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Author Topic: Not Sure What it Was
Tashi
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Before I encountered this site, I probably wouldn't have ever seriously thought about this as a form of assault or rape, but after reading a lot of the stories on the message boards and articles on Scarleteen, I'm not entirely sure what I think anymore.

A few years ago, my best friend and her boyfriend were going through rough spots, eventually ending in their breaking up (after being on and off for a few months) and I had always sort of liked her boyfriend. It was more to the effect that I saw how he treated her and was sort of jealous and wished I had a boyfriend who would care for me the same way. I think just having spent lots of time around him, and being friends with him as well sort of all added up to me liking him.

In any case, during one of their "off" periods, he and I sort of fooled around a bit. We sat next to each other in a class, and had been passing notes about various sexual things. It sort of started out innocently, because I had not yet been sexually active with anyone and was curious, and he and my friend had been having sex, so we talked about things. It all culminated in him coming over to my house on two occasions, a few weeks apart, I think. The first time, I let him touch my breasts (underneath my shirt) and later I sort of lay on top of him, but we weren't having dry sex. It was just the feeling of being on top of him. We never kissed, because that almost seemed like more of a betrayal of my friend than the sexual acts were (which I still regret horribly).

The second time he came over, he ended up fingering me, and I gave him a handjob (though based on what I know now, after being sexually active, he didn't ejaculate). This was the first time anyone had ever touched my breasts, or my genitals, and the first time I had touched someone else's.

Writing about this now is a bit hard, because I don't remember exactly what emotions and reactions I had. I remember him guiding my hand when I was touching him, because I didn't really know anything about manual sex, so he tended to wrap my hand tighter around his penis. I remember it feeling good, like when I masturbated, when he touched my clitoris.

I'm pretty sure I never really expected anything other than exploring sexual activity with him, because I knew that I couldn't date him, since he and my best friend had just broken up/had dated. It's just been kind of nagging at the back of my mind for awhile. A different friend asked me a few months ago if I had ever been sexually assaulted (or something to that effect) and I had to think about it for a bit, because I wasn't sure what this whole scenario was. I didn't feel violated or anything after it happened. I have felt regret in the past year or so, after being sexually involved with my current boyfriend, that the first time I had given another guy manual sex was to someone because I was curious or "horny," and that he wasn't the first person to touch my genitals sexually. But having regret about it doesn't necessarily make it a form of assault/rape. So I'm not sure what I think this is. I don't want to label it something that it's not.

I never said "no." I know that's not a true reason something isn't assault, but I knew what he wanted to do and agreed to it. I can't remember who suggested the thought of us being sexually involved. It *might* have been him, but I can't be sure without the actual conversation text (this was about 3 years ago, now).

A few months later, after he and my friend had been broken up all the way for awhile, I went over to his house to watch some Star Trek, and he would tickle me, sort of getting his hand under my shirt, on my stomach, attempting to get farther, but I would stop him.

I think one of the reasons it's harder to remember what happened with more detail is that because I've felt guilty about what happened (I don't want my friend to find out. I don't know if she would be mad now, but I still feel like I betrayed her), whenever I think about it, my brain sort of glosses over it. It's almost like my brain blocked it. I avoid thinking about it.

Sorry this is a bit convoluted. I've been trying to sort it out in words, but it's the first time I've written about it, or told anyone about it. If you have any input about what constitutes rape/assault, I would love to hear what you think this situation sounds like. The line is blurred for me, and I don't really know what it was.

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Heather
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I'm not hearing anything in this that sounds nonconsensual or like assault to me.

It sounds like you were active in initiating some of this sexual relationship. While clearly, neither of you engaged in any clear verbal consent, it seems you both used some nonverbal cues and I don't hear you saying anywhere that you felt pressured or pushed to do anything you didn't want to do.

I hear you saying you feel regret and guilt about it, but like you said, feeling regret about sexual experiences doesn't mean we were assaulted. What it sounds more to me is like you made some sexual choices you just don't feel very good about in retrospect.

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Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
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Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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Tashi
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Thanks. It's just been sort of hard to sort out the emotions surrounding the situation, and I would never want to say that something as serious as assault or some sort of rape had happened to me if it hadn't. I've never really thought of it as such, but I had been doing some questioning lately, and wasn't entirely sure how it had all happened. It was just a bad situation that I put myself in, but it wasn't without my own actions. I think it was just good to get it all written out.

Again, thanks for the input. Sometimes it takes an outside source to point out what reality is. [Wink]

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Heather
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Sure.

Do you want to talk some more about it? Even when something is consensual, that doesn't always mean we feel okay about it. It sounds like you have some tough feelings around this.

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Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
About Me • Get our book!
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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Tashi
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That would be great, thanks so much.

I think the thing that bothers me the most about it is that it was my first time being sexual in any way with someone, really. I had dated someone previously, but we hadn't ever gone past kissing goodbye on the lips, and I didn't even really have deep or lasting feelings for this guy. I guess I didn't live up to my expectations for the first time I sexually interacted with a partner.

