The Swim

My experience with abstinence only sex ed and purity culture from my conservative christian upbringing was very damaging. I blamed myself for being sexually molested at a young age. I also had this unconscious belief that my male partner was supposed to be more in control of our sexual relationship. These beliefs caused great harm to me personally…including but not limited to not realizing that I could say no to my male partner when they wanted sex and I didn’t. As a form of coping my body learned to dissociate during sex. It is something I still struggle with today. It can be scary but I am learning how to understand and manage it. Writing has a been a big part of my healing and processing journey and I wanted to share a poem I wrote about what it feels like to dissociate during sex…

Title: Swim

In a sea of sheets
there is a slippery fish draped
around your body.
You are underwater
suspended in a moment,
a tiny pebble
falling slowly to the bottom
of a chlorinated pool.

On the edge of your consciousness
your mind bobs in place
like a helpless child in a life-jacket.
Your perception floats prostrate
on the eerie surface of crystal clear blue-green.
Focusing on the bottom of the pool
breath held or stuck,
curious about the scene drifting below.

There is a bed
and you
and the fish.

Somehow you cannot find your body.
It has involuntarily put on armor
and they call it sexy.
The burden of this “sexy”
forces your perception to sink deeper still.

At this depth you cannot tell
which limbs are yours
and which are that of a puppet
who has taken over your head,
shoulders, knees and toes. 

No one has done anything wrong and
this is what you will remember…

His tongue is course.
Wet sand paper on your neck.
Wet sand paper on your nipples.
His breath, sweet sea water
filling your mouth
when you need to breathe.
When you kiss him he wriggles and writhes;
a fish out of water. 

A hangnail on his big toe
a hang nail, a hang nail, a hang nail,
keeps playing footsie
poking your foot like a pincushion.

His desperate dirty talk
whispered in your ear
mumbled predictable lies…
something something tight,
something something wet,
something something fill your kitty,
something something your ass, baby. 

Moaning simultaneous
slippery rising and falling.
One sounds of pleasure
the other wreaks of confusion.
But who could tell the difference?

Falling deeper
You are a pebble.
You are a pebble.
You are a pebble.
You are a pebble.
You are a pebble.

–Bea M.