My first kiss was on the playground in third grade. I was standing on the platform that was feebly attempting to hold all of the pulverized rubber tire bits used to cushion our falls off the monkey bars. My best friend was standing next to me, and there was a small crowd standing in front of us. I spoke the gospel:
“Two girls kissing is not a big deal. Watch.”
We quickly pecked as children do. A wave of shock and awe fell over the audience. I shrugged my shoulders and said “See? Look, I’ll even do it again.” Another flash of a kiss. This was the first and last time I kissed a girl for over a decade, but I should have taken this experience as very straightforward foreshadowing. Probably would have saved me a lot of time and confusion.
I had “sex” for the first time in high school. We were in the basement of my first real boyfriend’s house sitting on his futon, pretending to watch a movie. Every time I went to his house, I would get an excited pit in my heart — I knew what we were going to do was naughty. We would only go so far until I’d stop him. My brain really wanted to have sex, but something kept stopping me (it was the gay, but we’ll just ignore that for now like I did). I was somewhere between nervous and scared and anxious and excited. I was one of the first of my friends to fool around with a guy, so I was pioneering territory that no one could tell me survival stories about. I’d have to be the first to come out on the other side to help my friends who were following behind me. Whenever my boyfriend and I tried something new, I would only touch before I got the courage to look. I kept my eyes closed and kissed him so I didn’t have to see what was going on. Once we “did it,” I felt relieved. The “virgin” label had been removed, and I wasn’t a newbie anymore. I finally knew what I was doing. Well, with guys that is.
My interest in men made a dramatic decrease as soon as I recognized my interest in women. But as my interest peaked, so did my anxiety. You’d think as an adult, I wouldn’t be scared of new experiences, especially ones that I was dying to have. But when I was finally hooking up with a girl, I lost my mind. I had made out with girls before, got a little bit of frisky over-the-clothes action, touched a tit or two, but there had been no full blown S-E-X up until that moment. Because whenever things got hot and heavy with a girl, I pulled the plug and let the passion die right in front of both of us.
After yearning for what seemed for a lifetime (probably because it was), I was finally going to get what I wanted. My new boo picked me up from my house (I was a little tipsy still from late night happy hour with my roommates) and brought me over to her house. I sat on the very edge of the bed, wondering what would happen if I dared to crawl up and lay next to her– my body felt compelled to be as close to her as it possibly could be.
Luckily, she thought I had done this before. Because that’s what I told her. Because I was lying. As far as I knew, she thought that I was about to pull out my encyclopedia of lesbian sex moves to carefully choose which one to rock her world all night long with (she saw right through my shit but was nice enough not to say anything). The room was dimly lit. Parks and Rec was playing faintly in the background. This felt eerily similar to my high school experiences, except we were on a real bed and no one’s parents were coming home in 15 minutes.
I felt the same pounding in my chest. I couldn’t do this. Clothes were already off. Her body was already between my legs, and she was already kissing my neck. A shroud of prudishness fell over me as I reached down to pull her hand out of my thong. I know, I thought, I’ll play it off like I’m trying to take it slow. Yeah, that’s what I’ll do.
“Don’t wanna ruin all the fun in one night, right?”
Oh yeah good one. Real convincing.
“Can’t prove the U-Haul stereotype to be true.”
Mhm. Laugh it off. This is going so well.
The next day I couldn’t stop thinking about her. How her soft skin felt on mine. How it felt to kiss her. How she laughed when our hair got in our mouths. She looked so beautiful, lit by the Christmas lights hanging above her bed. I wanted to go back to that moment. The moment that was going to be perfect had I not slammed on the brakes. Why was I doing that? I needed to see her again.
I had myself all pumped up. I re-shaved my whole body. I was a silky smooth porpoise from the eyebrows down. I put on my cutest underwear. I listened to sexy music on the car ride over to her house. It’s just a vagina, you nerd. You touch yours, like, everyday. I was trying to psych myself up, but I was starting to psych myself out. I was going to f*ck up again. I was either going to stop, or I was going to be so obviously bad that she will never talk to me again. I turned the music up louder to drown out any doubt I had. I pulled up to her house, took a deep breath, and went inside.
Everything looked exactly the same as the night before. After a little bit of small talk, considerably less than the day before, we started making out. Okay, it’s showtime. Without thinking, I grabbed her face with both hands, and she climbed on top of me. Clothes were off again. I wrapped my legs around her waist and kissed her like the world was ending the next day. We were grinding on each other like we were stars of some sort of porno music video. She stopped, looked at me right in my soul, and asked, “Can I go down on you?”
To which my mouth replied, “only if I can do it back.”
I couldn’t believe that I just said that. First of all, I rarely let anyone go down on me because (I thought) I didn’t like it. Second of all, “only if I can do it back”? Excuse me? Am I suddenly LL Cool J? Clearly I had been possessed by a smooth-talking lesbian demon who was just dying to see me embarrass myself. But here I was, telling bitches I was gonna eat them out like the last supper.
Once her tongue touched me, I shuddered. Oh, WOW. Okay, I can work with this. I closed my eyes and enjoyed the ride while taking careful notes of what she was doing so I could do the same. After who knows how long, she crawled back up my body to kiss me. I knew that meant it was my turn. I started yelling at myself in my head like an army sergeant.
OKAY MAGGOT. THIS IS YOUR MOMENT. DON’T YOU FUCK THIS UP. THIS NICE, BEAUTIFUL WOMAN JUST MADE YOU FEEL THINGS YOU HAVE NEVER FELT BEFORE, AND YOU BETTER PAY HER SOME RESPECT.
I rolled on top of her, shot down between her legs, closed my eyes, and did my best. And honestly? It was better than any BJ I had given. I meant for me, at least. This shit was so easy! I started getting cocky. I looked up at her to watch her wiggle. I just kept going until she pulled me back up, and we laid next to each other catching our breath.
Uh, that was it? I mean don’t get me wrong, it was easily the best sex ever, but are you f*cking kidding? I was over here panicking that there was going to be an issue with “finding spots” and “smells” and all of the rumors I had heard from lazy frat guys that I had befriended in college. Aside from the fear of social isolation and rejection, touching another vagina was the only reason I stopped kissing women at the age of 8, only to pick the hobby back up 14 years later. I had conquered my original fear of looking at/doing sex to a penis, and I didn’t want to go through that again. I thought I was too old to be nervous about sex, especially after I had been doing it for years. I could attribute this fear to the patriarchal views of women’s genitalia or the fact that I’m in my early twenties and am under the delusion that I should already know everything by now.
But what I had realized was two-fold: virginity is a construct, and we are all on our own timelines. I thought of my friends who did not have sex with anyone until they were in college. I thought of women who divorce their husbands late in life to be with the woman of their dreams. I thought of people who wait until marriage to have sex. Because I felt like I was so late, I thought that I was the only one who didn’t know what they were doing. But every woman had to start somewhere right? All of us had the experience of picturing sex a million different ways but not really knowing what it was until it happened. And my moment was probably a little later than my third grade LGBTQ advocate self would have liked it to be.
So if you are also feeling like your moment was too late, or you haven’t had yours yet, it’s really no biggie. Because once you do, you won’t be able to remember life without it.