I Didn't Just Lose My Virginity When I Was Raped—I Lost My Ability to Enjoy Sex Forever

A candid look at the fallout from the most traumatic experience of my life.

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Last night, I cried myself to sleep. I watched my husband as he hastily put his clothes back on and stormed out of the room. He was angry with me, again. The tear that had begun to form in the corner of my eye dropped softly to my pillowcase as the door slammed shut.

"I'm so fucking tired of this," I thought, as I buried my head in the pillow, sobbing.

Another perfect night ruined because my body just can't seem to let go.

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I hate sex. I loathe it.

I remember as an adolescent girl dreaming of how magical my first time would be—breathtaking, passionate, pure ecstasy. A deep, intimate connection with the love of my life. My heart, my head, and my body would simultaneously explode, and for a brief moment the world would stop spinning. Like movies and books had always told me.

I never imagined my first time would leave me curled up in the fetal position, rocking back and forth on a cold bathroom floor, sobbing hysterically, begging for my mind to erase the flashes of memory from the night before.

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I loathe sex because the first time I had sex I was raped. Now, sex is painful. It's excruciating. 

Sex is painful. It's excruciating.

Even after years of therapy, of consciously trying to heal my body and brain from the scars of that night, sex is a relentless trigger for my post traumatic stress disorder. I jump when my husband touches me. After eight years of being together, my body still goes into fight or flight mode when he touches the back of my legs. My brain can't remember what happened to my legs but, regardless of how hard I try, my body won't forget. My body just can't let go.

Last night, I was unprepared. I was caught off guard. I thought we were just going to cuddle but my husband wanted more. My husband needed more. My body couldn't handle his touch. My mind couldn't find its way to a safe space.

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The more my husband pushed, the more I pulled away. His cute, innocent flirtations began to feel aggressive.

Me and my husband.

"For once, can you PLEASE just pretend to like me?" he yelled as he jumped up off the bed.

"I love you. I'm sorry," I whispered. It was too late.

I wish sex could be a casual, spur of the moment, sweep-me-up-off-my-feet type of romantic escapade. I really do. But it's not. Sex is utterly exhausting, physically and emotionally. It's a daunting task, one that requires mental preparation. I have to work hard at calming my body down from the hyper-vigilant state in which it typically functions. Deep breathing and mindful exercises help, but some days I don't have any steam left.

My husband tries to understand, but I don't know if he ever will.  It's hard on him. It's hard on us. He gets frustrated with my lack of desire, as do I. He mistakes that lack of desire for lack of attraction, which triggers a deep insecurity. No matter how many times I tell him it's not about him, he still feels like it is. I love him fiercely and desperately want to be able to show him physically, but I can't. And that pains me more than anything.

No matter how many times I tell him it's not about him, he still feels like it is.

Sex isn't always bad but it is always a struggle. It crushes my husband to see me in physical pain and to know that he is contributing to it. He craves passion, intimacy, and affection.

Last night, as I cried into my pillow, I wondered what sex would have been like had I not been raped. I wondered if I would have enjoyed it. I wondered if the pain I feel when my husband is inside me might not exist. I wondered if I would feel connected to him in a more intimate way.

I'm grateful that my husband and I have found other ways to be intimate; that last night's scenario doesn't happen as often as it used to. But I so desperately want to be swept away in the moment. I want my husband's touch to excite me. I want my muscles to relax and my mind to stay present.

I want to enjoy sex. And I'll keep hoping that happens.

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