I’ve never thought of myself as a promiscuous person. I didn’t have a lot of sexual relationships as a teen or young adult…or relationships at all, for that matter. I had a boyfriend throughout most of high school. We had sex for the first time when we were 17 years old…in the winter of our junior year. I remember it very clearly. He had been trying to for months and I kept avoiding it or wiggling my way out of the situation using any excuse I could to not engage. But I lost the battle one afternoon. It just happened so fast and it was over before I could process or protest. He had to leave for basketball practice and as he drove away I saw him give a fist pump to himself. I felt humiliated. I was a prize to him, an accomplishment. I will never forget seeing that.

I went home to an empty house. I walked straight to my parents room and laid on my Dad’s side of their bed and sobbed in his pillow. I don’t know why I went there and not my own room. I felt dirty and cheap. I wanted to die for what I had allowed to happen. It wasn’t at all what I wanted for myself and I was frustrated I didn’t somehow stop him. I wanted to be better than this. I wanted to be different than the other girls in my class, or my older sister, who had a reputation for sleeping around with pretty much anyone.

The only other sexual relationship I had was with my now husband when we were in college. It was a similar situation. I vowed never to allow myself to do that again, to not have sex before marriage, but one night I found myself in a hotel room with him once again being caught up in a pressured situation and failing at my commitment to myself. Again, the feelings of humiliation and shame surfaced the next day. I was so disappointed in my weakness, my failure to speak up for myself.

My therapist asked me today how many sexual relationships I had had before marriage. He went on to say that that was pretty typical…for people to have one or two partners before marriage…but…it sounds like for me, after revealing some things I’ve been seeing from my past, that it’s been a lot more. Something has happened to me since he said that. I know it was not malicious in any respect, but it has had a profound impact on me as I have processed this part of my time with him today. As soon as I started driving away and thinking about his words a feeling of shame and disgust came over me. I felt so dirty and cheap. I felt like a hypocrite. I felt like a liar. I felt like a whore.

If the things I have been talking about with him have actually happened, he’s right. There have been many, many more sexual encounters. Encounters with my father, my sisters, shadows of men that raped me one after another on multiple occasions all throughout my childhood. My desires and efforts to be pure as a teenager were fruitless. I was already used so many times it wouldn’t have mattered. And now I feel no different than my husband and what he’s done to me with the dozens of women he has pursued. I feel like a cheater now. I feel like I’ve deceived him. I feel like I’m not any different than any other woman who offers up her services to countless men who walk the sidewalk strips and choose their indulgence through windows along the dark streets of night.

I don’t want this to be my story. The guilt I’ve felt for the one high school boyfriend before marriage was already something that has weighed so heavily on me. I hated that I did that and continued that relationship with him. And I hate that I did it again with my husband, even though we ended up married. It’s something I still get frustrated with myself about all these years later. That desire to have something special for your spouse at marriage that no one else has shared or experienced was obliterated in that and all those other moments. It’s one of the reasons I stay in my marriage now sometimes. I wonder…who would want me after this? I have nothing left. It’s hard for me to imagine someone wanting to share a life with me after all this exposure.  Somehow, I feel like I’m no longer trustworthy or worth anyone’s time or affection.

This reminds me of something else my therapist said several weeks ago. We were talking about my current desire to leave my husband and the consequences and challenges I would face if I choose to leave. I don’t remember the full context of what exactly we were discussing at that point but he briefly mentioned remarriage and said “…I don’t know why you would want to…” I immediately internalized that and began questioning “Why not? Does he think I’m too damaged? Am I no longer marriage material? Do I not deserve it? Is it not safe to ever want to know what real love might feel like? Would no one want me?”

After today, I’m wondering even more now. Who the heck am I?? I feel low. Very low. I feel like I somehow brought this all on myself. I’ve made all the bad choices and let all these bad things take place. I allowed my body to be used. I didn’t stop anyone. I just let it happen. I still do with my husband. My life is so tainted now. I don’t even know how to process that. I don’t even know how to think about myself. I feel like a prostitute. The exact type of woman my husband would pursue other than me. He doesn’t know what my mind is revealing to me from my past. I’ve told him nothing. What would he think of me if he knew? Would he like me better? Would I finally be more appealing to him? Or would he look at me in disgust or discontent? He’s a very jealous man…he holds me to very different standard than he does himself. I hold myself to different standard…and yet I allowed myself to not adhere to it.

