His girlfriend was out of town traveling for work, so he decided to ask a different woman out on a date. He invited her over and pretended that he lived there alone. He explained that his “friend”, a successful tattoo artist, owned the place and let him stay there.
He could never afford to live in a place like that on his own, so he needed to have a plausible explanation. Plus, the space was filled with her art and books; it’s not like he could just erase her presence just because she was in a different state.
In his spare time, he liked to tinker with bikes. He showed his date pictures of beautiful landscapes that he encountered on his bike rides. He offered to take her there. “I have a bike that could fit you,” he said, thinking of his girlfriend’s bike. Her eyes lit up in delight, and he felt some unexpected guilt. Her guile and sincerity moved him.
He had sex with her anyway, and he was a perfect gentleman as he walked her to the train station the next morning. She kissed him on the lips and told him she’d see him later. He told her goodbye, her name leaving a residual sweetness on his tongue. As his eyes lingered over her departing figure, he knew he would never see her again.
We were in a long-distance relationship. He was visiting for five days. I wanted to give him fun, sexy memories for his return. So when the sex hurt, I said nothing.
He was pushing it in too far, too hard. It was too rough. My body is to blame, I thought. I have to instruct it to relax instead of clench during sex. I’ve learned this about it. That’s how I learned to enjoy sex. Enjoyment doesn’t just happen without conscious effort on my part. So my body wasn’t relaxing properly. It was too accustomed to seizing up, and it was making the sex painful for itself.
I have to suffer through certain things to receive the benefit of human connection. In order to feel bonded to someone, I must endure the pain they bring me. I wanted to be intimate with him. I had no right to complain if he hurt my body, because I let him in.
But my body just knows the pain. That same pain when others stole and damaged her without any permission. My body doesn’t think he’s any different. I don’t know how to reassure her. I sacrificed her for his comfort. I betrayed her. I don’t deserve her trust. I can’t protect her. I failed.
I was scared of what it meant if I said anything. Would it mean I revoked consent? All sexual activity must cease with all due haste? Would I be withdrawing from certain aspects of the relationship? Would I earn his ire and contempt? I didn’t want to ruin anything for me or him. And given the uncertainty of the possible consequences before me, I became mute. Frozen in fear. My most familiar and comfortable response.