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Understanding sexuality after r*pe and to tell boyfriend?

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    TW: R*pe

    Hi, female here,

    I've been struggling with my sexuality for a while. I slept with a girl when I was drunk 3 years ago, it was my first fully sexual experience with a woman, besides kissing girls on nights out sometimes. I never really thought anything of the kissing until I slept with the woman because it was just a bit of fun. I felt anxious around sleeping with her just because I didn't want to have to experience negativity from others or them to judge me as I have always identified as straight.

    Shortly after, I got into a relationship with my long-term boyfriend, and within a short period after, I was raped by a stranger (male).

    I think now, 3 years on, I have been healing from being attacked, but as the encounter with the woman, getting into a relationship with a man and being attacked all occurred within a short period of time, I feel I've never really been able to think about or understand my sexuality, as after the attack, I started to feel shame surrounding all of my previous sexual encounters. A lot of my trauma and PTSD is within this time so I know I have to take it easy on myself, but I think I'm at the stage where I can start to try to understand my sexuality now.

    I've told my boyfriend I'm straight (however, I'm really not bothered about labels), I don't think he will be bothered at all if I came out as Pan. I don't want to tell him that I had sex with a woman, but I know if I did that it wouldn't affect our relationship in any way. But because I don't want to tell him about the woman, I think it would seem out of the blue to come out as pan? I'm still not really sure if I am pan. I am physically attracted to women, but emotionally and sexually attracted to men.

    I know that I definitely have some attraction to women, and I don't feel shame around that now. I guess maybe I'm seeking some validation that you don't always have to "come out". It's not a sign of shame to not want to shout it from the rooftops? I'm very private with my sex life and who I have slept with under the "straight" label, so I don't have to tell everyone I am pan and slept with a woman?
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    Hello hm7884

    My name is Monsoon and I’m one of the digital support mentors here at Ditch the Label and my role is to give advice and support to people who reach out to us. Thank you for sharing your story with us. I am sorry to hear that you were assaulted, and I hope that the person was arrested for their crime. You’ve been through a lot, and as you said, so much happened around the same time which must have been hard to get your head around. How are you doing? I hope you have a good support network around you. We are here for you too.

    It’s important to think about what you said about the need to come out. I think that it’s different for everyone. Some people choose to not tell people about a certain aspect of their sexuality for their own reasons. Doing what I do here at Ditch, I would say that if you can and if it feels like the right thing to do, then be open about this part of yourself. When people decide to not tell others, they can have a sense of shame about that part of their sexuality which can be an emotional struggle. What do you think?

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