K.C., 24, Boston, Massachusetts | DO TELL

Trigger warning: mentions childhood sexual abuse and rape

My conservative, religious mother gave me the “Birds and the Bees” after she caught me reading one of her romance novels. It took place years after my brother was caught abusing my friend. (He was never caught abusing me.) The talk consisted of my mother saying, “Well, you know more about sex than I did at 24, so I guess there’s not much left to say. Unless you want to ask anything.” I didn’t want to ask.

I had sex the first time with a boyfriend who I didn’t care about. It sucked. I didn’t use a condom, so my best friend bought me Plan B. When my parents found the receipt, they cried and threatened to kick me out. I lied. I had sex again. I had sex some more.

I went abroad in college. For the first time, I felt like I had some control over who I had sex with. Options. I became more open, more adventurous. Free.

When I came back, my best friend’s brother got me drunk and had sex with me while I was blacked out. The next day, he offered me a pack of cigarettes if I’d let him do it again. My best friend told me I’d better stop drinking until I could learn to keep my legs closed.

I fell apart. I began a relationship with a guy who was big and strong and safe. Sex was phenomenal, and it made me feel like I was in control again. When I found out I was pregnant with his child, I was 5,000 miles away, and he wasn’t returning my calls. I was five months along and had no money. I was terrified.

Our son is two now, and he’s beautiful. I have a ring on my finger, although it took me a very long time to forgive him for it. The ring, not the baby. The sex is still just as good as it was.

In the end, I’m really glad that I “fooled around” while I still could.

I think this story will turn out OK, though.

6rape, consent, sex, silence, unsafe sex, sex negativity, contraception, Plan B, repression, shame, victim blaming, slut shaming, unintended pregnancy, marriage, relationships, casual sex, religion, The Cost of Shame, Cost of Shame, Do Tell, submission, medium,

C.J. | DO TELL

I was always very sex-positive, but my last relationship changed that for me. After a few months together, he would sigh or roll his eyes during sex, wouldn’t have sex with me if I initiated (sometimes I think he actually liked telling me “no”), and when we did have sex, it was perfunctory, fast, very infrequent, and with little or no foreplay or affection.

I tried to talk to him about it without pressure, asking him what he liked, what he wanted, what his fantasies were, and he basically said that he never wanted to talk about sex with me. I tried to change myself by abstaining from talking about it or asking for any bit of intimacy (it got to the point where even if I asked to make out he would say, “You’re just going to work yourself up for nothing.”) and just trying to not pressure him.

Over the next few years, I became very depressed and incredibly lonely. I read books, websites, sought advice, but nothing worked. He was also using pornography regularly, which didn’t help my feeling like it was my fault. I finally left him, but I am scared and ashamed about my sexuality. I relive the moments of pain and shame I felt with him often. I don’t know how to find that person in me that used to be a wild, happy, smiling woman in the sack, and I only hope that future sexual relationships will help her to find her way back to me.

6sex, manipulation, blame, sex negative, emotional abuse, loneliness, relationships, fear, shame, The Cost of Shame, Cost of Shame, incompatibility, shaming, cruelty, healing, Do Tell, submission, medium,

K.G., 26, Rhode Island, U.S.A | DO TELL

I lost my virginity at 19 to a boy I had been dating for three months. He and I remained in a serious relationship throughout college, moving in with each other after graduation. Just shy of five years, however, we made the mutual decision to amicably (and devastatingly) part ways.

Three years later, I still haven’t had sex with anyone else. Ex-boyfriend and I have continued to meet up occasionally, and in these events, ALWAYS have sex with each other. Despite this, we are both—perhaps, finally—moving on. He is seeing someone else, and I’m trying to see other people as well. But sex is the problem. Sex is the obstacle. I have met plenty of guys that I have briefly dated, made out with, etc., but the thought of future sex is always an impediment to my relationships. I can’t seem to envision or want sex with anyone but my first. This is almost certainly rooted in insecurity or fear of the unknown (or, just maybe, fear that just when I’m becoming happy with someone else, Ex-boyfriend will find his way back into my life).

