When I was fourteen, I decided I didn’t want to be a virgin anymore.
With little parental guidance and boundaries, I had already perceived myself to be a small, financially dependent adult, and I just thought it was a good idea. Why not? Virginity never really meant anything to me, I don’t know why.
I have a thirteen-year old sister now, so looking at her and reminiscing about my experiences around her age genuinely freaks me out. She has a lot more structure in her life than I did though, and more people are around to watch over her, so I try not to worry too much.
My sexual attitudes at the time were obviously pretty loose and casual. Granted, I didn’t want to have sex with just anyone, it had to be with someone I had feelings for, but as far as losing my virginity or having sex with someone new for the first time, it was never something that I agonized or stressed over. If I wanted to do it, I did it.
What I find interesting though, is that even though it wasn’t ever directly vocalized, it was ingrained in me that sex is for men. I did it when I wanted to, without much of a thought, but I wasn’t doing it because I was receiving any kind of sexual pleasure from it. I would do it because if I liked someone and we had feelings for each other in the context of some type of dating relationship (whether it was official or not), I thought that it was my obligation to satisfy them. Look at me, since I’m all grown up and I think I love you, I guess I’ll get you off.
I’m not saying that I never enjoyed it. Sometimes I just liked the feeling of physical closeness (usually during the infatuation or “honeymoon” phase). I remember the first time my high school boyfriend went down on me. I didn’t come, but I thought “okay, this feels nice.” But most of the time it was pretty cut and dry. He’s going to finger me, stick it in, come, and that’s it. Maybe I’ll have to suck his dick. Not my favorite, but oh well, gotta do what you gotta do.
That started to change when I had my first orgasm. I was seventeen or eighteen, and my boyfriend at the time was eating me out and stayed down there in the right place long enough for something to happen. Bless him. It was that kind of cliché “oh my god what is happening this is weird do I have to pee what is going on” experience that you’ve probably had yourself, or at least heard of dozens of times before. After that, it started happening more and more, and sex started to transform for me. I was suddenly having fantasies I had never had before about the different ways he could do it to me, and for the first time, my motivation to have sex was beginning to center around my own gratification.
I felt that I couldn’t expect anyone after that to go down on me all the time, but they did have to at least be able to make me come once in a while. I still grappled with notions of needing to do it, even if I didn’t feel like it, because it’s what I was supposed to do, and that lingers in me to this day. It’s been perpetuated by men’s attitudes too. Most guys I’ve been with felt that they were at least somewhat entitled to it.
As much as I tried to maintain the image that I always wanted it, and was always enjoying it, I never faked an orgasm, and I’m actually proud of that.
I also have a hard time not laughing at dirty talk. I would try to play along, but sometimes it was just too much. I’ve only had a handful of guys who did that, but some of the things they said were downright hilarious. One guy would baby-talk, mostly to my boobs, during sex, which was kind of funny but mostly gross. Mommy issues, much? The most recent one had obviously used porn as an educational resource, and felt compelled to ask me how much I wanted his dick all the time. One time, around the holidays, I couldn’t stop myself from bursting out laughing in the middle of it when he compared his dick to a Christmas tree.
Sex can be beautiful though. I’ve had that glorious, euphoric, life-changing sex. I’ve also had a lot of boring sex, “please just get it over with” sex, and sex that made me feel straight up used. The sex that made me feel used was probably the worst. When you have sex like that, you feel more like a receptacle for semen than an actual human being.
I feel like as an adult I’m a pretty good sexual communicator. I compromised with my last boyfriend, and said to him: “Okay, if you’re not going to get me off and you’re going to jump right in with minimal foreplay, I’m not going to stay wet and you’re going to have to make it quick.” Did he listen? No, but he’d complain that I was dry, and then as much as I’d try to fight it, I’d end up feeling a little insecure, like I failed somehow.
I’ve also had a lot of performance sex, which actually isn’t always bad and can be kind of fun. Wine helps with this, and energy. I may not have gotten off sexually, but it was a nice little ego boost when I’d think “Wow, look at me, I look awesome right now and I’m making him crazy.”
I know I’m rambling here. There’s a lot to cover.
The most important thing I want to get to is foreplay. Foreplay, foreplay, foreplay. Like I said before, for most of my teenage years being sexually active, foreplay meant just sticking his fingers in. To be fair, we were teenagers, it’s not their fault. As an adult though, I can’t believe it still happens like that so much of the time.
When I was sixteen, I was briefly seeing this guy who was a little bit older. We didn’t actually end up doing it, but it didn’t matter. It was the first time I remember thinking that sex could be different. I was in his room, and all I we had done so far is kiss (he was an exceptional kisser and had a tongue ring, it was awesome), and I knew that we were going to move things along. I remember being so embarrassed and nervous to admit that I was on my period. When I did, in my blushing and awkward way, he said: “I don’t care about that,” in a tone that was so sincere that I was blown away. Guys don’t always care about that? What? Okay, then.
I was watching him, not sure what to do, when he picked up a cup with only ice left in it and put a cube in his mouth. With his lips slightly open, he kissed me from the neck down. The warmth from his mouth combined with the shocking coldness of the ice was one of the best feelings I had ever experienced. He ate me out for a little while, and I obviously didn’t come because I didn’t have my first orgasm until a couple years later. Holy shit though. I had no idea it could be so sensual and centered around me.
Remember how I said that blow jobs aren’t my favorite thing to do? It was my favorite thing to do to him in that moment after he did that.
Not to speak for all other women, but I do think most of them feel the same way I do in that foreplay is a central and crucial part of the sexual experience. It makes or breaks it, orgasm or not. I came across a twitter thread from a guy who explains this in his own way [see below], and I was so relieved reading it to know that there are at least some men out there who get it.
I’ve always felt like I had to provide a service, and look perfect while doing it. Meanwhile, a lot of men are simply sticking their dicks in people and feeling good about themselves for it.
I made a decision that sex should be about me now. It’s my turn.