This is a story about surviving protracted sexual abuse, violence and suicidality. The issues are confronting and the language of this story is explicit in order to shine a light on hidden, deeply harmful forms of exploitation. The Lovepost values the voice of lived experience and the courage that it takes to share stories like this one.
All of the names (including the author’s name) and identifying details have been changed.
I slayed my demons in a windowless room, furnished modestly with donated seating, a folding table and a security camera bolted to the ceiling. I took note of the box of tissues placed appropriately close to my seat, and wondered how many people before me had shared this tiny comfort in such an anaemic room. Mine was not a glamorous battle. Months of repressed tears populated and spilled over while I described my story to two male detectives seated opposite me. The little antiquated recording device was also a presence I felt, sitting on the arm of my chair; knowing it would be the vessel of my narrative.
The detectives pulled up my naked photos on their laptop and—remaining fully respectful and professional—interrogated me on the details of when, where and with whom each graphic picture had been taken.
“Who is this here?” one detective asked, pointing to an image of me giving a blow job. My face was fully exposed, while the penis disappeared out of the frame to protect the anonymity of its owner.
“That’s my husband,” I answered firmly, knowing that the photo had been taken without my knowledge and posted without my consent on dozens of porn sites for more than a decade.
I am a survivor of sexual abuse and revenge porn. Through 15 exhausting years with a sexual predator, I felt so solitary and trapped. When I began talking to other women, I realised that my situation was not as rare as I had thought. I felt less alone, less swindled, and I am speaking for other women who need to know that, too. My mission requires me to be brutally, embarrassingly honest.
This is also for my son, my beacon in it all; the first time love made any sense to me. Through the peaks and valleys of physical and verbal abuse, it was my baby I fought hardest to protect.
Revenge porn—otherwise known as non-consensual pornography or digital sexual abuse—is a sex crime in which intimate images or videos are posted and shared online without the subject’s consent. Public awareness of revenge porn grew with Netflix’s 2022 documentary, The Most Hated Man on the Internet. It exposed Hunter Moore as the creator of the first website for revenge porn submissions. Moore, a self-described “professional life ruiner”, launched isanyoneup.com in 2010 as a platform for people to anonymously upload nude photos, along with their victims' social media handles. The comments encouraged users to “do their worst”. The documentary exposed Moore’s absolute lack of empathy and the deep hatred of women, which forms the core narrative behind revenge porn.
Coming of age with the advent of the internet, I am on the frontier of women who have experienced this flourishing new form of sexual assault. Its ever-evolving methods pose a danger for anyone with a digital footprint. Some perpetrators post their ex’s nude images as a vendetta, to punish their victim socially. Others hack the devices of strangers, stealing private content without knowing their victims personally. Still other culprits exploit digital tools to create ‘deep fakes’. By imposing the face of their victim onto pornographic images, they produce very realistic images of their victim in graphic and humiliating scenes.
The effects of revenge porn have been studied. Many of the long-term consequences mirror those experienced by survivors of child pornography. The “humiliation, powerlessness and permanence associated with these distinct but similar crimes leave victims engaged in a lifelong battle to preserve their integrity.” Victims of revenge porn live with enduring mental health issues such as depression, low self-esteem, withdrawal and feelings of worthlessness.
I can personally attest that life is not the same afterwards.
Abused people tend to fall in love with abusers
My upbringing made me relate to Roald Dahl’s heroine, Matilda Wormwood.
My parents operated on two speeds—apathetic and angry—and my brother followed suit. I was a misfit tomboy, wishing wildly that I had magic powers to escape the dysfunction. My childhood felt lonely and cold. It gave me a cavernous need to be loved, desired and simply seen.
I have an intuitive knowledge that I was hurt at a tender age by a known sexual predator in my childhood church. It’s a memory I haven’t been able to process, but one that haunts me several times each week in my dreams. I believe I tossed those memories out to survive the chaos of my home—and I continue to withhold the detailed memory from my conscious mind as a kind of self-protection.
