Low self esteem & bad sex decisions

I need to print this out and put it somewhere I will see it on a regular basis...

I need to print this out and put it somewhere I will see it on a regular basis…

I posted earlier in the year about the sexually abusive relationship I was in, you can read that post here.  I know that part of the reason I allowed myself to be in that relationship for as long as I did was because of my low self-esteem issues and being convinced he was the only man who would ever find me attractive and want me.

My low-self esteem got me into other bad situations sexually – the moment a man paid me attention I would do anything to keep him happy, whether that was having a threesome with him and his friend or going home with him when I knew I had no way to get home in the morning.  I had more one night stands than I care to remember, if I am brutally honest I can’t actually remember how many I did have.  My late teens-early twenties were a blur of alcohol and one nighters, meaningless sex that made me feel good until it was over and then I felt even more worthless than I already did.

It was a horrible circle.  Attention would generally lead to sex, which would then lead to feeling good for a few hours, which would then lead to feeling worse than usual… then the following week, month, etc a man would pay me attention and I’d end up having yet another one night stand.  I couldn’t stop and looking back, I don’t think I wanted to stop.  The attention was something I craved; I liked to feel pretty, I liked to feel sexy, I liked to feel like a woman, I liked – for one night anyway – feeling as if I mattered to a man.

Sex destroyed some of my closest friendships.  I was a shitty, horrible friend for a while then.  The whole ‘chicks before dicks’ saying didn’t really mean anything to me, I needed sex.  I needed that attention, that reassurance I was just as desirable as any other woman.  I am ashamed when I think back to what I did, about the friends I hurt.  One friend was amazing enough to forgive me after I did something truly heinous (and if you are reading this, you know who you are…)… I still struggle with what I did to risk that particular friendship and really don’t know how she had it in her to forgive me.  I am pretty sure I wouldn’t have been able to.

I am a believer that sometimes our brains block out memories we don’t have the capacity to cope with.  Today I had what I like to call a mental unblockage.  Driving Miss 4 to preschool I suddenly remembered something that had happened when I was 24/25, I began shaking and found it hard to breathe, I needed to tell my wife about it before I had a complete breakdown.  Nope, I hadn’t even told my wife about the relationship in question – that tells you how bad it is – I share everything with my wifey.

As with my relationship I posted about earlier in the year, I chose to believe that this at-the-time boyfriend was just sexually adventurous, that what happened was all innocent fun.  With the benefit of hindsight I can see that he was actually grooming me for a pimp/prostitute type arrangement.  We decided one day it’d be fun to have a threesome, put an ad up on an online dating site and pretty soon after we had our third confirmed.  The night came and for whatever stupid reason I agreed it could be at my house.  Literally minutes before #3 was meant to arrive my boyfriend text to say ‘something had come up’ and he wouldn’t be able to make it, so how about I have sex with the guy then tell him allllllllll about it.  It would be kinky, he said

I had sex with the guy, I told my boyfriend all about it… we had pretty awesome sex afterward.

The following week he suggested I could do the same thing, that he would find me a guy to have sex with and then I could tell him about it afterward.  Deciding it would indeed be ‘kinky’ I agreed… I wanted to keep him happy after all.  If I wasn’t adventurous enough surely he would leave me?  I had sex with a stranger, again.  I told my boyfriend about it, again.  Before he even left to go home he suggested I do it again.  I didn’t really want to but knew I needed to be more open-minded so agreed.

Four or five times this happened.  A man would turn up on my doorstep.  We would have sex.  He would leave.

Each time I felt worse afterward.  I felt like a tramp.  I felt like a whore.

One day it occurred to me that that was essentially what I was to him.  I was his whore, he was my pimp, only there was no money exchanging hands.

That I knew of.

I broke up with him soon after my little epiphany and swore that that would be it, no more relationships that involved me doing things I was doing just to keep the man happy.  No more one nights stands, no more strangers, no more risky sex, no more risky situations.  What type of example would I be for my daughter/s in the future if I continued down that path?

Again with the benefit of hindsight, looking back I am pretty sure those little sex ‘arrangements’ weren’t as innocent as my ex made out.  In fact, I would be willing to bet he was actually making money out of it.

That end of that relationship brought with it a huge reality check.  For the first time since I had become sexually active I thought seriously about what it was that motivated me to seek out sex and to crave male attention so badly.  That period of time was full of self-reflection for me – and admittedly a lot of self-loathing – but I eventually came out the other side with a little more respect for myself and with a newfound understanding of the importance of being in control of my own self.  My dreams, my desires, my needs.

As the mother of three young girls I am going to do everything I can to make sure their self-esteem is high, that they have self-worth and know they are special, that they are important,  that they deserve only good things.  I want our daughters to grow up confident and to have  the mindset that they don’t need a man to be happy.  It might sound cliché, but I want them to love themselves.  I have never loved myself and I wish I had because I know certain choices wouldn’t have been made if I did.

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7 thoughts on “Low self esteem & bad sex decisions

  1. I can relate hun. I was in a destructive relationship which was based on sex. On self analysis, I think the physical side was the emotive way I felt close to him, yet in reality I was simply becoming a puppet. There was no intimacy. It was selfish and cognitively unhealthy. I, too lost confidence and self esteem. I became the weak person and sacrificed my own integrity. Looking forward and reframing this, I think this experience was actually positive. I learnt so much about myself. My individual needs and romantic notions. I grew. I’m now in a satisfying relationship with someone who sits beside me and not over me. I finally feel free and it feels god damn amazing. Sometimes pain is simply the journey of endurance which leads us to the satisfying reward 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

    • I do have to agree that I learnt a lot about myself after the combination of bad relationships. I am now blissfully in love and married to my soulmate, someone who treats me as an equal and would never hurt me or take advantage of me. I believe in fate, I believe that what we go through we are meant to go through, I guess it comes down to the old ‘what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger’ addage. If I hadn’t gone through what I did I probably wouldn’t have met my wife… so that makes it all worth it…

      Liked by 2 people

  2. I read your “Is it BDSM or is it abuse?” post and then this one. First, let me just say that you are an incredibly courageous person to share your stories for the sake of others who might find some relief in knowing that they are not alone. I can only imagine how difficult that was for you. You are a brave woman and I am so sorry that those things happened to you. Low self-esteem is something I’ve struggled with, too, and I’ve definitely done some things I’m not proud of in the hopes that someone might show me a modicum of affection or make me feel “chosen” or “wanted” for a short while. The only good that can come out of these awful experiences is the realization that we have to protect the young women and girls in our lives. We need to make them aware of predators in the traditional sense (the man hiding in the shadows, the creeper next to you at the movies), but also the ones who seem okay at first, who slip into our circles of trust and then wreak havoc. But, like you said, the most important lesson we can teach them is to love and respect themselves so that they don’t require external validation in order to feel worthy and confident. Again, thank you so much for sharing your experiences with us. ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks for your comment Rachel 🙂 Couldn’t agree more about needing to make our young women and girls aware of the predators that don’t appear as your typical bad guy… the ones that have a way with words and are master manipulators.

      Writing is like therapy for me so sharing my stories and experiences is a way for me to heal and move on. Often my head is just a jumble of thoughts and putting them down on paper (well… a computer screen) helps me to unjumble and make sense.

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