(TW: Self Harm)
This is actually probably one of the hardest posts that I've ever had to sit down and write, and I find that truly bizarre because both sex and self harm are topics that I'm comfortable talking about - but them together has always been an issue for me and I feel strange talking about it, vulnerable and more bare than I've ever really felt in the past. This is an ugly topic, it really is - it's uncomfortable and it makes people feel odd - but I also know that I'm not the only one who has issues regarding both sex and self harm, and so I'm pushing through and talking anyway. I just don't really know where to start with this, but I'm going to try. It might be a real brain dump to be honest, but bear with me.
Writing this feels strange - more strange than when I'm talking about cutting or burning myself. The scars of that are written on my skin, but this has definitely been something that was easier to push aside, easier to deny and argue. Sex was a huge part of my self harm - and it always has been, and it's only recently that I found that this really isn't all that uncommon. Meaningless sex, risky sex and putting yourself in unsafe positions are all fairly common within people who show self harming tendencies - and I'm no different. It was harder to talk about than physically hurting myself; it's hard to say "I feel so awful I've put myself in an unsafe position" because to everyone outside, the obvious answer is just don't be there, don't put yourself in that position, leave.
Meaningless, risky and unsafe sex makes me feel more in control. In the same way as physically hurting myself puts me in danger but also makes me feel safer, so does having sex with people that I shouldn't, avoiding using safe words when I know that I should, taking risks with unprotected sex every now and again. It's unhealthy, it's a habit I've had to break and it's been every bit as difficult as breaking my habit of physically hurting myself. In fact, more so, because I had to first be willing to admit this one to myself. It was hard, and it was something that I'd done since I was 16 - it's been a real change and there are nights I want to text the numbers of people in my phone and fall back into those habits, but I haven't yet.
In some ways - this has been a much harder habit to break than the rest of my self harm habits. This has meant saying no to people I really like, it's meant choosing selectively who I turn to to help me when I'm down and it's meant cutting people out through no fault of theirs. It's meant I need to practise what I preach, learn to be okay with saying safewords, it's meant I need to carry round condoms if I'm having sex with boys and it's meant that, for me personally, sex has become more selective. I'm okay with that, it's been a journey.
So like I said, maybe this is a brain dump - but the last few weeks out of a relationship have made this harder than ever, and it's something that I don't see many people talking about as a self harm behaviour, even though it's actively recognised as one medically. Working towards recovery is so much more beneficial than risking your life on the regular, in my opinion anyway.