“I was very clear, again, that was not right, that was not cool, that was not the way it is,” Matthew, 52, said on the Sunday, September 18, episode of Amanda de Cadenet‘s “The Conversation: About the Men” podcast. “After that, I got to have some healthy sexual relations and have girls that I liked and liked me, and we slowly got intimate and it was beautiful and clumsy, and all those things, but it wasn’t ugly like that was.”
When it came to dealing with the aftermath of the trauma, Matthew said he didn’t have the “option” to dwell on it.
“I’m not gonna be afraid of relationships because my first experience was blackmail. Uh uh. That’s an aberration,” he said. “That’s not the way it is. And if I go on — and I’m not gonna let it beat me. I’m going, ‘I’m not gonna let that beat my sense of trust in people and say, ‘No, I can have a healthy relationship.’ Non-negotiable.”
He concluded the topic by stating he won’t “deny” that the incident happened. “But am I gonna carry that? I chose, non-negotiably, I’m not going to carry that, bring that baggage into the life I’m going to lead, and how I treat people and how I trust people, and how I look at circumstances and the risk I may take,” he said
The Magic Mike actor also reflected on when he learned about consent and the lessons his father taught him about sex and sexual intimacy.
“I had been taught, been guided by my parents about respect for a woman, respect for the relationship, respect for sexual intimacy, respect for space,” Matthew said.
He continued, “My dad had always had this thing when he taught us the birds and the bees, he sat me down talking the birds and the bees, he said, ‘You’re getting that age you kiss?’ and I said, ‘Yes, sir.’ And he goes, ‘Well, it’s gonna go further than that one day. It’s probably gonna go to where you’re gonna get intimate and there’s gonna be the breast, and there’s gonna be below the belt.’ I’m paraphrasing, and he goes, ‘It’s gonna happen to you as well.’”
“And so he goes, and he’s talking to me, he says, ‘Son, as a male in the situation,’ speaking to me about a heterosexual relationship, ‘If you ever feel the girl, the female, hesitate, stop.’ He even said this, he goes, ‘You may even feel them hesitate, and then after you stop, they may go, oh, no, no, come on. Don’t. Wait till next time,’” the How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days actor recalled. “And he was right, I got in certain senses where it was like, ‘No, no, no. OK, I’m out.’ And saying, ‘OK, cool. I’m out.’ The girl went, ‘Oh, well, no, come on.’ And I was like, ‘No, no, no.’ He said, ‘Trust you’ll have another day, if it is to be.’”
Matthew credited the conversations for giving him a clear understanding of what a healthy sexual relationship should look like, which is why he was able to identify that being blackmailed into having sex at 15 was wrong.
He then explained that he was molested years later when he was 18. However, the Texas native said he didn’t “connect” the two incidents until later on.
While Matthew admitted that he hasn’t gone to therapy to work through the experiences, he credited having a good support system to process the difficult times.
“I’ve had very good friends. I’ve had good mentors. I’ve had elder men, elder women, married couples, that pulled it off – from celebrating 50-year anniversaries, that have taken the time to sit with me,” the Dallas Buyers Club actor said.
However, Matthew added that his parents’ advice about sex came off as hypocritical when “the messenger and the message did not meet.” He said, “I never quit believing in the things my mom and dad were teaching me in the middle of finding out, ‘Oh, maybe they were hypocritical about what they were teaching and what they were actually doing.’”