Lesbian Sex and The City: When Does ‘Roasting’ Your Partner Become Emotional Abuse?

There’s a fine line between roasting and emotional abuse.

Photo by istock

Hello, lovers. Carrie Lezshaw here to help you differentiate between a good old fashioned roast, and straight up emotional abuse. First, let’s start with a story, shall we?

Picture this: I’m scissoring (my favorite pastime) with one of the hottest girls I’ve ever seen. (We had been dating for a month, and though I recognized some red flags, I was completely infatuated with her.) Her long brown hair cascades over her perfect boobs as she grinds over me. Hot, no? Then just as I’m about to cum, she bursts out hysterically laughing.

“You look really ugly right now.”

If that’s not a way to lose your orgasm, then I’m not sure what is.

I immediately push her off of me, and run to the bathroom. I look in the mirror, desperately trying to recreate my orgasm face to see just how ugly it really is. I stay in there for a good 10 minutes, spiraling at the fact that I most definitely look like I have a double chin when I’m getting head. I consider never leaving the bathroom again I am so embarrassed. This was even worse than the time that I fartedThis is where I go to die, I think.

She knocks. Surely she’s going to apologize, right?

“Come on, Dayna. It was funny! Come out.”

I hesitate because I low-key like to be begged to forgive someone after they’ve genuinely hurt me. Here it comes… her apology.

“You’re so dramatic. Ugh, this is why I can’t kid around with you,” she said, “stop being a baby and come out of there.”

So much for an apology. Maybe I should lighten up, I thought. Maybe it’s just one time, I thought. I came out of the bathroom and apologized for being so dramatic. I would soon get used to apologizing all the time.

Let’s examine the evidence — Detective Carrie Lezshaw, if you will. She said something embarrassing and mean AF. Strike one.

She made me lose my orgasm. SERIOUS OFFENSE. Strike two.

But is it abuse yet? Not quite. But once she refused to acknowledge my hurt feelings, and bullied me for being upset? You bet your queer ass, that’s emotional abuse. Strike three!

Before her, I had had great sex, but not sex where I felt like I could totally lose myself. No matter how pleasurable, there was a small part of me that worried about the way that I looked. When we first starting sleeping together, I realized what it was like to truly let go and experience pleasure.

So to be told I looked ugly when I was fully immersed in the sex zone was pretty damaging to my self-esteem. I reverted back to feeling insecure.

But I let it happen. If you allow something to happen, it’ll keep happening.

Now let’s be clear: It’s really hard to offend me. I basically roast myself nd self-deprecate for a living.

I’m always down for a good roast. My friends love to roast me about my excessively glamorous lifestyle, the fact that I love Jenny Schecter, that I wear clothing that’s way too small for me (I’ve been known to slut up shirts from the junior girl’s section) and the fact that I didn’t know how to take the subway until this year. But there’s a line. A fine line, but nonetheless a line.

A few months after the scissoring incident, she had asked me to send her a selfie. I was insanely insecure at the time that we were dating and would put on makeup to take out the garbage. Half my life was spent frantically reapplying bronzer. My impulse was to make myself up before sending a picture, but I was in a rush and had just jumped out of the shower. I sent her a selfie with a towel on my head, which I thought was cute. “Lmao.” she replied. And when I said asked what was funny, she said “That’s your face, babe.” Like, she literally laughed at my un-made-up face. This made me feel terrible, obviously, but instead of saying something, I dolled myself up that night and sent another selfie, hoping for her approval. Which I got—she went on and on about how beautiful and sexy I am. When she wasn’t hurting me, she was showering me in love and affection.

Whenever we were with a group of people, she would make fun of me in a performative way, which was funny, for sure. But only to her. Our friends would awkwardly laugh and I’d sink into myself and want to disappear. I had no idea what emotional abuse was, let alone that it could be happening to me. What started out as what I thought was an accidentally mean comment ended up with her continually bullying and gaslighting me.

All of my insecurities came barreling down at once. I had never cried over being disabled before, and then I burst into tears in the middle of a bar one night because I “felt different.” After that night, my disability played a role in her “roasts.”

“People are staring at you,” she’d taunt me, “let me stand on your left side so they don’t stare.”

At first, I would get upset when she “roasted” me. Eventually, I didn’t react at all because I didn’t want to be called dramatic. I was so desperate to prove that I was “chill” that I suppressed all of my emotions. Whether she was telling me my lipstick was the wrong color or to lose 5 pounds, I told myself over and over to get a thicker skin. It didn’t hurt more or less over time– I grew completely numb.

Eventually, I started seeing a therapist that helped me realize how real emotional abuse is. I had been broken down so badly, I couldn’t see the situation. After much deliberation, I finally broke up with her, even though part of me still didn’t want to. Once I was away from her, I began to heal. Through therapy and time, I finally found my way back to myself. It took about a year, but once I finally mourned the relationship and identified it as abuse, I felt confident that I’d never let it happen again. When I went on to date other women, I was ecstatic to know that there are women out there that are just as hot and good in bed, and are actually nice to me.

There’s a fine line between roasting and emotional abuse. Here are 5 red flags that indicate your partner’s behavior is emotional abuse and not a friendly roast.

1. If it makes you feel like shit, it’s emotional abuse. 

Obviously it can be funny AF to occasionally roast your partner. But if it comes at the expense of your happiness and self-esteem, that’s unacceptable.

2. If you let it go once, and it continues to happen, it’s emotional abuse.

Maybe your partner said something hurtful under the guise of a joke and you shrugged it off. Then it became a regular occurrence. That’s emotional abuse. Make sure you realize your boundaries and verbalize them, or you could find yourself in a two-year long relationship that disguises abuse as joking.

3. If you are called dramatic or overly sensitive for your reactions, it’s emotional abuse. 

If your partner refuses to acknowledge your pain, and instead insists you should toughen up, that’s emotional abuse. Even if you are dramatic (read: sensitive) who cares? If something is hurting you, it’s hurting you.

4. If they roast you in front of people as a form of entertainment, it’s emotional abuse.  

If you consistently find yourself at the butt of a joke in front of friends, that could be emotional abuse.  It can be hard to decipher if the behavior is abusive if other people are laughing along, but it could be just because they are uncomfortable.

5. If you’re not laughing at the “joke” and instead feel like crying, it’s emotional abuse. 

If you don’t feel genuinely entertained by getting roasted, then it’s not something your partner should be doing. And if a partner feels the need to put you down constantly for the sake of “comedy,” they have power issues they need to work through with a therapist. And they aren’t that funny.