*** Trigger warning. This is an emotional piece which I wont apologise for. If this can help any girls and women out there, I’ll write 1000 more like this. Also, please note that it is NOT my intention to men bash or assume that all men behave this way. In actual fact, this isn’t about men. This is about our society; our patriarchal constructs, social media, and lack of acknowledging the depth of women’s struggles post sexualisation ***

I’m a woman in my forties raised in an era where sexual misconduct, sexual abuse, or sexual expectations were a norm. Compared to my peers, I’m goddamn lucky. I wasn’t raped at gun point, I wasn’t threatened, and I wasn’t made to have sex for food, money, or shelter.

And yet, I was one of many, groped by men like it was normal, expected to have sex to get the reward of a cuddle, or didn’t want to be intimate but allowed it to avoid abuse of any kind…

Sounds stupid, doesnt it?

Even *I* shake my head and wonder how the hell professional women wouldn’t have clearer boundaries, self-worth, and self-love. HOW does a woman wake up so broken she forgets her worth in the blink of an eye, just because her social constructs, her history, and her formative years have all screamed one thing:

Women are there to please men. They’re there for their sexual pleasure. Or just as bad; they need to use sex to get some emotional connection. Anything to feel loved, right? A cuddle for the price of an ejaculation.

Sounds like a tag line. I wonder how many women are reading this and getting it. Truly getting it.

Forgive my French, but that’s one fucked up mentality, which I am going to work my goddam hardest to shift in myself and in the young women and women I work with.

Let me tell you a story that happened this week. To keep this confidential to who it happened to, I won’t tell you whether it happened to me, my sister, my daughter, or my friend, but it happened, and I feel it deep in my heart. Why am I sharing this with you? Because we can’t change what we don’t acknowledge, so I will acknowledge it, for all my sisterhood and from today, we will take these experiences and turn them into lessons. Together. Ones that will turn us into beautiful, strong, and resilient butterflies. And so brace yourself for this story, it’s not a big deal. No one dies. It’s simply one of many I want to talk about today.


A girl we shall call Sheridan, wakes up happy after receiving a message from a guy who has shown interest on an online dating platform. On paper, he’s amazing. Driven, respectful, stable, and caring. They exchange messages for a couple of days; about life, hopes for the future, compatibility… It seems like the perfect match, doesn’t it?

After a few days of being so comfortable, they start chatting ‘sexy’. Nothing wrong with that. They’re both consenting adults. They have fun. But before she knows it, all their conversations have taken on a sexual turn. She likes the attention so she overlooks the core values that drive her. She fails to see that she actually has never been liked or wanted for her brain, her conversation, or her heart. She ignores the fact that she’s learnt very early on that men gravitate towards her for two reasons; sex, or to get their lives in order. Either way, it’s never free. They want or need something from her.

Sheridan wants more from their little fling, but after a few days of only adult fun, it all seems shaky to balance things out. I mean, after all, he could lose interest if she loses her purpose, so she doesn’t. She kids herself in thinking that’s intimacy. Connection. Something.

When he offers to meet, she gets excited. He’s so kind, playful, interesting… Understanding even when she shows some ambivalence at meeting at his house despite all online dating rules. “It’s different,” she thinks, “He can’t leave the house for X reason.” She turns up, and he’s pretty good. Good conversation for about 20 mns. Offers her a drink. Even hugs her.

There is the ultimate connection she wanted.

But she doesn’t bank on the fact that he didn’t invite her for a hug. There’s a job at hand, sister. It’s time for his reward.

Within 30 minutes of her being in the place, she’s flat on her back and it’s on. Not bad, it’s consensual through the three rounds, he looks after her, even walks her to her car and texts her to make sure she got home almost an hour away.

So far, so good. She’s almost convinced that there could be a relationship. And OMG…. maybe next time they’ll even cuddle in bed…

When he messages her that night, her heart flutters. Even bigger flutters the next morning when he tells her she was beautiful and he wants so much more of her.