I have always enjoyed sex. I have never had a traumatic sexual situation, or any experience that was short of consensual and enjoyable. Despite this, I cannot seem to get over this hurdle. In fact, new relationships usually dissolve after this point since I feel like the next logical step IS sex. Not that I have any problem saying “no”—I just usually recognize that New Boy and I are no longer on the same proverbial relationship page.

But, let’s be real—I miss it. I have no trouble pleasing myself, but sometimes I really want to feel something and SOMEONE else. Unfortunately, that confidence self-destructs every single time the opportunity presents itself. In two weeks time, I will be a bridesmaid in my friend’s wedding. She claims that she has a single friend who would be “perfect” for me. As with everything, I suppose, time will tell.

6sex, masturbation, relationships, casual sex, trust, pleasure, desire, fear, expectations, consent, Do Tell, submission,

Anonymous | DO TELL

Trigger warning: graphically describes rape, imprisonment, and assault

Years ago. My typical heavy drinking at restaurant employee party. A work friend introduced me to L. Next things I remember: held upright, marched up hotel stairs. A party in full swing. I am drunk and aggressive and become the object of contempt—I try to barge out of there, am prevented; physically fighting a man who is boxing me, punching again and again; curled into a corner, strangers striking and kicking me; locking myself in the bathroom, scared; the sound of pounding and kicking at the door; my work “friend” convincing me to unlock the door, then taking my keys so I wouldn’t drive drunk (!) as I begged her to get me out of there; shitting myself/barfing, lying in a heap on the floor, earning more abuse and hatred; L. sticking a toothbrush in my mouth, brushing my teeth; L. having sex with me, in the middle of the party, while I was covered with shit and vomit, to a chorus of laughter and insults.

When I woke the next afternoon, I had to physically threaten a contemptuous woman among the remaining hung over guests for my car keys. She flung them at my feet. The “friend” who took my keys had left me there, denied anything happened. My therapist said it was my fault for drinking to excess. My best friend was angry with me for stirring up trouble—I had a reputation for drinking too much, having casual sex—what happened had gotten back to one of my male friends who wanted to hurt L.; I felt I had to minimize it, talk him out of it, because of my sordid reputation. The message was I was messy and out of control; I had created this.

I learned later from coworkers how “funny” I was: I had run back to the restaurant “a couple times” only to be reclaimed by men from the hotel, dragged back across the street.

It still haunts me—degradation and shame. When I’ve ventured to speak about it, people haven’t wanted to hear. It’s too ugly.

6rape, assault, victim blaming, slut shaming, binge drinking, alcohol, blame, reputation, bystander, shame, The Cost of Shame, Cost of Shame, medical shaming, Do Tell, submission, medium,

from Sexy Little Ideas | DO TELL

I Don’t Rape, originally published at http://sexylittleideas.com
Trigger warning: describes sexual coercion

One night in a beach town in Mexico, I was in a taxi on the way to her apartment after an evening of raucous clubbing. Peering out from the veil of her sun-bleached hair, frantic lips, and gripping legs wrapped around me, I gradually became aware that there were two other people in the back of the cab with us.

And one of them was being raped.

Not strictly speaking or in any legal sense. She was the best friend of the girl I was with, and he was my boss. The conversation went something like this.


Him: Baby, you’re so beautiful, come on, let’s just have some drinks at your apartment.

Her: No.

Him: But your smile is so beautiful; has anyone ever told you you have perfect lips? Come on, let’s just go back to your place and see what happens.

Her: No, get off of me…

Him: MUA! See, you kissed me? I know you want it.

Her: Don’t do that!

Him: But come on! Life is so short, and right now it’s just me and you, and you’re such a smart girl, and you’ve completely conquered my mind and…


Coercion may not be rape but it’s definitely rapey.

I will not push you. I’ll make sure it is clear in your mind the wonderful, filthy things I want to do to you, and you will never have any doubts about the kind of person I am and what that person wants from the kind of person you are (besides your great friendship and ingenious conversation). But I won’t cajole you. I won’t persuade you. And I won’t try to convince you.

