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I'm a Women's Reporter covering gender issues, activism and sexual violence for HuffPost. My beat includes reporting on sexism, sexual violence and feminism in entertainment, sexism in politics, high-profile sexual assault cases, sex workers' rights, sexual abuse in sports, and other systemic issues including violence against women, America's rape kit backlog and abortion rights. Recently, I've covered the Larry Nassar sexual abuse case, the perspectives of his survivors and the subsequent reckonings of USA Gymnastics and Michigan State University. Between Nassar, Bill Cosby and the recent #MeToo movement, the voices of sexual assault survivors and our cultural perspectives on sexual violence has never been more important. I'm happy to answer questions about these topics or any related ones!
EDIT: This AMA has ended — thank you all for your thoughtful questions!
I’m 23, work full time, live on my own, and am getting my PhD. I haven’t had a serious boyfriend ever, just casual dating. And I am totally fine with that. But nobody else is.
All of my relatives and friends are CONSTANTLY trying to set me up. Everywhere we go, it’s “look there’s a cute guy go talk to him!” What?!? I’m sorry but why the hell would I approach some random person in the grocery store and try to flirt? I know nothing about him and he’s not there to pick up women. Plus I’m HAPPY.
My moms the worst. She’ll outright ask strangers in public if they’d want to date me/think I’m cute. She’s constantly trying to set me up with ANY man who will listen. She recently tried to get me to date her coworkers son who’s 19 and lives three hours away (and honestly, seems extremely ugly and rude from his Facebook).
I’m so so tired of people assuming I’m unhappy because I’m not in a romantic relationship. That’s all. I needed to vent. Thanks for reading.
*obligatory “this blew up” edit. I can’t believe how many people are saying “men get this too!” I’m sure that’s true. But I’m a woman, surrounded by women who do this to other women, so I wouldn’t know. You can share that experience without being upset that this post, made in TWOXCHROMOSOMES, is geared to women.
Incoming rant. Apologies for the grammar, and thank you for taking the time to read this:
It was a long and hellacious process to get this order set in place. After many continuances and hours spent in front of a judge it was finally granted.
I felt so much relief and felt I could finally start moving on with my life. Then I receive and an email from my lawyer that you are appealing the order.
I know that you very well know there is no way in hell you will be able to appeal this. I know you are doing this to make my life harder and throw more legal fees at me. Because of you I am afraid to be in my own home at night. Afraid that you are coming for me.
I am trying not to hate you with every fiber of my being because I don’t want to carry that around with me. I just want you to leave me alone. I want to try and pick up my life and move on. I don’t want to see you and I can’t bear the thought of sitting in another court room with you for hours going over everything you did to me.
I want this to stop.
I just want to preface this by saying I’m not looking for advice since I will only be employed with this company for 7 more weeks. I just really need support and to rant.
** I do discuss my harassment experiences that may be triggering
I work in a warehouse/production floor which, as you can guess, is full of of young dudes; and I knew that going in but the sheer amount of inappropriate attention I got was way more overwhelming than I ever expected. I only work seasonally during summer and Christmas time (I’m a college student) and I’ve been there for 3 years (starting at age 19). In that time I have:
had every single dude stare at my ass with no shame. Some would even poke at other dudes to tell them to look when I got up or walked around.
2 of them have physically touched my ass. One pinned me against a door while I was opening it ahead of him and the other would tell our manager he needed my help (he didn’t) so that he could pinch and poke me all day. I would also get my ass slapped with packing materials when I worked in packaging.
I have been told that I would make a great stripper and one guy wanted to take me to a strip club with him. (I was 19 at the time he was 28)
one guy would repeatedly tell me how big his dick was and how I’d be too small for him.
ANOTHER dude made a joke about how if we fucked I’d be ruined forever cause his dick is so big.
-The youngest one (18) asked me out EVERY DAY for a MONTH. I finally relented and went to his house to hang out (with another person I trusted and his parents were home) but when that person stepped out he tried to force himself on me.
-one dude would sneak up on me, take a pic without me knowing and send it to me like a fucking stalker.
I draw a lot and one guy said that the girl I doodled was hot even tho it was obviously me (she was in the outfit I was wearing) he then asked me if I drew porn.
I was given the nicknames “sexy legs” and “Harley Quinn”
And finally (this isn’t sexual harassment but it was due to my gender) I would get a sarcastic “sir, yes sir” or “yes my queen” when I told the two guys under my management what to do (aka my job) and it would often be accompanied by a dramatic bow or army salute.
