We’re lying naked in a cool and dim college bedroom. It’s relatively silent as I play with your hair, your arms. Whispered murmurs of consent with you on top and then I freeze.
My mind wanders back to being fourteen years old. I’m wearing my favourite black dress to church, it’s smooth and short and perfect for the awful summer weather. I see my mother’s friend, who was previously speaking to her children, make a beeline for me. I see what I can only describe as disappointment in her eyes. She grabs my arm lightly and takes me aside where she looks me up and down. She inches closer to my ear and whispers those cruel words
“Don’t ever wear that dress again, you are causing my son to stumble and sin.”
It’s another night in the same college dorm room. He’s holding me, consoling me as I panic. He pats me hair, he tells me it will be okay. “We will get through this,” he whispers. He watches me fall apart and he doesn’t know how to fix it.
I’m sixteen years old and with my first ever boyfriend. I am sick, with a dreadful cold. Rolling in and out of consciousness my head is in a fog. My boyfriend leans over and kisses me on the nose and then cheek with tenderness as we sit together on a bus, touring around New Zealand. The ride stops and off we get until a teacher calls me over. He stands over me and admonishes me, telling me I am a gatekeeper and letting my boyfriend kiss me will only give him ideas. I shake at his words and when he leaves I look at myself in the reflection of the bus. I wear the baggiest clothes imaginable to hide my feminine form and my hair is cut short and ugly to not draw attention to myself. I never kiss that boyfriend ever again.
A different dorm room now, my own. We lay there naked him and I. He asks if we wish to continue and I nod. He smiles as he kisses me and caresses me. We start moving together working ourselves towards an end goal when suddenly it begins again.
My best friend is on the phone to me. Her mother has found her condoms and has yet to yell at her. I come over in a flash and watch as they interact, but it’s never the same. I don’t want my mother to look at me like that.
He’s frustrated. I’m frustrated. We sit on his bed, naked and frustrated.
“Don’t be a slut.”
Says my ex-friend, it’s his last message I will ever respond too. As there are two years of his confessions of love while dating other women, failing to keep me in the loop and being emotionally manipulative. If you looked over transcripts of our conversations you would see him groom me, isolate me and confuse me. He tells me he loves me, but dates other women, choosing to let those women be ignorant of my existence as if keen to punish me. After two years I tell him about gaining a new boyfriend and he says those awful, painful words. I now know what he really thinks of me. I’m too much, I will always be too much.
We’ve broken up. I blame myself. I feel like I’ve led him on. He reassures me that it’s not the reason. I reflect on my life and realise what has gone wrong. Every instance where sex has presented itself I panic, yet it’s only recently I’ve began to realise why. People have thrown terms at me such as asexual without truly understanding what that means, and ignore what I’m saying. But as an adult I have learnt this problem is not new, it’s one that is going to take a lot of fixing. I know other of women in my shoes, who through religion, society and abuse have struggled to take control of their sexual lives. I have seen men react to these statements such as mine with disbelief. I have spent my life wanting to never be seen as too sexual, too willing, or too interested. I want to get past this to be over with this confusion, pain and misery. I want to experience heterosexual sex without a qualm in the world, but it looks like such a thing is only achievable over time. It is time I am willing to put in.
We acknowledge the Ngunnawal and Ngambri people, who are the Traditional Custodians of the land on which Woroni, Woroni Radio and Woroni TV are created, edited, published, printed and distributed. We pay our respects to Elders past and present and emerging. We acknowledge that the name Woroni was taken from the Wadi Wadi Nation without permission, and we are striving to do better for future reconciliation.