Sexy Bodies (sensitive content)

Candace, 26 July 2005, Comments Off on Sexy Bodies (sensitive content)
Categories: Bodies, Women's Studies

Warning: contains sensitive material.

When I was sixteen my boyfriend raped me. It was my first sexual experience. Before this I was completely ignorant: I did not know about penises, or erections, or sexual pleasure. I was taught as a young girl to always wear clean underwear and never take them off. As a girl I was not prepared for menstruation and even after I was not taught how to manage my blood. I quit ballet shortly after menarche because I could not figure out how to keep a rolled up wad of toilet paper in the right place at the right time of month. It was a tragic thing for me to quit dancing. It was many years before I was able to return to serious study and I am sure it was the beginning of associating my body with misery.

I did not deal well with the rape. My boyfriend did not understand that I had tried to make him stop. Yes I kept seeing him or whatever you want to call it. He claimed to not have heard me. It was a twisted, evil sort of relationship and I took the blame for this and all the other negative experiences of the relationship. I did not realize at the time how abusive it was. For some ridiculous reasons we ended up married a few months later. It was not until several years after we divorced that I realized that bodies could be used for pleasure –my body included. We had a very sexless marriage. Most years we skipped it.

After I had been divorced for a few years a friend encouraged me to begin dating again. I was not really interested in meeting men and considered that I might be a lesbian and that my life might be a lot easier in many ways if I was. For instance I would never have to be with another man. But since I did not really feel any more attraction to women than to men I doubted that this was the case. I decided to not think about it. I joined a free online matchmaker service.

I dated a few men and discovered a real fear of being touched. Meeting people online was safer. I could connect with someone intellectually without any pressure to engage sexually. But eventually people started wanting to meet in person. One man with whom I had developed a good online friendship tried to hold my hand towards the end of the date. It was a painful and emotional experience but began to show me that my previous experiences had been abnormal. It took over a year of dating different people before I could calmly go on a date without terror that someone might intrude into my personal space. I met someone special and the gradual (very gradual) development of our relationship allowed me to find a safe place where I was able to explore my sexuality both on my own and with a lover. Much of this is because we communicated sporadically online for months before we ever met in real life.

From time to time I still go back to being that scared young woman. I withdraw from my friends and responsibilities until it passes and I am able to return to the larger world. Many days I often think of myself as asexual but who knows if this may be because of the stress of single parenting, full-time school and too many part-time jobs. Sometimes the pressure to engage sexually is one pressure too much.

The dangers of online dating get a lot of attention but for many people it is a safe way to explore a world we are just not ready to face in real life. Without the privilege of being able to get online I do not think I would have been able to re-enter the world of personal intimate relationships.


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  1. Gage
    14 December 2006, 3:45 pm

    This is a truly tragic story. I hope you find a better place in the world.

  2. Candace
    14 December 2006, 3:54 pm

    Thanks. In the year and a half since I wrote this post I think I’ve come a long way. Life is good and most days I feel like I am coping. It’s wonderful what time can do to heal a person.

  3. tony
    16 January 2007, 5:23 pm

    i amso sorry for you, as a man a cannot even imagine the hell you been through, i hope you find hapiness soon

  4. Candace
    02 February 2007, 2:12 pm

    You know Tony, it’s ancient history now. I carry it around and it peeks out from time to time but I’ve come so far since then, that sometimes I forget that was even me, or at least I can do that on a good day…. I don’t know if I’ll ever truly be comfortable with my body — maybe this is why dancing is such a release for me: the one time and place where I can really be in my body. I think had there not been the option of online dating to explore I’d be happily solitary.

  5. Talitha
    21 May 2007, 10:53 pm

    Dear Candace,
    I do not pity or feel sorry for you, for i know that all you have been through, as horrible painful as some of it must have been, it has brought great lessons into your life. You sound as if you chose to learn and grow from your experience and are now in a strong place in yourself.
    I am glad for you.

  6. Candace
    23 May 2007, 10:50 am

    Thanks Talitha, but there are some lessons that I’d just as soon not have. 😉 Rereading this today I can’t believe how detached I am from it all. It’s just something that happened — like cutting the grass, having a glass of water… I know that this person was/is me but yet she’s not. Does that make sense?

  7. Joao Paulo
    12 June 2007, 8:10 pm

    The important is to be happy, don’t matter the way (my english is horrible, i’m so sorry, but i think you understhand).

    J.P.A.G. – Portugal

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