Story telling has always been a big part of my life. Whether it was secretly in my head as fan fictions I was too afraid to write, or larger pieces I thought about from time to time. But it was never the main part of my life. I had never seen myself as a professional writing. Partly because I thought it too risky of a career and partly because I did, and still do, love science. So while half of me is falling more and more in love with perfectly organized spreadsheets and beautifully designed graphs, the other half is exploring my hidden love for story telling. The stories I started in high school were all young adult, as that's what I was currently living. But as I started to get older and reassess these ideas, I started to doubt my place in young adult. I wanted this one story to be taken seriously, not another Twilight. Something more like Lord of the Rings. But what was the difference between a young adult and adult? The obvious difference was the lack of sex scenes. They weren't necessarily needed, as I don't think Lord of the Rings even has sex scenes. If I wanted to approach adult topics though, this was a good one to hit, and certainly spiced up the book.
At the time, I was terrified of writing about sex. It was awkward, difficult, and embarrassing. But every time I tried to address healthy relationships in my pieces, I found the topic of sex appearing more and more. Why? Because my emotionally abusive relationship was centered around sex. Either the amount I had before the relationship or the lack of which during the relationship.
"Growing up", is such a cliche opening line, but it's as good of a start as any. Growing up, I went through what I called 'the ugly duckling phase'. So by the time I finally became of the age to start having sex, I felt like I was also finally breaking out of my fugly pre-teen years. I shamelessly went through my "sexy" late-teen years. But because I'm awkward and shy it more became me just dressing in tight or short clothing and appreciating the looks, without actually going forward with anything. Behind a phone or computer, I felt much more comfortable with the written word and only managed to flirt via text or chat online. Which as you can imagine was hard to continue into real life, unless my male counterparts were a bit more daring than me. Though just getting the messaged replies made me feel desired and wanted. As an ugly duckling, I loved the attention. All those years of being ugly, uni-browed, pimply, nerdy, and otherwise gangly in appearance, I was past all that. So despite the call to end women's worth being focused by our looks, I started gaining my confidence from my developing body. When I started having sex I liked talking about it, I liked flirting with guys and getting excited about the potential results. Though, word to the wise, sometimes the anticipation is better than the turnout. And I think sometimes I just like the thrill of the chase. But all in all, sex was a confidence booster. It does feel good to get that guy you've been desiring for ages. And sometimes it does turn out pretty damn good.
That's sort of where my ex comes in. He liked to psychoanalyze me and put me into these predetermined categories. Because I had slept with men that I hadn't been dating, that I didn't love, there was something wrong with me. He told me time and time again that I had low self-confidence, that I had let these men use me for their desires, and in the end, it obviously left me as a broken woman. In reality, I had felt like I had sort of used them for that boost in confidence. In a few cases, I had sought them out and gotten exactly what I wanted. Hopefully, we both did, as I’m sure that was the guy’s goal as well. So I wasn't used and abused, I was just living life.
The thing was, I remember feeling pretty damn good about myself before we started dating. Relatively. I had recently lost my one shot at getting accepted into what I had considered my dream job. My whole life had been based around this job, I was going to get in and do that till I retired. There was no backup plan. So I doubted myself in what I think is a normal amount. It's normal to feel down during any life altering experience when you think "fuck, now what?". But I had been moving on just fine. I had normal anxieties about public speaking, paying my bills, and overall becoming an adult. But when someone tells you over and over that you have low self-confidence and that you need to fix it, you start to believe it. And that part of you that might doubt yourself before stepping in front of a group or before walking into a job interview, becomes much more evident. You can no longer push it aside and tell yourself 'no I'm fine" because someone else has seen it too. It's real. You really do have shitty self-confidence. So now when you approach new things, you remember you’re not self-assured and you can't do it. You're literally reminded of it every day by your boyfriend. The boyfriend that only brings it up because he “wants to help you”.
This 'uplifting' boyfriend of mine had his own sort of problems that clashed severely with mine. Despite how depressed I got during the relationship, I do still feel bad for him. He was struggling with his own self-confidence issues and occasional problems with being bipolar. So from that point of view, I'm sure helping me with my problem made him feel loads better about himself. They say if you're depressed making someone else happy makes you feel happier. Maybe he figured it was similar for self-confidence? This issue was also very apparent in the bedroom. Not only did he talk about how large his penis was before we started dating, more than once, but he also wanted a comparison to other men. Of course, trying not to trigger the negative half of the bipolar side, I would lie from time to time about how great or novel he was. This is why I think he preferred virgins, his penis must seem huge to someone whose never seen one.
In this path to my growth, I was told again and again I was easy prey to men. I knew he was wrong, but to make it easier, I just kept my mouth shut. I was tired of fighting, and part of me did love him. After all, like he said, relationships were about compromises and he was looking past my sex-history, I could do something for him. So I stopped talking to my guy friends. One of which I had been close to for years, and am still too ashamed to reconnect with. I also stopped going out with my friends to parties or clubs. All my time was spent with him and our shared friends. Outside of the relationship, I would have called myself a fool, but in the moment I was trying to make a relationship work. It was only the second one I had ever had, so I was going to make a damned good attempt at it.
