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Adebusola Abujade / Her Campus Media
Wellness

Within the comfort zone

I might be revealing a little too much information about myself here, making myself seem like a sore loser, but I’ve just come to accept that this is my reality. Let’s just say, my love life has been lacking. And by lacking, I mean non-existent. 

I’d like to blame it on my high school, as its monstrous size (a few thousand students) made serious relationships amongst students fairly uncommon. But the truth is, it’s mostly because of me. I’m afraid to put myself out there, to flirt, because I don’t fit society’s typical beauty standards, and I’m afraid of rejection because of it.  

Almost everyone has fantasies and dreams about a vivid, steamy sex life–even if some may not want to admit it. So, when I moved to New York, a city full of new men and exciting opportunities, I wanted to go further than I ever had in high school. I thought it was because I wanted these things–to fulfill these dreams I had spent far too much time thinking about. But one night, one simple so-called date, changed everything for me. 

A guy invited me to his apartment. Guys have never flirted with me (that I know of), let alone invite me to their homes. So, I was excited. Nervous, but excited. I put on my favorite dress, some glittery eyeshadow, and perfume, thinking that that was gonna be the night–the night I become a real woman.

When I got to his apartment, he immediately took me to his room, locked the door, and turned the lights off. Instantly, I felt scared but continued to tell myself that this was normal–that no one lost their virginity without some nerves. And while that may be true, it wasn’t just nerves for me. It was also fear–fear that I pushed down and ignored. 

We got into his bed and started to watch a movie. Within minutes, he was stroking my leg, slowly working for his hand up my dress and onto my breast. I hated it but didn’t stop him. He started kissing my neck, and before I knew it, we were making out. And I continued to hate it. I so badly wanted to say no to him, but I couldn’t–because I was finally about to fulfill my fantasies, even though they were nothing like I had hoped for. But when he grabbed my underwear and attempted to pull them off, I froze and just said “no.” He stopped and very kindly said, “okay,” but all I wanted to do was run away and never turn back. 

We continued to be somewhat intimate for a few minutes. He kept asking me if I was okay, to which I always answered with a quiet “yep.” At one point, a friend called me, and I excused myself to talk with her in privacy. I told her everything–that I hated it all–and we came up with an excuse to get me out of his apartment. When I told him I was leaving, he knew. I could see in his eyes that he knew I was lying, but he didn’t fight me. He walked me to the door, said goodnight, and even texted me, “I’m so sorry if I made you uncomfortable” after I had already left.

I wanted to blame the whole experience on him–to say that he was aggressive and that he pressured me. But if I’m being honest he did almost everything right (besides the fact that he only invited me over as a hookup when he knew I was looking for a real date, but that’s a whole other conversation of its own). The main problem, once again, was me. I forced myself to do something I was uncomfortable with. I ignored my fear and told myself that to be normal, I had to do those things. 

For days after, and even still now, I have struggled. A lot. I can’t seem to get that night out of my head–the feeling of his hand on my breast and his lips against mine. I have even wound myself up to nausea several times thinking about the scent of his cologne. And even though he was nice, the thought of him has physically pained me, so I blocked him from my phone, hoping that he could be out of my life for good. 

But he’s not, and he never will be. He was my first real kiss (aside from middle school spin the bottle games), and it was the first time a man ever touched me with admiration. And even though he wasn’t my real first time (ya know–for the big thing), he taught me a lot about myself.

I wasn’t ready, and I’m still not. I’m afraid of intimacy, and that’s okay. It keeps me cautious and protects me from potentially dangerous situations. Maybe someday I’ll end up being the forty-year-old virgin, but I think I’d be okay with that as long as I never force myself into something I’m not comfortable with. 

I know I’m not the only person who has experienced something like this, and I’m sure I’m not the last. It’s easy to fall into the trap, as television and movies love to show nights like mine (except their’s ends with some steamy sex, rather than the girl running away). I know my worth and that it goes beyond making a man content through self-sabotage. The worst thing we can do is go too far too soon and resent intimacy–something that we should enjoy–for years to come.

Lucie is currently a freshman majoring in Film & Screen Studies at Pace University in New York City. She was formerly Editor-in-Chief of The Uproar (2020-21), an award-winning online publication based in Pittsburgh, PA.
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