“Sometimes I think my body’s forgotten how to feel, or chosen to forget.”

Sometimes I think my body’s forgotten how to feel, or chosen to forget. I don’t remember any more what it feels like to want someone. I think my heart is too scared. It’s frightened of breaking, so it locked itself away.

I love my body. I think it’s beautiful, and resilient. It heals itself, and it makes it possible for me to make it through endless nights at work. It puts up with my smoking. But sometimes it feels like no one else will ever love it again. I don’t mean the guys at work who look me up and down, or end conversations with, “You’ve got great tits, by the way”, or who put their hands on me. Those men don’t love my body. They don’t want to revel in my body, to lick the sweat from my skin and the blood from my cunt and find joy in the way it makes me shiver. And sometimes I’m scared that no one will love my body the way he did. Like that man who didn’t love me as much as he loved drugs. The first man who didn’t just not mind fucking me if I was bleeding, but who’d put his face between my legs and make me come, and kiss me with my blood on his lips. Who loved the hair under my arms, who would inhale its scent and lick the sweat from me while he fucked me. The first man who loved all of my body, and who didn’t make any part of my womanhood seem disgusting, or something to put up with. He was the twenty-third man I slept with.

I haven’t seen him in a year, except awkwardly, in the smoking areas of clubs. He was wrong for me and I don’t want him now. But his existence reminds me of everything I’m scared I won’t find again. I’m scared that when he broke my heart, he made me lock it away against my will. I’ve forgotten what it feels like for my body to want someone, really want them, because wanting means risking disappointment. Wanting means eventual betrayal, and broken hearts. Wanting leads to sadness.

And so sex is something I want in an abstract way. Sometimes I have sex because it’s there, because I want to feel skin on mine and arms around me and a cock inside me. My body wants sex but it doesn’t want them. I hardly remember what it feels like to look across a room at someone and just ache with wanting them. I’m scared to let sex make me feel something that isn’t physical, because my feelings are so dangerous. I long to be able to share my body again in a mutual way, to want his pleasure as much as I want my own, to look into someone’s eyes instead of keeping mine shut or looking away because somehow, eye contact is more intimate than fucking. My body is scared to feel because my heart doesn’t want to break.

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