When I was a little girl my parents used to have sex in their bedroom and we could hear it going on. I don’t remember ever not knowing what they were doing. We knew. I mean we didn’t really know the details, but we understood that they were having sex. We didn’t think of it as anything other than an act of love between our parents. They didn’t discuss it with us, but they didn’t hide it. I’m not sure they knew we were awake. Maybe it was the heat of the moment that took away their worries. At the time we thought they just didn’t care to hide it.
And my parents had great sex. We would hear my mom moaning. They’d hit their heads up on the headboard and then we’d hear them laugh.
We would hear the low hum of talking sometimes during but also for a long time afterwards. Sometimes my mom would talk out loud, enough for us to hear her. “Oh God,” she’s say or “that feels so good.” And sometimes she would tell my dad, “oh Barry.” You heard her more than you heard him. It was always a surprise when you heard him moan or grunt. His voice was more rare. So we used to listen for it.
Once I hit puberty and started understanding this a little more, I would visualize myself feeling like my mom. Sometimes I was alone and then other times there was a man in my visualizations. My breasts would tingle and the tingling would move down my side. My nipples would get hard, and my vagina felt hot. There would be that familiar scent, as the wetness came. I would have my pajama bottoms down to my ankles, but I was under the covers of my bed. My first orgasm was completely from visualization. I never even touched myself. When I came it was like a pulsating explosion that surprised me and took away my breath. I called out, if but for a moment, like Mom did. My sister stirred in her bed, which was in the same room, but she didn’t wake up.
And so I’m not a prude. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with sex. I’ve had plenty of opportunities, like I can’t count how many, but something always stopped me, and I think it’s just that I have high standards. These guys did not seem like they could meet the standards set by my dad and mom. I wanted it to be like they had it. And not like my sister had it. She had sex, but never seemed to enjoy it even as much as I already had – by myself. At least it didn’t seem like she did. It was something in the way she talked about it, without enthusiasm.
I didn’t want it to be like her.
And so I waited. And I waited some more, even though I was open to the opportunity. I dated guys, guys that always wanted to jump right to the action, squeezing my “girls” first thing. Trying to get even just a couple of fingers under my clothes would make me mad. I hated guys who were pushy. That didn’t seem the way it was supposed to be. It was supposed to go slow. And so I didn’t get any. I sat at home in my pajamas visualizing instead, even though I was perfectly willing if they would just have approached it right.
My Junior prom date, Jared got so excited just from us kissing that he came in his pants. He wasn’t even embarrassed, he was just angry. “I have to return this tuxedo tomorrow, how am I going to explain this,” he said.
My senior prom date, John, was doing better at first. I remember I was really getting into kissing him. I was feeling particularly sensual and focused. He tried to move his hand to my crotch but I stopped him and told him to “slow down.” I was pretty much directing traffic and that’s why he had the best chance if he had just followed my signals. Then he said, “I don’t have a condom, are you on the pill?” and that just really pissed me off. First of all we weren’t far enough along to be talking about condoms, although I admit I was thinking it could have gone there. In retrospect I was glad he brought it up when he did, better sooner than later. Of course he could have eaten me, but I would not have even thought about that then. All moot anyway after the pill question. He thought I might have been on the pill? What kind of girl did he think I was? I went home and didn’t even think about masturbating. I was so angry at him and maybe at myself too that I just wanted to suffer.
In college it was more of the same. I had one guy come right out and ask me if I wanted to have sex with him. “No,” I said, “but thanks.” Others would offer drugs hoping that you would have sex with them afterwards. I wasn’t going to go out like that.
And so I made it through college without managing to get me any either, and it was about to drive me crazy. But the longer I went, the better it was going to have to be, and that was making it even harder. Needless to say, I got pretty good at masturbating. I could give myself multiple orgasms. And I was almost satisfied with that, but oh if a guy would ever do it for me – that remained in my dreams.
Now my sister by this time was already married. And before that happened she had, unlike me, experienced a lot of different men. But she and her husband didn’t seem to emanate the kind of love our parents had. I don’t think she really had what I wanted. I could have been wrong. I could have been jealous, but I don’t think so. And I didn’t understand why she settled. She heard the same thing I heard in our parents’ bedroom.