As a teenager, I was sexually assaulted by my brother's longtime friend. Driving down the highway after our first date, he coolly revealed the gun on his belt as a passive-aggressive threat, and forced his fingers inside me regardless of my persistent “no’s”. I sat in the bath that night assessing what had happened. With no one to talk to, I assumed I had not been clear enough in my boundary. I concluded that it was my fault.
I reacted by searching aggressively for as much casual sex as I could get. I felt as if the more men I used, the more control I would gain over my body and my sexuality. Much later I learnt that hypersexuality is a trauma response. I desperately wish I had known that I was not alone in the way I coped. I craved male attention and validation, which I seemed only to receive by using my body. I needed new men to touch me so that I could no longer feel my abusers. I believed that casual sex was empowering when in reality it was an off-brand Band-Aid, doomed to come unstuck after one washing.
My sexual exploits also involved parties and liquor. In a small town, my reputation became infamous and, as the child of an alcoholic parent, I quickly got sucked into a sinister helix.
I met 'Will' in my senior year of high school. We built a rapport while working together. He was funny and charismatic. He knew all about my reputation because he also worked with other classmates of mine. He expressed such concern for me, showered me with affection and promises of a brighter future, and hoped I would leave my promiscuous lifestyle to be with him. The numerous CD mixes he made for me always had the same song attached: “I Want to Save You” by Something Corporate.
I was a perky, fresh-faced girl with no self-worth and a desperate, deep-rooted need for love. It didn’t take long before we were dating. Soon, I was on his family’s phone plan and hanging out with his sisters. Then I was leaping into the folly of moving in with him, to get away from my family.
Then I was pregnant. I dropped out of college, we got married and my plan to leave my small town and pursue a design career was bottled up and set on a shelf. As my pregnancy progressed, Will became more and more controlling. Control turned to rage as my due date approached. Once he kicked me out of the car on the side of the snowy road and sped off. I was around seven months pregnant at the time, and I felt the first sense of dread that my idyllic plan for a happy family was not going to materialise.
Two days after I gave birth, Will hit me across the face as I held my wormy newborn in my arms, because I wouldn’t leave the baby to get Will some food. Staggered from the shock, I soothed myself with little justifications. He will change. He just had a bad day. I could’ve just gotten him a sandwich. My brain had a quick trauma fix by then: figure out how to survive his rage and hope he gets better. The pattern continued through the first years of our marriage. I grew very efficient at finding ways to excuse his anger—and from what I had witnessed as a little girl, this was love.
A fetish undisclosed
One night in our fourth year together, I woke up from a nightmare and wandered over to our vintage desktop computer. I saw there was a tab left open under Will’s email address. I began to read a conversation between my husband and an explicitly named account, chatting about nefarious sexual practices. I was seething as I scrolled through his betrayal, and then I felt queasy: at the bottom of the email was an image of me, topless. Will constantly took pictures of me during sex or nude or in lingerie, always claiming it was just for him. Obviously, it wasn’t.
I felt a watertight coldness deep in my bones. My body was being displayed by someone who had once vowed to love me. Any small amount of trust I had left in others hardened and froze. No tears were shed, no screaming into the void; it was like my emotions were comatose.
If I had had the family resources or support that I needed to leave, maybe it would have ended there and faded away like the blinking lights in the city you’re flying away from. Instead, I felt that I had a stake in staying put. Will’s own family had embraced me like one of their own. I had allies among them, and they had finally given me a place to feel like I belonged. I longed to tell them the full truth of what was happening behind the closed doors of our marriage, but I stayed silent to preserve the family system I’d always craved.
I confronted Will about the images. He apologised profusely, and gulled me into believing that this betrayal was a one-time mistake. I felt that my only option was for Will to change—and for a while, peace prevailed while I made bigger and more frequent justifications.
When I found out that he’d done it again, I approached him fiercely and risked his violence by feverishly telling him to stop. Will broke down in what I thought was a truly vulnerable moment, explaining that he had a fetish for sharing my nude pictures online. He cooed about how beautiful I was and how it made him feel like a 'real man' to show me off. He burst into tears. I saw him like a young boy and I hoped to comfort his distress, so I sat down and listened attentively to him with care. Through calculated sniffles and the impression of shame, Will went on to unfold his fantasy: 'cuckolding'.
