“One thing’s for sure, you could never be accused of withholding sex”…

I have been in-love, or my version of being in-love three times and counting. Being in-love for me was that love that stops you dead in your tracks, heart racing, palms sweating, can’t breathe, living would be unbearable thus pointless if I lose him, type of love! That, I must be regal, demure, soft spoken and submissive type of love, that cooking and cleaning when I don’t feel like it, never saying no to sex even when I don’t want it type of love, Hey, I did say MY version of love.

In a recent candid conversation with my sister ten years my junior, we made a startling discovery. Our eyes were opened to our similarities and differences as it relates to sex and our personal preferences. We are much alike yet so different! We spoke about the do’s and don’ts, our likes and dislikes and the deal breakers. My sister happens to be a very blunt, unreserved, outspoken and rather direct individual, character traits I wish I had. We spoke about her forwardness in stating what is acceptable and unacceptable in her love life. During our conversation, I was reminded of past remarks made by my exes. One such remark was “One thing’s for sure, you could never be accused of withholding sex”. While to many this may sound like a compliment and was given as such, I often thought about those statements. They were right, I never made it a habit to withhold sex or use sex as a weapon or bargaining chip, but unbeknownst to my exes, my willingness to please wasn’t because I loved sex or even enjoyed it as much as they were lead to believe, simply put, I gave it up because I believed that was my sole purpose! I believed for so long that my worth and value was tied to sex. I aspired to please believing that the love, attention and acceptance I sought would be attained through my voluntary actions, sex included. Well, that never worked, I am still single. The first relationship, I got scared and pulled away, the other crumbled because of distance and infidelity, and the next because of irreconcilable differences.

I loved and opened my heart to the possibility of finding true love because I so desperately desired to be wanted, accepted and understood. I never knew, nor had I experienced unconditional love and after being raped for so many years as a child, I wanted love and sex to feel normal, but my normal at times felt like consensual rape. The traces of trauma, brokenness and self-loathing that remained were the residual effects of the many years of sexual abuse. Broken, ashamed and afraid, I would engage in relationships because I honestly believed I could be loved back to being whole. I was wrong!

So, when my little sister stated “If, I’m not in the mood, if I’m upset or not feeling well there’s no touching me!” It was hard for me to wrap my mind around. When she mentioned she would sometimes withhold sex, that was hard to grasp, then she exclaimed, she has commanded a significant other to get the hell up off her during sex, he was not performing to her liking, I damned near past out!

The concept of sex and relationship may seem simple or come naturally to the average person. When in a relationship one should be free, open and comfortable exercising their rights to say ‘NO’ if something unwanted is being done to their body. During our talk my sister and I realized, though she too was molested by the same perpetrator (thankfully she wasn’t raped), our responses to sex are on opposite sides of the pendulum. She is dominant, needing to be in control at all times and I am more submissive, basically relinquishing control. I wasn’t cognizant of the fact that because I was stripped of my power as a child, I believed I was obligated, therefore I seldom initiate sex but would never say no, while on the other hand another survivor feels in control by being in control.

Whether at a place of healing, recovery or coping, surviving after sexual assault, the process looks different for everyone. I often see and speak of the extremes (another post). For example, one survivor may become promiscuous while another abstains. Whatever and whichever rhyme, reason or method used, one thing is for sure, sexual violations and the adverse effects drastically alters lives. One method that creates change that I am certain of is speaking, it’s only through talking about our experiences that we learn not only how alike we are in our struggles but how differently we cope, and in so doing make the world know how damning and damaging is the aftermath of sexual violations.

I will continue to speak and encourage others to reassign the shame, I will remain open to self – discovery, while being hopeful/prayerful for true love, I most certainly look forward to new revelations through conversations with my little sister and others, while I continue on this Journey 2 Free(dom), speaking my truth in pursuit of healing. Journey with me as I/we journey to free, from my heart to yours.


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