The Trauma Of Being Talked Into Sex By Men And Women Having Sex To Be Polite

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The Trauma Of Being Talked Into Sex, And Why It's Almost Always Bad Sex

We all know this story. 

You go on a date with a guy. Maybe he buys you a meal. Maybe he’s a bit sad, lonely. You feel sorry for him, see in his eyes his desperation. You know he’s a nice guy. Maybe you know he’s not the right guy but you feel a little inkling of wanting to have sex.

You drink another glass of wine, maybe two. Get into a taxi with him. You might be bored, frustrated with work, or your life situation. Something to break the monotony of work, home, going out, and TV. 

A little excitement, but deep down in your heart, you know that being talked into sex with him is not what you want to do.

Did you know that your body is physiologically wired to allow certain processes in your life? When we feel hungry we sit down, relax, and eat. But if we are rushing around and can’t relax to digest, something goes wrong. Pharmaceutical companies are making millions out of indigestion remedies as a result.

Did you know that you could also have sexual indigestion? That entering into sex when your body is not ready is physiologically damaging and can cause your vagina to go numb? Yes, bad sex can actually be harmful.

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I’m a therapist and meditation teacher and I help women to re-establish their relationships with their vaginas. Some of these women have been raped or abused, but many have not. They don’t understand why their vagina has become numb.

When we are with someone and we are in love, the energy is truly flowing. Everything is opening, and a physiological process goes on from our brain to our heart and down to our vagina. 

In her book,Vagina, Naomi Wolf notes that women have nine nerves going from our brains to our vaginas (men only have one going to their penis).  She also notes that when our vaginas experience a trauma, it directly affects our central nervous system, weakening us and making us unbalanced, physically and mentally.

We all know someone who has been raped and have seen how the trauma plays havoc in their lives. Yet, many of my clients who have not been raped have similar — albeit milder — and trauma patterns.

Did you ever wonder what happens when you shove in a tampon without relaxing, pushing the delicate muscles to the side? When you ram in a vibrator, putting it on high setting to ease frustrated feelings, without feeling the love we might hope to have accompanied a sexual experience?

What about that moment lying in fear in the gynecologist’s office, legs spread as the speculum stretches you open, wincing as they take your pap smear?

Why are so many women who don’t have any traumas they can point to in their lives coming to me for help to re-sensitize their vaginas?

Our vaginas are like a flower. A complex system of muscles and nerves, our vagina is so much more than a mere hole. The delicate tissues and muscles weave an intricate web that is the source of enormous pleasure. But the nerves in these delicate tissues can be damaged resulting in numbness.

Hopefully, you know that amazing feeling of being with someone you are totally crazy about who touches you perfectly. You feel your whole body relax and open up. You are lying in their arms gazing into their eyes. 

The universe is swirling around you and everything is in perfect harmony and order. Your juices begin to flow and your muscles relax. Something happens down below and when he places his hand between your legs, it’s almost as if you suck him in.

The muscles of the vagina are controlled by an array of nerves that bring signals from the brain. This is part of our survival mechanism, like the way that our brain protects us from being poisoned by bringing a feeling of revulsion when we smell something bad. 

When we are feeling safe and loved we relax, muscles open and the juices flow. We enter into bliss with our bodies and minds perfectly connected.

When we have sex without this process of opening, damage can be done. Physically, the nerves stop functioning; the muscles stop working so well and go hard. 

Incontinence and anorgasmia are epidemics in women. How many of us have ‘lied back and thought of England’ (as we say on this side of the channel) and allowed someone to penetrate us without our bodies being open to the experience. What are we doing to ourselves when we allow bad sex to happen?

Our bodies are intricate organisms that function on so many levels. Modern science is only gaining a minute understanding of this even now. A plethora of involuntary and semi involuntary muscles govern everything from digestion to breathing. 

While we have a degree of control over our bodies, there is a certain point when our body just takes over because it needs to protect you. We all know that if we hold our breath for long enough we will pass out and the diaphragm takes over and we start to breathe again.

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Thousands of years ago, ancient Oriental people believed that the vagina was sacred and called it words that meant things like a flower garden.

Ancient Chinese books called The Art of the Bedchamber lay in every house, giving advice about how to read a woman’s body and proceed with giving her pleasure. These books contained advice on reading the 7 steps of arousal in women, saying things like "when she starts to moan, she wants you to touch her breasts" and "when fluid seeps from her vagina onto your hands she is ready to be penetrated."

There was a deep understanding of sexual congress being a dance that went way beyond the need to ejaculate and release tension.

Today, few parents really talk about sex with their children in any meaningful way and sex education is limited. We seep in a diet of Hollywood and now pornography educates the majority about sex. 

Watching Fifty Shades of Grey, I winced as the male character roughly pushed his way into the virgin hero, in a scene that was supposed to be erotic. The poor girl was having her first sexual experience and he was not taking time to open the precious flower. This is supposed to be considered "progress". 

Let’s face it, without even being conscious of it, we are abusing each other and ourselves.

Rewind back to the scene above. You get out of the taxi and go into his house. Clearly, he expects something from you. He paid for the meal and after all, his time is important. 

You had a few drinks, you are horny, you know this is not the guy you want but you let him give you another glass of wine, knowing what will inevitably follow.

