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Aug 2012 08

by Darrah de jour

I recently got a call from an ex-boyfriend (can I even call him that?) that I had dated for about one month a couple years ago. It would have been more brief, except that he was in Africa on a mission for three weeks, and when he returned, we broke up. Before he left, we met, and had sex. Well, we met, talked, then decided to hop in the sack. Unfortunately for me, he was inexperienced and believing virtue withstood the test of a woman’s sexual needs and intimate desires, he failed to satisfy even my most basic requisites. Like, giving me even a single orgasm after about four times doing the horizontal mambo.

Many times before meeting the chap, I’ve jokingly spouted, “Virgins are prude.” Not so much in an attempt to hurl insults at virgins or the born-again chaste, more to express my belief that America’s obsession with purity serves nobody. Sure, it’s great to not contract an STD from unprotected sex. Sure, it’s important not to wonder who the babydaddy is. Yes, preserving your reputation protects your quality of life and peace of mind. But, having safe, consensual, adult sex with another respectful, cool and hip person who knows their way around a bedroom, makes the above not such an issue. And that’s my point. In this obsession with purity, we’ve undermined youth’s right to knowledge about safe and enjoyable sex. We’ve imposed an unfair and derogatory scarlet “A” on every girl or woman who claims her equal right to enjoyable, safe sex. And, we’ve bastardized men’s ability to truly connect intimately with their partner, by promoting endless erections and Superman like abilities under the sheets.

Having an experiential personality, I often do searches on the Internet that are cringe-worthy the next day. The other night, I was reading a forum where teenage girls (around sixteen) to twenty-somethings talked openly about engaging in sexual activity with their boyfriends. Some of them were pregnant. Over and over, they spoke of being unable to voice that what he was doing was hurting them. Their boyfriends were *hurting* their vaginas, and they didn’t say anything. My initial response was sadness. Then a sort of outrage. These girls and women were asking each other what to do with their sore labias and swollen vaginal canals, which had tiny cuts in them from being fingered too vigorously. Without a doubt, each one echoed the last one’s sentiment: I didn’t say anything. And, now I’m in pain. What should I do? Do I have an infection? What’s wrong with me?

I could empathize with their frustrations and inability to speak up though. I remember being fifteen and dating a skater boy who went to my high school. I was working part-time as an assistant manager at a candle store in the mall, and sometimes, when I opened at 10 AM on a Saturday, I’d know he had broken into the mall after hours and stopped by because M&Ms were tossed into one of the candleholders atop the glass display. He wanted to have sex, and he hung around me every second to groom me to make this happen. He was rough with me. He kissed me hard. In public. His tongue whipping in my mouth like an angry reptile. He would stand over me while I sat, cross-legged at parties, smoking Camel Lights, and bend my head back, then jam his tongue down my throat for a few moments. Afterward, he would walk away. I was “his” and he wanted everybody to know it. Why didn’t I say anything? What was OK about this scenario? Appealing, even? Yes, he was cute. But not that cute.

He started fingering me a lot. A lot a lot. And, I admit, I liked it. It was my first time, and it happened innocently enough. One day we were walking around the mall, and he stopped at these gray double doors. “What’s this?” I asked. “Here, I’ll show you.” We went inside the long hallway, which was starkly illuminated by florescent overhead lights. He said to sit down. I did. He sat down beside me. He began kissing me, and then laid his body over mine. He moved half his body — the lower half – to the side and unbuttoned my jeans. He stuck his finger inside me. I remember wondering if his hands were clean, and feeling the tightness of my vagina around his one thick finger. It kind of hurt. And I felt kind of duped by the whole thing. For some reason, to this day, I remember that his body being half on and half off felt manipulative, and that he’d pre-planned this whole journey, and how objectified I felt. I felt like nothing, and something, but that bad kinda something. Like, one of the many girls he’d collected. The girls that contributed to the bad reputation that preceded him — and that had attracted me. I was now both confused, turned on, and repulsed by it. He stopped suddenly, and told me to get up. I got dressed, and we left. “Did I do something wrong?” I wondered.

