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Sex Diary: The Cardinal Letter

This account is the first part of the first Sex Diary, “The Cardinal Letter.” Read Part II here.

I had only ever had sex with one person. I was never in a rush to do the deed, and after I started at age 18, I quickly made up for my dry years with my one sexual partner. We escalated from a tender first time to rough after-class quickies, and perhaps my greatest moment of relief was when we decided to ditch, in good faith, the condom; with it, he would last sometimes upwards of two hours, a pain that only those who have suffered will understand. But this story isn’t about my ex-boyfriend.

I’m pretty self-conscious about my body and don’t tend to let go of my inhibitions, so showing my naked, vulnerable self to someone else took a lot of getting to know each other. So by the time I was halfway through Stanford and newly single, I had still only had sex with one person when I met Creepy Hot Guy.

Creepy Hot Guy (CHG) was, in a word, sublime. Tall — 6 feet 3 inches, to be exact (I know because I asked) — and slender, a swimmer’s build, CHG could have been out of another time when men still smirked and wore their hair elegantly, but without pomade. He was older and I was young, and his hands were large around my waist, his lips full, his coloring consistent from his hair to his skin, like Jude Law out of “The Talented Mr. Ripley.” Striking most of all though, were his eyes.

They were tiny and blue, tilted and always meaning something. When he looked at me, I felt sexy, wanted, powerful and violated at the same time. It wasn’t just me; other women in my dorm commented on his charm, but always eventually pointed out his icy glares and his certainly ill intentions.

When CHG moved into my dorm, I had already declared to myself my sexual freedom and vowed to be more adventurous, sexually and emotionally. It didn’t take much for me to fall hard. I saw him twice and decided I wanted him. After I talked to him, I thought I might even like him, too. His interests included a manliest of sports — something like soccer — and one so sensitive I was certain he was an imposter — something like morning meditations.

He went to a prestigious American prep school, came from money and was party to a group of men known not for their gentlemanly ways — a detail that enticed me even more. And when he mentioned his favorite restaurant, the same as mine, my heart almost exploded out of my chest. He was too good to be true!

Sadly, he actually was. It turns out his most striking feature was not his eyes but his reputation. After one dormmate tipped me off to his record of being “really aggressive with girls,” I started to ask. I couldn’t sleep that night, so I biked to my guy friend’s room, to inquire further.

Also party to CHG’s band of men, my friend informed me that CHG’s reputation, even within this rowdy group, was of a male whose sexual audacity had earned bitter spirits among the brothers. I asked others, without mentioning any names, if there were particular men at Stanford that I should know to stay away from. CHG’s name consistently dropped.

I should have stopped. I should have known then and there that he was trouble. I rationalized to myself: I believe in second chances. I believe that people can change. I know that people talk trash that’s not always true, for the sake of a story. But the truth is, it turned me on more.

A mix of my sadistic fetish, pure sexual frustration and pity for someone I convinced myself was innocent or rehabilitated created the perfect storm for what would be a total submission. What started as an innocent interest turned to a truly burning sexual desire.

I finally posted an email to the dorm’s list serve with my phone number, in hopes it would spark the flame. He took the bait and texted me, made casual plans that I broke, after which he mentioned that I should stop by his room later. This invitation I could not deny.

By this time, I should mention, I realized the entire dorm knew who he was and of his past, so I was sure to keep our communication discreet, for my own sake. I stopped by his room and it didn’t take long to make it through the polite small talk before he was shutting the door. Even now I want to tell you, I don’t usually do this. And I didn’t; I had only ever had sex with one person, and I wasn’t very good at it, to be honest. But CHG could pick me up. And when he did, and more placed than threw me on the bed, it was all I could do to make him stop.

I had to know. And so I asked him. Did he know what other people said about him?

“That I raped two girls?” he answered.

In all the nosy prodding I had done, no one had ever used the word “rape.” I was instantly shocked, frightened and — it pains me now even to silently think — turned on.

He denied it; meanwhile, I denied him with my words, but clung to him with my body. I still wanted him, maybe even more. I knew it was wrong. I still know it’s wrong. But he was the most attractive guy I’d had the opportunity to fuck.

He asked if I was scared now, and I admitted that I felt scared, out loud.

This is part one of the first sex diary. The story is to be continued.  This true account is told by a current Stanford student who identifies as a woman. Details have been changed to protect the privacy of those involved.

  • Steve

    Can someone say Penn State?

