The first time someone went down on me, I was about fifteen and we had broken into an abandoned house on the highway walking distance from my house. The summer after grade nine was what I used to refer to as the best summer of my life. To put it mildly, I packed all the hijinks a teenager could get themselves into in two short months. For instance that very night, I had snuck out of my house to hang out with the boy I liked and his friends.
Sneaking out was exhilarating, but rather simple. I’d come home right around my curfew, say goodnight to my mom and go into my room. The moment I would get home she would go to bed. Once, I knew she was asleep, I’d put some pillows under my blanket, tiptoe out of the house and put my shoes on once I was outside. The trick was to come home before she woke up, something I forgot to do that very night.
The guy I liked, his friend and I had broken into an abandoned house. The place was a mess, clearly, we were not the first kids to enter the premises. Broken plates littered the floor, some of them broken by our very hands. Our friend passed out on the living room couch while the boy and I snuck into one of the bedrooms. A dirty mattress laid bare on the floor, but I didn’t mind. Two firsts would happen that night. It was the first time someone would explore my cunt with their hands and with their mouth. It was great. It was exhilarating. He was slightly off the mark, but I didn’t mind.
I was talking to my friend at work about presents we were planning on getting our male significant others for xmas, when she suggested "Just give him sex."
And this got me thinking: why is it that every time I talk to a woman about what to get my fiance for a gift, they suggest sex? Do men in heterosexual relationships encounter this when discussing what to buy their girlfriends or wives? Do men ever suggest to other men to give sex to their girlfriends or wives? Does anyone make this suggestion to men and women in homosexual relationships, or is this strictly a heterosexual thing?
I just wonder about these things because within this one suggestion comes several assumptions: that men want sex, women withhold sex, and women should at least give sex to men on special occasions. There is also this assumption that women don't enjoy sex (or at least shouldn't admit to liking it, or else they're filthy filthy sluts. Or something.).
I love stumbling across alternative-sexuality history lessons. I love it because we're absent from most history accounts, due both to censorship and to our predecessors' desire for their own privacy. And then sexually liberated people and conservative reactionaries end up with the same misguided belief that rampant, shameless sexuality is something Westerners invented in the 1960's.
So I highly recommend Tony Perrottet's recent article for Slate.com, "Hellfire Holidays," about the sex clubs of 18th-century Britain. As Perrottet reports,
"Sadly, during the prudish Victorian era, most references to these naughty clubs were scotched from the historical record. Horrified relatives burned embarrassing documents and club regalia. But their subversive antics survived in pornographic novels, travel guides to risqué tourist sites, and, of course, popular memory."
When most people first fall into an alternate-sex community, it does feel exotic and revolutionary. But seriously, the novelty and "naughtiness" wear off after a couple years. Despite getting off on exoticism, and despite mainstream shock, we the currently living haven't invented anything new. We have antecedents' example to follow and adapt; we simply have to study history that didn't make it to our textbooks.
Until you’ve actually had a baby, you cannot have a CLUE what you’re in for… and it’s the same with sex. I remember my shock (and absolute THRILL!) the first time a male hand slid behind the zipper of my jeans to touch my pelvis, and lower… and although I’d been doing some heavy duty making out until then, I had absolutely no idea how fabulous another person’s touch could feel on my private parts. I guess I am one of the fortunate young girls who truly was a virgin before that happened; from the stories I have heard from girlfriends, it’s not quite the same when you have already been touched way before you were ready or willing.
After reading about the negative effects of too-accessible pornography on children and youth, I sat down with my two teenage boys and told them we were going to have a talk about just that. They were pretty cool about it… they knew I knew they looked at porn (although I don’t know how much) and they know I know something about it because they know that I’ve drawn it, although I can’t be sure about how much of my work they have actually seen either. My attitude up until now has been to keep this work discreet, but not completely hidden; they know I draw and photograph the nude body and they know I do something about sexuality, but what exactly…?
As I get older, it’s becoming clearer to me that we really know nothing about anything until we’ve actually experienced it. And we’re never really prepared for it until we get there. I just read a most disturbing report about the impact of Internet pornography on youth and children by two Montreal reporters, Isabelle Maher and Martin Bisaillon - if you read French, please look it up. They are sounding an alarm that needs to be sounded loud and clear to make us (adults-parents-society) wake up to the devastating impact that overly accessible porn-as-sex-education is having on our children. So today I want to focus, as usual, on love expressed sexually, by honouring some people who have long been making an effort to make a difference.
Bill and Desiree, whom I had the pleasure of illustrating together from a photo-still (above) are people who care enough about sharing positive images of sexuality to share their own private moments of passion with others. Both have written for sex-positive publications, and Bill writes lovely erotic poetry that I have already included and will continue to publish on this blog. Last year they shared their story through interviews and scenes of lovemaking with Comstock films, a couple-run company that makes DVDs of real people having real sex, and I was fortunate enough to be able to see their particular DVD and use stills from it to create drawings. Thank you Joan Price for putting us in contact, to Tony and Peggy at Comstock for allowing this precious collaboration, and to Bill and Desiree for continuing to spread their love!