I am really sorry this happened to you. This man, who is clearly a sexual predator, groomed you for it. He is definitely a repeat offender. I am glad you got away from him and could break through the shame and silence, and begin to let others validate and support you. My hope is that somehow he learns his lesson to stop, but sadly, he probably won’t.

I also had a weird kind of envy reading your article. I wish the experience you write was something so rare for me, that it warranted me writing an article to process it in its singularity. It doesn’t take away from the trauma of your experience, but I also want to express this is perhaps a response other women readers (who have sex with men) are having to what you have shared.

Every single man I have been sexually active with, has pulled this type of behavior on me. Some, overt sexual abuse, others just being coercive or manipulative, where I have been repeatedly pressured and gaslit about my not feeling comfortable, and feeling as though consent wasn’t fully reached for me. I also feel like I have gone along with things before I was interested or ready, because to resist meant greater consequences. I didn’t want them to feel upset, go into a rage, or have others whom I told about it concerned about how I am ruining a man’s reputation for what they reduce to something innocent. Feeling alone and like I needed to come to terms with it on my own, over and over and over again, because it is rare that I received immediate validation and support for sharing about these experiences. Instead, I was asked stupid questions about how I possibly led him on or sent mixed signals.

This experience is so prevalent for me, and most of the women I know how have sex with men, that we barely go around talking about it. In fact, we just look at it as a misunderstanding, or the man being awkward, ignorant, or horny. After all, when they get called on it, they don’t seem to think there is anything wrong with their behavior. If we are lucky, we may get an apology and a promise it won’t happen again, only to usually have it happen again.

Heck, there are a bunch of women walking around thinking they are sexually anorexic, frigid, not sex-positive enough, or uptight, simply because they are having a turned-off reaction to being treated like how you have described, over and over again.

But, the truth of the matter is that this IS sexual and emotional abuse, and it is so intrinsic to how I think patriarchy has taught men to relate to their own sexuality, in regard to the other they associate as having less power than them, and is thus beholden to them.

It is not to say that sexual abuse doesn’t happen from women to men, or women to women, or anywhere and everywhere in between in terms of sex and gender, but I attribute it to being taught, through patriarchy, that it is ok to dehumanize and dominate another (through their sexuality), without consent. That whomever is in power is entitled to consent being a given, depending on their level of desire for release or power, or both.

Thank you for writing your article. It was a hard one to read, given my own repeated experiences as a women. My hope is writing it, for you, will help you feel more accompanied, and allow you to heal even more.

Coach. Psychologist. Writing about new perspectives, love, relationships, Narcissism, healing, transformation, & culture. www.avapommerenkphd.com

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