I have to pause here and note that kinks can be real and valid—no shade.
If kinks and fetishes are fully consensual—‘consent’ meaning clear, voluntary, no-doubt-about-it participation—and conducted in a way where all parties are respected and safe, then go ahead. Consensual cuckolding is not a crime, and I’m not trying to shame it off the internet. However, there is a grey area where kinks become menacing, and then turn predatory. I am drawing attention to that side of the spectrum. Known, undisclosed fetishes that one partner later tries to impose on the other are innately deceptive and predatory.
Cuckolding is a typically male fetish in which the female partner has sex with other men in front of her male partner or behind his back, making him the unworthy 'cuck'. The cuck’s fantasy is driven by the pretended humiliation of not being able to sexually fulfil his partner. The female partner is called the ‘hotwife’. She is encouraged to dress hyper-sexually, have a conventionally desirable body type, and flaunt her insatiable sexuality.
The male who has sex with the hotwife is called the ‘bull’. Many of the bulls in cuckolding porn are Black men, while the cuck is typically White. The dehumanising language and allocation of roles make cuckolding a profoundly racist performance of White male supremacy over sexualised Black men. The mastermind of this sexual affair is most often the cuck himself, whose theatrical victimhood does not change the fact that his sexual fantasies are being indulged, and he is the one who holds the power.
Often, as I learnt much later on, sharing photos is a foundational part of cuckolding. Many men share photos secretly, because they won’t admit their extreme fantasies to their partners. Much of the content is posted without consent, as mine was. There are many women who have no inkling that their naked photos are being shared on porn sites by the person they share a bed with each night.
When Will explained his fetish, I was perplexed. Where was the man who wanted to save me from sexual devaluation? His request felt like one more unpredictable, confusing, terrifying proof that my husband viewed me as his property.
I wanted to be a normal wife and mom who took my son to the park, read Stephen King novels, planted shrubs in my front yard, made dinner and had friends over. Will’s very traditional beliefs about gender roles—or his laziness—meant that he didn’t do diapers, feedings or baths, although he still considered himself to be a parent. The very last thing I could imagine adding to my plate was this extreme fantasy.
I said no. Absolutely not.
For months, Will brought it up at random times. My refusal remained so fervent that he tried another approach. He introduced me to a website called The Cuckold Consultant. This platform was—and, devastatingly, still is—run by an anonymous, self-proclaimed 'psychologist'. ‘Dr 36’ claims he can make any cuck’s fantasy come true. His website is a professional, consumer-facing platform featuring user testimonials, self-identifying tests and dozens of e-books, as well as his pseudo-intellectual advice for men to convince their partner to embrace a lifestyle of frequent sex with multiple partners. The discourse portrays the man’s pleasure as the ultimate secret to a perfect relationship. Dr 36 recalls that his own partner cried when he confessed his urges to her. He dismissed her desire for monogamy, arguing that he could not be happy except by watching her have sex with other men. He exclaims in bold letters that “she tried it, and she LOVES it now!”
I said no—but, exhausted, stressed, I also questioned myself. Will’s abuse began to escalate. He seemed to get off on posting sexual images of me, specifically without my knowledge or consent. It became a pattern: post first, ask forgiveness second. When his anger would flare and his rage start to percolate, my refusal to engage in his fantasy would be in the eye of the storm.
Will didn’t only threaten and abuse me. He also showered me with compliments on my beauty and sexual prowess. He told me that it made him feel valuable to have such an attractive partner and he wanted to show me off. The testimonials on The Cuckold Consultant backed up all of his claims. Dr 36 insisted that cuckolding is a fetish that will never go away—an addiction, a valid and obsessive desire that needs to be fulfilled. If I wanted to keep Will happy, this was non-negotiable.
I frequently googled cuckolding, to see if there was any information that could prove Will wrong and affirm my objections in the same way that Dr 36 affirmed Will’s demands. Alas, I only stumbled on pervy porn sites and images, not the warning I was hoping to find.
After months of this dynamic, Will pulled his phone out to show me a picture of a naked man I did not know. This was the stranger who he wanted me to have sex with, to finally fulfil his dreams. It wasn’t as if anything about this person made me change my mind. Rather, the fact that my husband had gone ahead and advertised me on Craigslist as a hotwife told me there was no escaping his insistence.
