When my boyfriend of over seven years and I started dating, I was really gung-ho about having sex. I’d had sex once before and it was excruciating, but my partner at the time was really understanding. It was me who pushed for it despite the pain and the utter bloody mess I was afterward. With my current boyfriend, I was the first initiator, but I still couldn’t have sex without it hurting terribly bad. I’d fake orgasms so that I could end it without causing a fuss or making a scene. Within our first year of dating, I was pressured into having sex pretty much every time after the first few, and I just didn’t have the language to stand up for myself (I was 17-18). On two occasions, he pouted so much and just wouldn’t accept that I said no.

We’re still together, and our relationship is a lot different. I’ve been able to speak up for myself more, and even though I still struggle with the pain, I’ve never felt like I had to give in to sex that I didn’t want.

The problem is, I don’t know how to deal with what happened, particularly with those times I feel I was coerced. I’m still with the same man, and I love him deeply. I feel like I can’t talk about it. Like if it was a big enough deal, I wouldn’t still be with him. I am afraid of the judgement of my own character, like how could I stay or let this happen more than once? Further, I don’t even know how to talk to him about it. Will it just put a rift between us? Will it make me feel better?