Disclaimer: In this post I discuss sex in different forms I have experienced in my life. Some of them are traumatic and upsetting. If this isn’t something you feel ready to read, that’s totally okay. I’ll be here whenever you’re ready.
In my experience, sex has never not been associated with physical or mental pain. It is a difficult and uncomfortable subject that confuses and hurts me to this day.
I started having sex in high school. It seemed like a cool thing to do with cool guys who were doing it. My first time wasn’t particularly memorable or earth shattering. I was at a party, in a basement bedroom with a person I thought I might have a crush on. I don’t remember speaking to them much afterwards.
After less than a handful of other experiences, I survived my first of two sexual assaults as an adolescent. Both cases involved men – who are we kidding, BOYS – I knew personally. Both cases I was intoxicated. Both cases I was blamed by close friends for asking for it, provoking it, being slutty, the list goes on. It has taken me just under 10 years to come to terms with the fact that it was never, ever my fault.
Post assault life presents itself pretty “sluttily” though. From the outside it looks like a promiscuous teenage girl. From the inside it looks like a broken human. Someone trying to mentally hurt others, the way she was. Someone pretending she’s iron clad and doesn’t do “relationships” or emotions. Since we’re being honest, I’ll admit that I still try to present myself that way.
As I tried to grow out of this mental pain, I found myself in under a handful of long term relationships (as a young woman this means lasting almost a year lol).
Sex with everyone hurt.
I mean, literally, the act of penetration was (is) quite literally like sitting on a long and pointy instrument most of the time. It makes your eyes water as you grit your teeth.
This pain began long-ish before I learned that I have recurring ovarian cysts, endometrial tissue in all the wrong places and a uterus that’s tipped far enough back that one of the symptoms is “sexual discomfort.” I spent 4 years thinking that this pain was a normal part of life. That all women must be uncomfortable. I said nothing to my intimate partners. I did this until about one year ago.
One year ago I began bleeding and severely cramping after having sex. It felt like a punishment.
I had to plan when I could allow myself to be intimate. If I had something important the next day, wanted to exercise, be a normal functioning, god damn human, the answer had to be no.
Around the same time, I began having more frequent gynecological visits to determine what might be causing so much discomfort. Instead of spending time on my back, pants-less, lubed, legs spread with a person I loved, it was with a person holding a cold metal speculum. Or a person wearing a rubber glove in a brightly lit room, a person with a massive, club shaped instrument inserted in my body, a person with a tenaculum (instrument that manually opens your cervix), a person with a small tube taking a biopsy of your uterine tissue – the list goes on. I spent more time with people I didn’t know examining the inside of my body than I could with my partner.
I’d really love to start this paragraph with a self-help tip. I want to be optimistic but there just is no happy ending for me yet. I like to tell myself that, for the meantime, I am sexually incompetent. It is difficult to let someone you love down in a way that they can’t, monogamously, fulfill with another person.
I have no long-term solutions, no answers. I am sad, upset and broken when I think about what sex means to me. This is a constant work in progress. That being said, I do promise that whenever I know what the magical secret is, you’ll be the first to know.