Mental Health 

The Impact of Coercive Sex

Yael Rosenstock Aug 14 2019

The Impact of Coercive Sex

Coercion and rape can leave the deepest scars in victims, and even witnesses', minds. Read to know more about how these scars burn years later.

Modified from the preface of “An Introguide to a Sex Positive You: Lessons, Tales, and Tips

I've considered myself a sexual being for as long as I can remember. While I don’t have early memories of masturbation, I have a long history of fantasizing about partnered romantic and sexual activities. My parents tell the story of my coming home from the neighbor’s house when I was 2 years old and gleefully sharing the details of my first kiss (read: peck on the lips) with a 5-year-old boy. That experience fueled years of fantasies that were documented by the sporadic journalism of my childhood-self, imagining swimming in a pool and making out with him years after he had moved away.

While my first kiss with tongue wouldn’t happen until many years later, I had plenty of crushes and romantic notions in my head of what could occur with the boys I knew (fantasies involving women didn’t occur until later). Reflecting as an adult, I recognize that the warm sensations that filled my lower abdomen while watching cartoons depicting kinky scenes were an early indication of my sexuality.

Perhaps because of my years of longing, I felt like a late bloomer when my first real kiss happened at the age of 14. Though I was young, I felt like I had somehow fallen behind my peers. It didn’t help that my first kiss was with James, a boy who had multiple girlfriends and shared with me his reputation as an excellent kisser, which caused a lot of anxiety in me about my performance and prowess. 

Unfortunately, I made up for my inexperience by rushing into sexual acts. My boyfriend, excited by the idea of us engaging in sexual activities, began pestering me constantly about when he would be receiving his first blow job. I was neither eager nor ready. I had been giving him handjobs between abandoned shelves at a nearby library and when we were alone at his place, but I had never fully considered the act of putting my mouth around his penis. For a while, I just brushed it off and dismissed his questions and requests with as much ease as I could muster. 

One day while we were sitting in the back row of a dark movie theater, James asked again. I was tired of constantly rejecting his requests and remained silent as I couldn't find the voice to say no outright. I felt exhausted by the need to repetitively state my boundaries and the fact that they weren’t being respected. My silence was interpreted as consent, or at least good enough, and the next thing I knew, my head was being pushed down onto his dick.   

To this day, I struggle with calling this assault. I could have fought, I could have continued saying no, I could have bit his penis as hard as possible. I loved him though, with that intense and blinding love that accompanies first relationships, and I just obliged. That became a traumatic memory and a traumatic relationship that took me years to work through afterward with future men. In fact, through the process of writing my book and the #metoo movement, I discovered it is still something that affects me.

James was my first hard lesson in coercive sex. Unfortunately, he was not my only negative sexual experience. My negative and positive experiences have helped shape who I am. I have always been a resource for sex-related questions to those around me and I realized that by writing an introguide and creating my own company, I could increase my impact. I envision a world free from sexual violence and full of sexually empowered individuals. My workshops and the introguide, though painful to write, are some of my contributions towards that vision.


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