Twenty-Sixth Post: Getting Past Sexual Assault When You Write About Sex

Today is a good day. It’s a strong day for writing. For being comfortable in my own body. For feeling like I can get back to who I was, or evolve into something different. Stronger. 

I wrote a piece for inews.co.uk entitled: I’m A Sex Writer Who Was Sexually Assaulted. I was going to publish anonymously but after a conversation with my editor, who gave me the option to be anonymous or publish under my name, I decided to give my name to it. 

Writing that piece was tough, but ultimately important for me to come to terms with not just what happened, but how it affected my identity as a writer. 

I’m a sex writer. I love it. I love the community of it, the voice I’ve found from it. My unique perspective and the fact that others want to read my words. For months I felt like a fraud because after the assault I completely went off having sex, dating, all of it. I would struggle to pitch articles because my sense of self worth was so low. How could I convince an editor that I was a sex-positive voice and that I deserved to be paid for my opinions? I barely had any left.

I started writing in earnest again after Eroticon. If I was serious about being a sex writer, about getting published I had to keep going – or accept that outlet wasn’t available to me anymore. I made myself do it and things started to feel better. I started to feel better. 

When I told friends I was writing this article they looked at me like I’d lost my mind. But I’ve often been advised that I should write a letter to my attacker telling him how I feel – even if its to burn afterwards, just to get the feelings out. 

I’ve never wanted to do that, address him, give him any of my words. I appreciate that might be a tried and tested method but why would I spend any time doing something I love for someone I feel nothing for anymore? Writing is my strength. My choice.

Writing this article may have been the catharsis I needed. Not that it has definitively helped me to close that chapter of my life, but that it has punctuated the narrative. Writing is my display of strength; my ability to describe and analyse the things I’ve done and the world around me. I am at my strongest, my most eloquent when I’m writing about sex. That moment threatened my ability to write about sex and when I realised that was slipping away from me I felt more vulnerable than the moments I couldn’t re-engage with my sexuality. 

I hope that you read my article and see not a survivor of sexual assault, but a writer who is choosing to describe and analyse her world again, because it is the best decision I have made this year. 
Jenny x

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