As youths, we all have things that influence our ideas of proper sexuality — what is and is not normal or weird, etc. etc. etc. These things are often totally outside of our control, and sometimes we don’t have any context for them at all, leading us to believe that things that set off red flags and sirens and giant blaring alarms going WEEEE-WOOOO in our brains are actually not something we should be concerned about at all, and that our concern is silly and immature.
Once upon a time I was a youth and had my first boyfriend. We spent the first six months of our relationship not so much touching as talking about touching, and often tongue-kissing in the most unsexy way possible (he set off my gag reflex, I drooled a lot).
One day he and I were discussing things we'd done.He was my first boyfriend, but I was not his first girlfriend, and I was OVERWHELMED WITH JEALOUSY about his previous girlfriend and what they may or may not have done.
Up to this point the dirtiest thing I had ever done was imagine Orlando Bloom touching my boobs.
"I've imagined Orlando Bloom touching my boobs," I confessed, tittering and turning bright red. "Like, without a bra."
"Wow," he said.
Without missing a beat, he added, ”Sometimes when no one is home I put peanut butter on my junk and have [name of dog redacted to protect the innocent] lick it off."
A couple of things:
1. I was petting the dog as he said this.
2. He said it as if it was the equivalent of, "Sometimes I just eat hummus with my fingertip because all vegetables are just a vehicle for hummus, if I'm being honest with myself and the world."
3. I had absolutely no experience with anything at this point. I hadn’t even masturbated yet. If asked, I would probably have told you that a clitoris was a rare kind of caterpillar. I had the barest of sex talks with my parents who stressed that sex was EVIL and DIRTY or at the very least SOMETHING YOU SHOULD DO WHEN YOU ARE READY, SAY, AT AGE 45.
I was also an only child with mostly female cousins, so I had no context for what boys may or may not do when left to their own devices. However, I had heard several jokes along the lines of exactly this, so my first thought was: Maybe this is totally normal. Was it totally normal? Was I the gross freak for immediately wanting to hide under the couch and never come out?
I reacted to this the way any teenager faced with something they don't understand, but wants to appear worldly about might react: I sat in silence for what felt like 10 hours but it was probably about 30 seconds, trying to keep a straight face while inside I went OH MY GOD, IS THIS NORMAL? DO BOYS DO THIS? SHOULD I STOP PETTING THE DOG? IF I STOP PETTING THE DOG WILL THIS BE SEEN AS AN IMPLIED DISGUST? IS IT OKAY IF I IMPLY DISGUST IF I FEEL KIND OF DISGUSTED? IS THIS BECAUSE HE HAS TOO MUCH JESUS? IS IT BECAUSE HE DOES NOT HAVE ENOUGH JESUS? while he stared purposefully at the wall. In retrospect, he possibly did not feel as cucumber-cool about this confession as he appeared.
Finally, casting about for some response that would bring us back to a world I knew, a familiar world where my boyfriend had not been more intimate with a dog than he had been with a human, I said, "What do you think God thinks about that?”
I don't remember what he said. We dated for, like, a long-ass time. I actually had scrubbed all memory of this conversation from my mind until I had graduated from college and was discussing a person on Reddit with my roommates. This person’s son may or may not have been, uh, intimate with the family dog. And then it all came back to me like the crescendo in that Celine Dion classic “It’s All Coming Back To Me Now,” only my moments of gold were my teen boyfriend’s experimental bestiality and my flashes of light were that I still had no idea how normal this was.
I asked a dude friend. “Dude friend,” I asked, “Do boys with dogs have a tendency to get their dogs to lick peanut butter off their junk to see what a blow job is like before they have hope of receiving one from a human?”
"What the fuck?" He said. "No!!! Kaye why!! Why did you keep dating him?! Is this the same dude that only looked at porn of women with cat ears?! KAYE.”
Look — I kept dating him because he was a sweetheart, and mad cute, and really into space. I kept dating him because he was safe and nice and a good first boyfriend, even though we dated for wa-hay too long and wound up being pretty mean and terrible to one another. C’est la vie. Nobody knows when to end a relationship when it’s their first one.
We all do stupid shit for love. I still don’t know how common teen bestiality is. Someone help me.