sex

'I was sexually assaulted by my first boyfriend. Years later, my married sex life suffers.'

This post contains mentions of sexual assault and may be triggering for some readers.

I had a massive epiphany this weekend.

My husband and I sat down on Sunday afternoon to watch the last session of our marriage prep course on DVD, which we never actually finished before walking down the aisle.

Watch Australia’s highest-paid escort, Samatha X, explain how to have better sex. Post continues below.

Video via Mamamia

It was in this final section of the course that it covered intimacy between a married couple. As we watched the talk on our TV, I realised something really shocking.

There is a reason why my sex life with my husband has been so bumpy for the last few years. There’s a reason why it’s felt conflicting and confusing and generally just hard to manage for me.

I have toxic and damaging perceptions of sexual intimacy, and what my role is as a partner during sex.

And this realisation changed absolutely everything.

My introduction to sex was not the healthiest.

Individually, my own personal relationship with my sexuality started from very healthy beginnings.

Despite the fact that I was waiting until marriage for intercourse, I didn’t let that hold me back from exploring my own sexuality on my own terms.

But once I entered my first relationship all of this got a little messed up and skewed.

You see, I dated a person who said he was respectful of my consent and vow to myself — but words only go so far.

It would take me a year to realise that his words did not reflect how he truly felt, and that our entire relationship was just a big competition to him. He was actively working to try and talk me out of saving myself for marriage.

And when he couldn’t talk me out of it, he sexually assaulted me to claim what he felt was rightfully his.

So, recognising that this was the type of partner I had my many firsts with, both romantically and sexually, you can imagine that it only gets worse from there.

ADVERTISEMENT

Listen to Mamamia’s sex podcast, Sealed Section. Samantha X and Dr Lauren Rosewarne discuss all things intimacy. Post continues below.

I read a piece by Michelle Ann recently, which talks about a highly disrespectful encounter she had with an entitled man, where he treated her as less-than for his own sexual gratification.

I read that story and felt so incredibly enraged by this dude’s level of scum-baggery.

Several days after reading that piece, I realised that this event she described was actually a reflection of hundreds of events I also had over a year and a half period.

Based on his misogynistic logic, since I was saving myself for marriage I was depriving him, and thus I ‘owed it to him’ to keep him sexually satisfied.

But there were even more issues in our sex life than just my ex’s skewed perception of what he was entitled to.

To put it plainly, I was really lucky if I got to climax.

And whether or not I got the climax was dependent upon my performance.

If I performed well enough, then maybe he would stick it out long enough to make sure I got off, too.

Because he always came first. And I would come second, if I was lucky.

I was an afterthought in that relationship, in every possible way.

And that was when I formed the false belief that my own sexual satisfaction has to be earned, based on my performance for my male partner.

And that, in a romantic relationship, my needs come secondary.

Talk about a massive, constant turn-off.

And that brings us to my skewed and unhealthy view of intimacy today.

There was an interview from someone on the street during this session of our marriage course, where they described that the beginnings of a sexual relationship are formed in lust, and then after the lust fades away the nature of the relationship changes. It becomes less about lust, and more about love and intimacy.

I’ve only just realised that I never got that memo.

I’ve been chasing that beginning experience of lust ever since my relationship with my husband transitioned three years ago to something more intimate.

I’ve been chasing the old me, back to when lust made me more spontaneous, more carefree, and hornier, to be honest.

I’ve spent the last three years wondering what the f*** is wrong with me, and why I’m not the fire-cracker I once was.

What the hell happened? Where down the line did my sex drive just up and disappear?

ADVERTISEMENT

I’ve been under the belief that for the last three years, there’s something wrong with me.

And so, building on the unhealthy foundation of my first relationship, I’ve been under the belief that if I perform well enough, if I play the part well enough, all of my former glory would come back.

I realise now that I’ve literally never matured out of the mindset of sex being about lust.

I never processed that it could grow into something far more intimate and founded in love.

And that flawed belief has made sex incredibly complicated, confusing (and at times unenjoyable) for me for quite some time.

I’m ready to move past my self-worth and value as a partner being founded in my sexual performance.

I’m ready to move past the teeny tiny view of sex only being about lust.

I’m ready to start viewing it as something far more fun, safe, and enjoyable for the sheer sake of love and being closely connected to my husband.

I deserve to enjoy our sex life. Sex is one of the parts of life that is the most intimate in the most fun for human beings!

And while I understand and believe that philosophy on a rational level, I was being so hard on myself for not feeling it on a foundational level from one experience to another.

In this marriage, my putting him first isn’t just a one-sided exchange. He’s not exclusively taking and I’m not exclusively giving. Instead, it’s an exchange founded in equality and a deep respect for one another.

I’m ready to say goodbye to the whole charade I put on during sex that has me performing rather than enjoying myself.

I’m ready to let down my walls and boundaries which I built up many years ago following my sexual assault.

I’m ready to actually free myself and let myself completely let go.

And I’m ready for both my husband and I to be able to enjoy the perks of that reality.

So, here’s to self-reflection, forever learning about ourselves, and working towards obtaining exactly what we deserve.

Feature Image: Getty.

This article originally appeared on Medium and was republished here with full permission. For more from Gillian Sisley, you can find her on Twitter.

If this post brings up any issues for you, or if you just feel like you need to speak to someone, please call 1800 RESPECT (1800 737 732) – the national sexual assault, domestic and family violence counselling service. It doesn’t matter where you live, they will take your call and, if need be, refer you to a service closer to home.


Sign up for the “Mamamia Daily” newsletter. Get across the stories women are talking about today.


00:00 / ???