Although I haven't been in an abusive relationship, I've used bad men and bad sex to abuse myself in the past. I was punishing myself for something I felt ashamed of, and using the tools readily at my disposal--rampant misogyny. It also felt aggressive in a twisted way--a spit in the eye: if this is what you think of me then this is what you get, in spades. I never truly lost confidence in myself, but felt betrayed by a culture that demoted me from a person to a sex object when I hit puberty. I'm 65 now, and still trying to figure out those events.

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