Abuse F*cked With My Sexual Intimacy.

I have gone from sexually open, confident and polyamorous to involuntary celibate; it’s shit.

A male and female appearing couple having a passionate embrace on a white bed.
Photo by We-Vibe Toys on Unsplash

Monogamy. It was a family expectation; I am ticking off the black sheep boxes as I never really managed to fully ascribe to the 1 person for 1 person adage. I found many people of many genders attractive and, slowly, I began to explore that.

I started with convention; cheating. I was 16. Monogamy was the standard. In a black-and-white world of relationships; infidelity was the next step.

But the drama of it was, just that, drama. If I liked the look of a person, I had to be quiet, sneaky and deceitful. And that stress made me feel physically sick.

A person with a finger to their lips giving it a “pretty little liars” shhhh
Photo by Kristina Flour on Unsplash

Eventually ten-plus years of 1–2–1 relationships was mundane, painful, and was seriously destroying my self-esteem. I felt like a bad guy constantly for having even a minor attraction to anyone other than my partner. So, at the end of a long-term relationship that was almost marriage, I began actively dating. And it was great! Until I fell in love with a guy and *BAM* old habits die hard even if they’re awful for you. I didn’t desire monogamy; I was a massive flirt, I was hyper-sexual, I love a good smooch and a fumble on the dance floor.

Two brunette girls sharing a kiss.
Photo by V T on Unsplash

At 29, I embraced my bi-sexuality and, with that, I began to be open to open relationships; maybe even polyamory. I had some caveats, I wanted to be somewhat involved in the process of how my partner chose their partners; knowing we both shared the same values around moral, sexual and emotional safety.

For example, if my partner wanted to do the nasty with a sexually irresponsible neo-nazi who really hated Scottish people and were generally an all-out asshole? No. I would not be okay with that. If my partner wanted to get it with a serial monogamist prone to catching intense feels and doomed to misery as they wouldn’t be able to have exclusivity? I would not be okay with that and that would be on their behalf. No ex’s. And I don’t fuck my friends so that excludes them from the party too.

But the absolute no-no? Being removed from the decision making process altogether.

Two silhouetted figures against a sunset. They are apart from each other with one looking clearly distressed, head in their hands. The other is walking over to engage with them, possibly in whatever has caused the distress.
Photo by Eric Ward on Unsplash

My ex, along with his many other foibles, seemed to thrive on the drama and chaos caused by cheating. He would come home, tail between his legs after a night out of clearly just being on the pull, committed to apologising after the fact. When there would have been no need. We even talked openly about why there was no need. But more and more often, he would openly flout our trust making for awkward encounters with strangers, limiting making connections with other people. Then there was the drunken, abusive ranting in the aftermath due to his needless guilt!

He also seemed to struggle with the self-esteem drop that came from me being attracted to other people; Men in particular. And didn’t I feel the brunt of it. His suspicion filtering into me, translating back to him. We would talk about involving other partners (with the caveats), and then he would be in a different postcode not playing by the rules, and then behaving like the wounded party. And if I showed interest in another woman; he would humiliate me openly, playground tactics of, quite literally shouting, “My mate pure fancies you,” followed with peels of drunken laughter at my expense.

Photo by Klara Kulikova on Unsplash

Fast forward to the present where PTSD reigns supreme, I didn’t realise how broken my romantic persuasion was it until recently. I watched a partner flirt and make-out with all bases of trust covered; Introductions were made, pleasantries were exchanged, permission was sought.

Fuck. I was jealous. Bitterly jealous.

Not of the person they were making out with. Not of the fact that I wasn’t involved. I was jealous of my partner. That used to be me! Sexual, flirtatious, gorgeous, and achieving carnal fulfilment with the security of an emotionally intimate relationship to return to.

My ex totally fucked with my sexual chemistry. Being forced into a monogamous box by someone I loved and trusted, he would then proceed to kick that box across the hallway when he wanted to catch some strange/fuck an ex purely for the drama and chaos that came from engaging in lying.

Photo by Anh Nguyen on Unsplash

This seems to have produced this absolute shit show of sexual disfunction in me; I am addicted to that toxic cycle with him. The thought of sex often repulses me. And I am not asexual. And that crushes me completely. I feel desire, I feel turned on, I find my partners attractive. I am capable of all those feelings right until it comes to the crunch. Even when masturbating. I suddenly become nauseous and my brain automatically returns to the last time I felt sexually secure. You guessed it; with my abuser.

Three years down the line and I cannot escape. Abuse truly does affect every aspect of one’s life. Even the love that comes after. And, for me, sex is altogether retraumatising. I am thankful that I have fully discovered polyamory because being involuntary celibate, trapped by my own trauma, it means I appreciate every other aspect of my partner.

But real-talk; I really just want to get laid.



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Philippa Cooper

Philippa Cooper


Furious learner, exploring personal development, mental health advocacy and human connections.