Warning: This post talks about sexual abuse.
One of the results of child sexual abuse that people don’t readily talk about is just how fucked up your sexual development becomes. I was only seven years old when the abuse began, so there was plenty of time to skew my views on sexuality.
Part of the reason why some sexually abused children become promiscuous is because we’re looking to add as much distance and experience as possible from the abuse. The more men I had sex with, the farther away the abuse was from my current reality. It was only later that I realized it was all the same.
I lost my virginity when I was a teenager, although technically, I wasn’t a virgin. What do you call having sex later by choice when your real virginity was stolen by force? Anyway, I lost my “virginity” to a guy I had never met before and never talked to again. He was a friend of a friend and I don’t even remember his name now. At a party one night, this chap seemed to be up for it, so I figured why not. I really just wanted to have it done with. We were in a room with a few other people. It was far from ideal and it pisses me off now. My first real kiss and my first real fuck were only a few minutes apart. That’s messed up.
A few days later, I went to the establishment where everyone at my school hung out in those days and on the ladies’ room wall was written, “WhateverHisNameWas is a lousy lay.” I don’t remember his name, but I remember that. I also remember nodding in mild agreement, even though I had nothing but nightmares for comparison.
After that, I became ridiculously promiscuous. I would have sex with whomever I chose. It had a lot to do with control. I was not in control as a seven-year-old child, but I damn well was now. By choosing who to have sex with, I was in control, even if it wasn’t much of a choice. I picked up a nasty drug habit and began selling myself. I rationalized it by telling myself it was still my choice–I was still in control–and I could stop any time I liked. It was a lie.
I really don’t have an accurate count of how many people I’ve had sex with in the course of my life. I try not to think about it, because it’s disgusting. Even after I stopped prostituting, for a long time, I was all about the one night stand. No one could hurt me that way. No one could ever get close enough to touch my heart. And those who did stick around, I treated miserably. I cheated on my first real boyfriend, who made it past some, not all, but some of my walls. I broke up with him and broke both of our hearts in the process. At the time, I thought it had to be done because I wasn’t worthy of his love.
The longest relationship I had was with a married man. I’m definitely not proud of that, but it was safe for me because he had someone else. He once asked me to marry him and I laughed in his face. I have never had a proper, continuous one year anniversary with anyone.
Even with Male now, who knows all about my past, we’re not technically involved. We’ve been off and on for more than a decade, but he’s not my boyfriend. For the last few years, we’ve been dating in every way except in name. We don’t talk about it; it just is. Whatever it is. It’s easier for me that way; being together without technically being together. That way I won’t feel trapped and do terrible things. He’s not entirely innocent either. We’re both really fucked up in different, yet similar ways. Our kinks match. We’re perfect for each other, but neither of us would ever say that to the other’s face.
Part of why I have had very few committed successful relationships is because, whenever I meet someone new, I have to play the part of the victim once more by explaining all of this all over again. It’s hard to talk about at all, let alone to someone you don’t know well, but would like to get to know better. How do you explain to someone that you were sexually abused at seven, became a drug addict prostitute as a teenager, have had more one night stands than dates by a factor of a hundred, were in an abusive relationship with an asshole who nearly killed you as an adult, and as a result of all that, have major depressive disorder, body dysmorphic disorder and PTSD? And, if you decide to tell someone all of that, when do you do it? On a first date? Before you have sex? When is that conversation appropriate?
I’ve thought of printing up little cards in a nice font with a succinct bullet list to hand out. “Sexually abused reformed child prostitute with mental health and commitment issues halfheartedly searching for someone to share a non-traditional non-relationship. Part-time acceptable. STD FREE!!” The look of judgment, or worse, pity that some people get on their faces is too much to bear. It’s exhausting. It’s easier to be friends with people who are messed up themselves. They don’t judge as readily. They don’t tip-toe around it.
I don’t talk about that aspect of my life much for a few reasons. First, I don’t, can’t, really talk about the abuse itself. I’m not ready yet. Second, I am not proud of it. I am ashamed of who I became. The child abuse snowballed into something much larger and worse. And third, I’m insanely angry that I became a whore, because it was his fault. I thought I was in control, but it was the sexual abuse that was in control. After all of those years, he was still in control of me. I am very lucky to have made it through all of that alive and without any permanent consequences like STDs.
Sexual abuse is not something that ever goes away. It distorts a person in so many ways, even in ways you’re not even conscious of. It will destroy the person you were destined to be. In the worst possible outcome, it can even turn victims of abuse into abusers themselves. The best that we can do is talk about it, be aware of it and try to stop it from happening to anyone else.
If you know someone in danger, please, get help. It is never too late.