I thought all this shit was finally behind me because one by one all of these guys quit or were fired while I was away at school but I’m afraid it’s happening again. I just wanted summer to go smoothly for once. I used to get so nervous before work that I’d feel physically ill and sometimes I’d even have a panic attack.
The new guy I’m working with is pretty cool and laid back but lately our convos have turned very sexual but I thought maybe he was just getting really comfortable not necessarily creepy. But then the other day he admitted to me that when we first met his first thought was that I have a nice “apple” ( ass ) and I got pretty uncomfortable but hoped that was it. Unfortunately, no. He has now started referring to me as “apple”. This is particularly annoying cause I had told him about my experience with the other guys and how I didn’t like the feeling of being reduced to my ass and that nickname literally reduces me to my ass. (It’s not even that great)
I’m starting to get that sinking feeling in my gut again that comes with the fear that every interaction with this person will begin to involve dodging flirtations and redirecting away from awkward topics. I am not stunningly gorgeous and never have been so I am not used to dealing with attention. I don’t even LIKE attention. (Especially flirtatious/sexual attention). It just all falls on me cause pretty much every other woman here is elderly or doesn’t speak English.
I’m just afraid that this is how my work environments will always be. Nothing seems to be a deterrent to these guys Not age (many of them were significantly older than me. I’m 21 now); not they’re existing relationship (many had girlfriends/wives) ; not me being uncomfortable. Nothing. It’s like I’m not important. Just a nice ass to look at at work.
If you made it this far, thanks for reading. I’ve been keeping this to myself for too long.
(Sorry for any mistakes and errors. I wrote this in pieces)
Just a little vent...
It's so upsetting to me that a woman can't be a sexual creature without being viewed as "bad" or a "slut".
Just recently, a friend told me (aged 23, engaged) that her gynecologist told her she might have trouble conceiving because of hormone imbalances. She wasn't even there to begin the process of getting pregnant. She was having other difficulties bc of the hormones. She went on to tell me "remember I didn't get my period until I was 18 and never really had that teenaged horniness?" She also didn't really have breasts at all until 17. Which I did remember and I thought it was odd at the time, but of course her parents were thrilled that she never had a desire to be alone with boys or anything like that.
Maybe I'm being ridiculous but for them (her parents) it was way better for them to think they had a good girl instead of investigating why their daughter was developmentally behind. So now my friend is devastated thinking that she's not going to be able to have the children she's wanted her whole life because no sexual desires in a teenager was seen as a blessing.
So we have been trying for about 4 months and I've been so excited but now he randomly said hes not ready and he wants to wait. I'm so mad and upset but i dont know how I should feel. I dont want to wait longer. I don't know if I should be mad at him for Just voicing how he feels. I feel bad I'm so mad and disappointed. Especially because ive lost baby due to a stillbirth before in another relationship and I feel like now I had a second chance and I just lost my chance. I just dont know how to feel.
(Instead of "my dude" I should've written "a dude")
We were together for 3 years. I'm now past the point of grief but there is this new feeling of curiosity to how he is doing, missing the parts of his personality that I loved, and just dying to know what thoughts are on his mind.
Is anyone else in the same boat...
Just looking for some positive girl talk and someone to relate too.
This is always the most difficult part of the break up IMO.
Hey! Created this account just to post this because it's a part of my life that I'm trying to keep segregated at the moment. (Tl;dr at the end)
Basically I am going through a sexual harassment complaint that I have brought against my manager. There was nothing criminal that happened but many many inappropriate words said most of which are disgusting, upsetting and one particularly that amounts to basically verbalising a rape scenario towards me without saying the words "I want to rape you". I don't want to give the details as although this is a big wide world there is an ongoing investigation.
What I am struggling with is feelings of guilt. My friends have described it as he was basically gaslighting me but there are a plethora of instances/times when you could describe him as the perfect manager: supportive, caring, furthered my career etc. But then there are these (sometimes sustained) instances which have facilitated an awful working environment for myself and my colleagues which have caused me to raise this complaint.
I'm just wondering if anyone has gone through similar circumstances, and apart from repeating to myself "you have done nothing wrong, you have only told the truth", how can I get over this awful guilt for effectively ruining a person's life?