After a while of his tireless jealousy, which was always reasoned with the fact he had been cheated on before me, I found myself lying to him. He grew concerned that all of my coworkers were male, and one time just showed up without warning me. For most this would be sweet, but I became panicked for no reason. I had done nothing wrong, but the fact that he was there made me feel like I had to hide something. I had made jokes about my coworkers, making them seem less attractive than they were, even though I wasn't attracted to them. The one that was the same age as me wasn't, as far as he knew, and I would make comments about our age difference to keep him from freaking out. Though when a coworker texted me after a work outing to make sure I made it home safely, he literally checked the timestamps to note I confirmed my safety with my coworker first before texting him. That had started a new fight of course. I was obviously falling for this man. A man I had no desire for.
This protective over bearing relationship began to mess with my head. Because on top of that behavior, there was the baby voice in which he called me 'cute'. Or the way in which he tried to make me better, like not allowing me to wear sweatpants in public or how I should properly diet. A partner helps you become a better person by supporting you as you grow. A father forces you to reassess yourself and tells you where to improve and how. Therefore, hat's how I started to see him. A father.
So as shocking as it might seem, I had no sexual desire for this dominating father figure. Understandably, the bipolar self-critical penis obsessed man found this unreasonable. I can see that having a partner that's not attracted you, that never initiates sex, or views sex as a weekly chore, as sort of a downer.
Part of me is almost upset that I can see from his point of view. I want to absolutely despise him and hate him forever. But gaining others perspective is something I try hard to do. Though, it's not something I think he ever attempted in his life. Because I tried to explain why I didn't want to have sex with him. All that got me was a 'no, I'm not like a father figure to you' and endless fights. I was being a horrible girlfriend. Obviously, I didn't love him enough if I wasn't willing to have sex with him. Telling someone they need to show their love for you with sex is probably the worst way to get it. There was never a greater turn off for me than someone saying 'you don't love me because you won't have sex with me.' Though, explaining how passionate he was with his exes was a close second. I did love him, I just didn't want to sleep with him.
Towards the end of the relationship, I remember crying, as I often did, that there was something mentally wrong with me. I had thought I would be a perfect girlfriend. I would leave to do my own thing so he could play video games with his friends. I was casual and not super clingy. I like a fair amount of what people might call masculine things. I was active and we often worked out together. But for some reason, I was miserably failing at this relationship. After all, I could see that I was constantly upsetting him in some way or another, so obviously it was me that was the bad girlfriend. Plus I was deeply depressed and had zero sex drive. I no longer even had the drive to do it on my own. I had lost all sense of sexual desire for anything. It just never entered my mind anymore. Even if I tried to force it, it wasn't the same. At one point I even thought myself asexual. I hadn't thought that was something that developed, but why not?
Thankfully though, he broke up with me after only 6 months of dating such a bad girlfriend. I don't think it was so much that I was a bad girlfriend, as he found someone new. Which is honestly how I preferred it. I had always been somewhat afraid of what he would do to himself if I broke up with him. Thankfully, he seemed pretty proud and self-assured to have been the one to end it. He probably still thinks it ended on good terms because I just let the friendship dwindle away naturally as we both moved on, never really explaining to him what I had discovered once we split.
What I discovered was a clear view of an emotionally abusive relationship. I still don't think he ever meant any harm. In his own twisted view of the world, I think he really could only see me as damaged from 'sleeping around' before him. In his mind, that meant I had low self-confidence and he was honestly trying to help me. It was just a horrible way to do it. Because on one hand, he was shaming me for being sexually active before him, he was also guilting me for not having enough sex. And that led to me doubting myself in more ways than one. Just weeks after splitting, I regained a lot of my confidence, my sex drive, and love for myself. Within his first few months free, he dated at least three women. Adding to his even greater pile of 'exes', a large club I'm not proud to be a part of.
Sure, I still have normal doubts, anxieties, and struggles with life. Though now, I won't let anyone force their preconceived notions of what someone should do with their own bodies onto me again. Hell if all failed relationships are exhausting as my two were, thank god I just 'hit it and quit it', no wonder he's so depressed.
Now when I face self-doubt, I assess it, pump myself up, and push into the uncomfortable stage of something new. Which has led me to where I am now. I write about sex because there is such a thing as great sex and equal partnerships. With each new relationship, dating or not, it doesn't matter what has happened in the past because you have to discover what works between the two of you. That means communication, openness, and acceptance.
Sex has gone from a mysterious curiosity and interest of mine to a stance. Women are not fragile pristine shoes that should never be worn before marriage. They have desires and pleasures just like men and that can mean so many different things. None of which should be judged. I try to show that by writing about healthy relationships between consenting adults, no matter what their past. However, that has led me to cut virgins from my stories. So while I certainly don't criticize not having sex, there is a very strong reason for why I write about sex and sexually active people. We have enough talk of why you need to be a virgin, or stories like Twilight and Fifty Shades that show case someone losing their virginity. Time for sexually active women that aren't damaged or ruined. Time for those proud females that are the equivalent of a male stud, where sex is just a part of their lives not the defining characteristic to overcome. Time for real life men to understand that.