How to deal with feeling sexually exploited

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Hedvig
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How to deal with feeling sexually exploited

Unread post by Hedvig »

Hello. So, about a year and a half ago, I had my first real sexual experience with another person. It has taken a long time to process since I wasn't ready, I've realized now. However, I was super curious, and attached a lot of self worth to whether men found me attractive or not. So I let all of these things happen, basically, if not even did things to initiate them happening.

A young man my age kissed me without my permission, and I had hugely mixed feelings but eventually I kept meeting him. He didn't treat me well exactly, but not necessarily poorly either. He and I spent time together, and he started trying to make me touch him or give him oral sex. For example, he would move my hand to his crotch, I would remove it, and he would put it back and so on. I kept saying no to oral sex (he even kept asking me to do it in a semi-public place). Finally he confidently said "I know you're going to [suck me off]" (I don't remember the exact phrasing). I felt bad at this point, especially as he also made a joke about how there was no one around and so he could technically do what he wanted (this joke shocked me for many reasons, but especially since he claimed to have been a victim of rape himself). I blame myself immensely for not shutting the entire relationship down after this, and I feel horrible.

But alas, the relationship continued. He kept sort of pressuring me, and I was also curious about how it would feel, if I'd be any good at it. It felt almost like a requirement, but I was also somewhat curious about it. And so I did perform oral sex on him, twice. I had been putting his hands above his head these times, because I really didn't want him to push my head. However, the third time, I was "teasing him", and he made me lay on my back while he basically masturbated with my mouth. It felt super degrading, and eventually I did make him stop. I feel really, really terrible about this happening to me. I feel damaged.

He wanted to have vaginal sex too, but I asked him not to. At least he respected that. He did try to give me oral sex too, but I wasn't able to climax. The relationship fell apart really quickly.

It's been a pretty long time, and now I'm in a committed relationship with another man, who is much sweeter and never pressures me into anything. However I can't help beating myself up over what happened, feeling dirty and extremely used. Sometimes I even cry, or have depressive episodes. It hasn't helped my disordered eating either. I feel kind of desperate but don't want to talk about this in detail to my family or boyfriend (although he knows basically all of it). Please help me.
Sofi
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Re: How to deal with feeling sexually exploited

Unread post by Sofi »

Hi Hedvig, I am so sorry to hear you went through that experience and are now feeling this way. I'm also super glad to hear your new partner is caring and respects your boundaries. You are definitely not damaged or dirty. It is, however, normal for people who have been through sexual assault or coercion of any kind to feel that way. What you went through doesn't change your worth and you didn't do anything wrong in that situation, because you were the victim and aren't at fault for any part of it. It's okay for it to be difficult to deal with right now, because it takes time and a lot of love to heal wounds like these, and you reaching out is already a big step in the right direction. Speaking of love--self love and self care are incredibly important, and if you haven't checked out our article Self-Care: A La Carte!, you might find it helpful <3

My next recommendation for steps to take is to see a mental health specialist or counselor, if you aren't already (most are doing virtual sessions now). There you can talk through everything in depth, with someone who can provide you professional support, regarding what you went through and your current depressive episodes and disordered eating. Do you have a way to access a therapist or counselor, or do you need help with finding one?
Hedvig
not a newbie
Posts: 8
Joined: Sat Oct 21, 2017 3:36 am
Awesomeness Quotient: I'm pretty badass: at 5, I loved Corpse Bride.
Primary language: Swedish, English
Preferred pronouns: She/Her
Sexual identity and orientation: Heterosexual, maybe?
Location: Sweden

Re: How to deal with feeling sexually exploited

Unread post by Hedvig »

Hello,
it's so strange, my feelings fluctuate a lot and the severity of the experience seems to vary... sometimes I get into a really bad spiral, I cry and either gorge myself or stop eating for some time, and I avoid intimacy with my boyfriend... other times it's like it all happened to someone else, or I feel as though it doesn't affect me anymore, until I go into the next period of feeling awful about it.

I kind of like that article, I should use it. I often feel like the world is a bad place and I need to disconnect from that a bit, it doesn't help me...

I went to a therapist for some time a couple of years ago, before this all happened, and while it helped me a lot at the time I now have hangups about it, I suppose. I guess I like to view myself as a well-adjusted person. I wish I could just forget any of my "relationship" with that guy ever happened, like hitting your head in a movie and getting amnesia.
Mo
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Re: How to deal with feeling sexually exploited

Unread post by Mo »

It would be so nice if it was possible to forget or remove the impacts of trauma; it's so unfair that you have to carry this pain. Even if you aren't always feeling a lot of distress about the sexual coercion in your previous relationship, it sounds like the distress you do feel impacts your life quite a bit, so if you are able to seek out some sort of counseling for this, I think it could be helpful. If there's a rape crisis center or other organization in your area that supports people who've been sexually assaulted, they may be a good resource to point you towards counselors who are trained in helping people work through the aftereffects of coercive or otherwise unhealthy sexual relationships; some centers also have support groups that might be helpful in connecting you to other people wrestling with some of these same feelings.

If you aren't ready to talk with a counselor right now, would you be up for talking to a doctor about your disordered eating? I do think that's really important to address; I don't know if that's something you've gotten help for in the past, but if it feels like it's getting worse right now I encourage you to talk to someone about it.

Are there any self-care techniques in that article that sound like something you could try to work into your daily routine right now?
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