  • ‘sexy, sultry, sweaty’ rape

    You’ve entirely missed the point. Regardless of whether there is only one sequel, or a regular column, the Daily marketed this column as a steamy sex story. I came upon this article because MemeChu took your bait: “50 Shades of Cardinal? Share your sexy, sultry, sweaty stories in the comments to win a limited edition MemeChu bro tank.”
    Where was the trigger warning for those of us that found this narrative all too familiar? Who are still learning to live with a trauma that our peers decided to market as erotic? What gives you the right to decide whether this is a safe forum to share that story? Do you have any concern for your fellow students at all?

  • Daniel

    Nobody in this story was sexually assaulted. This story does not deal with the intricacies of sexual assault. Your point is off-topic.

  • Jake

    First off, this is a forum for educated, mature discussion – I think we can refrain from name calling.

    In my post, I do not in any way ignore the survivors. I understand that many of those speaking on behalf of rape victims are victims themselves, but I still take issue with the fact that several commenters have gone so far as to assume that their own experience MUST resemble the experience of others. One survivor of sexual violence can not and should not speak on behalf of the entirety of those who have gone through such an ordeal, for each situation is unique, and to deny this fact is to deny the validity of another’s very real suffering.

    I myself never claim to speak for the survivors, nor do I assert possession of moral superiority. In fact, I am insisting that there is no such moral high ground in this situation. All opinions and experiences should be considered seriously and fairly; we can not write off the author of this post just because her position is uncommon and uncomfortable.

    Not only should we not write her off, but we should appreciate the fact that she has succeeded in engaging us in an issue so complex it is often ignored. Issues surrounding the nature of the female desire for submission/dominance (whether it be intrinsic, chosen, societally imbued, or completely nonexistent) have been central to feminist discourse for nearly 50 years now, and concrete answers remain far from clear. I understand that it is a painful subject for many, and I do agree that it might have been presented more carefully, but it is a necessary conversation and one that can only be ignited through the presentation of shocking images like those offered by the author. To simply pretend like situations like this are not happening is to implicitly endorse their continuation, and I for one am ready to see an end to that cycle.

  • http://twitter.com/GallagherBilly Billy Gallagher

    I’m not trying to squirm out of anything. As I’ve said multiple times, I fully stand by our decision to publish this story.

    We published it as a “Sex Diary” because the author responded to our request for sex columns. While it does discuss the very serious topic of sexual assault, the author herself was not assaulted, which is why we felt comfortable publishing it under “Sex Diary.”

    The editors are accountable to our readers, which is why I’ve spent most of the last two days responding to comments, emails and phone calls regarding this story.

  • http://twitter.com/GallagherBilly Billy Gallagher

    We did not market this as a steamy sex story. I’m sorry that MemeChu framed it that way, but I can’t control their content. See my above comment for why we published it as a “Sex Diary.”

    We wrote the title and the following text when we posted it to Facebook, “This anonymous submission on a highly sensitive topic garnered strong, varied reactions from the Stanford community. We encourage you to comment or submit a letter to the editor (eic@stanforddaily.com) if you feel strongly about the article.”

    Everything else is the author’s own words, which we tried to preserve as much as possible. I encourage you to read part two before rushing to judgement.

  • Can’t squirm out of it

    The story is about the ‘burning sexual desire’ for a person who freely acknowledges his sexual assault of two people. What story are you reading?

  • Can’t squirm out of it

    If by “discuss”, you mean eroticize, then yes, the author presents the very serious topic of sexual assault as a turn on, and then ends the article “afraid” and in a position where she herself is vulnerable to sexual assault. It is not the reader’s responsibility to trust that the author will end up safe and satisfied in the next installment, because in many cases women on this campus do not. It is, however, the responsibility of the editors to recognize the implications of eroticizing the threat of sexual assault. That the author responded to your request for sex columns is not an adequate reason for calling this glorification of rape a “Sex Diary”. In your responses to your readers, you have not demonstrated an understanding of why many consider that a failure of judgment.

  • ‘sexy, sultry, sweaty’ rape

    A ‘Sex Diary’ is a steamy sex story. Editorial discretion determined that headline, not the author’s choice of medium. And again: where was the trigger warning? Many will not read part two, and only come away with the last line of this story: “He asked if I was scared now, and I admitted that I felt scared, out loud.” I am scared too. Scared for those whose assumptions will be confirmed by that story, scared of a culture where this account can stand on its own as a sex diary, and scared that my campus newspaper does not take any these fears seriously.

  • Whoa

    Absolutely unfair. Accused is different from guilty of. The only reason this boy’s life should be interrupted is if he is actually convicted after the school’s different panels, processes, etc. Innocent until proven guilty, accusations aren’t grounds for condemnation

  • Julia

    Why do you feel the need to post these? Rape statistics are *basically* bullshit anyway, because most of them go unreported.

