I’ve talked about my experiences with sexual abuse as a child and teenager in prior posts, but I’ve never spoken about what those experiences taught me and how it shaped a major part of my life. If you haven’t read or caught up on prior posts, I’ll give a quick summary of those instances.
From the ages of 6 or 7 to 18, I was sexually abused in different ways, both by family and family friends:
When I was 6 or 7, the teenage son of a longtime family friend showed himself to myself (and another family of the same age) and encouraged that family and myself to do the same. I must have blocked out anything that happened once the 3 of us were exposed from the waist down. I don’t remember anything after that moment aside from telling my mom what happened when she got home that night. Disassociative Amnesia is something I’ve had for awhile, so maybe one day I’ll remember, but for now, I’m okay not knowing.
When I was 11, a coworker of my dad’s took myself and his nephew (that I grew up with) to the circus and while we were there, he grabbed my ass. He played off as an “oh I bumped into you, I’m sorry”. Ruined the entire day.
When I was 15, one of my male (first) cousins (that I saw a lot growing up) candidly asked me one day (on the phone and from across the country), if I could measure his dick for him. He reassured me that it would be okay, because we aren’t biologically related. I told my dad and he laughed it off, saying he must be high or something. What scared me, was that he was coming to visit in a few weeks and i didn’t know what he was capable of. I never did make that measurement.
When I was 16, I met a man off the internet (long before this was a norm) who was 26 and ended up having a physical relationship with him, for several months. He would pick me up after work in his brand new Volvo and drive me an hour to his apartment, all without my family ever noticing. He wasn’t the first nor the last grown man I met off of the internet and ended up having a physical relationship with. He was however, the oldest and the only one who would could have and should have been charged with statutory rape.
All of this happening under my parents roof and “protection”. They knew about 3 of the 4 instances and failed to act on them. None of the men who abused me were ever punished judicially or legally.
The biggest consequence of these events, was the lack of safety I’ve felt my entire life. I’ve failed to protect myself on multiple occasions, because I was never protected as a child by the very people that were tasked with my safety. Later in my teenage years, I met many men off of the internet and failed to put safety measures in place. Sometimes we would have our initial meeting in a public place and sometimes they would pick me up at my house. Smart right? Let’s give a stranger your home address and meet them in an unsafe environment. I would often do this without telling friends what I was doing and lied to parents about my whereabouts (another smart move). I was blindly trusted by my parents, who never bothered to fact check my whereabouts; which was an astronomical mistake. I could have been raped, beaten, murdered, robbed, and many other horrible things, but thankfully I wasn’t.
What I’m about to say is something I’ve never said outloud and to anyone other than my Psychologist and my husband. From the ages of 16 to 18, I spent that time using my body as a weapon. Not only was I putting myself in harms way with strangers, but I was using my sexuality to toy with people. I never understood until recently, that the reason for my promiscuous behavior, was because I had no respect for my body. How could I? Those men that abused me didn’t respect my body. My parents didn’t respect my body enough to protect it. So, if my family and men who claimed to like/love me didn’t respect my body, why should I?
My body was used to please men from an early age, so, that, coupled with the flaunted infidelity within my parents marriage, taught me that it was the one thing I could use to my advantage. I learned that sex was a bargaining chip and a means to acquiring and doing you wanted. If I wanted the undivided attention of a boyfriend, what better way than to seduce them? If I wanted the undivided attention of a man I wanted, what better way than use my sexuality to entice them? If I wanted to punish a men for hurting me, what better way than to use my sexuality to show them what they’re missing? And it worked; all of it. Alcohol was also present in most, if not all of those situations.
At some point it all became a game to me, which brought a Psychological element into the mix. I wanted to push the boundaries and see what I could gain from using both my body and the mind fucks I now had in my arsenal. I would flirt and seduce men (and a few women) to test how deep their commitment to their current partners was. I can tell you first hand, a lot of people’s commitments are no deeper than a shallow puddle. Dating, engaged, married, it didn’t matter, in fact, the more committed they were, the more I wanted them. It was a challenge and I’m not one to shy away from a challenge. I mean, my parents stayed together despite martial indiscretions on both sides, so I wasn’t really doing anything that couldn’t be overlooked, right? Even if I was, it wasn’t my mess to clean up, so why should I care? What’s the worse that would happen? I get called a whore, a homewrecker, a slut? Been there, don’t care. There were zero repercussions on my end.
I was completely apathetic and selfish, but on the inside, I was numb. I learned to master the art of sex much sooner than most, so why let those skills go to waste? Sure, I could make a married man cheat on his wife or make a woman want to explore their sexuality, but what else was I but flesh?Nothing. I meant nothing. Not even those men who claimed to love me, never really loved me, they loved how I could make them feel. I was a play thing and just like children, at some point, they all get bored and want a different toy. Sure, I felt confident and attractive and desired, but that was as far as it went. I felt nothing for these men and once the rush of catching my prey was over, it was back to square one. It was just a revolving door of men.
The 2 major relationships that I had before meeting my husband didn’t stop me from using body as a bargaining chip. Even though I genuinely loved and was loved by each of them, I still used myself for my own gain. I was getting designer jewelry and handbags out of the deal (even when we were broken up). I was getting the ego and self confidence boost of landing the one person everyone wanted. They chose me for a reason, so I needed to give them a reason to keep coming back and eventually stay. Hell, why would I stop? I was getting what I wanted, they were getting what they thought they wanted, so no harm, no foul. I don’t think either of them realized what I was doing and probably never will. It really doesn’t matter now, not after all this time.
I did however, feel the brutal sting of karma with the second of the two relationships. While I played my game, he played his own. Being older, he had more time to master his craft and God did he. He turned out to be the one who wanted the prolonged chase and I’m notoriously impatient. It just so happened that my advances and willingness to give my body freely, was the reason our relationship ended before it began. It was a hard pill to swallow. There was a lot of hurt that took a long time to completely get over, but the fault was mine and mine completely. You’d think that I would have learned my lesson, but, it didn’t, well, not completely.
In the early days of mine and my husband’s casual relationship, I still played my games. I figured, what better way to make someone want you then to let them know they were just one out of many options? I made it very clear that he wasn’t the only one “in the roster”. He still won anyway. We’ve been together for 14 years, married for 10, and I still find myself doing the same old tricks. Fuck up and need him to not be mad at you; seduce him. I mean, sex fixes everything right? Want something that he isn’t 100% on board for, dangle sexual acts in front of him and see if it doesn’t change his mind. It never gets old, it really doesn’t. When I do it now, it’s usually subconsciously. I’ve wired myself to respond to certain situations using sex.
That insecurity runs so deep, that even now, after all this time and despite the fact that I’m a progressive individual, I still believe that as a spouse, if I don’t fulfill my spouses sexual needs, someone else will. There are times when a week or more has gone by since we’ve had sex, 99% of the time it’s because I’m sick or he’s exhausted from work. Even though, it isn’t “my job” and as a person, I have the ability and authority to choose who I sleep with and when, part of me doesn’t believe it. He’s never given me reason to suspect that he views our marriage that way; this is all me. Fuck, I’ve even told him that if he really needs to get laid, he can go out and safely have sex with another woman. How fucked up is that? And i don’t say that to test him or trick him,, i genuinely mean it every time.. He tells me I’m nuts and there’s no way he’d ever do that and I believe him, I honestly do. But there will always be a part of me that sees myself as nothing more than an object to be used as someone sees fit.
The moral of the stories are: don’t ever let anyone cause you to weaponize your body. It’s a dangerous road and leaves a path of destruction in its wake. It isn’t worth it, not even a little.