Yep. Definitely romance potential, girlfriends!!

And then, it shifts a little. But we’re all busy. Like gets in the way, nothing that can be helped. She misses the warm and fuzzy. She misses the idea of being wanted, but you know what, she knows better than reading into this. So far so good. Not all is lost.

When they agree to meet again, same place since he can’t leave for the same reason, she’s excited. He promised cuddles!!! Finally, the good bits, and maybe next visit will be an actual date, she hopes. A beach walk sounds perfect.

She goes to buy a skirt. She even wears a brand new matching set of underwear. She puts lip gloss and perfume on. She’s ready for her damn cuddle.

A forty-five minute drive later, she arrives to his place. Right off the bat, the unit is dark, other than his bedroom light. A pinch of disappointment niggles at her, but that’s okay because there’s a reason, right? The door closes behind her, and he strips. Literally strips. Her clothes are taken off, tossed on the floor, the invisible tags on the new stuff laughing about their lack of effort. They don’t get a look at. She could have turned up in a plastic bag, the effect would have been the same.

She wants to slow things down. Maybe even leave. But her brain laughs hysterically and says “And where the hell do you think you’re gonna go??? Shut up now and don’t piss him off because it will just be worse.”

So she pretends she’s okay with it. Not the first time. Not the last. Actually, scratch that. It will be the last if it kills her.

Instantly, he puts a condom on. “You’re already wet,” he says. No need for foreplay. No kissing. And definitely no fucking cuddles. And it’s on. Sex, in its primal form happens. She’s not complaining. As far as sex is concerned, it’s fine.

Despite the somewhat good connection, there’s quite a bit to still learn about each other, so in their nakedness, the learning plan is rushed. She scrapes her nails on his back, gently, but he tells her to stop. She doesn’t hear, because she’s actually trying to process the adrenaline freezing her. She hears the second time though, when he raises his voice.

Her body flinches, her mind growing blank. “You should have heard the first time,” she thinks. “Your fault.”

Round 1 is over. They roll over, their breaths rapid. She asks for water. He tells her there’s some water on the bedside table. She turns over and grabs the half empty plastic bottle and takes a sip, not sure who drank out of it before, or how long it’s been there. Now, in a relationship, that would have been fine. In this context, she ignores the feeling that he didn’t prepare for her. Not with the water. Not with the bed in complete disarray as she walked in ten minutes ago.

“It’s fine,” she scolds herself. “Who do you think you are? A princess???”

They talk for a little while, and it’s a little comfort. There’s a little connection. She feels like she’s somewhat of a person. They talk kids, food, and movies. A couple of times, his tone is…. annoyed? Tired? Cold? She really can’t tell, all she knows is the no cuddle policy is in full blast.

She snuggles against the pillow, imagining what it would be like if this was him, though by then her frontal lobe shakes its head and challenges her. “But will it ever be him, you think? or your desperation to have a connection?”

He moves closer, her heart gets slightly excited… CUDDLES???? He puts his head against her chest, and right when she wraps her hand around his back, his hand travels to her nipples and… nope. Girl, your wishlist is growing by the second. Instead, it’s round 2, and she disconnects a little. She doesn’t even feel beautiful anymore. At least the first round, she did. Somewhat.

Job done, his clothes back on. He checks the time and tells her tomorrow’s a busy day. She takes the hint, gets dressed in a rush, and walks herself back to her car. She sits in there before she drives off, and sits even longer in her driveway when she gets home 45 minutes later.

This time, there’s no text asking if she got home, nor an early text the next morning.

Nothing but Silence.

Like all cold, meaningless, worthless hookups.

All there is is the clear emptiness she felt all her life. It’s as true the sun waking up that morning, and as true as all the messages she’s heard forever.

You’re too weird to be loved

Only someone with half a brain would handle you

You’re boring and no one in their right mind would settle

A woman without sex appeal is not a woman

Where’s the evidence? Not in her multiple qualifications. Not in her achievements. Not in the way she spends her life trying to be helpful.