In a snap decision, trapped, I negotiated. If I did this for him—if I met and had sex with this person—Will would have to agree to get a better job. His part-time gas station gig wasn’t keeping our heads above water financially and my full-time job barely paid our rent. I’d been begging him to seek out a job at a friend’s company. If he got that job then maybe, just maybe, life could get better and we could be that happy family I had been chasing all my life.
Will scheduled our first sexual encounter immediately. He had no desire to help at home or get a job, but he launched himself into planning that meeting in a focused, uber-ambitious fervour. His excitement was palpable and for the first time in a long time, it felt like being with the man I had first met. That shift—from being chronically scared to being with the man I remembered—was a feeling that I wanted to chase.
Sex with a stranger
The day arrived, and it felt surreal. I was a married woman and a mother, getting a babysitter so I could go to a motel and have sex with a stranger in front of my husband. My nerves were firing on adrenaline, fear and shame; I felt like I was offering up a piece of myself that I didn't really have, nor did I really want to give it away.
Will and I met the man at a pub for drinks. 'Mike' was handsome, in his early forties with some silver peppered through his hair and a fit physique. He seemed to have a cool, collected aura, and the chit-chat was easy. I was surprised: Mike was not a creep as I had imagined, and the three Greyhound cocktails I drank made it easier to shake off my anxiety at what was to come.
I had gotten very good at masking my discomfort by then. It would have been difficult for Mike to perceive the abuse that lay behind the few hours we spent together. When the cheque came, we all collectively nodded and moved on to our hotel. The conversation became awkward as we entered the room. I went to the bathroom while Will and Mike bantered about sports.
I vividly remember looking at my reflection in the motel mirror. Buzzed, it took me right back to those parties after my teenage assault. This is my value, this is what I do best, this shows I’m in control of my own sexuality. These tangled justifications raced through my mind as I opened the bathroom door and sauntered over to Mike in my carefully constructed corset and fishnets. Mike sat on the edge of the bed and I made the first bold move. I got to my knees, at his eyeline, and started to kiss him. Immediately, I heard the click of Will’s phone camera. This is real, I thought, no turning back. Will sat in the corner, pants at his ankles, playing with himself while his phone stayed steady to document his wife having sex with a stranger.
It brought back my earlier disassociation during casual sex, so it was confusing to me that the sex was good—really good. The experience affirmed that my only real worth as a woman was my sexual boldness. Again I recalled how I used to fill the void in myself, carved out by a lifetime of abuse, with casual sex.
We went home and everything appeared relaxed, like I had finally given Will the best gift of his life.
The next day Will refused to speak to me. When he responded to my plea for communication, he erupted that I had kissed Mike, and that it was never part of the arrangement.
I stood up for myself. I told him that I would never entertain his cuckolding fantasy again—and suddenly he was like putty in my hands. The apologies tumbled out of his mouth. He ordered my favourite takeout, professed his love and adoration for me and gushed over my dedication to pleasing him. A new meeting was planned with Mike immediately. I insisted Will hold his end of the deal up and apply for the better job. He got it. I thought that the encounter with Mike would be a one-time sacrifice in order to get out of poverty. Instead, eventually, he wanted more.
Playing the hotwife: pose, seduce, smile, repeat
While my son was still a baby, the stage was set: I was a hotwife. There were more meetings with Mike and with new men Will found online.
He advertised me on Craigslist and hook-up sites like I was a four-door sedan, decked out with a luxury interior and a sunroof. Each time I relied on alcohol to loosen up, just as I had done as a teenager. On one rendezvous, I became so drunk beforehand that I don’t even remember the experience, although there are certainly plenty of pictures online to prove that it happened. I was far too inebriated for consent. But my state of mind didn’t matter to either man in that hotel room—especially not the one taking pictures.
At home, Will’s physical and verbal abuse eased. It would flare up here and there. If I seemed less eager to meet someone, he would threaten to quit his job. Most of the time, though, I felt that as long as I was fulfilling his fantasies, my son and I were safe. Maintaining this stability, even at my own expense, felt like the best protection I could offer my child.
