Why I Do What I Do – A Therapy Session

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Why I Do What I Do - A Therapy Session“I am not a sex educator,” I told her.

“But you blog about sex positive topics and you review toys,” she countered.

I nodded. “Why?” She asked.

This question gave me pause. I bit back the flippant response “because Cooper asked me to.” Because although he did ask me to blog for Life on the Swingset, I had been writing/blogging elsewhere for a long time. And while it's technically correct that he did ask me to write a review, I don’t think it was his intent to hand the review department of completely over to me. So it wasn’t Cooper’s fault. He gave me an outlet, but not the motivation. So why is it that I do this?

“You like to masturbate?” She prompted.

I snorted; actually… no. I find that while masturbation does release a lot of pent up sexual tension, it is rather empty, emotionally unsatisfying, and for a long time was filled with feelings of guilt and shame. It has only been in the last few years that I have gotten better at not only technique, but being able to relax and enjoy the sensations without feeling conflicted.

“I think,” I began, “I think I blog to tell my story. So that the people with similar experiences know they are not alone and to help those that are younger to never have to endure what I have gone through. That having sex is a choice; a choice that should be an educated one not only for safety and peace of mind, but to be able to have wonderful positive experiences.”

She nodded. “Your daughter is nine?”

“Yes,” I confirmed. In a bit over four years, she will be the same age as I was when I found out about sex.

I was in eighth grade; the first year that I actually had a group of friends to hang out with at school. I had come into my element; smart was no longer uncool and I had traded contact lenses for the coke bottle glasses. I had a boyfriend who was in high school.

We had kissed a bit, but mostly we hung out playing video games, running D&D campaigns or listening to record albums. More often than not, we hung out in a group of friends.

I liked him and I liked his best friend. If I had known the word “polyamorous” at that time, I think I would have had far fewer issues. But as it was, I ended up in two relationships; relationships that had to be kept separate and one, completely secret.

One night, my boyfriend’s best friend and I went to a movie. I had thought there would be more of the group joining us, but he said he wanted to spend time alone with me. I was flattered. There was little more thrilling than being the center of positive attention after so many years of only receiving the negative.

After the movie, we went back to his place. I had been there before; we usually played D&D there. We had been talking and kissing, when he asked me if I wanted to have sex.

Now I was raised in the church. Not the Catholic Church, but a protestant denomination that was nearly as strict. My life had revolved around church activities. I was in choir, bell choir, and youth group, as well as the usual Sunday school and church services. My parents, as good Christians, were conservative and never thought to question the doctrine. Sex had never been discussed in our house. My bedroom shared a wall with my parent’s room, but I had never heard anything from them.

I knew that Mom had announced that when my boyfriend was over, the door of the room that we were in must stay open. I knew that the naked body was shameful; that one did not touch one’s genitals (even in bathing, a washcloth was used). But I had never thought to go against the rules or even ask why. The rebellion would come years later.

I asked him what sex was and he told me that he would show me. I remember the shock of seeing a naked male for the first time. I remember the pain as he first used his fingers and after, his penis to enter me. But mostly I remember the blood. It wasn’t any more than one would expect a day or two into my period, but it was not period time. I had regular periods; so regular in fact, that I rarely had “accidents”. I could time it so that I would be able to use a pad or tampon to catch any blood before it would hit my underwear.

My mom had a bleach fascination that may well have bordered on a fetish. She would use it to scrub out any spot, even to the detriment of the fabric. Somehow; however, it was me that would be scolded and shamed for ruining an article of clothing.

When I got home, I scrubbed out my panties the best that I could, all the while crying; terrified of what was happening to me and what would happen if I couldn’t get the blood out.

Looking back, I am actually glad that no one had explained the concept of birth control or sti/std’s to me. I think if I had had an additional thing to worry about, I would have snapped.

The next day, he told me that he loved me. Finally, I had found love and all that was required to keep it was to continue to allow him to do this “sex” thing to me.

This arrangement worked well for a while. Right up until the time that he began to felt guilty for “stealing” his best friend’s girlfriend. Then he “did the right thing.” He dumped me and told my boyfriend what we had done. At first, my boyfriend was understandably pissed. He broke up with me for a month or two. I was so happy when he returned. Even his statement that if I would have sex with his best friend then there was no reason that I wouldn’t have sex with him didn’t dampen my spirits. He really did love me!

Unfortunately, it was during the next couple years that several things happened. First and foremost, my mom decided that this was a good time to give me the “sex talk.” This consisted of her sitting me down and stating “Don’t do it until you’re married and pretend to enjoy it.” She left some books from the Church in case I had any other questions.

“Don’t do it until you’re married and pretend to enjoy it.” Those words still echo in the back of my mind. What a sad statement on her own life and marriage; and what an absolutely horrible thing to say to a fourteen year old girl.

A wave of shame hit me, I had failed the first part. There was no way that I would ever be able to fulfill that instruction. As for the second requirement, I was already pretending that it wasn’t awful; that I wasn’t just some masturbatory aid.

During my freshman year of high school, we moved halfway across the country. I hated Kansas. I missed my friends. I missed my school. I missed my boyfriend; though I didn’t miss having sex. I had finally found a place where I fit in only to be uprooted.

When I turned fifteen, I got my first job at a movie theater. I loved it- everything about it. The theater itself had history. It was independently run with the old style heavy draperies and crystal chandeliers. I loved the movies. The best perk of my job was being able to see the movies for free. To sit and be swallowed up in a world of someone else’s imagination was wonderful. The costuming, the characters, the plots – all so different, yet still found something to resonate within me. I had found a place where I belonged; a place that I felt more at home than ever before. Until an act of violence, violent sex, shattered my world.

I was raped by an assistant manager – a college kid. Instead of believing and sticking up for me, my parents were more concerned about how it would look to their friends. They were ashamed of me.

Over the next several years, I continued to have sex in exchange for “love” or what I thought would be love. I began to be very good at the “pretending to enjoy it,” as well as, learning techniques to get my partner off faster; thus shortening the duration of intercourse.

It wasn’t until a good five years after that first sexual experience, that I actually realized that sex was supposed to feel good; that women were supposed to really enjoy it – there was no pretending about it. I had my first orgasm.

I was dating a gentleman eleven years my senior who wanted me to enjoy myself. He gave me a vibrator. It looked like a silver bullet vibe only bigger; big enough that it took 2 C batteries to run. I used it primarily for clitoral massage since I would not find my g-spot for another twenty-some years. I was amazed. Sex could feel good. I began to loosen up with him and explore new things: different positions, toys and even basic bondage scenes. Sex play actually became playtime. It was fun.

There is nothing wrong with sex, but there is something wrong with a society that wants to keep its people ignorant or continue to preach that love and sex are the same. Everyone deserves the information to make an educated choice as to what to do with their body. Each person has the right to say yes or no; so that when they do say “yes”, it can be a positive experience. My introduction to sex while, I suppose, was technically consensual, it was not an informed choice.

I needed love, acceptance and the feeling that I belonged. What I got was shame from being used and raped.

So why do I blog? I blog not only to help myself work through my issues, but to allow people to know they aren’t alone in theirs.

Why do I review sex toys? I do it to provide information for people to have the best possible sexual experiences. Sex play should be as enjoyable as possible and sometimes the right toy can make all the difference.

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Zoe first described herself as "bad at monogamy" until about five years ago when she and her husband discovered the term that actually described her: polyamorous. Since then they have opened their family to other partners. Zoe is currently juggling relationships with her husband, their two kids, her husband's girlfriend, and a slew of friends/loves that she calls her tribal poly family. She can be reached on facebook or on twitter @ZoeHanis

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