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Sex, self-love possible, even after being raped

Sex and the SUNY

Published: Thursday, March 27, 2008

Updated: Friday, October 10, 2008 01:10

I woke up around 10.

It was Feb. 10, 2007. I was in my bed, in my underwear. Cold, confused - still drunk - my aching head lay, unmoving, on a pillow stained with tears. I'd passed out crying seven or eight hours earlier.

I didn't remember most of the night before. I didn't remember the party I was at, I didn't remember how I got to my room, and to this day I'm fairly thankful I don't remember most of the rest.

But I know what happened.

But I didn't call the police immediately. I didn't go un-showered to the hospital for an exam with the clothes I'd worn preserved in a sandwich bag, like you're supposed to. Like a nervous seventh grader, I summed up the assault in a sentence or two in a scribbled note to my now-boyfriend.

The ending to that chapter is bittersweet, but it's not what I want to talk about today. This note I'm writing is everything I wish someone had told me last year about really, truly moving on.

These days women have access to all kinds of advice regarding sexual assaults. From a local Planned Parenthood to any rape hotline, there's a community of strong women ready to help, to hold you close and hear all you have to say about your experience. I've definitely found a number of them, and their kind words have been essential in my journey from victim to survivor.

But in some areas of healing, I was either unsure of where to turn for advice, or just afraid to ask: how do you have, and enjoy, sex after rape?

For me, the answer was simple - you don't. I didn't want to be touched, hugged, or kissed. I didn't want anyone to even think I was pretty. After time, however, I started missing all the things I used to enjoy: flirting, touching, innuendo… and sex.

To say I felt guilty is an understatement. I thought, if you're raped, and you want to have sex, it means you weren't raped. I know it doesn't make sense now, but at the time I thought any lustful feelings were an indication that I was indeed just a whore who was asking for it. I thought I had to be frigid, bitter and celibate forever.

Like most things in life, I learned recovering from rape doesn't just happen. It comes in baby steps. It's falling in love with love all over again - the first hug, the first kiss… and so on.

It's terrifying, I won't lie, and sometimes not in that good-butterflies sort of scary way. To put it bluntly, having a man on top of me ever again was the absolute last thing I wanted.

What it all boils down to is this: It takes a while to remember who you are, but remembering isn't enough. I knew who I was - a classy broad who happened to be into burlesque and bondage, and was now afraid that getting tied up meant I liked being dominated, and therefore, couldn't truly get raped. It was painstaking, and I don't even know how long it took, but slowly, eventually, I found the courage to once again be a dirty little girl.

And for the record, I can make jokes like that, because rape won't take anything from me again, even my sense of humor.

And I do know these five or six hundred words can't really convey the long road that so many women, including myself, are still traveling down. What I really hope is to open a dialogue about sexual empowerment, even in the shadow of assault, and I really, truly, strongly urge anyone struggling in the aftermath of rape or abuse to talk to someone, talk to me. Call me at the Cardinal Points office (where I live) and talk to me, swing by Macdonough (where I sleep) and let me give you a hug. You're not alone.

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6 comments

Anonymous
Mon May 20 2013 12:59
thank you for this. my situation was similar to yours in that i was drunk, not so drunk that I don't remember, but it definitely made me doubt the validity of my rape... furthermore I am also into bondage and thinking about wanting that again... i have the exact same concerns you voiced here. thank you so much. i know hearing that its okay to feel this way is different than realizing and truly believing it, but hearing it is the first part and i hadn't yet. so thank you.
Anonymous
Thu Jan 31 2013 03:41
I would lime to say many things but simply thank you for writing this as i am tired of articles telling me to take my time and my partner to be patient. Ty
mary
Mon Feb 21 2011 07:14
i felt the same way, i went to counciling but i still feel bad about wanting sex, i don't think it would be possible for me to move on if it had not been for my ex who is now back to being my boyfriend. I felt comfortable and safe with him i do however still have times during sex that i feel uncomfortable or stressed.i haven't been to talk to anyone recently however and i had an encounter with my rapist on campus(saw him walking to class) and i had pretty much blocked out most of what had happened but it was so sudden that it caught me off gaurd. I freaked out on my boyfriend about hating my school and that he was the only reason i was still attending,i have not told him that i was raped and i am afraid to.i feel like he is going to blame me or think that because we have sex that i am a liar or didn't really get raped. i really need advice i feel like if i told him it would ruin everything
tam
Wed Sep 9 2009 20:48
thank you
Megan Munroe
Wed Sep 9 2009 20:07
Rosa -- if you'd like to talk please send me an email at megan.munroe@cardinalpointsonline.com. I would be more than happy to help.
Rosa Melvin
Wed Sep 9 2009 18:29
When i was 14 years old i was out with a friend trying to have a good time because it was a day or so before my bday i was going to be 15. unfortunately at that time what fun meant to me wus going out and drinkin alcohol with sum friends so that is wat we did. it wusnt da first time i drnak or smoked because we were drinkin and smoking marijuana that night so i didt ssee da danger. then my day went wrong i went into a complete block out were i didnt remember anythin anymore .long story short my friend i was with noticed i was too messed up n tried 2 get me home i couldnt walk or anythin so she called a man i say this because he was in his middle 20's to help me out that man then managed to take me t his house that night and..well he raped me i was wat i say dead for the night because i never rememberd anythin i remember waking up next to this man not knowin anythin. it gets worse tho because i ended up going out wid dis man i shortly broke up wid him tho within a week the worst part is about 6 weeks later i found out he gave me genital warts. i now have to live wid dis ma whole life i now have a boyfriend and want t be able to have a healthy sex realtionship but it is so hard i have told him my story and he understands and supports me which only makes me more determined to try to make him happy and please him.. i have toughts of wantin to but everythin holds me bak i feel dirty and like i shouldnt be thinkin of dat if u cud help jus advice anythin i would really apreciate it .thank u .




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