To help with understanding why it’s not as easy as people think to “just leave”, I will be writing a few memoir collections on my abusive ex.
From here on in, I will refer to my ex as Ben, after Ben Affleck, because I have an irritational hatred for Ben Affleck.
There’s a lot of reasons to hate on Ben Affleck, like how he ruined Batman, and that time he sexually assaulted Hilarie Burton on live TV, or the millions of times he chose to protect Harvey Weinstein instead of the women he knew Weinstein was assaulting.
But I’ve always hated him, even before I knew all of that, and he ruined Batman, and it’s become a running joke with my husband, because I hate that I love his brother, Casey Affleck, as an actor so much (even though he’s problematic as fuck), that for a while I used to say that it wasn’t fair that Ben Affleck deserved so much hate from me for no reason just because he was really bad in Daredevil, but there was literally a reason to dislike Casey Affleck, but I actually thought Casey could act, and then I learnt that Ben Affleck is trash, so my ex’s new name will be Ben.
After Ben Affleck.
Hate that guy.
These posts will come with a lot of trigger warnings following all aspects of domestic violence. As always, there will be contact numbers at the bottom of the page. I urge you to reach out, to anyone, if you are concerned about your relationship.
There’s so much regarding sex that we don’t talk about – which is why I’m launching a new, upcoming series that will be a specific focus on sex education and everything related to sex and more – but I figured a nice launching pad into that series would be sharing with you the first time I had sex with Ben, and all the reasons why I shouldn’t have, and all the reasons why sex education, in all its forms, is the most important thing.
Firstly, I’m gonna give you a cold, hard fact that might be difficult to swallow: Virginity is a social construct. Ladies, in particular, as this message is frequently aimed at you: Sex isn’t meant to hurt the first time, and bleeding more often that not indicates that you weren’t lubricated enough or that your partner was too rough.
I know it might be difficult for some of ya’ll to understand, but it’s like when you learn that race is a social construct. It might throw you for twenty, but it doesn’t make it any less true.
I was so fucking keen to have sex for the first time. This is important, because it’s important to see how much my attitude changed and how quickly it changed with Ben, because of how much he was manipulating and scaring me.
The problem was, he was so fucking good a manipulating me, I never stopped to question why I went from dying to have sex for the first time, to it suddenly becoming a serious issue for the next three months as Ben pressured me to have sex with him almost every day.
It’s so sinister how something can creep up on you.
It’s true what the say – if you throw a frog into boiling water, it’ll jump the fuck out, but when you get in and it’s fucking freezing, you’re enjoying the water warm you right up until the moment you suddenly realise you’re stuck in a boiling pot of water.
It’s weird, looking back now, because if he hadn’t made it an issue, it never would have been an issue.
I remember telling him I was a virgin, and he responded by telling me he’d slept with around seventeen girls.
I didn’t know it then, and I’d only realise it as I discovered that he’d a) forgotten the number and would change his mind frequently about “how many women he’d really slept with” and b) the fact that, later in our relationship, when I discovered that he was cheating, I’d learn that the women he was also trying to nail were also told different numbers.
In one, he’d even said that I was his first, and that I’d slept with his best friend, Scott (not my Scott), which would never have happened, because Scott had been with my friend, and I don’t do shit like that, and more weirdly, I’m pretty sure Ben is still best friends with the other Scott.
He wanted to make sure I saw him as desirable; he wanted to obsess about how everyone wanted him.
He wanted to make sure I was jealous – or at least saw him in a constant, positive light that was filled with admiration, so that I’d constantly look up to him and constantly remember how perfect he was and how lucky I was because he chose me.
I’m not kidding. He once used an excuse of him being asked out by the volleyball coach to try and get me to do sexual stuff I hadn’t wanted to do previously, and to make sure I’d attend his volleyball games. (Towards the end of our relationship, he didn’t like me being out of his sight, no matter what I was doing. One time, after he’d forced me to come and stay with him and his brother while they played volleyball – after picking them up from the airport and taking them straight there – he made me stay, even though I was dying for the bathroom. That’s how I found out the truth – I went looking for a bathroom, and met the woman he’d said had asked him out. She’d never asked him out. She didn’t even know who I was referring to when I first mentioned why I was there.)