One other thing that has been weighing on me a lot is that I currently have been dating a wonderful guy for over a year, and I am his first girlfriend, so I've been all his "firsts" thus far (except for masturbation). He's pretty much been most of my "firsts" as well. He's the first person that has seen me naked, that I've participated in (given and received) oral sex with, and a lot of things. But it bothers me that he wasn't the first person who touched my breasts or my genitals. It almost seems a bit silly. But I've been his first for so many personal things, and he's been mine for many as well, but there are these two things that I did with someone else that he doesn't know about. He knows that he's been the first real sexual relationship I've had, so I think he might assume that everything is a first for me as well. It's just never come up (and I'm not sure how I would tell him about this) that he wasn't the first person that had touched me like that. But since it's something that I'm really ashamed of, I don't know if I would want him to know anyways.

Sorry if that is a bit confusing, I hope it's decently coherent.

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Heather
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I think that it's not very helpful to think about if our feelings are or aren't reasonable, since pretty much by definition, they're not about reason or logic. Too, even if we made that kind of judgment, it wouldn't likely stop us from feeling whatever we are. Your feelings are valid feelings no matter what, simply because they're the feelings you are having.

You know, I just did an advice piece yesterday about a different situation, but addressed feelings of sexual regret and the idea that there's some kind of perfect sexual choice, and/or the tendency so many people can have to wish they could rewrite sexual history. I think you might find some of it helpful: http://www.scarleteen.com/article/advice/getting_past_the_shoulda_woulda_coulda

I do think it's important to try and recognize that every time we have a new partner, we already have firsts because they're all firsts with that particular person. I tend to think that's a lot more valuable than figuring we only have one first ever the very first time we did one given thing with whoever we did it with first, especially since more often than not, so many of our very first times with sexual things are not as enjoyable as other firsts will be later. Know what I mean?

That said, it sounds like this is a relationship you're really serious about and feel great about. So, I'd suggest you consider perhaps being honest and disclosing this to him particularly BECAUSE you feel ashamed of it: one of the best ways to kind of take the air out of a shame balloon is to disclose with someone we trust and value -- and vice-versa. That is also a pretty exceptional kind of intimacy, one that's usually a lot more intimate and intense than any kind of sex we could be having.

I also want to toss you a link to a poll I think might help you feel better about just how many people (read very few), find that their expectations about sex before they had any kind of it were realistic: http://www.scarleteen.com/node/1769

In other words, this SO much is not just you: it's most people. [Smile]

--------------------
Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
About Me • Get our book!
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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Tashi
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I get what you are trying to say about different sexual partners. In some ways, I do consider him my first sexual partner for those activities, because for us, they were done out of love instead of just sexual curiosity or desires. It's more dealing with the fact that the first person that was allowed to touch me intimately and allowed in a private area of my body was someone I wasn't really interested.

Some days I really do want to share it with him, because it's one of the few deeper secrets about myself that I haven't told him. Part of it, though, is that I'm not exactly sure how I would ever bring this up if/when I tell him about it. Thus far, to the best of my memory, there hasn't really been a good conversation that had the proper context for bringing it up. Do you have any ways to bring it up without just spontaneously broaching the topic? (At the earliest I could talk with him about this in ~3 weeks, since we are in a long distance relationship due to college, and this is certainly something that deserves an in person conversation.)

Thank you, as well, for the links. The article, especially, was helpful.

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Heather
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Unless I'm misreading your posts, it sounds like you were interested in that person, just not in the same way that you're interested in your boyfriend now.

You know, I think so often with big stuff, someone else isn't going to open the door or we aren't going to find some perfect opening provided. Instead, we usually just wind up saying something like, "You know, there's something in my history I have been wanting to tell you about, and..."

...and then we launch in. Obviously, with something that's a big deal to us, we want to have those talks at times where we know there can be time to talk and process and where we feel safe and comfortable being emotional.

--------------------
Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
About Me • Get our book!
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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Tashi
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(Sorry for the mix up in language. You are right, I was interested in him, but it wasn't the same sort of interest as a solid relationship. In the above post I was trying to say that it was with someone I wasn't interested in or saw as a possibility for a committed, serious relationship with.)

That's sort of how it's gone when we've talked about other deeply personal things before. I just tend to have a hard time working up the courage to tell or ask harder things, sometimes. But I guess most people probably do. Hard topics like this are usually...harder to talk about.

Usually we tend to talk about things when we are laying in bed after (manual/oral) sex. Though I think perhaps with the issue this would cover, that might not be the best setting for it?

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Heather
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So, what it sounds like to me is that you've figured out, through trial and error, that you prefer sex in one kind of emotional or interpersonal context more than in another. That's totally okay, completely typical, and all of this is a lifelong learning process for all of us, so we often all learn this kind of stuff as we go.

Generally, talking about hard history in a sexual context -- after sex, where you're naked -- doesn't tend to work best a lot of the time. I think it's more about you in that situation: I'd expect you'd feel doubly vulnerable that way, you know?

--------------------
Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
About Me • Get our book!
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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Tashi
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That's what I was thinking.

Thanks so much for helping me talk this through!

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Heather
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Happy to be of help. [Smile]

--------------------
Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
About Me • Get our book!
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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