make a break for himself, to move past me and do it for himself. And, I didn't let it happen.

A few years - maybe two, after getting married I started having flashbacks from the rape and other bad sexual experiences. I didn't know why. Scott was upset and thought I was accusing him of being like a rapist. I stopped wanting sex. I got pregnant and had a miscarriage. Then, i did want sex because all I wanted was to get pregnant again. Had two more miscarriages, then had Dagny. And then the real shit started.

I spent the 10 years after Dagny trying to figure out why I didn't want to have sex with S. anymore. I continued to have it although I did not want to most of the time. This was grossly unfair to him, and to me. I wish I could have seen that.

I never, ever want to be in that situation again. The situation of having sex trying to make someone else happy, or having sex to try and stop someone from being angry and possibly hurting me. Having sex to just keep the peace. And what to do with all the ideas that others have put into my head - masturbation isn't ok if it interferes with sex in the marriage; you can't be married and not have sex; it's 'not normal' to not want sex; I can't use a vibrator by myself. My 'fantasies' - the things I thought of to get me through sex - for years were of bondage, control, power. I couldn't understand it. Why couldn't I have fantasies of love and romance?

Other than reproduction, I'm not sure what the reasons are for having sex with another person. I hear it is about love. I don't trust or believe in romantic love - I think it is just another addiction. Maybe, someday, I will allow myself to find out about sex with someone else. It will require so much trust.

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Maybe, someday, I will allow myself to find out.

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