When you don’t know what you want, it usually bleeds into your sexuality and can make for a very confusing, unsatisfying experience for both of us. I prefer to stay away. I’ve heard of the “have intercourse or you’re a failure” mindset, but I don’t buy into it. No sex is better than bad sex.

6rape, consent, coercion, enthusiastic consent, bystander, communication, desire, autonomy, bystander intervention, Do Tell, submission,

Anonymous | DO TELL

I’ve been myself and not myself with the men who I have slept with. I’ve been vanilla, submissive, less than submissive, and part of a threesome five times. Right now, I’m not anything.

I’ve had some incredible sex. I’ve had embarrassing sex. I’ve had average vanilla sex. I once pretended I was a horse. I wore a tail and pranced around my dom’s living room. I’ve had sex in a garden, bent over trying to establish a connection that would never be more than temporary. I’ve had a threesome on top of an elevated bed in the middle of the night with an ex-friend wearing a strap-on and a man who was too drunk to know what he had. Ever. I’ve fucked men in multi-million dollar apartments, crappy basement apartments, and men in Brooklyn studio apartments with painted refrigerators and pullout couches.

I’ve figured out the math. If I sleep with you, you have a 10% chance of me wanting to sleep with you again. I am never able to cum enough with you. If you are part of 90%, you have it easier. You are OK, but I’m not going to brag about your cock, they way you ate me out, or how you pulled my hair and tossed me around. The greatest sex I’ve had was with men who just followed their guts.

I haven’t had sex in three weeks. At first the drought is painful. I feel like I’m crawling out of my skin. I’m not getting a basic need fulfilled, a need that I cannot satiate myself or by anything bought. When I know someone in that 10% and I’m not seeing him regularly, it’s exasperating. I ache for the feeling of that man between my legs and his body responding to mine. When it ends, I go back into hibernation, back to being nothing. I do everything not to turn my body on. No porn is watched, and all of the reminders of him are thrown away.

I don’t know what I’ll be with the next guy, but he better be fucking fantastic.

6sex, desire, authenticity, kink, orgasm, libido, threesome, bdsm, role play, alcohol, casual sex, Do Tell, submission,

V.T., 25, New York | DO TELL

I had my first boyfriend in college, and I felt all these eyes from my friends speculating about when I would lose it. He’d been sexually active since high school, so I felt really weird about the experience difference. I would get really stressed and over-drink when we would hang. I blacked out one time when he was going down on me and he felt weird/bad about it saying he didn’t want to feel like he was raping me. One of my friends told him I was a virgin, which I probably should have done myself, but I was contemplating just doing it without telling him and then having him make a bigger deal out of it than I wanted it to be. We couldn’t deal and broke up. I was going to a semester abroad, so I planned to lose it without the crowd. I went home with a guy I met at a bar but ended up freaking out and limiting it to hand stuff. I got back to school more sexually experienced but still “technically” a virgin.

I had a party and my ex came with his new girlfriend and a few friends. One stayed late, and we started making out. I decided to sleep with him, but he was too drunk to get it up. He’d often come over late after that, but getting to know him better and lacking the spontaneity of the first party, I was back in my head about it. Not only didn’t we sleep together, but I basically avoided his penis which terrified me for months.

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6virginity, pressure, dissociation, relatioships, casual sex, safer sex, unsafe sex, condom, self awareness, confusion, The Cost of Shame, Cost of Shame, shame, consent, alcohol, Do Tell, submission, medium,

J.J. | DO TELL

Trigger warning: mentions rape

The only time I have had sex was when I was raped (am I allowed to say that word?). I went through a lot with it and little old me, I went running to my parents the next day. But now it’s hard to even think about dating a guy. It just doesn’t feel good, yet I want to be married. So where the train to marriage is that by passes dating town, I have no clue. Not only that, but my whole entire family’s belief is not to have sex before you’re married, and with my friends and peers, that’s hard (not that I’m hitting up guys, anyway).

