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Barrysmith
I love my girlfriend, but ever since she told me about her childhood secret I've found it hard to cope.

We are both in our 30s, but when she was about 7 she used to hang out with an older teenager. She expressed to me that she was lonely at that time in her life and wanted to be closer to him, she had an innocent childhood crush. However, he somehow convinced her to give him oral sex in his house. It wasn't a one off either, she recalls it happening on several occasions, although she can't remember how many times. She also recalls that he would give her a fruit drink to cover up the smell afterwards, which makes me think that he ejaculated.

I know logically that she is the victim of abuse here. But the thought of her giving "regular" oral sex to a man at that age creates a nasty image in my mind. She describes the event(s) as a type of rape, but in my mind I see her going to him house to repeat the act over and over. I know I am blowing it out of proportion, but the image is awful.

To make matters worse, she loves giving me oral sex. It's as if she is addicted to it which makes it harder to let go of the images of her when she was 7.

I want to be free to love my girlfriend without these images. She's a lovely person. She's very loyal and has never slept around. She's suffered the trauma of this memory for many years. I've spoken with her about it but it's impossible to say how I really feel. She is the victim so she would (rightly) be horrified if I said that I think a 7 year old should have known better.

Should a 7 year old know better?
Am I a terrible person for questioning this?
What can I do to move on?
Mata
Hi,

Wow, that's a very big set of questions.

I guess we can try to talk about them one by one...

>Should a 7 year old know better?
Nope. I think this one is pretty clear. Some 7 year olds might have some idea that what they're doing isn't really right, but that's really too much to expect. Mental and cognitive development is still racing forwards at this point, and sexuality is rarely physically expressed until a few years later (or quite a few depending on the person and whether they are physically male or female).

Many people have an idea of the gender(s) that they find attractive at that age, and like some people more than others, but this is not shaped into any form that would be considered similar to an adult's conception of sexuality. Of course, humans are wildly varied, and so ridiculously rare exceptions might exist, but I would assume those are in very different social contexts and societies. By typical, everyday standards, no a 7 year old really won't know that this isn't appropriate. A 7 year old doesn't have sufficient knowledge of their actions to be responsible for this kind of abuse and the teenager should absolutely not have allowed, encouraged, requested, and repeated their behaviour.

This is not like rape - that is rape. It is the penetration of the body of a person who has not consented to it (in this case because she was not legally capable of having consenting to sex due to her age) - that it was oral sex is irrelevant. US law is particularly well phrased on this subject because it was recently rewritten so that anal rape of men could be included, forced oral sex, etc.

>Am I a terrible person for questioning this?
It's natural for people to worry about people that they love. Your partner was abused in the past, but this is a sadly common experience. Very many people, women especially but also men, have some experience of sexual assault in their lives. You are going to have to come to terms with that, but start from the point that she was the victim - a 7 year old cannot give informed consent to sex. This was something done to her.

>What can I do to move on?
It is hard to get images out of your mind when they trouble you; however, it sounds like your partner is enjoying her sex life with you, and so she is moving on. It's going to be part of her life forever, but just as rape victims can still get pleasure from consenting sex at other times, so she can also still enjoy a normal, healthy sex life with a variety of activities. It is hard to move on when you know terrible things were done to a person you love, but those things were in the past, and with hard work and a little luck you will have a long and happy future together.

Everyone has a past - I've had a few sexual partners, and so has my partner. Some people I have dated have had less than me, some have had more, some have been abused too, and in ways that upset me to think about. That is life. It's a sad thing sometimes, but it is wonderful too that we can rebuild and create new futures together. Try to focus on that. Go make some awesome memories together.
Barrysmith
Mata,

Thank you for your comment, you have helped me a lot. I just find it hard to think of it as rape because she went to his house and performed the act on him. Understandably she didn't know it was wrong because of her age but I would find it easier to deal with it if she was forced to do it. She admits she was not forced. Ugh. Just leaves a sick feeling in my stomach. I want to be angry and tell her "how could you do it" but I also know she was too young to know better. It's eating me up and I am very turned off when she wants to give me oral sex now because I see the images in my mind of her with him. But thank you for your words and I am trying to deal with it.
Mata
I know one tip for getting rid of images you don't want. Roughly summarised, it goes like this:

Imagine the scene vividly in your mind, visuals, full colour, sound, anything you can add...

Then turn it black and white...

Make the sound crackly, like it was record a hundred years ago...

Put scratches on it, like it's an old film projected onto a wall...

Turn down that sound, so it's just a rickety old silent movie...

Let the picture deteriorate...

Shrink the silent picture...

When that picture is just a tiny dot, begin to pull red velvet curtains across, like in a theatre...

Imagine the world of life around the theatre, life going on as the curtains get closer to the tiny dot...

Just before the curtains shut for good, you see the tiny dot fade away.

Sometimes I have to repeat this once a day with things that have been stuck in my mind for a long time, but personally I've found this has helped me a couple of times.

So...

Being angry with her for her innocence won't help, and it's good you are aware of that. Every day this goes further in the past for her. Make each new day better with her and leave that past behind - she has to do it (and sounds like she has to a large extent) so join her and try your best to live in the present. Make some new memories together, go and do new things, go on trips to new places, explore the world, and have fun.
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