Sex Life: How Being Sexually Assaulted Ruined Sex For Me

May 29, 2021

Sex Life is an anonymous Zikoko weekly series that explores the pleasures, frustrations and excitement of sex in the lives of Nigerians.


The subject of today’s Sex Life is a 28-year-old heterosexual woman who finds sex triggering and struggles to maintain romantic and sexual relationships due to past horrible and violent sexual experiences. She talks about how these experiences shaped her sex life and how she is trying to dig herself out of the mental hole she feels she is in.

Trigger warning: Parts of this story contain information about sexual assault and/or violence which may be triggering to survivors.

What was your first sexual experience?

When I was 12, my dad’s step brother came to stay with us because my dad wanted him to gain admission to the university in our city. So he was taking JAMB classes. One day, he called me and fingered me. It didn’t progress beyond that for a while, then one day, he forced himself on me. I remember crying, but this happened on an afternoon when no one was around. He threatened he would beat me if I told anyone, so I didn’t. By the time anyone came back that day, I was shivering, had developed a fever and couldn’t talk.

I am so sorry.

Thank you. I don’t know if it was the way I reacted that scared him, but he never touched me again. He left our house a few months later because of an inter-family quarrel. Sadly, that wasn’t my only non-consensual sexual experience.

Wow.

Years later, I went to a party at university. It was hosted by a friend who was celebrating her birthday. There wasn’t a crowd at the party, but you could still get lost. A guy I met came up to me and was trying to dance with me. I declined because I don’t dance, so we talked casually for a bit. I left to find my friend who I came with but didn’t see her. Then I went to one of the rooms. There was only one other girl who was changing there so I tried to sit down. I dozed off for a few minutes, and when I opened my eyes, the girl wasn’t there again. The guy I had been talking to earlier had entered and — I would later learn — locked the door behind him. He begun touching me and trying to initiate sex, and even though I kept saying no, he didn’t stop. All I could think about was crying after my uncle forced himself on me. So I did the only thing that made sense to me, I just let him have his way before he forced me.

 That’s awful.

Yup. It didn’t last long. Once he was done, I got up and that’s when I realised he had locked the door. I opened it and just started walking even though it was really early in the morning.

What did you do next?

I got home, cried a lot, showered a lot and stared at my ceiling all night. The next day I carried on as though nothing happened. Do you know the funniest part?

Tell me.

I would see the guy around school, and he would act normal. He would wave at me and act like we are random acquaintances. A few months back, I saw his Twitter account. He is living a very normal life and is very much Mr “Oh So Regular Goodie Two Shoes”. But he fucked me up. It would be funny if it wasn’t hilarious. 

Have you ever had consensual sexual intercourse?

Yeah, I have. But if you ask if I have ever enjoyed it, the answer would be no.

Why is that?

Every time I have sex, I just want it to end. I find myself remembering the first two times I was forced into having sex and I feel disgusted and want it to stop. Even when I consent, I feel like I’m being raped. My mind just fights it.

How has that affected your sex life?

Man, where do I start from? I used to think I was asexual, but I’m not. I’m attracted to men and want to date and sleep with men. However, when I try to get in bed with one, all I think about are those experiences. So it paralyses me. I don’t think I have ever really enjoyed sex; I have never had an orgasm. Even when they ask for consent and do everything right, I’m just unable to enjoy it. A year ago, I stopped trying.

Stopped trying…?

To have sex. I used to do it just to keep my partners pleased, but I can’t keep doing that to myself. I might be damaging my mind even more.

Have you ever tried to seek professional help to deal with this?

Yup. When the university one happened, I started seeing this woman that was working with an NGO. Unknown to me, she was a very religious and conservative woman. When I told her what happened, she told me it was my fault and that I brought it upon myself for going to late-night parties and mixing with boys. I was stumped. Hearing those words, as a rape victim, when the wounds were still fresh and when I was still blaming myself inside, was fucked up.

That’s so unprofessional. I’m sorry you went through that.

Thanks. Anyways, I found a therapist who had a good head on her last year. She’s part of why I stopped forcing myself to have sex — I thought I owed it to my partners.

How has therapy been going?

Really really good. It’s a slow process, but I’ve felt some shifts and I’m hoping to successfully work through it all eventually.

You definitely will. How would you rate your sex life?

0. My sex life is nonexistent and I think sex and men, in general, have taken so much from me, I don’t know if I’ll ever get to a 10. But I hope so.

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