New requests piled in. I felt like I had a second job, trying to be his perfect fantasy of a hotwife. He began sharing photos of me on a cuck-specific website. Soon men were requesting pictures of me posing in their desired positions, or holding up signs with their screen names. I believed Will’s assurances that all of this content was being shared only on this one site. I trusted him when he said it was like a drop in the bucket on the internet.
According to Will, I was a sensation in the cuck community. My photos had thousands of likes, re-shares, and downloads (making me wonder just how small this community really was). The brand that he created from my body proved to be popular. He would often boast that people wanted to buy my photos, which then required long, draining photo shoots to make more content to sell. Some fans bought and sent lingerie for me to wear in photos. At a higher price, he would sell a photo collection of me directly to the person who had sent the lingerie I was wearing. At one point, my husband had a man lined up to fly to our area and have sex with me for two thousand dollars. This outright prostitution never came to fruition, but that was the moment when I knew that Will had no limits when it came to exploiting my body for profit.
I came home from work to find these demands waiting. I wanted to relax and watch a show but for Will, even at home, my time was money.
Through those years, Will was merciless in insisting that I remain toned, thin and desirable for these poses, photo shoots, and sexual encounters. If I skipped the gym, ate dessert or showed any slight weight gain, his response was to tease me and tell me I’d better start a diet. Often I ate only rice cakes for dinner.
During one family holiday dinner, I went for a second helping. Will scowled at me from across the room, pointing to his stomach angrily. When we returned home, he looked me up and down and told me that my body—the 130 pound (59 kilogram) frame that I was killing myself to maintain—was “disgusting” and that my vagina was “blown out”, implying that the birth of my child had made me unappealing. He was not concerned that I was starving myself to keep my naturally curvy body thin.
Will began to push me to go out solo and have sex with other men, which I did a handful of times. A hotwife on her own at a bull’s home seems to be the jewel of cuck content. I’d go to the bull’s place and take photos of myself giving strangers oral sex. Then I'd send the images to Will, giving him a twisted power arousal by posting proof of our extreme sex life.
The last time I went alone, I was raped. I went home to Will afterwards, pretending everything was fine. I pushed through the agony and went to work the very next day, telling myself it had been my fault yet again. My feelings, joy, thoughts and opinions had never mattered, so it didn’t occur to me that I had been raped. It was just another penis, another condom, another slew of pictures for Will to categorise, sell and share.
Away from the camera, my coping strategies were catching up with me. I was wrestling with a family legacy of alcoholism, grappling with body dysmorphia and a serious eating disorder. I smiled through it, posed despite it and acted as though this life was fulfilling while my own identity was being hammered down with each new sexual encounter and every photo taken.
This is what I later tried to explain to the police, and eventually to others. My perky, smiling demeanour in the snapshots make it look like I am having the time of my life, but I was being trafficked by my own spouse. It wouldn’t have mattered to the types who followed me and it certainly didn’t matter to the men in the room with me, but I was staring at my abuser in every shot. My smile was my negotiation. I knew that each new post would hold off Will’s rage for about a week. Will had me cornered, because when things got heated and I threatened to leave, he would promise to send every photo he’d ever taken to my family, my friends and my employer. That kept me compliant: the risk of extortion by my own husband tightened my figurative cuffs.
Getting the hell out
After a dozen years with Will, I was exhausted and burning out. I could barely keep all of my life roles together. And then they began to fall apart.
Will started a hotwife Tumblr page that displayed every detail of our intimate life on the internet. By then it was as normal as taking out the garbage to find that Will had posted new images of me without my consent. However, Tumblr was a big, well-known platform and when I found out, I begged him to take the page down. I was terrified about this kind of exposure. Will minimised the risk by saying that no one would ever actually find my personal information.
Not long after, someone sent a direct message to the Tumblr account. They sent a perfectly normal picture that I’d taken on a hiking trip, standing with my hands on my hips in front of a mountain backdrop. It was my profile photo on my company’s website. My stomach dropped. They had doxxed me, located my real identity, and they seemed to be threatening to blackmail me at my job if I didn’t send them pornographic content. I was horrified. If I refused to cooperate and some stranger sent my nudes to the company I worked for, what would happen?