Now you are in bed, grateful for the alcohol running through your veins, nullifying any feelings of doubt or revulsion that would otherwise be on your mind. It’s only sex after all.  Everyone is doing it, this is the age of sexual liberation.

But is there anything liberated about this? He touches your breasts, your body. Let’s not deny it, you are horny. This is not rape; you are colluding in the situation. Co-conspirators. He touches you and you realize you are still dry.

Perhaps, a jolt of embarrassment shoots through you. That you are not quite functioning to the optimum. He reaches for the lube (a multi-billion dollar business profiting from this collusion). There it’s like nothing is wrong. Maybe you just are a bit frigid.

The delicate tissues of your vagina feel the wetness of the KY. They know the difference between the synthetic sensation and the natural lubricants they exude when truly gratified. His fingers push through the tense muscles and start to poke around. 

Even if he did find your G-spot, you probably would not feel anything because all your muscles are tense. You feel your head spinning from the wine and are grateful for the sensation it provides.

You are relieved to see him get out a condom and hope it will all be over soon. A bit more KY does the trick. He pushes into you, you wince, and he grunts and starts to breathe heavily. 

You don’t love this guy, but you got into the taxi to be polite. After all, he is a nice enough guy, just a bit lonely. Now you are here and fear it’s too late to go back without being really rude. Oh, God! The alcohol is not quite doing what you had hoped.

Your delicate muscles are resisting, tightening. You feel twinges of pain. Your cervix recoils in horror. Who is entering your temple without paying homage?

You count the moments until he grunts and it is over. You feel grateful for the premature ejaculation. He rolls onto his back and you are relieved to get a bit of space. Happy to have released his tension into you, he is soon snoring by your side. 

If you are lucky you can sneak out and grab a cab home, shower off, and forget that this ever happened.

The thing is, your body, your delicate tissues, will store the memory. Maybe tomorrow, next week, you may burst into tears and not understand why. Perhaps you will find the already distant phantom of orgasm even less accessible. You tell yourself it was consensual. Yes, you were complicit in the act. It was not rape. It was fine.   

But months later, you meet a really nice guy. You are back at his place and suddenly the ugly memory rears its head. You burst into tears but there is no explanation. 

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In your memory, you were complicit. Anyways, you know you consented. It was your choice. You have no framework to explore or heal from your experience.

  • The survey of 7,000 women published in BJOG: An International Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, found that experiencing pain during sex, ‘dyspareunia’, affects nearly one in 10 women, with women aged 16-24 reporting an especially high incidence of painful sex.
  • It also found that painful sex was most commonly linked to vaginal dryness during sex, feeling anxious during sex, and lack of enjoyment during sex. Some women involved in the survey reported feeling so afraid of pain, they avoided sex altogether.
  • According to Planned Parenthood statistics, as many as 1 in 3 women have trouble reaching orgasm when having sex. And as many as 80 percent of women have difficulty with orgasm from vaginal intercourse alone.
  • The Agency for Health Care Policy and Research (AHCPR) cites studies indicating that one in four women ages 30 to 59 has experienced urinary incontinence.

I would call this a crisis of women’s sexual health. It’s time we start listening to our bodies and the signs they are giving us. We need to follow our hearts. 

We are responsible for our bodies, our lives, and our happiness. Maybe what that lonely guy needed was more along the lines of some friendly discourse rather than a meaningless ejaculation inside you, reminiscent of taking out the garbage.

We can all create our own happiness. We understand that there are abusive people who will coerce or harm us, and that is not our fault. But beyond that, we don’t need to do things we don’t want to, to be polite.

We are not responsible for other people’s happiness.

If we can’t feel empowered to say "no" to someone entering our bodies, how can we say "yes"?

When I was younger, I remember the first time I shoved a tampon inside, noting the strange sensation, but felt grateful that the blood was no longer flowing from my body.  Reading the label, I felt terrified of TSS but was grateful that any chance of unpleasant odors was nullified. 

I remember the first time my boyfriend pushed inside me, the strange sensation I could hardly understand. The first time I opened my legs for a gynecologist, I remember the cold metal, the contraction, and the shooting pain as he entered. I was conditioned to allow my body to be entered without being willing.

The past is the past, but we can create a new reality. My mother never talked to me about sex, but I will educate my daughter about the sanctity of her vagina. I will teach her to love and respect herself. I will nourish the self-esteem in her that will empower her to say "No" when she means it and "Yes" when she means it.

Like Naomi Wolf, I believe that our vaginas hold incredible powers. They are so much more than a hole. This intricate web holds the secret to our personal power. 

When I teach women to use a jade egg to bring sensitivity back to their vaginas, to retrain the muscles to relax, remove knots that were causing pain, I don’t just open them up to more pleasure in the bedroom. 

I notice that they change. 

As they reconnect with their vaginas, they gain new confidence, move with greater ease, and smile more. I don’t come close to understanding the magic that our vaginas hold but I know they are a special place that we need to love, care for, and treat like a beautiful flower.

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Jade Lotus is a therapist and meditation teacher. She specializes in enabling clients to find solutions to their traumas with a focus on sexual healing. She uses Taoist Meditation Techniques including Sexual Alchemy Meditation to teach people to overcome sexual blockages. To find out more, you can visit her website.