I learned today another part of who I thought I was is not actually who I am. I have no idea who this person…me…is. If I accept what I see in my head, I have a new reality, I’ve had more sexual partners than I know, I’ve been touched and tortured and used. I’ve been passed around and enjoyed, just like some lady of the night.

21 thoughts on “Red Light District…

  1. I know these are just words to you, but the ‘red light district’ is in those that attacked you in so many ways. From the first wrong touch in childhood confusion and (for me) self-hate set in. But it’s all lies, lies that start in childhood because that’s what children do—blame themselves.
    You deserve your sexuality, your natural sensuality, and you deserve it with a reciprocating partner who understands and who offers gentleness, tenderness and true warmth in return.
    Due to my own past horrors, though having a partner who would offer such things, the ability for my own reciprocation had been long ago stolen.

    Liked by 3 people

  2. I want to say encouraging words but I feel anything I say will appear trivial and I don’t want to diminish your feelings. I too struggle with past sexual choices or non choices so I can relate. It’s easy for me to say the past is the past forgive yourself but hard to allow those for me so I’m a hypocrite. Anyway ultimately hugs may you find some peace

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I don’t believe it’s hypocrisy, it’s our reality. We genuinely want others to believe that which we cannot for ourselves sometimes. May you find some peace as well. I am very so sorry for your experiences and that you can relate to this.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I remember the person who I thought I lost my virginity to at the time asked me if I was sure I was a virgin. I avoided thinking about what this meant for a long time. Anyways, I really appreciate you sharing this.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Sexual abuse can cause victims to become asexual or hyper sexual. Both are normal responses to said trauma. Neither are chosen by the victim. When I finally had the courage to tell my fiancé about the D/s relationship in which I found myself entangled in my past, his reply was, “ I could never marry a whore like you.” Didn’t matter that I was 100% monogamous to my Dominant. The prolonged incest I endured as a child had set me up to be exploited by many, as I didn’t have any “no” in the bedroom early on. There was many men I don’t even know their last names. Shame, disgust, worthlessness. Talk about feeling like a whore…. Know you’re in good company S.K.
    I can tell you are beautiful inside and out. You are no whore, you are magic! ❤️

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I was going to tell you earlier today that you are not a whore either…I just didn’t want to invade or invalidate the feelings you were sitting in in the moment. Shame, disgust, worthlessness…all the feelings, yes. But beneath it all I believe you have your own beauty inside as well. And I like your company, so thank you.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Oh, how I can relate. The first thing I said after my very first flashback, after I caught my breathe from sobbing, was “I always new I was damaged goods.” And yet I had never thought that consciously “before” I first had sex.

    I often look at little kids to remind myself there was no way I could have stopped any of that; No way at all. Child prostitutes are not to blame – the people who enslave and abuse them are to blame. And yet, at times, I still forget that.

    According to my definition, your HS boyfriend raped you. Again, not your fault. The shame is his.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. You deserve a loving relationship. My own thoughts on having a true and loving partnership one day is that it doesn’t matter what is in your sexual past, because that person will draw out into the light all of the beautiful parts of you that you have hidden to protect them.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I want you to hear me when I tell you this. It was not your CHOICE what happened with your boyfriend. The way he made you feel proves that it was not a choice. He pushed you into that and used you. That is not on you. Other men who have used you and taken advantage of you is not on you either. This is all on them. Their choice to abuse you and take advantage of trauma and vulnerability. This does not define who you are. It defines who they are. They violated your body.
    Even though I felt I allowed some things to happen with men I can now see that my brain gave me no choice. I was prewired to accept and accommodate and give in. It is all part of PTSD.
    You deserve to be heard, cherished, respected.
    I’m so sorry for what has happened to you

    Liked by 2 people

  8. I think I might know a bit how you feel, SK. I once had an encounter with a person who had pursued me until I consented. But it quickly became obvious she only cared about herself. I could have been a vibrator for all I was to her.

    Walking home that day, I felt cheaper than dirt.

    But I think you are too hard on yourself. Whether you consented or not is not the real issue you see. It’s that they turned out to be jerks who use people, giving nothing back. That’s not your fault they are like that. For you to blame yourself is understandable, but misguided.

    I know. It’s easier to give advice than it is to make use of it, isn’t it? I wish I could do more for you.

    Liked by 1 person

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