I feel I will be strong and make people happy by waiting, but desires might get the best of me, and I’m scared. Scared to disappoint people I love and maybe even be looked down on. Sex is supposed to be enjoyable, unless I’ve heard wrong… And being scared to talk to a man and then to even get physical before I’m married, it seems like a lot to me. In a sense, I’d rather stay single and alone… Maybe… Not.

I don’t have a story, but I hope I can share this even if it looks like a smidgen I threw in a diary :).

6rape, consent, abstinence, relationships, marriage, shame, autonomy, fear, The Cost of Shame, Cost of Shame, Do Tell, submission,

M., Central Europe | DO TELL

Since my last long-standing relationship broke up, I’ve had sex with a lot of guys. First time I wanted revenge. I did not enjoy it, feel pleasure or anything, I felt like an object. The guy treated me like a fucking porn actress, or I don’t know maybe he learned how to have sex from porn movies. From adventure to adventure, I experienced the same. At the beginning of this summer, I met D.

D. is a real jerk. He wants nothing from girls but sex, and and he is not afraid to tell every detail of these stories to everybody. From the very first moment, I knew he wanted to fuck me. Plenty of stories I heard from him about girls fucked. I knew every dirty, disgusting, humiliating detail of these stories, as everyone else did. I really did not want to have sex with him, but once we got drunk together and ended up in his bed, he was trying.

I said no, He kept trying, and I felt guilty. I felt I needed to have sex with D., I did not have any choice, I could not be the bitch who says “no” at the very last moment. But I remembered the disgusting stories, and I said, “Sorry D., I won’t get laid. I don’t want this.” I grabbed a taxi and went home.

I felt free and strong, and now I am happy about my decision, I really did not need one more bad experience, and I really did not want to feel like a fucking sexual object again.

6consent, choice, sex, hookup culture, objectification, empowerment, autonomy, porn, rape culture, Do Tell, submission, medium,

E. | DO TELL

No one has ever heard what I am about to say, not even my therapist. I am 25 years old, and for my entire life I have dealt with depression and severe social anxiety. Because of my anxiety, I have never been in a relationship and have very little sexual experience.

When I was 24, I lost my virginity in a one-night stand with a stranger who was drunk and who I’ll never see again. Since then I only had sex two more times, both times with complete strangers, out of pure desperation. None of these instances were enjoyable and all left me feeling embarrassed of myself afterwards.

I try telling myself that I shouldn’t let my sex-obsessed culture make me feel inadequate because of my lack of experience, but it isn’t working. I feel like an unwanted, ugly reject, and this feeling gets worse when I hear others talk about their significant others and sex lives. I fear that I will always have social anxiety, and I will always be alone.

6social anxiety, sex, pressure, casual sex, one-night stand, shame, depression, mental illness, anxiety, expectations, fear, Do Tell, submission,

A.J., 27, Ohio, U.S.A. | DO TELL

Trigger warning: describes childhood rape/sexual abuse

There was a moment of nothing.

It was after the moment the room turned the color of the sun and not only did I think I’d die, but wished I would. It was a camera flash, the sort of thing measured in nanos or microns. The time between the trip and the fall, between the trigger and the shot. Everything that mattered happened in that moment. I was a person and then I was nothing. I was whole and then I was not.

It was before the moment when everything turned to molasses. His face was dark and wet, and only the edges of his hair glowed in the orange dusty basement light. His voice slowed and the scream in my head or in the room was low and primal. The blood on my legs felt hot and foreign—I thought you peed on me—and my body was so full, it seemed my skin wouldn’t hold; that my skull would push though my face. Every part of me needed to be somewhere else.

But between those moments there was nothing. I don’t know what happened in that nothing—if I was conscious, if I was alive, if my body died, or if it was just my mind. I was, at that moment, no longer a six-year-old virgin. And in the years that have have followed—more than 20—I have never been able to reconcile what it was that was extinguished at that moment. Without religion, I don’t have the words to describe it. My soul was dead, my spirit snuffed, the part of the Self that can be loved or love in return destroyed. Whatever immaterial thing that makes us who we are was gone.

