I started dating Colin when I was a freshman and he was a junior. We met during my spring semester right after I had joined a sorority and on the day that we met, I remember feeling lucky that a guy like him would talk to a girl like me. He was cute in a cocky way — like he knew his looks made people (notably me) nervous around him. He liked that.
We hung out at least a few times a week for the remainder of the semester and I put on my best “cool girl” front. We did what every college couple does — go out, have sleepovers, pick a Netflix show to watch together, etc. When summer came around, he left our college town for an internship and I left to spend the summer back home. We probably should’ve broken things off (or at least paused them until we got back to campus) but he didn’t say anything about it, so I wasn’t going to either. We talked and texted as often as we could, and when his internship brought him to my hometown on a night when my parents were conveniently out of town, he came to stay with me. He had to leave early the next day, but he wanted to spend what little time he had with me, so I felt special.
That night we went out to eat and I could tell things were off. I thought it was because we hadn’t seen each other since school ended, so even though he was acting weird, I just shrugged it off. We watched Netflix and passed out without having sex, something we had done plenty of times before in our almost six-month relationship.
The next morning, I awoke to the sensation of his fingers in my vagina. To some people, the surprise element of a little morning delight would be cool and fun. Not to me. I hate mornings in general, and I hate morning sex even more. He knew this about me. He had even made fun of me for it a million times. I had slept over a million times and we had done the deed for a solid semester, averaging 3-4 fucks a week. I groggily pushed his hands away and told him no, I was tired. I took at peek at the alarm clock and it was 7 a.m., and Colin had to leave by 7:30 if he wanted to make it back in time. I turned away from him, thinking that maybe my backside would be enough of an indication that I really didn’t want to have sex right now, and that maybe he could just big spoon me instead. He didn’t take it that way.
He climbed on top of me, whispering in my ear, “Come on, babe, I’m leaving soon. Please.” He shoved his fingers in me again, and I tried again to push him away. This time, I told him no, I didn’t want to. He wasn’t going to give up that easily. He started kissing my neck, opened my legs with his, pinning my hands above my head, which I’m sure he thought would get me in the mood but, in reality, it just made the whole thing worse. In that moment, I did what I’m sure many other women have done before. I made a choice. Instead of fighting him, or causing a scene, or getting up and sleeping on the couch, I let him have sex with me. “Let” is a generous word — I mostly just laid there and he took this opportunity to shove his dick, wet with his own spit, into me. I’m almost 100 percent sure I wasn’t even wet, as it is physically impossible for me to get excited about anything, even food, until noon. My legs were already open, thanks to the sly move he had put on me before. We stayed in missionary the entire time and he didn’t kiss me once.
I laid there, legs open, staring up at the ceiling for what seemed like forever with his warm, shallow breaths hitting my neck. He grunted a few times and then collapsed on top of me. I thanked whatever God I prayed to and wiggled out from under him, turning my back away from him as he laid on his back in post-orgasm bliss for awhile.
After it was over, he got up, cleaned himself off, packed up his bag and left. Our first kiss that morning was the one I initiated as he was walking out to the door. I remember that specifically because I remember thinking how strange it was that this man was just inside of me but this was the first time I was feeling his lips that morning.
I didn’t know how to process what had just happened. Immediately afterward, I knew what had just happened was not normal. It wasn’t like the other times. It wasn’t fun or sexy, it was just… wrong. I wasn’t drunk and this guy was someone I liked, but still, the feeling lingered. I tried to shake it off. I told him to text me when he got home and he did. We exchanged normal, basic text messages that day, and by the end of that night I had convinced myself that what happened that morning wasn’t weird at all. I was probably just groggy, I thought.
A day later, he dumped me. I felt gross. Disgusting. Used.
I felt mad at myself for what happened the morning he left, but then again, what was I supposed to do? Fight him off like he was an attacker? Throw a fit and risk him walking out angry at me? I liked this guy. I wanted him to like me. I thought he did like me. I didn’t want to get in a fight with him just because I was grumpy in the mornings. What happened that morning was bad, but it was made worse by what he did the next day. He knew he was going to dump me. It was all part of his plan: get one more decent fuck out of me and then cut ties with me for good.
It’s not wrong, at least in the eyes of the law, to have sex with someone you know you’re going to dump, but it felt wrong as it was happening, and it felt even more wrong after he broke up with me. It made the sting of a breakup even more painful and confusing.
I try not to think about it. Not because it was that traumatic or anything, but because even three years later I still don’t know what to think of it. Maybe it’s nothing. Maybe I’m overreacting and it was just a bad time. After all, we had had plenty of great sex before, what made this any different?
But even now, something tells me that that time was different. I don’t know what to think of it, but I know I didn’t like it.
I don’t know what to call it, but I know it’s not rape. Rape is scary and serious and not at all a word that should just be tossed around. But I said no. I pushed him away, twice. He climbed on top of me, but that was something he had done plenty of times before. His body felt familiar. That can’t be rape, right? But at the same time, rape also leaves its victim changed forever, and that’s how I feel. This weird thing happened to me when I was just coming into my own and now I’m different because of it. I speak up. I get mad. I leave if the situation I’m in makes me feel like I did back then, and maybe that makes me a bitch, but I never want to feel like I did then — powerless, complicit out of timidness, and weak.
Giving it a title almost makes it worse, but if I had to name it, I’d call it an uncomfortable sexual experience. This paragraph from an article published on this site two years ago describes it best.
It happens to us with consistent hookups, first dates, boyfriends, and one-night stands alike. We have sex with guys, because sometimes it’s just easier to do it than to have the argument about not doing it. But no one talks about it. Talking about it makes it a big deal. It makes us feel like we’re whining. It makes us feel like we’re being dramatic. And we don’t want it to be dramatic… We just feel like we got the short end of the stick, and that sometimes, we have to do something we don’t want to do, out of politeness or social obligation. So why bring it up? Why risk wrongfully tagging a guy with a serious, heavy label he doesn’t deserve? And more importantly, why risk being wrongfully tagged as “the girl who cried rape,” when we’re not trying to say it was rape at all? We’re saying we don’t know what it was. We just didn’t like it. But by refusing to acknowledge the existence of these rape-ish situations, we’re continuing to subject ourselves to them indefinitely.
Whatever you call it, what happened that morning is a mark on my sexual past. It will be there forever, a permanent question mark next to the notches on my imaginary belt. .