Looking for my first ‘difficult’ story was, well, difficult.
It seemed like a weird thing to do for starters….to actively seek people who had had traumatic virginity loss experiences….but I was always sure about one thing – I had to present a 360 degree view of this moment. We are many different people with many different stories to tell. I couldn’t exclude anything.
When I did find that first story, it happened by accident. I had just finished interviewing a lady for my book when her partner started asking me questions.
‘What sort of stories are you putting in your book’ he asked.
‘All sorts’ I answered, ‘I want to make sure I paint an accurate picture of this experience.’
‘Do you have any difficult stories yet?’ He asked
Strange as it seems, I didn’t see his next question coming.
‘I’ll tell you my story if you like…but it isn’t very nice.’
It seems even stranger to say that I leapt at the chance. Partly because I wanted the story for my book but partly because I instinctively knew that he needed to tell it.
We all need to talk. I cannot think that there is an exception to this rule. Even if we only tell that story once, the action of speaking out loud somehow seems to lessen the effect that the story has over our head. Talking takes away its power.
I don’t know how this happens, but it does. In a formalized situation this is probably called therapy. In my situation, it was one person sitting and listening to another human being talk. He sweated, he paused, he stopped and he carried on. It wasn’t easy but it had to be done.
It’s the same with the blog. People need to be heard, sometimes because they have never been heard before and often because they want other people to learn from their experiences. So in the spirit of talking, and listening and learning, here is Jane’s story. Its not easy, but it needs to be told.
Jane. Born 1979. Lost virginity aged 20. Lives: USA
'I lost my virginity aged twenty to my boyfriend at the time. I was raised by parents who, though not particularly religious, were rabidly opposed to premarital sex. I wasn't really sure what I myself believed. When I mentioned to my boyfriend that I wanted to wait until marriage, he wanted to know if I really thought we could be together for eight to ten years without making love, and how strange that would be. He wouldn't stop pressing and I was curious, so after a couple of months I agreed to do it with him. However, I was so ashamed of my decision that I was afraid to tell any of my mentors-in-life about it or ask them any questions in advance.
I was a little nervous about the pain, but he assured me he'd be gentle. We went and got our STD testing done and bought some condoms and lube. I got on the pill (BIG mistake - it gave me SEVERE depression and badly interfered with my ability to think clearly and make good decisions. I didn't discover this until nearly a year later!). At around noon on the appointed day, we went over to my house.
We kissed for maybe two minutes. I had moved the condoms and lube out of the way because I thought we were supposed to make out for a long time first. He moved them back, put on the condom and put the lube on me. I didn't say anything because I figured he was the one with experience. Then he got on top of me….
I started screaming. He did it again - tried to go all the way in as hard as he could. I was sort of looking over his shoulder at the sunshine in the window and then I blacked out from the pain and I couldn't see or hear anything for a few moments.
When I came to, he gave a happy laugh. ‘Wow, you really ARE a virgin!’ he said before doing it AGAIN. The pain was absolutely blinding and he started to express frustration at not being able to get it all the way in.
We tried a couple of other positions before he was able to get the thrusting going, though it would be another couple of days before my hymen actually broke. I looked up at a picture on the wall and focused on not blacking out again. After a while, he laughed again, pulled out, showed me the filled condom, said, ‘Look what you did!’ and went in the bathroom to wash up.
‘I feel like a failure,’ I said when he came back to bed.
‘Aw’, he said, ‘you're the best!’
Subsequent ‘lovemaking’ sessions were not quite as painful as the first, but almost, and by the time my hymen finally broke, I was pretty much terrified of the sexual act. My body would tense up with fear, which of course would make it more painful, which would make me more afraid, which would make it more painful, etc. Not ALWAYS, but most of the time.
If I said ‘no’ he would either do it to me anyway or he would stop for the moment but sulk, complain, or call me names until I gave in, even if it took weeks. All this time, I was still afraid to tell anyone what was going on, and I thought I had to stay with him. I thought no one would love me - either romantically or as a friend - since I wasn't a virgin any more.
I stayed with him a total of six months, until he sucked me dry of emotional energy, and then I finally got out of there. I was numb for two months before having BIG TIME flashbacks that I now know were symptoms of PTSD. At that point my only alternative was putting my head through a wall, so I told one of my mentors. He was extremely caring and supportive, so I told the other two. I got off the pill, went to counseling, fought the PTSD for about a year and a half before meeting my husband, who is the love of my life. We have now been together for more than 7 years. About a year ago, the PTSD came back, so I have had to go back into counseling and go back to relying on my support system. Fortunately, I still have all the same mentors and friends, and they're still very supportive. I hope to make a full recovery.
Morals of the story:
1. Don't go on hormonal birth control unless you have a close friend closely monitoring you for signs of depression (you can't do this yourself; you can't tell if your head is being fucked with when your head is being fucked with).
2. Abstinence-only sex education is TERRIBLY harmful and damaging. I would have been FAR less likely to do it, and I certainly would have ended the abusive relationship sooner, if I hadn't been afraid that anyone I told would think I was a horrible person for having sex outside of marriage.
3. ‘Sexual abuse’ and ‘rape’ don't have to involve weapons or even fists in order to destroy people. My boyfriend used words only nine times out of ten and never hit me or threatened to hit me. I still struggle with self-loathing that I ‘could’ have stopped him and didn't. But I have to accept that I didn't have a superhuman psyche. PLEASE, if something like this is happening to you, TELL SOMEONE (you probably know, deep down, whom to tell) and GET OUT.
Another point I wish to make:
I had had a very pleasurable non-intercourse sexual experience only a few months prior to getting together with my boyfriend. And, my first sexual experience with my husband (and no, we didn't wait until marriage!) was so pleasurable I can't even begin to describe it. I didn't even know my body was capable of responding that way! I had a handful of neutral sexual experiences, too, both before and after the abusive relationship. This site has helped me to realize that the good and neutral experiences are just as important, and deserving of recognition, as the bad ones.'