  • #winning

    Best F*cking comment. You win this thread.

  • comparing you to disney

    Sorry about what happened to you, but this story isn’t about rape. It’s about a chick who wants to fuck a hot dude that nobody actually knows and everyone likes talks shit about; it’s really more like Tarzan than anything else. If it makes you uncomfortable than don’t read it, but don’t act like it should be removed because it encourages everyone to rape each other. The world never stops spinning for one person.

  • also raped

    Most rape is not reported, and most rape cases brought to the police are thrown out because of lack of evidence. My case was. Their numbers are wildly inaccurate and of no contribution to this discussion. Just know that many women are being raped/sexually assaulted on our campus every week.

  • also raped

    The numbers you are looking for will not available until our society stops shaming women for being sexually active, victim-blaming, teaching women to not be raped instead of teaching mean to don’t rape, etc. Women will continue to be raped and not report it because they feel like they can’t, they feel like it will cause more pain – to share the most degrading, horrifying, life-altering experience a woman can ever face – and truly, to report it does cause more pain: to have to relive your assault with every step you are trying to take forward.

    The only justice Stanford women will probably receive is through Judicial Affairs – the police will throw your case out guaranteed. The evidence they require to move forward on these cases are virtually impossible to collect given the nature of the crime, especially with acquaintance rape.
    My case was with the police was thrown out – and I went to Judicial Affairs as my last hope. It resulted in my rapist’s suspension until I graduate.

    I understand you are coming from a good place, but talking about false statistics are not the way to go about it.

  • Alexander Loewi

    That’s all very nice. It’s not what you said.

    I don’t know how you don’t ignore the victims, because the most enthusiastic support you give is to The Daily, which is unequivocally the least-victimized party in sight. Your sage pronouncements about “seriously and fairly” considering “all opinions and experiences” are about as convincing as a flaming sack of shit when your initial response was to unqualifiedly deride “uninformed and reactionary” people (whose personal experiences you have scant to zero clue about) who don’t understand “the fucking point of journalism,” practice “political correctness for the sake of political correctness,” and “hijack” your opportunity to make the point YOU really wanted to make. Explain to me, please, how that qualifies as either “educated” or “mature,” or how it encourages the “open, honest dialogue” whose idea you hide behind.

    Your response is so stuffed with straw men it’s a fucking fire hazard. Nobody, emphatically including your favorite hypothetical royal “we” (who are you speaking for there?), is “pretend”ing this doesn’t happen.

    But you most certainly seem to persist in pretending that you could not and can not possibly have done anything wrong. So, I called you a fool to make it very clear: I thought you were being offensive as
    hell, and nauseatingly self-righteous about something you appeared at best
    vaguely to have considered.

  • Michael

    I note several comments here about the fact that this experience was ‘authentic.’ Even though I do not doubt the legitimacy of the experience, I cannot come to terms with the ‘authentic’ label, for this account describes something that is so distanced from the true actions of most of the Stanford population and the ideals that we embrace.

  • Jake from StateFarm

    This is sick. Why is this in a college website?

  • http://twitter.com/FeministPrncess Feminist Princess

    You are confusing the terms “fantasy” and “will”. Fantasy is a situation in our own mind that we can control the outcome of. Many women actually have these fantasies because they are terrified of being raped in real life and creating a fantasy gives us the power in the situation. That does not mean that we have a “will” to be raped in real life.

    Did I really just have to explain that? *facepalm

  • Annoyed student

    can the daily stop embarrassing stanford with their stories.

  • srs question

    ill concede that you are in complete control over your own fantasies, but that hasn’t stopped girls (whom I must note I’ve been hooking up with before and after) from having me reenact that fantasy with them.

    And if both of us enjoy the roleplay, who are you to rain on either of our parades?

    To that same extent, I read this story as a girl attracted to a sexually aggressive hot guy. Nothing wrong with that. And I’m personally disgusted at everyone putting this girl on the firing line for it – I bet the sex was great.

  • srs question

    Lol, if you want to get on that level, Don’t call Jake’s argument a strawmen when you yourself are throwing out ridiculous ad hominems.