It didn’t happen, but the fear of this close call was on my mind constantly after that.
I could not absorb one more fear. My mental health was sliding into a metaphoric sinkhole. I had a stressful, underpaid job that fed on my soul 40 hours each week. Alongside work and managing our finances, I was taking sole care of our son, trying to appease an abusive husband and starving myself to maintain a thin-enough body.
Then I injured my back. Through months of chronic pain, I couldn’t exercise and I ate more calories than I ever had allowed myself before. I put on a significant amount of weight.
Will was ruthless. “When are you going back to the gym?” “Your fans want you, I don’t know what to tell them until you’ve lost weight!” “You keep getting fatter, and I’m sick of it.” He began joking with my nine-year-old son about my body and encouraging him to call me cruel names. His relentless message said that fat was not just undesirable but subhuman. Although the fat shaming was terrible, I was happy that he began to lose interest in me sexually. He didn’t want to touch me if I couldn’t fit into his beloved lingerie collection. A few extra pounds had freed me from the hotwife lifestyle—a worthy sacrifice.
However, I was also severely depressed, drinking to survive each day and hiding wine bottles in my closet. Will pushed me, choked me, hit me; but my memories are blurry because I was numbing myself with alcohol. It gave me the occasional liquid courage to fight back against Will’s abuse. I cringe to know that my son witnessed this violence.
Each day of the final year of our marriage, I commuted to work along a highway that ran parallel to a massive, violent river. I noted the points along each cliff face where I could drive off and plummet into the raging waters below. Carefully I selected the spots where I thought that the impact would be quickest, killing me with the least pain. Every morning for that entire year, I woke up unsure if that day would be the day I ended it.
Every time I thought about jerking the wheel at my perfect spots of peril, I had to remind myself of my son. What would happen if I left him with his father? As he grew up, what would my son think of me if I suddenly passed? The only reason I imagined dying in a car accident was that my son wouldn’t recognise my death as suicide. That boy was the only thing holding me back—my son and the nightly routine of alcohol to numb me enough to make it to the next day.
Our marriage was over, but I needed the push from Will’s final rage in order to act. One morning he blew up, and then hid my keys so I couldn’t leave for work. By the time I had retrieved the keys, I was shielding my son behind me. I was sobbing while he sobbed. I was able to back us out the door while threatening Will that I would call the police. We made it to the car and left, but Will followed us violently close. Thankfully, after a few miles he lost interest and retreated.
I came home that evening armed with newfound, absolute determination: if Will didn’t seek therapy within a week, I would leave. As usual, he called my bluff—and with that, it was over.
Leaving was like seeing the sun after years of darkness, but I was hardly free. The internet held thousands of images of my naked body and my bargaining smile. My ex still had every one of my intimate photos and videos in his possession. I thought I would take the secrets of our cuckolding extremes to my urn. The fear that I would be judged, shamed and blamed was almost as potent a deterrent as Will’s blackmail threats.
Although I had escaped, revenge porn was Will’s way of continuing to use my body. Clearly there was more to it than a fetish. It was about control, and after I left it became about punishment. The most dangerous thing in the world is a rejected man, and that’s revenge porn in a nutshell. The years of Will’s revenge—the road to that police station—will be part 2 of this story.
I am a liberated person now and my body—no matter what size—is something I am grateful for. The manner in which my hotwife body was exposed makes it easier to love my current body for everything it has survived. It took time for me to unpack my acquired fatphobia and overcome the anxiety of not only living in a larger body but loving it too. Learning to treat my own body with kindness means so much beyond my size.
I walked away from alcoholism, which allowed me to love myself enough to go to therapy, graduate from college and heal. Reigning over my trauma and shame has made my power unshakeable. I mean it when I say that I’m not afraid of him anymore.
Only by telling these truths to our mothers, sisters, friends, and especially ourselves will we dismantle sexual abuse in domestic partnerships. Our daughters and granddaughters will then be the expert agents of their own sexuality—women who never need to fight for their humanity under the fluorescent lights of a cold police station.