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.


Your older, wiser self