Tl;dr Raised a sexual harrassment complaint against my manager, can't get over the guilt of ruining someone's life
I hope this is the right place for this. I've been in LTRs most of my life and six months ago got out of a relationship with someone I thought I was going to marry. There were issues, and I often felt lonely or like he was never truthful with the amount that he loved me throughout our relationship, but he was also one of the most interesting, sweetest, and kindest people I've met. I don't know how much of that was in my head. It felt like we were a perfect pair most of the time. He moved on within two weeks.
I have never been single for longer than a month or two, but I'm 31 now and terrified that I won't be able to find the same type of love I had with him. I know that's silly, and that people find love at every stage of life, but I can't shake the feeling that I've burned through my opportunities and I'm going to be single for either long enough that I lose hope or that I'm going to have to settle.
I know myself well; I don't need to do any "soul searching" to be ready for the next person, I just miss having a partner and am so scared that I've burned myself out. I still love him and the fact that he has moved on so easily makes me ill. The idea of dating seems so exhausting to me after believing that I was done and had found the one. The process of figuring someone out, falling for someone and building a life with them just to have the same thing potentially happen again is too much.
Looking for advice or encouragement from any ladies who have been through something similar or found their soul mate later in life. I just don't want to feel like this is it.
I don't know what to do. I've been dealing with increasingly uncomfortable symptoms for years now, so I finally sat down and asked Dr. Google what might be wrong. Turns out I have all the tell-tale signs of Lichen Sclerosus, an incurable condition that increases your risk of cancer. If left untreated it could lead to scarring so severe that I could never have sex, or even pee. It can be treated, problem is it requires a pelvic exam to diagnose and if confirmed I'd need follow up exams every 6-12 months for the rest of my life.
I've been having crying spells and panic attacks over this since I found out. I have to be careful not to think too hard about what a pelvic exam actually entails or I'll trigger another one. I tried to have one done last year for a different reason and wasn't able to go through with it even with ~3.5mg of Xanax in me. It's an awful combination of traumatic memories and near-disabling body shame and I honestly think I'd rather die than go through that even once, much less for the rest of my life.
If I had found this out two years ago I probably would have just ended it there, but now that just feels like a waste of two years of intensive therapy and recovery. Unfortunately that doesn't change the fact that I would rather die than go through that horrific exam, so now I'm just stuck. And while my therapist is great, he's also a man and not very helpful here. I don't know what the fuck to do or why the fuck this had to happen to me so I was hoping the ladies of reddit would have some advice or encouragement or just some kind words because I've been a teary mess all week. Thanks for reading my sob story.
Sorry if this isn’t the right place to post this, I needed some advice.
I’m currently at college and have a small class of just 8 people. This guy in my class randomly started talking to me a few months back on facebook, I found it a bit odd at first since I have social anxiety so don’t really talk to any people in my class, and they don’t talk to me. Anyway I knew him from school so thought well why not? Just as well have someone to talk to. We pretty soon realised we have a lot in common and became friends.
A few weeks later he started giving me a lot of compliments just things like “you’re cool”. Then It progressed into more flirty compliments like “you’re cute” and “you looked good today” followed by winky faces. I didn’t really know how to response to this so would just reply with “thanks” I didn’t mind too much that he seemed to have a bit of a crush since he never out right stated at that point so I didn’t know what else to say.
One day we started talking about crushes some how and he asked me if I had a crush and I said no. He was then hinting pretty hard at having one on me but as I’m a very awkward person because of my social anxiety I pretended not to get the hints. In the same conversation we ended up talking about relationships and I told him I didn’t want one any time soon. Hoping that would put him off asking again and flirting with me but it didn’t. He kept flirting and I just kept saying thanks but then he would ask hours later if he went too far. I would always just say compliments are fine but I don’t really like flirting because it is awkward. He started bringing up the conversation of crushes and dating every week or so and got less and less subtle about the fact he wanted to date me.
