My First Blowjob: A Terrible Memory for My Terrible Mood

It's hard to separate genuine desire from desire to please in little girls socialized to find value in objectification, hard to unlearn games you've been playing since before you could emotionally comprehend them.

Nov 2, 2012 at 3:00pm | Leave a comment

image

Emergency reserves

A few weeks ago, something devastating happened in my personal life that I am currently opting not to write about, which I know is the worst sort of tease but trust me when I say both that I cannot be more specific and that it's emergency-therapy-sessions, crying-for-hours-at-a-time, don't-know-who-I-am-anymore bad.

My therapist, who knows a lot about this sort of thing, says the trauma level is comparable to having your house burn down. Considering the tangible destruction that has swept my city this week, I am ashamed to admit that while I have power, water and heat, all my shit is still burning.

I believe firmly that the best prayer, even if you're not a person who prays or you aren't sure what you're praying to, is a simple "Thank you."

But on Tuesday, after a full 24 hours spent preparing for the disaster and soothing a confused, cooped-up and cranky toddler, I opened my eyes to the same old pain, like a drug addict rolling awake post-Sandy aware of a still-growling need to be met.

Like most truly life-rattling events, this one is digging up a whole bunch of unexamined interpersonal shit and forcing me to look at myself and my patterns, specifically surrounding sex and love. And somewhere out of the murky ooze of my subconscious came bubbling up this particularly nasty memory.

I am 13 or so, at a birthday party at the home of the girlfriend with the most liberal parents and there are older boys there. Picture me just a little chubby, hands crossed self-consciously over my gently sloping belly, hair a shade of mousy brown I haven't seen in over a decade. Picture me not cynical or bold or knowing.

I am talking to a boy and he is teasing me about being a "prude" and I am explaining to him that women can like sex just as much as men, which I know because I am a feminist. "So you mean I could just do something like this?" he asks, placing one hand on my breast. "And you would like it?"

"Yes," I swallow hard. I think I am proving something, and also I am flattered that he wants to put his hands on the body that until recently I believed to be lumpy and sexless.

He is pleased. He leads me around to a friend's car and guides me into the back seat. He unzips his pants, pushes my head down. Before I even really get the hang of what I'm doing, he is cumming in my mouth. I feel impressed with myself, powerful. I didn't even know what to do! 

A loud banging noise startles me -- the other boys at the party are encircling the car, hitting the windows, laughing, pretending to bob their heads up and down on an imaginary erection.

"You really do like sex!" he says after they have dispersed, and I think Do I?  I'm still not sure.

It's hard to separate genuine desire from the desire to please in little girls socialized to find value in objectification, hard to unlearn games you've been playing since before you could emotionally comprehend them. My willingness to be sexual, my ability to perform my job well, these are what made me feel valuable. Moving forward, these attributes will become a two-pronged suit of armor. As long as I am sexually available, I am indispensable. I am safe.

Do I like sex even? Do I like to be heaped with abuse, or do I like the panting fervor it inspires in the men who prey on such vulnerability? Do I still just relish the look of enamored surprise on their faces when they ask me, "So I could just do this...?" Do I think that I am securing my position this way? Do I even have any idea what I like, when and how I like it, and if not, how do I go about finding out?

Has sex been this snarling and nasty to everyone, or was I just badly protected?

I hope this story is unusual. I hope the rest of you were lovingly experimenting with respectful teenage boyfriends who asked you repeatedly if you were sure. I hope you playfully explored one another's bodies like a couple of cheerful monkeys and everybody left smiling.

But on days like this, it feels like the darkness I've seen is the standard, that one must shield herself against all those would who hurt, exploit and abuse, that life for women is a series of little disasters we are lucky to escape unscathed.

Another great prayer is "Please."

I'm not sure what this specific story has to do with my current issue, except that I let myself be vulnerable and I got hurt and now I'm remembering why I put my walls up in the first place. The thing about life after a painful event is that the impact comes and goes in waves, so I'll probably feel fine again tomorrow, when I promise to write something normal and linear and (a little) less self-indulgent. For now, I'm nursing my wounds. Forgive me.

Please. Thank you.