    Unfortunately Alexander, you seem so emotionally invested in this topic that I think you should take a deep breath and argue from a rational standpoint. There is nothing you have provided in your response that argues the points that Jake brought up: IE, “we can’t write this girls opinions off because they are uncomfortable”

    In all seriousness your response IS quite “uninformed and reactionary” – you are deluding yourself if you don’t think it is. You did not address a single premise of Jake’s argument – instead, you make attacks on Jake’s credibility, and make claims that his opinions&experiences are “flaming sacks of shit”

    How does your head NOT spin in re-reading all your ad hominem attacks on the dude?

  • srs question

    I am disgusted that people actually post “raped at Stanford” or “also raped” as if its a badge of honor or adds to your credibility.

    Deluding yourself to your opinion being worth more than another human beings’ – disgusting, to say the least.

  • high horse much?

    “However, this piece is directed at a mainstream audience that, as has
    already been more than demonstrated, does not fully understand the lines
    between sexual assault and rape fantasy.”

    brb, addressing commenters from a higher moral standpoint, saying they don’t “understand” the difference.

  • what’s the big deal??

    As a fellow female, I don;t get what the big deal is about. I don’t think this glorifies rape at all. The guy denied it and to rely on heresy (without any actual allegations or legal action) to judge him is just wrong. For all we know, the guys could just be jealous of him. Frankly, I am tired of double standards. The world doesn’t revolve around the sensitivities of every offended group. Sorry if rape victims take offense to this (in which case they’re missing the whole point of the piece). But to censor or redirect this girl’s sincere feelings is not the solution; it breeds shame and intolerance toward (what I see as) her personal desire for a hot guy. I doubt she intended this to be seen as some political or personal statement about rape and more about her journey into self-discovery and sexual fantasy.

    On a less related note, I didn’t enjoy the article and I am not titillated by the idea of a sex column. It could easily spiral into literotica and I just find it distasteful on here. Why can’t we go back to the day when what happened in the bedroom stayed in the bedroom? Oh yes.. .there never was such a day. hah

  • Anonymous

    As someone who was sexually assaulted as an undergrad at Stanford, I find this comment and attitude horrifying. I know it was written a while ago now, but I keep coming back to this piece and the comments section and re-experiencing the callousness and immaturity that characterized my peers’ response to what happened to me. I can’t let go of what happened to me, and I can’t let go of how truly awful other students’ reaction was. As a community, Stanford ought to be intolerant of men who violate women and anyone (male or female) who condones their behavior-it is an abhorrent crime. But the sad truth is that a large swath of Stanford’s social scene can often prize men for their appearance and Greek letters, with no regard for whether they practice any genuine respect for women.

    To that end–the most horrifying part about this whole series is that anyone who was on campus a few years ago knows exactly who the man in question is. Cavalier attitudes about rape and men accused of it are exactly what let this individual (and others like him) continue their behavior on campus for far, far too long. I’m all for “self-discovery,” but when someone takes that journey in a public forum and comes out with a position that implicitly condones members of campus who practice questionable definitions of consent, it has real consequences for how safe women are on this campus. We need to find a way to stop accepting and even elevating guys with “reputations” at Stanford to really leave behind our shadow culture of rape and assault. This column co-ops that very serious conversation through a simpering 16 year-old’s clumsy sexual fantasy with a half-baked “point” awkwardly tacked onto the end.

  • Supportive

    This thread of comments proves precisely why publishing pieces like this IS beneficial. Without controversy, we wouldn’t ever question anything or learn from it. If you assumed “Sex Diary” meant that it would be some vanilla account of a college students sex life then that’s a mistake you have made on your own.
    This piece was well-written and, while it may not be relatable to everyone (as nothing in life is), it was thought provoking nonetheless. We just got to read a true account of an internal battle someone experienced regarding her sexual inhibitions and desires. Sadism, rape fantasies, and all other taboo sexual topics shouldn’t be avoided for the sake of pleasing a few readers were hoping to get a written peep show of a more mainstream “Sex Diary.” This was raw, honest, and brave, a unique approach to writing about sex. In no way did I get the feeling that anyone was trying glorify rape. It’s evident that the author was confused on so many levels — rumors she had heard, emotions she had, sexual feelings she was experiencing, and so on. Publishing stories that make sex seem any one way is never going to be “right” for the mere fact that every person differs. Sex is terrifying, exciting, nerve racking, pleasurable, painful, confusing, exhilarating, diverse, crazy, boring, triggering and everything in between. To be angry at the author and publishers in such a rude way is to belittle and shun someone else’s unique sexual experience.
    I’d like to thank the author and the publishers. This gave me food for thought, a new perspective on people who are confused about their desires. As a victim of rape, I think it’s necessary to try and understand perspectives like this.

  • Hmm

    I mean, ultimately, she said no and he listened. So…