*******Trigger Warning…sexual abuse, sexual trauma and partial nudity*******
I’m not ready to write all of this out. I’m going to anyway….
Sexual attention used to your only currency for you value. That’s no longer the case.Leanne Million. Last night
The above observation was provided to me by my wife yesterday. And it has struck me to my core. Because she’s right. See, when I was 16 I had my first sexual experience, against my will. Her name was Penny Gobrecht and she was my best friend’s mom. And she groomed, manipulated and raped me over the course of a few months. Even though my cock responded to her lies and manipulation, I was in turmoil. Struggling with feelings of guilt, hatred, shame, anger, being violated, numbness, helplessness and worry. I didn’t know this at the time of course because what kid has that kind of awareness and language around their emotional life. What I did know was I was scared and I knew what we were doing was wrong. So much so that I finally confessed it to my friend. He reacted by beating me up, blaming me and telling me he never wanted to see me again. Who could blame him? I probably would’ve done the same thing had I been in his shoes.
So what does this have to do with transactional sexual attention? Well, this experience, my first sexual experience remember, taught me a few things. Unhealthy things that I’ve carried with me my whole life up until recently. It taught me that sex was something to be ashamed of and that my desires were something to be kept hidden for fear of ridicule and violence. It taught me that in order to be sexual I needed to manipulate and groom others. It taught me that it was ok to use people to get my own needs met. It taught me that sex was dirty, gross and needed to be kept a secret. It taught me to be ashamed of my body and my sexual arousal. It taught me to do this to others through objectification of women. It taught me to dissociate from pleasure because that was the only way I could get through it. It taught me to feel gross after I came. It taught me to hate myself for not saying no. It taught me to fear intimacy.
So yeah, sexual attraction became my currency. If you found me attractive then that meant I had some power over you and I could get what I wanted from you. Even if I didn’t know what that was. Even though what I really wanted had absolutely nothing to do with sex. See, what I really wanted this whole time was… acceptance. Love me for who I am as opposed to what you think I am. But even as I type this the thought of that makes my jaw tense up and my mind go blank. Why? Cuz it’s scary as fuck! Intimacy in that level with another human means there’s potential for great risk. Sure there’s also potential for great reward (there’s that transaction bit again!) but ultimately what I desire is to be seen as I am and accepted for all of me. If you think I’m hot, great, but why does that need to matter more than anything else we might have in common? Well, because that’s how I’ve kept myself safe from shame….
Until now. As my wife and I were talking last night I came to a realization (with her help and words) that these things served to keep me safe all these years and now I’m experiencing a death of ego. A removing of armor. And as such, my nakedness and sexuality are no longer solely about getting others to find me attractive but rather it’s mostly about being seen as vulnerable while creating meaningful soul connections that fill my heart with pleasure, joy and love. I say mostly because I am, and always will be, a work in progress. There is no end to this journey and as I strip away (literally) my armour piece by piece I find that even though I’m scared shitless, it’s the only way for me to be in service to my values, myself and others.