We broke up after a couple more incidences. Like the one where he skateboarded over to my parents’ house when they were out of town, and tried to stick his penis inside me. We had both ditched school to meet at home and make out, but when he arrived — half hour after the planned meeting time – he seemed distant and aloof. Like he’d missed out on a party to be there with me. He hated school, so why did he care if we missed a class or two? When we were upstairs, he sat on my sister’s bed. I told him so. He didn’t care. “We can’t make out on my sister’s bed!” I implored, half-kidding, half-serious. “How weird,” I thought. He didn’t understand why, or care really. We made out, and he kept taking his dick out of his boxer shorts, and I kept moving away and saying no. Finally he jumped up. “Fine!” My vagina was unsheathed by panties, as he’d been fingering me again. He looked at my mess of curly reddish-brown pubic hair with contempt. I didn’t know if he didn’t like my vagina or my pubic hair, or was mad at it because he couldn’t get inside.

He bolted downstairs, and stopped in front of the TV. Something was on that he liked. He began fingering me again when I appeared. I let him for a second, then offered him some homemade fudge my mom made before leaving on vacation. He declined, then left.

We finally broke up after he had used me as a scapegoat to trick his mom out of twenty bucks to buy weed. And because all his friends knew I wouldn’t give it up. I was fifteen, and being me, I had already set a “losing my virginity” date. Eighteen years old.

Even though all this happened many years ago, I vividly recall there were times when I didn’t want him to touch me. Like out at the railroad tracks, with all his friends within earshot. His hands sooty with mud from the tracks and the park we had to cross through to get to the secret hangout. But I didn’t say anything. I wasn’t sure what bothered me more: the fact that his friends saw me as just another one of Ray’s girls, or the fact that he always stopped suddenly, after jerking his hand up my skirt — almost just to see if I’d let him. Our encounters never resulted in an orgasm. I never had one, nor gave him one. I never touched his penis; having only seen it when he pulled it out on my sister’s bed while trying to shove it inside me without any kind of conversation, whatsoever. When he decided we were done, he’d bark at me to get dressed, never waiting quite long enough for me to snap that last snap, or zip my zipper. He was always leaving me standing alone, struggling, racing to meet up with my boyfriend, who said he loved me but did nothing that resembled it.

Perhaps our friends on the east (my old stomping grounds) have the right idea. And not just when it comes to Dunkin’ Donuts blueberry muffins. According to USA Today, Boston’s Public Health Commission partnered with local social service agencies to erect a Break-Up Summit for teens. Nationwide, the $18 million program aims to educate youth on how to prevent dating violence and how to communicate more effectively and kindly (ie; no severing romantic ties publicly via social networks), while helping give young people the skills to cope with the downsides to embarrassing or hurtful dating experiences, like depression and low self-esteem, which can lead to further educational and social problems if left unchecked.

As of late, I’ve used a type of rationale that is helpful when choosing my next dance partner. My internal checklist is as follows:

  • 1. Do I trust them to be discreet and not to tell anybody?
  • 2. Do I think they’ll treat my body with the utmost respect, and value my orgasm as much, if not more, than theirs?
  • 3. Afterwards will I feel A-OK in my skin?

If the answer is no to any of the above, then I shouldn’t let them inside me. Easy peasy. Better not to bargain or barter with your most prized possession – yourself.

In terms of learning how to better converse with your sexual partners and to get down to the nitty-gritty regarding burning questions (or symptoms) – at any age – be it Plan B instructions to viability of sperm, I find the young adult site Scarleteen to be a wealth of resources. Finally, let’s honor that tender, lush land that resides in all of us…under the pink.

Darrah is a freelance journalist and consultant, with a focus on sensuality, environmentalism, and fearless women in the media. She appears as a “Woman on the Street” on The Conversation. Her lifestyle writing and celebrity interviews have appeared in Marie Claire, Esquire and W, among others. She contributes author and filmmaker interviews to The Rumpus. Darrah’s “Red, White and Femme” columns for SuicideGirls taks a fresh look at females in America. She also co-hosts SG Radio when her schedule allows. She lives in LA with her doggie Oscar Wilde. Subscribe to her blog at Darrahdejour.com/, and friend her on Facebook and Twitter.

Photos: Mikey B and Maryalena Salman

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