Warning: this will probably be rather emotional, highly intense, and really personal. If you don't want to deal with it, move on.

A living sex toy is, for a number of years, how I defined myself. I never had many friends when I was really little. From the ages of, approximately, 7 or 8 until about 13, I was alone a lot without many friends. My best friend, my only friend, really, was a guy named Jason. He was about 4 to 5 years older than me. I knew him because his grandmother would babysit me. When I was about 8 or 9, we started having sleepovers.

One night, when I was about 10(a lot of details are fuzzy), he suggested we play doctor. I agreed, partly because I didn't know what I was agreeing to. Nothing much was said about it the next day. But it was a start. From there, we progressed, him always leading the way through the joys of masturbation, fellatio, and finally, when I was face-down crying into my pillow from pain, sodomy. I became, to Jason, little better than a breathing blow-up doll. This continued for the better part of 3 years.

I remember odd little things about this time, like the fact that Jason only kissed me once, that I had to beg for him to hold me, and that during three years I had one orgasm from all our... encounters, for lack of a better term. And that was the last time we were together.

The end came, no pun intended, when Jason turned 18 and realized he could go to jail for a very long time for what he was doing to me. I've seen him once since that time, and I'm not sure how I react if I saw him again now. I'd like to believe that I'd be mature and calm, but I can't rule out the possibility that I'd do something really unpleasant.

After the last time I saw Jason, I didn't really have sex again for over 3 years, until my freshman year of college. That spring I met with a guy from IRC who used me to get off and then left, never to speak to me again.

That started a pattern I'm still struggling to break, 3 years later. A big part of my identity was formed around the idea that if I could cause someone else to experience pleasure, then I must not be a waste of oxygen. Any pleasure I received was, of course, secondary, if it mattered at all. Sex was a bad, but available, substitution for the intimacy I craved.

Another interesting by-product of Jason's tender care is my choice in partners. As long as someone found me attractive and didn't stink too badly, I'd sleep with them. And my first boyfriend illustrates this perfectly. I was 17. He was 15, and a bisexual anarchic Satanist. He was also physically and emotionally and mentally abusive. Fun, eh?

Even though I've recognized these patterns of behavior, I still break sometimes. I'll find someone on IRC or gay.com and hook up and have tawdry, rather risky sex. A recent scare about my HIV status is certainly going to help break that cycle, but it's not easy. When I'm naked with someone, it's very easy to pretend that they know me, that they care about me, and that I don't need to hate myself. But that's not healthy, and I want to get better, damn it.

In the long term, things *are* improving. Two years ago, I was diagnosed with major depression and partially diagnosed with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. I was put on Zoloft, which helped take the edge off things. I'm starting to believe that I do have worth as a human being.

Oddly enough, I don't truly hate Jason for what he did to me. As part of the process of healing, I had to come to some conclusions about how he treated me, and among other things I decided that his primary sin was of negligence. He didn't hold active malice against me, he just didn't give a shit. But now, I have friends that *do* give a shit. And I'm starting to care about me, too.

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