I remember being excited at the beginning of our relationship, because I thought it’d be fun. I love dry sex, because you get so turned on you want to explode before you’re even touched.
So things started off hot and heavy, so that both a physical and an intimate relationship could develop.
In the first week, however, I was lying on the couch downstairs watching Live Free or Die Hard (hey, it’s Bruce Willis before anyone gets their judgy pants on, I could’ve watched something a lot worse. Like Die Hard II), and Ben pushed me.
It wasn’t a hard push, it was a nothing push, it was the type of push no one would blink an eye over.
But the feeling as his hand pressed against my back?
It felt weird.
Ben must have sensed he’d pushed me too far – I mean metaphorically, not literally – because he’d soon tell me an entirely different lie (one that involved him witnessing his uncle murdering his son, a lie so big I never thought to question it, but I can’t help but wonder what would have happened if I’d brought that up) because his behaviour would change dramatically.
I think he expected me to sleep with him on the Byron Bay weekend, something I’ve mentioned before.
I probably would have if he hadn’t been aggressive and scared me with his negative response to “I love you”.
After that weekend, me not sleeping with him became an issue.
He’d somehow casually bring up stories about how his friends had ‘left great girls’ because ‘they hadn’t put out’, but I was lucky, because he wasn’t like that.
If someone feels the need to repeat this kind of information to you, there’s a good chance they’re trying to manipulate you.
I remember speaking to more than one friend about it – and this one’s important, so listen up, especially those in the back:
I hadn’t had sex before, so I honestly didn’t know if me not wanting to have sex with my boyfriend after a month or two of dating was weird or not. I didn’t like the pressure, but I also didn’t want to be some silly little airhead being all melodramatic.
So I asked a few people, and I’d voice my fears saying that I was afraid that Ben might leave me if I didn’t sleep with him soon, because even though he kept “reassuring” me he wasn’t like that, that reassurance only ever happened after a story about how a friend’s relationship didn’t work out because the girl didn’t put out.
Not a single friend that I confided in about this at the time saw this as a red flag. (NB: Not a single friend* will herein refer to only the few people I confided in. It isn’t a long list, and you’re probably not on it, simply because I’m not really friends with anyone that I confided in about it anymore, so I know that some of my very best friends are aware of this information now, but weren’t privy to it at the time. I’m not referring to you.)
Not a single friend suggested that maybe, just maybe, what he was doing was manipulating me.
Not a single friend suggested that maybe, just maybe, this was toxic.
And not okay.
Let me make something clear: Ben’s behaviour was absolutely not fucking okay. What he was doing was a cruel and calculated manipulation. It’s incredibly easy to point it out now, but the reality is, it’s not easy being in the centre of the storm. Everything looks different. Everything is different. But in the centre? Well, in the centre, you don’t see the emotions that are played on, or what it’s really like to have all your deepest insecurities brought to your attention, even before you knew they were your deepest insecurities.
If your friend comes to you and they’re trying to tell you something doesn’t feel right to them, asking questions is a good idea. Try and work out what they’re scared of – and if someone’s saying that they’re scared their partner will leave them if they don’t have sex, try to delicately point out that that doesn’t sound right.
Explain that consent should mean an enthusiastic yes, and anything less than that doesn’t sound quite like consent, because if you’re not keen to jump someone’s bones, why are you having sex?
Just before I gave in, we were on our way walking to KFC, because he really liked it (I fucking hate KFC). He’d brought up another story, again, and I remember losing my temper. I dragged him back home, yelling the entire way that if sex was what he wanted, then he could fucking have it.
I don’t know what I expected; I think part of me knew that if I had sex with him under that pressure, I’d never forgive him and I’d leave, and that sounded just great to me even if my friends didn’t seem to think there was a problem, and the romantic side of me hoped he’d stop and say, “No! No. I don’t want to have sex until you’re ready. Sex doesn’t mean anything. I love you.”
After all, the only condition I’d ever really had was wanting to feel loved and cared about for my first time.
But he didn’t.
And then, just before, I asked him, “Is this what you really want?”
And he said yes, because of course he did, because it was never about me, or about my feelings.
And again, I snapped, but this time it was different. I started to break up with him, because I realised he didn’t care.
But I wasn’t prepared for his trump card.
I didn’t have sex with him, but I also didn’t break up with him.
I guess you’ll need to keep reading to find out why.
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