It isn’t the sex that changes you in rape. It isn’t the violence or the powerlessness either. It’s realizing, in that moment, someone else has seen you as something less than human. Meat, without thoughts or feelings or even the most basic agency over your body. Once you realize that someone can see you that way, how can you believe that you can be seen any differently?

6rape, sexual abuse, childhood sexual abuse, sexual violence, trauma, writing, dehumanization, dissociation, Do Tell, submission, medium,

Anonymous | DO TELL

Two nights ago, I farted during sex. I’m sure other women understand, muscles relaxed; and it was done. I apologised immediately.

Thing is; he didn’t care.

6sex, bodily functions, fart, pleasure, shame, The Cost of Shame, Cost of Shame, Do Tell, submission,

A. | DO TELL

I lost my virginity at age 17 to my boyfriend of two months. He was sweet, he went slow, and as time passed by we started trying different things—but always only if I was ready. I felt happy and satisfied doing it, felt like this was the perfect way to discover my sexual self.

Yet I was troubled with the paranoia of possible pregnancy and other questions left unanswered. Health class had always told me to use condoms—and we always did, so I thought we would be fine. Yet I found myself frantically running downtown to the store to buy a morning after pill after the condom broke. There I was, 17-year-old me, judged by the woman behind the counter who mentioned that “I looked too young,” but after an emotional plea gave me the pill anyway. It messed up my cycle, but made me feel relieved.

It saddens me still to this day that my mother does not know, will never know, about my sex life. She never asked she never told me anything—I discovered it myself. She would kill me if she knew I was having sex at 17, the first in the family. Scandalous, slutty. I just do not understand how our society both motivates and suppresses female sexuality. What am I supposed to do? Why aren’t we more open, why don’t we talk, why don’t we protect our daughters by informing them?

6sex positive, medical shaming, morning after pill, consent, condoms, sex, shaming, virginity, contraception, shame, The Cost of Shame, Cost of Shame, gender expectations, slut shaming, Do Tell, submission,

M., 29, London, U.K. | DO TELL

Trigger warning: mentions emotional and physical abuse

I grew up in Tokyo, a half-Japanese, half-American girl. Sex wasn’t discussed unless in scandalized whispers about expats who were intrigued by the outwardly sexually repressed society covering a “depraved” sexual voracity. At international school, we learned that sex=love. My Japanese mother—who escaped marrying a man she didn’t love and found an American man who made her feel safe—showed me that the Western values with which I was inculcated are not mine. Ironically, we could never actually talk about these values, especially about sex.

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6abuse, sex, oral fixation, oral sex, fellatio, cunnilingus, cultural difference, emotional abuse, trust, early sexuality, orgasm, self exploration, kink, BDSM, fetish, Do Tell, submission,

S., 29, Scotland | DO TELL

Trigger warning: describes molestation and abuse

I had an unfortunate introduction to sex and to men. A virgin at 15 (unlike many of my peers), I was molested by a friend’s stepdad. I’ve still never told anybody.

At 16, I was shy, awkward, and low on self-esteem but hung with a dodgy crowd (I still have a preponderance for wrong-doing) and was (I see now) incredibly, vulnerably beautiful. Ripe to be made a victim of. The one to take advantage was a petite joker of a guy seven years my senior, at first seemingly harmless compared to his burly mates that my friends were dating. That was a very clever façade and after “shedding” my virginity with him, he made the next year of my life a hell of verbal, psychological and sexual abuse.

Cut to 10 years later, and after a decade of picking up men and “using” them for sex, cultivating a fierce, ice queen demeanour that I was rather proud of, I had still never experienced an orgasm. I thought there was something wrong with ME—too cold, too broken, wired wrong. Most of the men I’d been with had made me feel like that.

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6abuse, molestation, self-harm, target, self-esteem, virginity, sexual abuse, verbal abuse, orgasm, pleasure, relationships, exploration, shame, The Cost of Shame, Cost of Shame, Do Tell, submission,

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