Fast forward to a few weeks ago when he pretty much out right ask me if I wanted to date him. I said “no, I’m not looking for a relationship right now” (which is the truth but I’m also not attracted to him). I gave him the reason of my social anxiety and being too stressed with college. He then said “maybe in summer then” and the conversation just sort of stopped there. Except he bought it up again the week after, and with more “compliments” followed by “oh sorry I shouldn’t of flirted with you I know you said you weren’t interested”
Now I was just going to put up with this since I don’t want to lose him as a friend (he’s basically the only real friend I have) but last night I finally realised this needs to stop because it’s just too awkward for me. So last night he asks me if there is anything I want to talk about (just his way of making conversation) and I say not really. He then says he has something and I say go a head but he just replies with “never mind, unless you have done a 180 and are thinking about wanting something more than friends”. I replied to that with “no not really I still don’t think of you as more than a friend”. We then just changed the subject. However then I noticed he posted on his snapchat story and it was just a blank image with the caption “got cold shouldered as fuck”. I’m guessing it was about me rejecting him since I was the only person he was talking to at the time (he said he was staying up late just to talk to me)
So now I don’t really know what to do because he obviously isn’t getting the message. The other thing though is that he is diagnosed with Aspergers, so I think maybe he isn’t understanding what he is doing? I’m not really sure what else I can say to him at this point. Any advice would be appreciated. Sorry this is a long post but I just wanted to cover everything.
Today was the day I made it clear to my ex that there will not be any more contact. I should start with a brief story about what happened and move forward from there to what happened today.
We broke up in November and tried to be friends shortly after. His reasoning for breaking up was that he needed to do the next part of life on his own and maybe we’ll end up together again if we’re meant to be. Anyway, it didn’t work out because he was emotionally manipulative and would say things like maybe we’ll be together again after a year, or a handful of years down the road, he doesn’t ever want to not be with me again, and how he had missed me and couldn’t delete photos of us. He wanted to keep me around as an option in case something with someone else didn’t pan out is what I gathered from things. In the time before I moved back home he tried multiple times to try to sleep with me again.
I had relocated back home after my semester was over and he went west. I told him we shouldn’t talk for a while because he was making everything so much harder for me. Having to deal with a breakup out of left field and relocating back home from a place I had loved so much was a lot for me. He then started with more emotionally manipulative texts of the same material as before and really tried to reel me back in. I ignored him and he got the message.
March rolls around and I find out he has a new girlfriend. That hurt a lot. I had blocked his number a week or so previous to that because he hadn’t left me alone like I asked after moving back home and it got to be too much. That month and the following month he asks my friend how I’m doing and she of course tells me he’s asking about me. I was so annoyed he had the audacity to ask about me, he left me why wouldn’t he leave me be! April comes and he’s messaging me on Facebook because I blocked his number. I ignored this message and blocked him on Facebook and Snapchat too just to be sure.
Here we are in June, over 2 months since he last tried to contact me. He sends me this long ass email with the subject field as “please read”. He pours his heart out and says he misses me and misses talking to me and he’s a dumbass for breaking up with me and how all of it is his fault and he has no right to complain (as he complains of course). He includes an extensive amount about what’s going on with him “in case I was curious”. Well, I wasn’t curious I never asked, but it’s always about him so this was no surprise. He also included that the relationship with the new girl lasted a month and felt the need to tell me “I hardly touched her we were just like glorified friends really.” He said he was trying to fill a void because he thought I’d never want to talk to him again.
I called him to ask what the hell his hang up was and why he can’t leave me be. He told me he wasn’t trying to get back together with me, which was funny because I never thought he was and never suggested I thought this. Anyway, I got to tell him what I’ve been wanting to tell him for a while. I told him that I didn’t love him anymore and it wasn’t hard to stop loving him after the shit he pulled and how he acted so cold and distant with it all. I told him I hadn’t missed him in a long time.
I suggested that he see a therapist to move on and sort through his feelings and let me continue moving on. He said he still wasn’t sure if he made the right choice. I told him he did. I told him that I learned a lot and I learned to take no shit from anyone. I thanked him for breaking up with me because I realized he was possessive, manipulative, controlling, and lied during our relationship and that was no good. I told him I deserve better and have a lot to offer to who ever I end up with. He agreed. I told him he was selfish and he wanted to keep me as an option and that wasn’t fair or okay. He agreed.
It was an hour long phone call that ended with us saying best of luck to each other as he choked up and I said bye, and I’m almost certain he was crying. He said he wouldn’t bother me anymore. I hung up with not a single tear in my eye. I had finally told him everything I wanted to say and I found out I’ve handled all of this much better than he has. I had finally put an end to things.
Hi guys, I need some advice because I’m feeling utterly bad for something that happened just now.
We are great friends with a couple that we know for years and we have a great relationship.
Today was her birthday and the plan was to give her a hug & a kiss since it’s work day and her birthday dinner will be this Saturday.
