As the abuse of sexual power goes, females play a larger role than most people realize. Sexual coercion occurs when someone uses pressure or emotional force to get a person to agree to sex. Studies have documented that victims of sexual coercion can suffer from anxiety, depression and PTSD. It is possible to say yes and not mean yes. Below is a personal account of sexual coercion in the words of the person who was manipulated. Questions for the author can be directed to me HERE. He wishes to remain anonymous for now.
The idea that all guys want as much sex as they can get is completely false. For as long as I can remember I have wanted my first time to be saved for someone really special. I always imagined meeting someone and being totally taken by her., delighting in the realization that our feelings matched and the fall afterword being irresistible… there being nothing we wanted more than to spend every moment together. Like we were the only two people in the world. What actually happened was not like that at all.
I met her in the apartment building I lived in. I was 22 at the time and she was 19. Although I mostly kept to myself while I lived there, I had run into her a couple of times in the first few weeks. We would talk while doing laundry and we seemed to have a lot in common. We got along really well right from the get go. I quickly came to enjoy her for her friendliness and dry humor and the crazy stories she would tell me. The more we talked, the closer we grew and before long we were hanging out in each other’s apartments and talking about our lives, listening to each other’s music and eating together. It was a nice friendship and then things got complicated when she became physically attracted to me.
Perhaps she’d always felt that way. As I think back I can see all the ways she reacted to me that I missed before. The way her eyes lit up when she’d see me, the way her gaze would linger when we had a laugh together or shared an affectionate moment. Perhaps I chose not to pay attention to all those signals she was giving me at the time. Perhaps I encouraged her in a way. Encouraged her to get closer to me even though I knew I didn’t feel for her in quite the same way she felt for me. She never came out and said “I’m interested in you romantically.” So even though I had an idea, how could I express that my feelings were strictly platonic without sounding like a conceited jerk?
I had kissed back at first when she came on to me. My feelings were mixed because I did not want to lead her on but a small part of me enjoyed the intimate energy that had been sparked between us. It had been a while since last shared that kind of interaction and so my head whirled. But I told her when she started taking down her pants that I didn’t want to go any further. I had never had sex before and it went against everything I stand for to let my first experience be casual. Despite the many times that I said no and told her I didn’t want her in that way, that it wasn’t right for me – it didn’t stop her. She was determined and continued to pressure me hoping that eventually, I would give in to what she wanted.
She said things like: “Don’t you want to know what it feels like?” and talked about how it would be worth it. Still I refused. But she kept at it. She told me that she just wanted to feel me and that I wouldn’t regret it and in that final crucial moment of resistance, with her positioned above me, pants down I gave in and weakly uttered one tragic word: “fine”.
It was over within a few minutes and I lay there with her for a few moments before getting up and standing a few meters away from the bed with my head spinning as a wave of numbing realization came crashing down on me. In the moments right afterwards I felt something special leaving my being. Like I had lost a part of my soul. There was an energy inside of me that rose through me and vibrated out as it left my body. Like the final tones of a gong that is sounded reverberating into silence. One last hollow remnant before it was gone for good. It felt like something been taken from me and tossed carelessly into an abyss of meaninglessness. A feeling of loss combined with a sharp numbness spread throughout. I felt like I had been robbed of something tremendously special. I technically “consented” but only after I had been psychologically worn down over a period of time. I said no many more times than I said “fine”. I didn’t want it to happen but it did anyway.
She asked me how it was as I stood there trying to come to terms with it all. She was eager to be reassured about whether it was any good for me. I tried to smile as I lied and told her that it was good. Even after the coercion and manipulation, I still cared more about her feelings than I did my own. So that I could continue to function, I wouldn’t allow myself to feel or acknowledge what had been done to me.
I feigned satisfaction to her in my reassurance of the experience as a wonderful one and then slowly moved into the bathroom and sought out the warmth of the shower. She followed me in there. I turned on the water and sank to the floor. There we sat side by side, in the dark, our backs against the cold wall. We were silent. Our hands were clasped together as the water flowed over our bodies. I was devastated and in need of some form of comfort and the only person available to offer reassurance was also the cause of the devastation. The numbness I felt that day is still present now as I recall the experience. It is a pain that lies so deep within. I’m not sure if I will ever be able to feel it out.