Categories
Sexual Assault

The First Time

He was never my boyfriend, but he was my first. We met the first day of new student week, freshmen year. He helped my dad carry all my bags to the third floor of our dorm. He was tall, charming, funny, and incredibly handsome.

As my parents kissed me goodbye, my dad said, “Be careful with that one”, before shaking his hand to thank him again for his help.

He and I became great friends. Not best friends, mind you, but great friends. Our rapport was natural and playful. He was the “brother friend” who would protect me from men by informing me of all his conquests. He respected my independence enough to not attempt to guard my virginity. Instead, he made sure I was informed, sharing the details of his sexual exploits, providing me with a very graphic, sometimes comical, but always informative, sex ed.

He and I became great friends. Not best friends, mind you, but great friends. Our rapport was natural and playful. He was the “brother friend” who would protect me from men by informing me of all his conquests.

By sophomore year, we became “friends”. As we were lying in his bed, watching a movie on his laptop, he looked at me and said, “You know you’re beautiful, right?” The combination of his words, his eyes as he said them, and our shared curiosity brought our lips together. Our kisses were passionate but playful, as though we knew our actions would only increase the strength of our friendship. He was gentle and loving that night, and when we were finished, there was no need for conversation regarding the future of our relationship. We knew we would only ever be friends with the benefits of emotional and physical intimacy.

Throughout our time at college, I could count on him to scratch my itch and vice versa. We called each other any time, day or night, to met the other’s needs. We’d curl up in bed afterwards and cuddle until we fell asleep. There was never an assumed obligation to linger in the morning. I’d often leave before he woke, as would he.

We had an understanding. The only men I dated on campus were his teammates, and in those cases when I considered “hooking up” with one, I’d run his name by my friend first. If they met with his approval, I would know they were safe, fun, and, while not always discreet, respectful.

He always emphasized that I demand and command sexual respect.

Throughout our time at college, I could count on him to scratch my itch and vice versa. We called each other any time, day or night, to met the other’s needs. We’d curl up in bed afterwards and cuddle until we fell asleep.

He painted vivid pictures for me, giving me countless examples of the ways he would dog women. Stories of sexual degradation, women begging, allowing their bodies to be used in ways he saw fit. He would share the intimate and uncomfortable details of their encounters, information that I knew would bring them to tears should they discover I knew.

But he respected me and our sexual relationship. He reassured me that I was not like those women. I was to be respected. So he kept the details of our relationship private. People knew we had a sexual relationship, but never the details. I was his mystery, he said. And as long as no one he knew experienced me in the ways he experienced me, I would remain his mystery alone.

You see, because he was my first, his tastes became my own. His preference for dominance became my preference submission. His desire to see me tied became my desire to be bound. Even then, I knew most would not understand the scope of our relationship, the needs we met for the other. So I kept it secret, even from my best and closest friends.

He respected my need for discretion. I wish he respected that need for other women.

Many of his conquests were my acquaintances. Several were my friends. And I knew these women loved him, longed to be more to him than a casual hookup. They envied my relationship with him, even though he was never my boyfriend.

Our relationship continued throughout our undergraduate careers. I enjoyed his companionship and that I could count on him to love me the way I saw fit.

Senior year. Finals were over and we were in that glorious time before graduation. A time with no obligations. A time of pure freedom.

My phone rang at 2am. “I need your body” is all he said, and I was on my way to his place.

We had an amazing time that night. We knew it would be our last time together for a long time. We were parting ways and would be on opposite sides of the country. We had grown so comfortable together. He was the only man I knew as a dominant. I was the submissive he longed for the most. We enjoyed each other that night, our parting goodbye. It was passionate and playful, like all of our encounters.

And when we finished, we collapsed. Blissfully spent. He held me in his arms and we kissed until we fell asleep.

I woke up around 7 that morning, uncomfortably sore. I was always sore after our times together, but it was always pleasant. As the fog of sleep began to lift, I realized the cause of my discomfort. He was on top of me. Inside of me. I lay there, an object for his use, confused.

This was new and different, though not in a way that excited me. He never used my body like this before. As a masturbatory tool. He never used my body like this before. Without my permission.

I woke around 7 that morning, uncomfortably sore. I was always sore after our times together, but it was always pleasant. As the fog of sleep began to lift, I realized the cause of my discomfort. He was on top of me. Inside of me. I lay there, an object for his use, confused.

As he climaxed, I groaned. He mistook it for a moan, so he kissed my mouth as he withdrew. He removed the condom, wiped down, kissed me again, and said, “You coming to the party tonight, right?” I silently nodded. He left the room to fetch my morning cup of coffee.

I continued to lay in his bed, an object he just used.

Something was off. This time was different. I was conflicted. The nature of our relationship was that I allowed him to use my body, to bring us both pleasure through his dominance. But this was different.

By the time he returned, I was sitting up. Still naked, but alert. He handed me the Hello Kitty coffee mug that he kept at his place, just for me. Black coffee with a teaspoon of honey. My favorite. He knew me so well.

As I drank, he stripped down, climbed in bed, and turned on the TV. We finished watching the Samurai Champloo DVD I let him borrow earlier in the week. I’m good at repression, and pushed that morning’s sexual episode out of my mind. By 9am, he reached over and pinched my left nipple. We had sex again. I didn’t climax, which concerned him, and he asked, “No more orgasms today?” I gave a half smile and we kissed.

I got up and stumbled to the bathroom to shower. When I finished, I came back to his room, clean and still a bit wet, wrapped in a towel. I found the last change of clothes I had at his place.

He walked me to my car, picked me up, kissed me, and said, “See you tonight, B.”

I drove home that morning, wondering if I had been raped.

This is the first in a series of semi-autobiographical essays, written by Bethany Criss-June—a mother wishing to empower and educate her daughter.

By Bethany Criss-June

Bethany is a black woman. She is also a mother and a wife. She advocates and mobilizes around issues affecting black women and girls. Their stories, identities, representations, and overall flyness consume her. There's nothing she wants more in life than to see her daughter successfully navigate black womanhood in America.