They don’t live on the same city as us.
We have been exhausted this last couple weeks because of work and my husband fell asleep right after dinner and I didn’t want to wake him up to ask him to drive to another city.
I called her wishing her a happy birthday (already talked to her today wishing the same) and that we couldn’t make it, we were sorry and that we would celebrate her birthday on Saturday. Apparently everyone cancelled last minute today (I’m guessing because they live a little far away from everyone, but I don’t think that should be an excuse) and we were the only ones who could make it today.
Her husband (who I have a friendship for more than 10 years) lashes out on me on the phone, saying that he’s pissed that everyone just cancelled and he always makes sure that they go everywhere when invited.
I told him that he couldn’t judge people, because everyone has their life and that we would celebrate with her in 2 days. He told me that he didn’t wanna talk anymore, that we were a disappointment and that he would starting changing his behavior because no one deserved their commitment.
He hanged the phone on me and I texted her that we loved her no matter how far away we were and that we would be on her celebration if she wanted too.
This guy is a brother to me and he knows us for many, many years. I’m worried that a social event can ruin a friendship that is very dear to me and I’m feeling like crap because I decided just to care for my husband too that is freaking tired and I’m very worried that this will take a toll on our friendship.
I was sexually abused (molested etc although not raped) for years by my older cousin whom I often lived with over summers etc. between the ages of 11-14. It was awful, i had terrible nightmares and acute ptsd etc, trusted him a lot and felt betrayed. A few years later after it stopped i found myself weirdly attracted to him, and i mean really strongly. I really need him to like me and every time he compliments me or flirts with me i get really turned on.
I hoped it was some weird cognitive dissonance thing but here i am 23 and still cant shake this and continue to treat him in an adoring and needy way. I feel really ashamed for feeling like this because maybe it means the abuse was always consensual/maybe i liked it, but i kept journals while it was happening and it is clear that i hated it at the time.
Tl;dr was sexually abused by family member as a child and am now attracted to him, wtf?
I was extremely drunk and blacked out a few times. He knew I was really drunk but we ended up having sex. He fingered my bum which I’ve never done before, I didn’t stop him cause I was blacking out a bit and didn’t realize what he was doing until a bit into it. I wouldn’t usually let this happen.
He asked me on a date, and I’m just really confused and worried.
My concerns are:
-why would he be interested in someone he met that was really drunk
-guys don’t usually ask me out after a drunk hookup, especially attractive ones like him
-he did butt things even though we just met and he seemed to know I was really drunk.
Am I over reacting?
Please help me. I’d like to see him again but I’m just scared he might be manipulating me. He seems really sweet but I just don’t get why he’d be interested and I’m worried. I’m also in a really bad place mentally cause I started taking antideps and I don’t know when to set up the date for :/
My MeLuna cups just came in the mail. I immediately ran out and got them, yanked out my tampon and have been squatting and squeezing and trying to get the hang of it. The medium seemed too big so I am going with the small today ( I ordered both sizes). Hoping it’s actually sealed in there because I’m about to do leg day at the gym in about 30 minutes.
I went on a first date a little while ago. And when this first happened I didnt think much of it, but now it’s starting to bother me.
So I [24/f] meet this guy [25/m] on tinder, he asks me out, he seems like a good guy after talking for a while back and forth and looks relatively safe/normal, so why not. We went to see a movie, I can’t even remember what movie. About half way through he starts holding my hand and working his way toward my chest. I kinda froze and didn’t really know what to do when he started playing with my breasts and squeezing them. I tired to push his hand away but I stopped becouse I didn’t want to make a scene in the busy movie theater. After the movie was over we walked to the train and parted ways, he then goes in for a kiss super fast and kisses me off guard before I leave for my train.
When I was on the train alone heading home I felt slightly violated becouse I had no say in what he did, am I in the wrong for feeling this way? Is this a normal thing for first dates? Did I consent to him touching me by accepting the first date and not being more persistent to stop him when he was touching me? I feel like part of it is my fault.
I don’t want to go into a lot of detail. I just need advice. he’s been an alcoholic and has abused pills for about 5 years and I haven’t had a consistent relationship with him for 2 years. he doesn’t try to reach out or get help for himself so he can be a father and it sucks. last year I saw him 3 times. he’s started a family with some girl and she’s expecting a child soon. I feel forgotten and thrown away.
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