Every 98 seconds, an American becomes a survivor of sexual assault. In 2007, I was one of them. In the years that followed, I wasn’t able to acknowledge my experience as an assault. Of course, I noted it and remembered it, but did not dwell on the memory.

In 2009, I began to suffer from vaginismus, an involuntary muscle spasm that made sex painful, unavailable, and unimaginably oppressive. As a result, I began to write about women’s health and sexual wellness, but I didn’t connect my vaginismus to my assault as a teenager until much later. Once I made that rational realization, I dedicated my recovery to healing, repairing, and restoring my psyche.

Since April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month, I hope to incorporate my writing as a form of constant resistance and recovery from my own sexual assault. I have found a safe space in the online community—I now use writing as coping, writing as rehabilitating, writing as reclaiming my identity. But that’s not the only thing I use to heal myself.

After leaving a toxic and abusive relationship earlier this year, I began to experiment with kink and BDSM. Whipping and slapping, dominance and submissiveness, power and control—these are all types of therapy for me. In a way, incorporating BDSM into my sexual experience itches a particular scratch. I am in control, and I dominate the situation.

 

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April 25, 2017