Titty Talk Pt. 4: Did I Have a Hoe Phase or Nah?

Hey y’all. Over the past year or so, I’ve been thinking about my ever-changing relationship to my body, and its influence on how I navigate the outside world. Back in March 2020, I created the Titty Talk Series to delve more into it. Read parts 1, 2, and 3 as I began to dissect why my body’s never really felt like my own.

*Also a content warning- parts of this post will mention sexual violence against me. While I’m not going to give a play by play to protect my own mental health, what is mentioned may still be triggering for some folks. Take care of yourselves, y’all.

I was first raped when I was 16. Something I’ve now learned to be corrective rape, a forceful proclamation that being queer was unacceptable. It was a threat to his own fragile sense of self and masculinity, that I could find another gender attractive. An intimidating peril to his pattern of coercive control that kept me feeling small. Leading up to the incident, I felt a sense of comfortable vulnerability- I was comfortable enough around him to open up about a different part of myself. There was warmth in his presence. During the incident, I disassociated, feeling physically numb and emotionally exhausted. It’s an unnatural feeling, surviving sexual violence. My home- my physical being- was stolen from me when I was most vulnerable; yet, I still lived in that home afterwards.

The rapes continued for another 4 years, each season melting into one, each turn around the sun blazed together. High school happened, college acceptances, a neurological disorder and missing a month of school, graduation ceremony. It was all the same. My insistent protests ranged from screams, kicks, nail scratching to mumbling as my mouth was covered. I learned through experience that physical push backs were futile: it was too easy to grab my legs and contort them, to twist my arms or move that hand from my mouth to my neck to squeeze tightly. My body was betraying me. It couldn’t even protect me from an intruder. I was soon numb to the feeling of him inside me- his penis, hands, whatever all began to feel like the same perfunctory twinge.

Rarely did I feel pleasure. The few times I did seemed to erase the past. See? We both wanted this, right? Confused and not knowing how to name consent, but holding on to the fact I still felt an emotional attachment to him, I believed at the time that if I was ever forced into it, I would know unequivocally and would be repulsed by the person.

After he dumped me my junior year of undergrad, after I had broken up –>blocked –>gotten back together with him a previous 5ish times, I wasn’t ready to think about the psychological toll on my body. The details hazily popped into my brain at inconvenient times. While preparing to tutor a student, on the school shuttle, eating a late night dinner at the campus cafe. I saw his face de-attached from his body in my nightmares, a looming presence that made my legs tingle. After a few days of this, chalking it up to breakup blues, I was determined to erase him from my life.

One of the new first year students, a Black man the color of a Hershey bar, had been casually flirting with me. The undergraduate campus was pretty small, a little under a thousand people, and chance encounters in between classes didn’t seem that out of the ordinary. It wasn’t until he carried me up the stairs to my campus apartment as we stayed up past midnight in the common room and I mentioned being too tired to walk that I thought there was something more there. He wants to- might as well let his Hershey chocolate melt in my mouth.

I never stopped to think if it was something I truly wanted, if I was receiving pleasure from any of the numerous blow jobs and massages. I had disconnected from my body, not seeing it as a vessel to express my own self, my own desires. I had never taken the time to heal from the past trauma. To learn who I was now that my sense of self-worth was no longer tied to that relationship and to that man, choosing instead to focus on how I was in control of when sexy time happened. I could tell em yes or no, leave him chasing after another taste of me. There was something titillating about knowing someone desired me. Lusting after my flesh.

As I grew bored watching movies and then having almost-sex (literally Netflix and chilling back when you could only receive DVDs from Netflix and before it was a common phrase), I ventured over to a friend of a friend who had been dropping hints and asking about my relationship status. I never “broke up” with the first guy since we were never official. After the friend of the friend turned out to be a 3-pump-and-I’m-done kind of guy, I swallowed my disappointment and went back to Hershey.

Our lives and our bodies meshed so seamlessly again. Casual sex allowed me the pleasure with none of the emotional attachment, none of the introspection and insight. 5 days a week he came over, unbuckling his belt almost instantly after he shut my bedroom door. The foreplay had long stopped, and I dropped to my knees as if on cue. Other men were peppered in here and there, but with Hershey it felt like everything clicked together without needing much conversation.

I didn’t want to talk about feelings or anything going on my life. It was easier to float around focusing on ripping open condoms and buying lower cut shirts.

Our Friends With Benefits type situation continued until I graduated. We had made a plan to meet up one last time a couple of days before I started the 3 hour drive to another state. A final goodbye. He stood me up that night, leaving me crying and snorting up running snot in my apartment, confused about why the hell he warranted such emotion as it clicked he wasn’t coming.

Unconsciously, part of my confidence was tied up with being able to invite anyone back home for a study break. My new size 6/8 frame was down from a 14, my then G cup boobs were perky and supple. Of course he wants me. It reminded me of something I used to hear, it’s the lioness that goes hunting, not the lion. I was hunting for someone to tell me I was worthy, and he willingly obliged. When it all came crashing down with one nonverbal no, I didn’t know what to do with myself.

What am I supposed to do now- what’s this body for?

I had been sexually disconnecting from my body since I was 16, and ended being overly sexual in a way that didn’t match my true nature. I needed temporary healing and a romp in the hay provided that easily. My body was taken from me through acts of violence. I wanted to reclaim and redefine the pieces that were stolen from me: my breasts, my vulva, thighs, neck, hips.

A few months after my May graduation, towards the end of August 2013 I met a guy on a dating app and began a new relationship almost immediately. No looking within, just looking at our relationship and our goals collectively. The sex was frequent and I naively assumed was based on an emotional connection, on love and respect, not mere horniness. It felt natural to find my identity once again within our relationship and my confidence in how much he desired me sexually, how much pleasure my body could give someone else.

I broke up with him over a text message in April 2016, a few days before my birthday. Almost immediately, I found another man, and after a few weeks of texting met him at a bar. He was sexy, though I didn’t feel much of a spiritual connection. But my clitoris wanted something else to connect with its nerve endings. It didn’t matter where- the bed, kitchen counter, eat some snacks, bed again for rounds 2 and 3.

This same pattern continued with other men for the next year. I didn’t keep track of how many, though if I sit down and think about it, I can remember all of their names. There was no overlap between partners: break up with one and a few days later instead of sitting with myself I was sitting on another dick.

Spring 2017 was when I paused and came up for air. Who was this for- them, or my insecurities?

I’m not dissing anyone who is in control of their sexuality, or saying that casual sex is inherently wrong. I’m starting to realize that defining me for me isn’t about if someone else finds me desirable, but how I view myself and what I want to summon up internally to project externally.

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