09 July 2011

What, if any, was the most traumatizing sexual experience you have had? And how did you heal? (advice for the rest of us)

It was my 20th birthday. I had spent an idyllic summer with some of my neighbours: Maverick and Blondie, a couple who had only recently moved here from Florida under suspicious circumstances---less than a month later he was arrested in an FBI raid, on computer hacking charges--- and The Hippie, the stereotypical aging hippie-stoner type complete with patchouli, Birkenstocks and an old VW van.
It sounds like the start of a bad joke or a movie...welcome to my life.
They were my closest friends at the time and we were absolutely inseparable that summer. Every night we’d hang out, drink beer, and chat while Maverick sat at his computer or while The Hippie worked on his van (he was ALWAYS working on his van). We’d take little day trips to Sauvie Island or to different parks to watch the moon rise. We went berry picking and made pies from scratch. We basically lived in our very own buddy comedy for 3 months.
So on my birthday, I decided on a quite night at home with my three buddies. By quiet, I mean we got completely drunk and stoned in my apartment and listened to music. At some point during the festivities there was a knock at the door.

I hadn’t seen this guy in over a month.
“I remembered it was your birthday today!” he said.

***
We met at one of those telephone survey places where we were both working at the time, and “hung out” for about a couple of weeks.
Some of you may recall me mentioning before how I was a rather late bloomer. I’d only lost my virginity a few months before that and, although I was certainly “making up for lost time”, I was just as clear then as I am now about my desires or lack thereof. We’d make out for hours and that was as far as I was willing to go with him at that time. He would beg and pout and plead and be generally obnoxious about it, but I would point out to him “It’s been a week and a half! Give it a couple of days, will you?!”
The final straw came one morning (at that point we’d been “hanging out” for a whole two weeks), when he pushed things too far. I am a lady and expect to be treated with respect. None of the verbal coaxing had worked so he made a physical advance and was rewarded with a slap across the face. He stormed out.
Later, when I saw him at work, he approached me during a break and said it was over, that he would not let a woman “disrespect him like that”.
“Ok!” I happily chirped.
“No woman slaps me!”
“Ok!”
“I’m going to go upstairs and quit, right now!”
“Ok!” I repeated, a smile on my face the entire time. Good riddance!

***

He had, indeed, quit that afternoon, so I hadn’t seen him...until he showed up at my door, wishing me a happy birthday. I was already pretty drunk and having such a great time with my friends that I allowed him in. I was in my own home, with trusted friends and felt perfectly safe.

I’m a bit of a light-weight so it was an early night. Blondie got me to my bed, tucked me in, then ushered the boys out of the apartment.

I hurt. Pain woke me from my alcohol haze. I could barely open my eyes and I couldn’t move. All I could feel was pain and his weight on me before I passed out again.

He was still there in the morning. I couldn’t talk. I didn’t know what to say. I had a hellish hangover, naturally, but I was also struggling with flashes of images from the night before and a flood of conflicting emotions. I was angry but also inundated with all of the stereotypical guilt and self-blaming bullshit that you read about and think “that’s so stupid, I would never do that!”.

I blamed myself: I shouldn’t have let him into my apartment in the first place, I shouldn’t have got so drunk, I should have seen it coming...

I told him to just go. I talked to Blondie about it that afternoon. She was wracked with guilt for letting him back into my place “He said he was just gonna run in for a sec and say goodnight!”

For about a year and a half after that I was utterly depressed. I have come to call it my “dyke phase”. I cut off all my hair, stopped wearing make-up, wore big t-shirts and baggy pants (think raver or skater pants....hey it was the early 90s!) and generally did everything I could to minimize any traces of femininity in my appearance. I would find myself crying for no reason. Male attention made me fearful and paranoid.
It was the time of The Great Penis Ban.
My libido eventually won out and I did seek male company but it always had to be on my terms. Making out was fine, but I couldn’t bear to see, let alone touch, a penis.

I am a lusty Leo, and stubborn to boot, so I persisted.

I. Wanted. Cock.

After a few months of frustrated and frustrating attempts that ended with bouts of crying (‘cause that’s so attractive, right guys?), I decided desperate measures were in order.
I devised a plan of action. I contacted The-Love-Of-My-Life (yes that’s how I have actually referred to him since I was 17). He still sets my heart a-flutter, and I his. We had a two-month “relationship” our junior year of high school during which we did nothing but hold hands and exchange the most chaste of kisses. Though we have never really dated since, we’ve been doing this little dance since we were 15.
I still trust him implicitly and love him utterly.

In my usual forthright manner, I laid out my plan: I would play with his penis.

“Uhm, what?”

The best way to overcome a fear is to face it, head-on...so to speak.

I proposed that we just play. Because of the comfort level and trust between us, I felt safe and also knew that he would gently push my boundaries...just enough. I also knew that he would not judge me or take advantage of the situation so I threw in an extra request.

“I want you to teach me how to give great head!”

Remember, I had only been sexually active for a couple of months before the year and a half-long penis embargo. The first guy I’d asked to teach me how to give him head said “just put your mouth on it and bob up and down, I guess” (thanks asshole, you saved yourself a few months of blowjobs!).
Not so with The-Love-Of-My-Life--- he was a wonderful and patient teacher. Of course it was pleasurable work, but he actually understood and respected the situation for what it was, as I had known he would. In between moans, he would remember himself and give me actual useful feedback and instruction. It was fun and educational, but more importantly it was exactly what I needed to heal from my traumatic experience.

I needed to experience sex again in a context where I felt completely safe, comfortable and loved.


This approach is not for everyone.
I happen to have a very straight-forward, stubborn DIY style of dealing with things. I never went to counseling or support groups--- I’m pretty self-aware, knew what it would take to get me over it, and sought it out.
Sexual trauma takes so many different forms and everyone deals with things so differently that I can’t really give one-size-fits-all advice on the subject. I can, however tell you a few things that are pretty universal:

-IT’S NOT YOUR FAULT!
-You didn’t “ask for it” in any way.
-Share your story. Whether it’s with trusted friends/family, in a support group, counseling, or an anonymous hot-line/forum, write about it/talk about it--- even if it’s been years since it happened and you think you’ve completely dealt with it. If nothing else, sharing your story could help somebody else cope with their own.

A touchy subject within a touchy subject: legal ramifications. I didn’t pursue any legal action against my rapist. For a long time I was convinced it was my fault. I regret that now. As recently as a year or two ago I had a panic attack when I saw a guy on the street who merely resembled him.
One of my few regrets in life is that I didn’t send that son of a bitch to jail.

I hope that this helps you (the original inquirer as well as any others who may relate to this post) on your journey toward healing from your own traumatic experience. I hadn’t know how much I needed to write this, until I realized I was shaking while typing.

For those who would like to share your stories with me privately, I can be reached at infamouscoatcheckgirl@gmail.com

xo,

Infamous CoatCheck Girl



Rape Abuse and Incest National Network: http://www.rainn.org/

National Sexual Assault Hotline: 1.800.656.HOPE

Have any burning questions for the Infamous CoatCheck Girl? Ask me anything!

3 comments:

  1. Thank you for sharing your story. I hope one day I can be courageous enough to share mine w/ someone.

    ReplyDelete
  2. To ICG May this give strength & consolation to those affected. Note to Anonymous you will have the courage one day. You took the first step by reaching out to someone.

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  3. I love your blog, I feel proud to be in one of them. I want to make a TV series based on your stories.

    Kisses.

    ReplyDelete

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