My views on sex are fairly liberal. I make no judgments about others’ sexual preferences or activity within the realms of personal consent and safety (yeah guys, let your freak flag fly).
My own sexual interactions are slightly more reserved and I have always had considerable apprehensions about one night stands in particular. Call me a romantic but sex = love, right? I’m kidding, but I was/am not nearly as promiscuous as I would like people to believe.
At the beginning of this year, I found myself in a bit of a boy rut. No one was grabbing my attention and I was exceedingly jealous of my girlfriends’ free summer lovin’. So to shake things up I assertively decided to have a one-night stand. One gloriously warm evening, I drank some vodka, put on my red lipstick, chose my victim and slaughtered him like a lamb. God, I wish.
Much to my dismay, I got pregnant. I was newly 21 with no job, house, savings, or significant other. Keeping the baby did not seem like a viable option, not to mention the copious amount of sashimi I had consumed whilst I was unknowingly pregnant. An abortion, though, was not something I had prepared for.
I acknowledge that I fully appreciate that every woman’s experience with abortions will differ. For me, the physical rehabilitation was the most time- and energy-consuming. I never felt an emotional bond to either the father or the embryo but the association between sex and the physically agonising post-abortion pain I endured was far too profound.
The thought of sex repulsed me and led to a series of invasive and aggressively violent imagery, the content of which need not be disclosed. In short, it was no longer a pleasurable, carefree recreational pursuit but instead the source of much anxiety and discomfort.
Unlike the other post-abortion anxieties (should I tell the father? Will my parents disown me? etc.), mine could not be overcome by the love and time of my nearest and dearest; this one required another willing party with a penis. Sorry to all you hopeless romantics out there, but my sexually broken self was not saved by a handsome prince on a white stallion.
However, I did meet someone. Taking a gentle approach, we dated for a while, and only after an awkwardly sober wander around Vivid, an unexpected library ambush and Grill’d followed by some expensive whisky did we finally kiss. A little later when we stopped seeing each other, I was not left with an unwanted pregnancy and obligatory friend request on Facebook but some lovely memories and a definite improvement in terms of sexual confidence.
I never broached the subject of my abortion with him for a variety of (to my mind, valid) reasons. I believed that if he had known he would have felt far more responsible and accountable for his actions and probably would have felt obliged to tiptoe around me as if one false move would cause me to shatter into a million pieces.
In truth, there were times while in his company that I felt that vulnerable but the cause of my discomfort was no fault of his, just the remnants of a time passed. Also, and rather selfishly, there is an unparalleled satisfaction in the independent conquest of your own personal demons but it would be disingenuous to not acknowledge his kind heart and subtle sexual prowess.
So, ladies and gents, enjoy yourself, be sexually outrageous, but do not in your desire for all things kinky forget that sex was made for babies and abortions are not a safety net option. Unlike the morning after pill, which causes mild discomfort and a slightly heavier period, an abortion forces you to make a decision about another life and places your body under substantial stress, both of which are not easily overcome or forgotten.
And finally, look after one another. Call me old-fashioned but if we could all just chill out on the whole one-night stand obsession we’ve got going on and actually just enjoy each other’s company first, maybe when the condom does break or you discover that you have contracted an STD, you will, just out of mutual respect, notify the other participating party/ies.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not encouraging strictly monogamous, emotionally strenuous relationships at our tender age but we could definitely find a happy medium somewhere. I think I’ve reached that happy medium but only after enduring some physical extremes and making some difficult choices. So learn from my mistakes, and do not be sexually negligent.