Monday, October 5, 2009

1. When my sister and I were growing up, we always secretly assumed my father was gay. Circumstantial evidence amounted to the following: He and my mother divorced early on in their marriage, he worked for Conair (a company that designs and manufactures hair products/appliances), he married/dated characteristically strong-willed, independent, socially “masculine” women, he got facials, massages and manicures on a regular basis, had a keen eye for quality and design, and had mostly gay male friends. We also frequently vacationed in Rehoboth Beach post-divorce (hello?!). However, as my sister and I aged, we disgruntledly accepted my father’s heterosexuality, and came to admire and appreciate our father, who was the very model of “live and let live.” It is because of him that all of my first memories of LGBT people are positive ones, and why I never saw being LGBT-identified as anything out of the ordinary.

2. Despite having virtually no memories before the age of 7 or 8, I vividly recall being aware of myself as a sexual being at a very young age. Even so, I had very few questions, and those whose answers I couldn’t intuit through observation I actively sought information about through other means (magazines, the internet, the books of erotica shoved haphazardly under my mother’s bed, etc.). As proved true through my adolescent life, I became something of a sexual sage for my friends, even before I lacked the hands-on experience.

3. My earliest crushes on boys proved to be all-consuming affairs. I was an awkward child, slightly overweight with a deep throaty voice and an affinity for baggy jeans and vests, so very rarely were any of my attractions returned. My best friend was a voluptuous Colombian beauty, and if it weren’t for her heart of gold I would’ve distanced myself from her early on; my jealousy, too, was often all-consuming (as a side note, that girl and I are coming up on our fifteenth year of solid friendship).

4. When I hit the eighth grade my body composition changed, as did my eye for fashion, and I found a new confidence. It was around this time that those around me began coming out to me as gay/lesbian-identified. It was also the time that I began a 6-year-long affair with one of those confidants, a gay-identified male whose undeniable attraction to me he couldn’t begin to articulate.

5. I am a firm believer that your sexual orientation/gender identity is a direct result of a combination of genetics and environmental influences. That being said, I am certain that since my earliest sexual experiences were with queer men, such as the one identified in #4, it provoked a lifetime of attraction to pretty, emotive, styled men (who have been, more often than not, queer-identified).

6. I was first shown porn in the eighth grade by a gay male friend; the internet clip depicted a very attractive young man jerking off of a stone balcony. Much of the porn I sought thereafter was male-on-male, though I soon found that I could be turned on by virtually any combination of genders, and I would often fantasize about being the center of group attention, whether it was a group of men, women, or mixed.

7. While porn certainly turned me on (and continues to), I’m much more of a literary mind than a visual one, and reading erotica turned into one of my favorite pastimes. I would often swipe my mother’s stash (see #2) while she was at work, lock my bedroom door and have at it. I’m extremely fond of my vibrant and detailed imagination.

8. My mother’s aforementioned stash didn’t stop at erotica; in high school my sister and I stumbled upon a large cache of sex toys in her closet. While my sister displayed genuine disgust, I faked mine, and later stole my mother’s vibrator, sanitizing it before using it for my own devices. My mother and I were on rocky ground throughout my adolescence, and one of our more violent altercations occurred after she discovered the vibrator in my room.

9. It was with the vibrator that I discovered that I have virtually no sensation inside my vagina; fortunately, the case with my clit was a different story. Even so, I didn’t orgasm until I was 20 years old, though not for lack of trying. I’ve faked orgasms (Oscar performance-worthy, I must say) through four different boyfriends and a few one-night stands, and even penned a 30-page dissertation on pre-orgasmic women my sophomore year of college, drawing majorly from personal experience.

10. I am extremely loud in bed, and sometimes am embarrassed by my inability to shut the fuck up.

11. When I’m masturbating, sometimes I’ll talk dirty to myself out loud, and 9 times out of 10 it’ll make me come. However I find it difficult to talk dirty to a sexual partner, no matter how much I want to, and I can’t figure out if it’s because I’m more submissive in bed than I’ll readily admit or because I’m too self-conscious.

12. Though I identified as heterosexual until two years ago (I’m now 21), I’ve always felt at home in the queer community, and used to wish desperately throughout my adolescence for a higher power to zap me with same-sex-loving tendencies (so maybe there is a God, after all!).

