r’s note: This post is intended for mature audiences. So, if you are under the age of 18, please stop reading. If you are offended by the idea that people – me – may or may not have sex or even think about it (a lot) stop reading. Also, if you are my mom or uncle STOP READING!
My friend Tiffany recently shared a post she wrote on her blog about losing her virginity. Go read it; Tiffany is a phenomenal writer and just a wonderful person but I gush. I am mentioned in the post; I play the role of “an older friend and former colleague.” Since she published her post, Tiff and I have had an opportunity to discuss what she wrote, my response to our original conversation and here are some of my thoughts.
When Tiffany and I talked, I shared that I didn’t want her to be hurt or used or to be the tick mark of someone’s fantasy list. She turned the tables and asked me if it occurred to me that SHE was the someone enacting a fantasy and that she knew what she was doing. She concluded that I was just protective over those I care about and she’s right.
At the ripe old age of 41, I am still working my way through my feelings with (said in a small voice) sex. The Bee and I have had THE TALK, along with several more that leave us scurrying to our selective corners for recovery, and I understand that I have double standards when it comes to what I believe and what I do. I was raised to believe that the V card was something you held onto with all your might because only fast girls gave it away. Sex was something you only did with special person and that special person had to be the one and when you did do the deed, it was a private moment that you maybe shared with your diary and no one else. Sex was a bad word, equated with unwanted pregnancies that could ruin your life or a reputation that would leave the neighbors whispering. It was negative and scary and something that just was not really discussed at home unless it was a cautionary tale. My mom always said that she had sex one time and got pregnant with twins so for years I thought my fate would be sexy times and twins and a ruined life.
I didn’t really date until I got to college (issues, y’all). When I started dating and thoughts turned to getting intimate, I realized that sex may not be so bad but I could still hear the words of my family, “tramp…hussy…hot ass (that last one is a Nellie-ism)” and would resist the temptation until I didn’t. The first time I had sex, I felt so guilty and so ashamed that I didn’t talk to my then boyfriend for a week. When he finally managed to get me to talk to him, I shared a bit of how I feel and he helped me to understand that we had done nothing wrong, that there was nothing to be ashamed of. In spite of his words of comfort, there was still a part of me which felt some distress for giving away my card but I felt like the door was open and there was no going back. And really, I didn’t want to go back. I felt like Janet from Rocky Horror…I tasted blood and I wanted more.
In the years since that awkward dorm room encounter, I have had relationships with men I loved, men I was only fond of, men who I felt close enough to be bare and vulnerable with and men who were a combo of all three. There were still some negative thoughts but they grew quieter as I began to embrace the positive feelings I had towards sex. As I stand today, confident and feeling a bit more secure, I examine my thoughts. I don’t think of sex as an abominable act. It’s lovely and beautiful and something to be celebrated and enjoyed. The shame that is attached to it needs to be removed. My worth as a person is not determined by intimate relations with a partner and I understand that it is not something I HAVE to do nor something that my partners are required to do. While I have never felt forced or coerced by any relationship I have been in to have sex, I was never comfortable being the person to initiate the act, allowing my partner to lead the way. There was a part of me who still felt a bit “fast” if I showed that this may be a *gasp* enjoyable act. To combat this thought, I felt that if I were a passive participant, I could negate some of the wrong doing.
My conversations with The Bee, growing less awkward but still not so smooth, are full of these positive point of views. I do let her know that there is nothing wrong with her for her thoughts, her curiosity or her feelings but I do believe that sex is not something that she needs to rush and do. However, if she does choose a course of her own, I want to be as supportive and open as possible so she won’t be fumbling through the dark paths of misinformation while trying to figure her way.
I still struggle, now that I am single again I wonder what’s next. Whatever it is, I will be positive, honest and enjoy.