A Series of Firsts: The Touch of My Hand
Guilt and shame are terrible bases upon which to build a sexual identity. I was not introduced to my clitoris the way young men are oriented to know exactly what their birth prop can do to make them happy. I, like many women, was encouraged to ignore mine. I didn't hear women saying “suck it” or the word “cunt” slung around the way rap stars ostentatiously discuss the slinging of their magic stick. For a good while I wasn't even aware of any words for my pressure point. A late bloomer like many, it took me a while to realize there were even two holes down there...
A woman’s sexuality is hidden and hushed as if her knowledge of the potential of her pussy would lead to children running around unaccounted for, irresponsible requests to fuck in the raw, hands down her pants at the bus stop offending little boys...
Lewd, crude and out of control as boys are allowed to be, we little ladies were reminded to keep our legs crossed beneath our jumpers. We’re warned not to sell ourselves short because pleasure has a price. The body is something to deny, to starve in its cravings. In morality class, our fire was explained to us. "Here is a candle -- your spirit -- when you masturbate, when you allow more than one man (no mention of women here) to touch your flame, you are consciously diminishing it. Keep your panties on and reward your husband with a full-blown raging fire one day.
But what if I died before I waked? As a young’n I was terrified of premature expiration. What if by some tragic turn of events I died a virgin? I was petrified to remain ignorant of pleasure and of all its possibilities. As much as my Catholic school upbringing wound me tight, my liberal arts college experience let the excess thread unravel.
It seems crazy to me now, but I didn't fully explore my nether regions until I was well beyond the age I expected to have lost my virginity. The first time I let myself get finger deep was in my dorm room at college. I returned home anxiously from a campus discussion -- a duo, writers of The Female Orgasm, gave a lecture specifically about sex and the encouragement of having of it. Before, perhaps instead of, sexual release, I remember feeling overcome with the flooding waters of guilty remorse. So much so that I began to sob. How is it that I had been so stereotypically successful with my mission to be skinny, and womanly -- studied magazines like they were the bible itself... how is it that I'd suffered so much in my attempts at "perfection" and still found it impossible to get someone to touch it for me?
I wasn't supposed to be my own first time.
I felt jipped and unwanted, shortchanged of the magic of sexual immersion. You can imagine the disappointment, frustration, anger that ensued when I eventually realized guys had even less of an idea of how to operate my machinery than I had been taught. What. The. Fuck.
But the longer I lived in a liberal environment, the more I was exposed to sexual liberation, freedom and exploration. Female sensuality and sexuality had their own forums, courses, activist groups?! “Outrageous...my sex drive” was not just a Britney Spears lyric I thought spoke directly to me. In an environment where provocation was celebrated, I finally felt free to let myself be me in my most sexually-charged natural disposition.
Throughout my youth, I gravitated towards the sexually unlocked -- the women who kicked their legs wide open. And the more I was exposed to this topic as a possibility for discussion, the more I realized how important this dialogue is for women everywhere. As ordinary a topic as jerking off is for men, most women are not as open to speaking about pleasuring themselves. Too many still think of the orgasm as elusive -- believing that vaginal climax is a myth. Too many have no idea what her rosebud looks like. And I was one of them for far too long.
Even though it took me a while to explore what I was hiding, keeping my legs closed was something I fought from my earliest memories. And by the time I found myself supported by a slew of official organizations, thinkers, dance floor gyrators who weren't afraid of their own sexuality -- it was a validation of the pussy power I’d admired all along. Years of my life were dry and littered with sexual shame, not to mention frustration. To think, all that while I could’ve been taking it out on my clitoris…
I guess I’ll just have to make up for lost time.