I think my boyfriend raped me, without knowing really. We’ve been sexually active for a while, and sort of have a routine. When we actually got to the “sex” part of the routine though I changed my mind and told him to stop. He did, and like cuddled me and comforted me and stuff, and when I relaxed he sort of picked back up where we left off. I didn’t know how to tell him to stop again. I don’t feel comfortable in a sexual situation with him anymore, what do I do? Should I tell him? How?
What do you want to do? Do you still want to be in a relationship with him? You should be able to trust and feel safe with your partner. Is this something you think can be regained in your relationship? Unfortunately, these are questions you have to answer for yourself.
If you do want to be with him, then I think the best thing to do is to talk about this with him. Tell him that you are uncomfortable with what happened. That if you say you don’t want to have sex, that doesn’t mean, ‘but maybe I want to have it in ten minutes.’ It means, ‘I don’t want to have sex and you shouldn’t push me.’ If you do want to have sex a while later, you can initiate that yourself, and he should wait until he gets the clear signal from you to go ahead. The absence of NO is not a clear signal to proceed.
Is there any reason you didn’t feel comfortable telling him to stop a second time? To be clear, I don’t in any way put blame on you for not doing that—you said it once and he should have respected it. I’m just asking because I think this is something you should talk about too. You said he comforted you—I’m not sure if this is implying that you didn’t want to have sex because something was triggering you. If that’s the case then I think you can mention that when something has triggered you, you do not want sexual activity—and all your energy is focused on dealing with being triggered—you should not have to fend off your boyfriend while doing that. He should be there for you, helping you. Even if you weren’t triggered, he has to know how to read you in a situation like this. He should be reading your body language and checking in with you to see if you’re both on the same page. Consent isn’t only verbal! All partners should be doing this, but since your boyfriend isn’t, can you tell him how he can recognize your signs? What are the things you do that let him know you are enthusiastically into it? He needs to think about those things so he knows that when he doesn’t see them, there’s a problem.
And lastly, we don’t owe continued relationships to anyone, not even people that love us. If you can’t trust him, if he doesn’t listen to you in this discussion and support you, if he doesn’t get better at checking in for consent, you do not have to stay in this relationship. It’s okay if you still feel uncomfortable. It’s okay if you don’t want to date him. Please do what feels best for you, and take care of yourself.