Day 41 of Believing the Girl – On ‘Twisted’ Desire

Dear Young Girl (the adolescent sister of Little One),

In your early and mid teens, you experienced a series of violations that left you very confused about sex. Because you felt that sex was something that men and boys just “took” from you, without even requesting your consent, you came to believe that when it came to sex, you were a passive recipient and your male partner (chosen or not) decided what was going to happen. We’ve talked about this some before, that you have every right to decide for yourself if and when you feel like having sex.

But there’s something deeper there, too, that’s even harder to talk about. You are afraid, I think, that you cannot find a way to be aroused without being passive or even submissive. You worry that sexual pleasure is intrinsically tied in your head to degradation. You fear you like being an object, or at least you don’t know how to be something else. You are afraid that your sense of being a slut is fundamental to your sexual self-definition. You think desire may be forever connected to abuse. You wonder if there’s something so twisted about you that you cannot have “normal” sex–that is, stay physically present in your body and have an emotional connection with your partner. You fear it’s too late for you to have that in your life.

I can’t give you advice on how to change this. It seems immensely challenging to me, too. But I want you to know that struggling with this does not mean you are in any way “twisted” (a word you’ve been using a lot lately) or bad. I know you feel ashamed to grapple with your feelings about sex. I know you are very scared to post anything on this topic, even though this post is pretty vague. But you don’t need to feel ashamed. It’s just one more scar you have from your early experiences. Your scars are not shameful.

Here’s what I can tell you: I will stay with you as you work on this. I will try my hardest to keep feelings of shame from overwhelming you. I will work to hang onto hope that things can be different. When you are ready to get help for this, I will find you that help. In the meantime, I continue to love and support you in all your healing work, wherever that will lead you.

Love,

Your older, wiser self

12 thoughts on “Day 41 of Believing the Girl – On ‘Twisted’ Desire

  1. You are amazing at hearing your younger voices. Sex is such a hard topic, especially for somebody whose boundaries in that area were repeatedly violated. This letter is one I want from some older part of me. Unfortunately, I am the older part.

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    • Of course you aren’t at all a slut or whore (and there are so many problems with those words anyway). You could try writing yourself a similar letter. It’s feels good to re-read the letters later, when you need them.

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  2. The big S-E-X subject. Who dares talk about it, yet so essential to all humans. Very hard for me too, and a very sad loss due to childhood, and how my body responded even though I was being forced and didn’t want my body to respond. (and by force, that includes lying still out of fear and shame.. I didn’t want it, never) So as a child, and during early adolescence when introduced to sexual stimuli at the same time being force, my brain, or whatever pathways, relate sex to force, and I seem to only be able to respond to the idea of being forced.
    Every human rightfully has the right and was built to share intimacy, love, warmth, and natural responses to sensual touch with a partner. But not me. That was stolen. You write so perfectly about it.
    “stay physically present in your body and have an emotional connection with your partner.” Yes!
    I never quite achieved that in the way our bodies and emotions are meant to, but since I knew I was missing out of what others naturally experienced, I came up with a fantasy that included force along with my being given an injection that allowed my body to respond even if I didn’t want it too.
    That freed me to move, feel and for the first time, also achieve the end result. Unfortunately by that time, my husband’s drive diminished. Still, I’m glad I got ‘there’ for a time, even if I had to be creative and use whatever worked for me. Instead of being sad about it, I took action. Pretty brilliant no matter how weird it might sound to others.

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  3. I want to add, that I don’t in real life want force, but gentleness. Never real force, which would have the opposite effect, and probably traumatize to the point of no return. It is very hard to explain without sounding just a tad nutty!

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      • I don’t think what I shared was helpful. I wish I had just said, not twisted, but traumatized. Words to describe women such as slut, etc. should be banned from our vocabulary. Those terms aren’t used for men nor any words like them.
        I really like this compassionate letter… And I also think that since it’s not a subject talked about easily, it’s much harder to find solutions to. But you are! So you will!

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    • I read this again today and just wanted to add that it doesn’t sound weird or nutty to me, not at all. It’s just very complicated to find sexual pleasure when your body and mind have had to deal with unwanted sex.

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  4. This is such a tender and loving letter. I’m glad you are being gentle with yourself on this topic. And allowing yourself to move at your own pace. I found much strength in reading this letter.

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  5. You amaze me. Your courage just shines through these posts. Thank you for this one in particular. It is something I struggle with, and it is very hard to find words like yours to feel less alone in the process.

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