So I’m hoping for some advice on this…

I’m an 18 year old girl and I’ve been sexually active for over four years now, not to mention oral sex starting at only 12 years old. I’ve struggled with a sex addiction since I lost my virginity. Sex has never been emotional for me; I gave it up to whoever wanted it and didn’t care much about protection.

Almost a year ago, I had an STI scare and since then, I’ve been terrified to have sex. Lately, I’ve been afraid of sex because of catching STIs. But, I have been sexually abused multiple times in my life, starting when I was 14 years old. But the worst incident happened last year when I was raped. I feel like I shouldn’t be afraid to have sex and that I should be over the rape and other abuse, but I’m not over it enough to feel comfortable having sex. I had an eating disorder for a few years in the past, yet another reason why sex is hard for me because I’m very insecure about my body. I’m also under a lot of stress because my mother just died.

I’ve never ever been in control of my sex life because I’m so insecure. It doesn’t even make much sense to me, because I’m constantly craving sex and wanting it, yet I don’t. I’m seeing a therapist, but sex is an area of anxiety for me that I haven’t talked much about.

Right now, I feel like I want to be abstinent. I just take time to focus on myself and focus on having friends, not just fuck buddies like I’ve always had. But, everyone I know is sexually active and I feel alone in making this choice. Especially because everyone keeps asking when I’m finally going to get a boyfriend. It doesn’t feel like a personal choice because everyone is always asking me about it and criticizing it. I feel very confused on how to keep male friends without having sex. I really haven’t ever done that before. But since I have an extremely, abnormally high sex drive, being abstinent is very hard! I haven’t had sex in several months now and really want to stay away from sexual activity and boyfriends. I want to know how to be confident and secure in my decision to abstain from sex.

I need advice. Is being abstinent a good idea? Am I justified in wanting to be abstinent? And how the fuck to manage how horny I always am?! Am I a complete loser to buy a vibrator and take care of myself?! Is this a good idea? I have a lot of reasons for wanting to be abstinent, and I’ve recently become more religious/spiritual. I don’t know when I want to ever have sex again, I don’t know if I would wait until marriage because I don’t even know if I’ll ever get married? Is this choice even worth it then? Is it too crazy to go from a slut to abstinent? What do I do without sex?!

Please help! Thank you!

First of all, props to you for focusing on you and your needs and what you want to do! There’s nothing wrong with wanting to stay abstinent, and anyone who tells you it is a problem is misguided. It’s 100% your choice, not anyone else’s. And do not let anyone tell you otherwise. Especially with what you’ve been through in the past, taking some time to focus on yourself and heal is the best thing you can do for your well-being moving forward. The fact that you’re seeing a therapist is a great start! There’s no time limit on when you “should” get past the abuse that has happened to you. The only thing that matters is that you’re getting help and trying to work through it. It takes some people years to even begin to get help, and you’re facing it head on. That takes incredible bravery.

So, let’s address some of your concerns one at a time.

First of all, yes, being abstinent is absolutely a good idea while you focus on yourself and heal. It will give you the clarity to focus on yourself, your needs, and your wants. When you’re ready to start having sex again, you’ll go back to it feeling refreshed, in a better mindset, more emotionally strong, stable, and healthy, and making safer, more conscious, positive decisions in your sex life. You are completely justified in that choice and have the right to make it. If you feel like you want to wait until marriage, that’s your choice. But, you can also choose to go back to sex whenever you feel it is the right and healthy decision for you. Sometimes, all we need is a break for a few months, a year, or two to heal ourselves and start having healthy sex again.

Don’t be worried about what your friends have to say. They do not control your life, and they didn’t live your history. They can keep their opinions to themselves. Also, you’re worried about keeping your guy friends because you aren’t sleeping with them. But, if they were real friends they would stick around without sex. You don’t have to have sex with someone to keep them as a friend, and if they think otherwise, then it’s time to cut them out of your life. Anyone who doesn’t support you and your decision to change your life isn’t someone you need around you.

Masturbation is a great way to keep yourself happy while abstaining from sex! There is nothing “wrong” or “gross” about masturbation, it is a completely healthy and normal thing to do. Tons of people have vibrators – from people who have never had sex before, to people who are abstaining, and even the Slutty Girl Problems founder herself (who has many!). Having a vibrator doesn’t make you a loser. It makes you someone who’s having awesome orgasms without the help of a partner. Since you’re a beginner, invest in a good vibrator for newbies (check out our Sex Toy Reviews!) and learn to please yourself! You don’t need to have sex to feel great, and masturbating and using a toy will help you get more in tune with your body and fight those insecurities!

My biggest piece of advice to you is to be open with your therapist about everything. You have a lot going on, and his or her job is to be there for you so you can be open, not be judged, and work through everything that life is throwing at you. Be open about your mother passing, your eating disorder, your past trauma, your religion, your sexual history, and your decision to remain abstinent. Tell them about the abuse and really open up about it. It will be hard, but it will be worth it. Their job is to listen to you and help you sort through those emotions so you can get through it all.

If you don’t feel comfortable enough to talk to your therapist face to face, 1-800-656-HOPE is the National Sexual Assault hotline. The calls are completely confidential and you can check out their website here. Or if you just want support from other people who have experienced similar situations, check out http://www.aftersilence.org. It’s a great support group for women who have survived sexual assault, who will understand the tragedies you’ve been through.

You’re an incredibly strong woman who’s been through a lot in 18 years. You can get through anything!


 

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