Feeling Like a Slut
Mallie, New York City
Dear Dr. Patti,
I am writing because I need to understand what happened to me. I am now 16 and very confused and regretful about my first sexual experience. The first time I had sex, I was 15 years old, and my boyfriend was 19. It was his birthday, I was drunk, and he talked me into it. After that, we had sex fairly regularly. He also would do things to me while we were having sex. He pulled a lot of my hair out, hit me on my butt so hard there were bruises, etc. I would tell him he was hurting me, but he wouldn't stop. He treated me like a stranger and made me feel bad about myself.
After I left him, I slept with all these other guys, not because I wanted to, but because they wanted me to. I felt like they expected it from me and I was too afraid to say no because most of them were friends of mine. I always thought it was my fault for being drunk, or high, or just plain stupid. I read Emma's story about how she felt like just a body, and nothing more. That sentence described the way I've felt for a long time.
Now I met a guy that I have strong feelings for, and he respects me. I always tried to forget about all the stuff that happened to me. It was like I was covering up one bad memory with another and another. Now that I stopped drinking and getting stoned all the time, it's not so easy to forget. I still don't even know if these guys abused me or I'm just a slut. Thank you for taking the time to read this and keep up the good work.
Dr. Patti responds:
First of all, you are not a slut! You say you want to figure out what happened to you. Well... My first question would be why you were getting drunk and stoned at 15 and then so often the years after that? I would guess that things were not great in your life and that brought you to abuse drugs and alcohol, and then to this 19-year-old boyfriend. You were not ready to have sex and when you say he "talked you into it" perhaps he forced you and you were in fact sexually abused?
The point is, you could not seem to get out of the relationship. Pulling someone's hair out in any relationship is not "normal" and it is not a "normal" part of sex, neither is bruising someone. It is great that you are out of that relationship!! I am sorry you subsequently went with guys that sound like jerks. Many girls talk about feeling helpless after a forced sexual experience. It is not uncommon for girls to become hyper sexually active for a while in hopes to gain some sexual control. But this usually leaves girls feeling guilty and empty. I am pleased for you that you have a positive guy in your life now, and I guess that you and your new boyfriend do not drug and drink together on a regular basis. Often when your head clears of drugs and drink, you can make better and different decisions. I also understand that some of these memories haunt you. But, you are very young and you have already changed your pattern. This is great. You may try some counseling to get some more insight. But in the meantime pat yourself on the back! You have stopped drinking and drugging and you on your way to a positive relationship.
................................xo, Dr. Patti.