I went to live on my own in the city after college, getting a job at a Border’s bookstore during the day and at night I waitressed at a fish place called Steamy’s. A lot of good a degree does you. But it didn’t matter. I was just happy to be on my own, and I had a lot of energy I needed to work off, so I worked two jobs.
I met my boyfriend Marc at Borders actually, or at least I saw him there first. Helped him find a book. He seemed nice. We chatted a bit, but then he went on and I went back to work. I thought at the time, “that was a nice guy, too bad I’ll never see him again.”
Then he happened into Steamy’s. He was with a co-worker, another guy. They wore suits. When I went to take his order, he recognized me, “Hey, Hi.”
“Oh hi,” I said, as if we were old friends.
“You used to work at Borders.”
“Yeah. I remember you.”
“So you quit?”
“No I’m still there.”
“Oh. Two jobs?”
“Yeah. Gotta’ make ends meet, y’know?”
The restaurant was very busy that night and I didn’t have too much time to chat, but I made an extra effort to keep their drinks full and to check in with them on a frequent basis to see if they needed anything.
At the end of their dinner things were starting to slow down. His friend had left the table, I actually don’t know if he had left the restaurant, or just gone to the bathroom or if Marc asked him to step away. But when I returned his credit card Marc said.
“I know this is weird and I usually don’t do things like this so suddenly, because I know I don’t really know you, but I like, I mean I was very impressed with how you handle yourself here, so many tables and always on top of it, and working two jobs, and you were so helpful in the bookstore… and nice, so… I’d like to take you out, if you would like to, I mean. If you’re interested. You’re not interested. Nevermind. I’m sorry.”
That was just so cute.
“Sure,” I said.
“Um, I’ll give you my number.”
Which was kind of stupid cause I’m never home.
But I returned his calls after my shift one night. I woke him up, but he still seemed happy to talk to me. For the first couple of months when we saw each other I was always so tired from my two jobs. There were many nights he came over to my place and I just lied there exhausted in his arms and didn’t move a muscle. He just held me and didn’t move either. We talked in hushed tones about life, and love and embarrassing moments, like when he asked me out, he said. He said he sounded so stupid. I told him it was cute. And then we slept like that. Time passed and he was going slow, maybe a little too slow, but I wasn’t going to make the first move. I don’t know why I didn’t want to. I just thought I’d like it better if he did it.
I tried to act inviting to him though. One day he took the invitation, looked into my eyes, my willing lips, saw something and kissed me. I kissed back. There was something different about these kisses. I was enjoying the pace of it, enjoying this man just touching me, my side, my back. I pressed my breasts up into his chest, but through our clothes. I liked these small steps. Then he leaned back.
“Is it OK if I go a little further?”
I smiled. “Yeah. I guess. I’ll let you know if you go too far.”
Now he smiled. “Ok.” He said. Then he asked, “are you… experienced?”
“Do I look like a virgin?”
“No. I don’t’ know. I’m. I’m a virgin.”
“Oh gosh, I’m sorry. I was just messing with you. Actually I am a virgin also.”
“So neither one of us really knows exactly what to do.”
I just looked at him. I didn’t know whether to tell him about my parents.
“Well, I don’t really know,” he amended.
“Well, if we get that far, I can tell you exactly what to do if you want, but they tell me that the first time isn’t usually so great for the girl anyway, painful but that’s ok, I guess. I’m just looking for someone that I really like, and that I trust to get started.”
That was the first moment that I realized that was what I was really looking for.
“I don’t accept that your first time can’t be really good,” he said. “We should do whatever we have to make it great. If you tell me exactly what to do, I’ll do it,” he said, adding, “if, and when, we get that far.”
We got that far. I showed him where the clitoris was and then he just started exploring, like he had waited his whole life for the chance. He was satisfying his curiosity (and much more). He put his thumb inside me and moved it back and forth (oh god what a tease that was), he gave me oral sex (I didn’t know I could have so many orgasms in a row). And except for a brief moment of pain within an eternity of ecstasy, it was just like Mama used to make. I finally understood it. And when we banged our heads on the headboard, we laughed.