It became our favorite game and our biggest secret.

We were intoxicated by the naughtiness of it and amazed by this new world to which we had been completely ignorant. I didn’t need the other girls there for emotional support anymore.

I began touching myself, masturbating at night and thinking about the older men on the chat room who wanted to do all kinds of dirty things to me. Cybering made me feel worldly and desirable when, in actuality, I was an awkward and gangly little girl whose crushes were all “out of my league.” Soon, however, I realized that I had become addicted.

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I would get home from school, hole up in my room, and pretend to be a much older, much sexier, much more experienced woman.

I felt empowered by the way I could tantalize men just with my words, and the way they spoke me to made me feel wild and beautiful.

I believed that God was judging me, and when I would masturbate at night, I thought He was watching me in shame. I grew to hate myself, and I hated the men in the chat room more.

Even though I voluntarily logged onto that chat room every day, I felt preyed upon, taken advantage of, and disrespected.

“We should visit a chat room.” None of us understood the appeal, but the gravity in her voice and the spark in her eyes fueled our interest.

We all ended up standing around the household computer, Jennifer in charge.

I didn’t know what these men meant when they said “I’m fingering you” or “I want you to masturbate.” It was a completely new language, one that Jennifer explained to the rest of us throughout the night.

In addition to being shocked, however, we were all strangely delighted.

I stopped visiting that site, but my insecurities, my fear of men, and my extreme guilt grew tenfold. I turned down boy after boy who wanted to take me out because I felt like they were attacking me. Even slow-dancing at the school’s homecoming dance made me feel objectified.