I’m feeling tired, angry, and burnt out. I spend a lot of time talking about how wonderful I think sex is because I BELIEVE in the power of sex. My belief is that sex is the source of healing for all things emotional and even some things physical. Sex sets us free of our normal limitations. Sex allows us to connect with each other and the universe. Sex is powerful, so people fear it and abuse it.
I hate that sex abuse is everywhere. I appreciate that people are bringing it out into the open. I loathe secrets. Secrets are the death of healthy sexuality, and often of sanity. Privacy is fine, secrets are not. In sex, more knowledge and more communication means a better experience for everyone. I’m glad that I can read about sex abuse all over the internet and share stories with friends – this is the beginning of finding solace. Sex abuse is one of the most isolating things I can think of, so lay all your stuff out, not just to free yourself, but to free everyone from secrecy.
I could save myself some pain by shutting it all out, but I feel like I owe it to every survivor who wants to talk about what happened to them to listen – to witness their bravery. It takes some guts to come forward because every former victim I’ve ever talked to started out thinking that it was somehow their fault. It breaks my heart. I hate that the experience of sexual abuse at any level is so pervasive. From street heckling to incest, these are all perversions of sexuality.
I’m so tired of aching over my own abuse. I’m bored with wallowing in my own sadness, shame, and anger. It isn’t the whole of who I am; I am not the abuse. I have worked hard and long to let go of these emotions, but I still feel damaged. Maybe the scar tissue never goes away. I just want to find a way of carrying my baggage that’s easier and doesn’t chafe.
How can it not chafe? Why shouldn’t I be fucking angry? Why shouldn’t I be yelling from the rooftops? I’m pissed. I’m livid. I should be beating down the walls. But I have to be angry in the right ways – smart ways. I could hate sex, but I don’t. Sex is not my enemy. Sex is MINE, I own it. I’m not afraid of sex any more. Sex connects me with myself and the people I love. I get a great deal of my needs met through sex.
I could hate men, ignoring the fact that not all abusers are male. Whether subtle or overt, I see a lot of women deciding that despising men will make them feel better. It’s safer to keep men at a distance. I think this is damaging on so many levels. Yes, people can use their strength and power in evil ways. This does not make everyone with strength and power evil. There are traits that I admire in people of all genders that might make them risky to me if I let my fear drive, but the truth is that I like partners with those traits. What I try to communicate to my children and my partners is an admiration for those traits and the expectation that I will be treated with respect. I don’t make a big deal about it, it’s just my truth.
Any of partners might be an easy target for my rage, but I know that would make me an abuser. My loved ones do not deserve my anger about sex abuse. They are trying to help me. Sometimes I just well up with frustration and helplessness and I’m looking for the nearest thing to lash out at. Or I’m honestly trying to work through the emotion and it leaks into our interactions. Then I own my emotions, do damage control if necessary, and find other ways of processing. I want my relationships to stay as clean as possible. I get so much out of the love that I share that I’m not about to dirty those waters.
Where should my anger go? Back to the people who took away my right to choose. That’s difficult because it’s painful to look straight at those memories. It’s easier to think that I’m reading a story or watching a television show – something that happened long ago and has no more power over me. But to be mad as hell, you have to live it. No one can do that all the time.
I’m tired because I’m not just fighting my own demons, I’m also fighting the culture we live in. I believe that some abusers are themselves victim of the system. I’m not defending their actions, I’m just recognizing the patterns. I recently read some accounts written by men who had raped. Some of them were genuine sociopaths who knew that they had done wrong and were gratified that they hadn’t been caught. What struck me though, was the number of men who raped because of poor boundaries, lack of communication, and intoxication. Most of these men raped in high school or college and have spent the rest of their lives feeling like horrible monsters. I know first hand how the women they raped must have felt.
Why are so many young people having sexual experiences that scar them for life? Is it maybe that we are failing as a society to give them the tools they need to have successful, fulfilling relationships and sexual encounters? I don’t want my children to learn about sex while drunk at a party. And I don’t want to worry about them getting raped by some asshole while getting drunk at a party. Why don’t we teach (and model) good sexual behavior? Let’s make sure everyone learns about consent: Yes means yes, the absence of a “no” does not mean yes!
This is where I try to channel my anger. It’s not that I’m lighthearted about sex. I know all about the vast dark underbelly of sexuality, I just don’t choose to live there. I love sex. I want to protect the sanctity of sex – for me, for you, for the next generation. I fight to show all of the glorious aspects of sex so that I can change the way that our culture handles sex. I want people to know that you can get through sex abuse and have healthy sex lives. I know that the darkness is there, I just light my way forward with love and beauty.