13. I’ve never had anyone try and put food on me erotically (ice doesn’t count), and I’m not sure how I’d feel about it, though I’m generally very open to safe and consensual experimentation.

14. Even though I advocate safe sex in my daily life and have written papers as well as taught workshops on it, there was a month-long period of time where I had unprotected sex with a guy who had never ejaculated (not even pre-cum), with no negative repercussions. I feel a lot less guilty about it than I reason I should.

15. I was very recently introduced to slapping (full-face) as something erotic, and I must say that I enjoy being the “slapper” more than I’d previously anticipated. Sometimes, as a student of psychology, I wonder if this says anything less-than-upstanding about me.

16. Having my feet sucked feels so unbelievably good, but I can’t get over how unhygienic it must be (unless you’re fresh out of the shower)!

17. I enjoy nipple play immensely – having them sucked, tweaked, pinched, rolled around, clamped, soft, hard, slow, fast, any which way! If someone has their mouth on my nipples and makes eye contact with me, it’s often intense enough to drive me crazy.

18. My favorite sexual position, hands down, is from behind. What I can feel but not directly see never fails to turn me on. During the most spectacular sex of my life, the person took their time seducing me completely from behind: massaging, kissing, scratching, etc, and it made all the difference.

19. I had a year-and-a-half relationship (my longest to date) with a Methodist youth minister while I was finishing up high school. We were deeply in love, and after months of torment made the decision to begin sleeping with each other, a decision that continuously tore at his faith and his opinion of himself, as well as strained relations with his family and friends; this strain, in the end, proved impossible to ignore, and succeeded in ending the relationship. Even though I’m agnostic, I used to silently attribute all that time spent not being able to orgasm (see #9) to being a kind of punishment from God for putting the burden of temptation on my ex.

20. My first sexual experience with a woman was about a year ago, during a month spent in San Francisco studying human sexuality. I’d be lying if I said I that I wasn’t interested in experimenting with women primarily for the novelty of it, but I’d also be lying if I said I didn’t enjoy it, cliché locale (Frisco? C’mon) as it was. I find myself primarily attracted to slim, small-breasted androgynous women; women who look like pretty boys, in essence (sound familiar?). Androgyny in general has become such an unexpected turn-on for me. Even trans boys have begun to attract my attentions within the past year, and I welcome the complexity.

21. I hesitate to self-identify as anything in particular (except as cisgendered; I have a dominant personality but I’m very much a high femme), but when pressed I will identify as “queer,” because I feel as though it’s the label with the least strings attached to it, and the least amount of assumptions made about it. It’s an umbrella term coated in shades of grey, and that way when I wake up 6 months from now finding myself suddenly attracted to turkeys (as I’m fully expecting to do!), I won’t have to keep swapping my identifier. On a more serious note, I’ve always felt that the best parts of myself shine the brightest when I’m surrounded by a variety of members of the LGBT community, and being “queer” seems to appropriately reflect that.

22. I really enjoy anal sex. Not fingers so much; it’s a matter of depth for me (SLOWLY. With, of course, a LOT of lube! Hah). Being open about this has literally garnered more critique/skepticism/surprise from people than recently embarking on my first relationship with a woman has.

23. In 3-4 years I’ve had a mere handful of sexual experiences that have contained an element of emotional intimacy as well as physical chemistry; in short, I’ve had a lot of flings. So much so that I’d forgotten how awe-inspiring sex can be with someone with whom you’ve made a tangible connection. My girlfriend is doing an excellent job at refreshing my memory.

24. Laughter in bed is key, and a lack of it has proven to be a dealbreaker more than once. Whoever said sex always had to be a tense, grave affair full of unspoken desires and unwavering eye contact just needed a good tickle below the belt.

25. Being in the human sexuality field and oftentimes unconsciously radiating erotic energy, it is assumed by most that I have (and require) the sexual appetite of a rabbit; this is incorrect. In my opinion, you can’t possibly define “intimacy” – it’s way too broad a term, and is too frequently simply attributed to procreation. When my girlfriend meets my gaze in a crowded room, it’s intimate. When she gets excited by something trivial, and turns to me alone for affirmation in her excitement, it’s intimate. When she selflessly offers to help my coworker (whom she’s never met before) move out of her house, and I can so easily read between her words, intuiting the message that states, “If this is important to you, it’s important to me,” it’s intimate. In my opinion, all these things trump sex.