When I was fourteen I became sexually active. Then, my desire for sexual intimacy spawned out of my perpetual need for personal validation. I was fat. I was scared. And the role models that I most aspired to be were those who were charismatic and provocative, with anyone and everyone falling at their feet. I longed to be a good flirt, to tease without requisite follow through, for someone to love me publicly. Unfortunately, these were the exact opposite of the sexual experiences I encountered. It was as if boys recognized the pain and eager need to please that was always so near the surface. I could not say no, so I said yes too many times to too many pairs of hands that handled me roughly before casting me aside, or groped me fervently but always secretly. My fear and deep need for love quickly translated into shame. I felt validated when someone wanted to hook up with me, and hopeful, only to the feel abandoned and lost again when they moved on. I was easy.
I was nineteen when I stopped having sex. After an experience rocked me so deeply that I could not proceed on that path. This experience was one that was unintentional, I had not said no – I never said no, but one that broke my heart out of sadness over the state of my personal psyche. I was so hurt and confused at my reckless behavior and seemingly chronic lack of regard for my safety that I told myself enough was enough.
I told myself that if I was not mature or self loving enough to make good sexual decisions, I could not have sex. So I stopped, for nearly a year and a half, and during that time I worked on saying no. I worked on improving my self value. I told myself a million times a day that I was beautiful and worthy and worth loving. I also told myself that I was special and that I deserved the right to say no if I wanted to, because I was worth pursuing.
It seems to me that these are things that we often forget. I get very nervous when I’m watching teenage girls walk around in our oversexed culture and wonder what their concept of self is. I remember after the first time I had ever hooked up with a guy and I was very young and very needy and I gave without reciprocation. The next day a good friend of mine, a boy, asked me why I let him do that, why I had no regard for my own sexual satisfaction. The reality was that concept had never even entered my mind.
In the interest of creating a sex positive culture, where both boys and girls are valued and nourished and safe from harm, these types of conversations need to be had. In an interest in becoming sexually competent and happy adults, the stigma and fear about talking about these issues needs to be addressed and vanquished through conversation. Everyday on tv or in music lyrics or in print media we see people (thin, beautiful people) having sex. We see people using sex to gain social acceptance and value. We don’t see the fear and anxiety and hurt that happens behind closed doors.
I was afraid of true intimacy because in my heart I didn’t think I deserved it, sometimes I still struggle with believing I deserve it, and often reminding myself of it is a very conscious act. But we all need to remember that if they were being honest more people feel this way than you’d imagine. Also that we are soft and vulnerable at the core and ultimately it is our job to protect the beautiful and magical and imaginative parts of our hearts. We need to be courageous enough to say no if we want to, and when to quit if we aren’t yet ready to do that.
Stay tuned for several sex related Ask Marzipans this week, and, always, if you have a question, sexy or not, email me at medicinalmarzipan @ gmail . com.