The first time I had sexual intercourse, I don’t even know if it was sex, or rape because I was pressured and coerced. I’ve struggled to come to terms with what happened. We had just met a day before. I was lying in bed, kissing him. I said I wanted to have sex. He said ok. Then he got a condom, and he said are you sure. I said yes. He had told me previously that he was taking a break with his girlfriend and that anything between us would have to be ‘casual.’ Anyway, I had removed my dress and my underwear. He had taken his clothes of too. It was hot in that room, in the middle of summer. He acted aggravated as he said “You have to spread your legs more.” My legs were clenching up and were not spread at that point. I felt a pang of shame or something and hesitated. Then I spread my legs. He pushed himself inside me, only a little and I cried out. Ow, that really hurts, I said. He rolled his eyes. It has to hurt for awhile before it starts to feel good he said. He had had sex before, so I gave him some authority I guess. He was on top of me. Okay, I said, you can try again. It really hurt once again. I tried to bear it before telling him he had to stop. He stopped, angrily. He hadn’t gotten the pleasure that he had come for. He rolled off of me and refused to let me cuddle with him. He also refused to hug me, and said we should keep some distance. (I was about to leave the area for awhile). Fast forward two months. We decided to be in a long distance relationship. We were together for about a year. During that time he cheated on me with his ex and I stayed with him. I knew at the time it was a bad idea but I did it anyway. Let me just put it this way: When you look at someone with rose-colored glasses, and always have, red flags just look like flags. (I’m paraphrasing Wanda from Bojack Horseman). Besides this, he at times would touch my vagina while we were naked or doing sexual activities and would then shove his fingers in my mouth for me to taste myself. He didn’t give me any choice in this, and it wasn’t something we had ever talked about, and I never gave him permission to do that. It was gross for me, and a violation of my own personal space and my body. We spoke in a very dirty way to each other, and I always felt horrible about myself after sex and that carried over in the rest of my life. He would say things during sex like that I belonged to him, and that I needed him to penetrate me, and that I was a good girl. I did not use this language with him. I never talked down to him or told him he needed my body parts to be okay. He rarely looked at me during sex and it never felt personal or intimate. He once spread my butt cheeks apart when I was on all fours and looked closely at my vagina and all of that area without me giving permission. I didn’t know what to say. He did that all the time, and it began to play into our dirty way of speaking without me ever really wanting that. I told him once that I was upset because we went farther than I had wanted and that he went to fast for me to be able to communicate my needs. He acted and all butt-hurt and started crying and was like I can’t believe you are implying that I assaulted you (don’t even know if he used those words because he would never admit to that). Like I said, I was being manipulated and controlled. He was always so dependent on me and stated his fear that I would break up with him from the beginning. He knew I was bisexual (now I identify as pansexual) and used that against me at every turn as a reason why he felt like I wouldn’t be faithful to him. Let me remind you that he cheated on me…..Anyway, I didn’t feel safe to breakup with him. He was always so unstable. He was both sensitive and manipulative. I thought he would hurt himself if I broke up with him and I thought he might hurt me so I waited until I was out of the country to break up. During the breakup conversation over Skype he tried to convince me to give things one more try and he said that our relationship felt so right. I hate him. I feel bad for his other ex-girlfriend and his current girlfriend. What sucks is that we are part of the same religious community, and though I have avoided seeing him, many people who I know know him and like him a lot and I feel like I can’t share any of this with them. Thanks for creating this space where I can finally write this and share my story. If I’m being honest, I still blame myself for a lot of this situation but in the last month of so, I’ve come to see some of what happened as sexual assault, and myself as the victim.