Guest Post: Sex After Assault

Monday, 9 April 2018

When I was 15 years old, I was raped. I thought i'd feel something more when I finally wrote them words down for the first time but surprisingly - or maybe unsurprisingly - I don't. I still feel trapped, still feel alone, still feel like I probably deserved it.

I never told anyone about it at the time. I was ashamed, I was embarrassed, and I somewhat felt like it was my fault. It happened when I was drunk, and with a boy that I thought liked me. I told him no but he didn't listen. He didn't listen the first time and he didn't listen the 20th time. He didn't listen when I was struggling, crying, pleading... But this post isn't about what happened to me that night. It's about what happens after. The bit that you're not prepared for, and the bit that somehow manages to take over your life in ways you never even thought imaginable. 

The first year after the rape was strange for me. Whilst I felt typically numb, I also didn't feel much at all. I blocked it out and tried to just continue with my life. I lost all interest in boys and focused on my friendships, family and school. It's only as more time went on that I realised my focus was actually more on alcohol, self loathing and a serious downward spiral. 

At the age of 16-18 I had quite a severe drinking problem. I would get so drunk that i'd literally forget my own name. I couldn't walk, I couldn't control my bladder. In short, I was a mess. I had nothing really going for me; I wasn't studying, I wasn't working, and I used this time to somewhat get my revenge. I found myself sleeping with men to gain some kind of control. It would always be on my terms. I'd get some kind of thrill of getting what I wanted out of it, but then asking them to leave. I'd want nothing more than sex. I wanted to use them. I wanted to make them feel like shit. I'd kick boys out of my house at 3am in the morning with no care of how they'd get home. When I think back now, it was actually pretty sadistic and definitely an unhealthy way to go about things, but I was so trapped in my own mind, and not feeling like I had a right to tell anybody about what had happened to me. I now know it was just my coping mechanism.

After years of sleeping around I found it hard to grow a true connection with anyone. I would force myself to like men and often turned to women to feel that romantic side of life. When I did finally find someone I liked, I would run at the first hurdle because I was too afraid to be vulnerable with someone in case they took advantage. I guess you could say I was terrified of relationships. On top of being raped, I then had sexual partners who insulted my appearance and performance. While this didn't affect me as much, it of course triggers my self-doubt and makes me wonder if I will ever be confident within myself.

When you're raped, that part of your life and your body no longer feels personal to you. It doesn't feel sacred, it doesn't feel loved. It feels like it's been torn away and it takes so, so much work to get it back to where it once was. Finding someone that has the patience with that is next to zero, especially when you don't want to openly talk about what happened to you and why you are acting the way you are. No matter how much I love and trust someone, sex will always have a dark shadow over it. Sure, I can get pleasure and have fun with it, but that fun is sandwiched between being a scared little 15 year old girl. I am constantly worried that saying 'no' won't actually make someone stop. I'm worried that i'm not doing it right or not doing it enough. I find myself having great sex, but wanting to stop abruptly at any random moment, and that's hard to explain to the other person. People don't understand it.

I want to love sex. I want to love myself so that I can allow myself to be loved. I have carried this burden on my shoulders for so many years that my sex drive is now so low that it's practically non-existent. I don't want to live a life where I don't enjoy the simple things like sex and passion. I want to allow myself to be vulnerable and let my sexual partner into my head so they can be patient and understanding with my struggles, and maybe even help me build on them. Maybe i'll never be a sexual person again, maybe i'll do a complete 360. I have no idea. But I know I have a problem with sex and intimacy and I don't want it to continue to take over my life as it has done for the last 10 years.

I'm still not comfortable enough to talk about this freely which is why i'm publishing this anonymously. I somewhat feel like I left it too long to have the confidence to speak about it, but I hope that there is maybe just one person out there that can relate to what i'm feeling, so I don't feel so isolated and alone in my thoughts. I just want to encourage others to be brave. Don't suffer in silence like I did, because it ends up taking over your life for the rest of time.

A lot of medical professionals insinuate that mental health issues like depression and anxiety all stem from a traumatic life event. Whilst I don't feel like this is 100% true in all cases, I guess in mine is does provide some truth. If I could go back and change the way I dealt with my assault, I would. I maybe then wouldn't then suffer so violently with anxiety. Who knows.

I wish I told someone. Anyone. I wish I reported it. I wish I did anything to help myself heal. But I cannot change that. I cannot change my past, I can only attempt to improve my future. Although that is now riddled with anxiety and self-deprecation, I can only hope that one day I will be able enjoy and explore my sexuality comfortably. 

The author of this post has decided to remain anonymous.

Whould you like to comment?

  1. My story first time I read something about sex that I don’t feel any malice at all. Nice story and I love the way you describe how you feel about doing the deed.


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