No, instead it’s in all the men who entered her life and used her, in the social media bullshit she’s learnt from, and the patriarchal society she was raised in where getting sleezy attention was better than none.

She stares at her phone, knowing she should call it a day. Maybe even block him. And yet, a small part of her waits for a text. A word. A lie.

Anything to confirm that she’s worthwhile to someone- Until she squares her shoulders and imagines herself telling the world to fuck off, because today is the first day the new her is born.

She smiles, shows gratitude for the lesson, and gives herself her own damn cuddle.


If you’re still with me reading, thank you. If you think this is dramatised, think again. This is a step by step replay of a true event. It’s a good one. The guy was overall nice and cool. No one got hurt. But, I’m telling you, these are common.

How do we change it? We need to build self-worth, self-love, self-confidence in ourselves and our girls. We start by standing together and acknowledging that women have lived this curse for decades, and like any intergenerational trauma, it will take time to undo.

Here are a few pointers:

  • Don’t own the shame. Tell others, because once you do, you externalise the issue and can process what went wrong
  • Don’t blame yourself. Relationships should be two ways. As much as women should be able to consent, both men and women should check for implied consent. In the body language just as much as the verbal language
  • Observe your strengths and skills. Check out all that you’ve achieved or done for others. You are worthwhile, no matter what your strengths are.
  • You are beautiful. Put this in your head!! Whether you are 20 or 50. Whether you are overweight or athletic. We’re all guilty of it to an extent, but the sooner we accept that no one will love something that hates themselves, the faster things will change. If I think I’m weird and a social outcast (and I am), how will a guy jump up and down and say “Yay! Give me a weirdo and a social outcast!” Right? Work in progress for me clearly haha
  • Set boundaries. Make them concrete and clear. ie I will not meet at the house unless I want to be intimate. Saves finding yourself in this situation and not knowing what to do.
  • Be clear with yourself on what *you’re* after. You can’t decide for the other person, but you sure can decide for yourself.
  • Choose what you will tolerate from the other person ahead. If helps practice what to do when facing it.
  • Do not start a relationship from a sexual point of view (unless you are making a conscient decision to go there- which is fine). Consider how your actions (sending sexy photos or whatever to entice) sets a precedent.
  • Teach your daughters their worth. Sexuality is fluid and one night stands are fine. Fun even, IF this is something they’ve chosen!! As opposed to accepting because they think it’s the only way they’ll get attention
  • Read the guide to Life as a Couple and Unlock Your Resilience. You can borrow them from the library for free. If you can’t find them or can’t afford them, let me know and I’ll get you kindle copies for free.
  • Meet lots of people before you get zoned in on one. Having options, friendships, and discussions will help you work out true compatibility.
  • Get a buddy system or a accountability friend you can talk to about your decisions and movements. It will help you know in your heart how you truly feel about x, y, Z.
  • Get support. Whether professionally or through friends, talking about it, reframing your thoughts, and planning a ‘next’ time better can go a long way. I’d love to work with you. I know therapy is costly, but again, if you cant afford it and need to talk about this specific topic, I’ll bulk bill you for three sessions as my way of healing the sisterhood as much as I can. it might not change your life, but it might be a good way to start you on your way.

Now, this is second blog I write that’s emotionally charged. Again, sorry, not sorry. If you need to become familiar with my personal boundaries statement, you can access it from here. I am an authentic professional. While I respect the therapists who choose not to share anything about them, I’m from a school that believes that being a human helps humans more, so there you are.

Remember self care is vital. For every single of one us. I feel on top of the world having written this, because I leave feeling empowered and renewed in my convictions. I want the same for you, so please, leave a comment, send me a message, go on my social media and show me how you will self care and nurture yourself into the beautiful person that you were born to be.

In resilience and self-worth,


Couple counselling, couples therapy, sexology

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