When I was 16 I tried having sex for the first time, and I was surprised by how excruciatingly painful it was. I knew it would hurt at first, that’s what everyone said anyways, but I never imagined it would feel like serrated knives between my legs, like fresh rope burn, like a ring of fire that burned for days afterwards. It was so painful it traumatized me – I wouldn’t speak to my boyfriend after that, we broke up, and I fell into a deep depression which I couldn’t truly share with anyone. Years passed before I would allow anyone to touch me, so scared was I of the consequences. At the same time, I yearned to be like everyone else and I pretended none of this was that big of a deal. I told myself I would get over it, that I just hadn’t met the right person, that I should wait until I was older to be having sex anyways. I was very depressed, the psychological toll of chronic pain was devastating. Because of the taboo around talking about sex, or having anything wrong with my “private area”, it would be years before I sought and received proper treatment.
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