Saturday, June 6, 2009

A Bit of My Sexual History part two/a- I Discover Masturbation

Okay, this took way too long to write, and it's only part two of three.

There's a memory that returns to me now and then, I'm like five or six years old, watching tv in the livingroom, chin propped in one hand while the other arm was pinned beneath me-and it feeling really good. It felt good enough, in fact, that I didn't want to get up, ever. I just wanted to lie there, blankly staring at the point just below the television, the space between my chin and the palm it rested in damp with perspiration. But as much as I wanted to stay there forever, my mother inevitably called from the kitchen to let us know that it was dinnertime. But despite being called, I lingered further, unable to separate myself. By the third time she called out it switched from being an announcement that dinner was ready to her specifically calling out my name. The forth time her voice was terse and its volume higher, everybody else seated and waiting for me. The fifth time it changed from my name to a direct command to "get in here now". Fearing punishment, I pulled myself up off the floor, feeling as I separated from the carpet like a limb was being torn from my body. I glumly shuffled to the kitchen ( a little too late to avoid my mom's displeasure, as I recall), my body now feeling naked and raw without the floor against me. Later that night and for the next few days I greatly confused and irritated my family by laying down on the carpet and then getting up a minute later to lay down in a different spot. It was like I had found a secret door door to a magical kingdom right there on the livingroom floor of our little split level...and had lost it forever.

But it turned out childhood was filled with a thousand tiny doors into that kingdom- doors it felt really good to press against or rub on. There were the long cushions from the couch that I would pull off to straddle-until my mother became upset with how lumpy and disfigured the cushions had become (this also might be partly because they served as clubs during fights between my sister and I). Forbidden the cushions, I moved up to the arm of the couch, perched on it like a gargoyle (this irritated my mother too, but she chose to ignore it in hopes of preserving the shape of her pillows). At school I discovered that entire recess periods could be spent straddling the cement wall that ran the perimeter of the play ground. I would wake up mornings with my pillow, a stuffed animal or the comforter bunched up between my legs, no memory of putting them there.

I stayed like that for the rest of my pre-adolescence- rubbing against things with out even being aware that I was doing it, enjoying my body weight as I pressed down. I can't honestly say I remember exactly when this changed, but it did. With the beginning of puberty and the first appearance of breast buds I started to become acutely aware of my body, of how sensitive my skin was. It wasn't at first centered on my "erogenous zones", but a whole body sensitivity that consumed my attention. I discovered the intense sensitivity of my arm pits, and would lie in bed at night lightly, lightly grazing my fingertips up and down under my arm. If I went to fast or pushed to hard or angled my fingertips wrong it would be unpleasant-but if I used only the nail side of my fingertips from just above my elbow to my lower ribs, it would become more and more intense with each pass of the hollow of my armpit, my body tensing and relaxing with each electrical jolt of contact.

But I am a Scorpio, meaning my sexual energy is focused at the center of my body, and gradually my self-tickling moved down along my body until finding its home. When I was little it was not unusual for me to sleep with one or both hands down my undies; it warmed-up my hands and I felt secure folded in a ball with my hands pinned between my thighs. But this was different; whereas I had always taken my vulva pretty much as a whole, but from nowhere I was suddenly aware of the different sensations it afforded, the different degrees the skin gave when pushed and moved with my fingertips. Examining myself, I discovered that I was developing delicate nuances where I had never found much complexity before. I even discovered that certain touches might feel intensely good for a while, but would then start to sting and few raw, but if I changed the pressure and speed it would continue to feel better and better. I felt like I was moving towards something without knowing what. Somewhere buried in my DNA was a message telling me to go on, push further...but to where?

By the seventh grade, I had certainly heard of masturbation; simply mentioning it is a guaranteed eruption of laughter on television, and boys my age had introduced it into the already considerable pool of insults to hurl at each other (they would challenge each other of doing it). The frantic up-down motion of the clenched fist, and equally violent sounding synonyms ("beating" or "jerking" off) were completely familiar to me- even if I had very little specific knowledge of what it exactly entailed. I only dimly connected the snicker-producing act with touching myself as I fell asleep; what little I did know about masturbation was couched in the language of male sexuality- I guess that's because while male masturbation is a subject openly joked about, discussing women doing it is still largely taboo (I could easily rant about this, but I'll save it for a future post).

The first time I went to my pediatrician after my first period, after the check up and me changing back into my street clothes, he called my mom out of the exam room and the nurse came in to talk with me. She was there to talk with me about my body changes and any and all associated issues. I was intensely uncomfortable-partly because I had completely believed the friend who told me I would have to get a pelvic exam after my first period (I am kind of gullible sometimes). And while I was revealed as hell when I didn't have to go through the pap smear I was fully expecting that day, I was still exceptionally uncomfortable talking about this with anyone, let alone an adult, let alone an adult who had known me since before I could remember.

She covered all the same subjects my mother had three months before, when I had to sit next to her on her on the edge of the tub staring at the floor in embarrassment as she went through all the procedures, products and problems that I would have in my life once a month for the next forty years. Since my mom's a nurse I already had heard all the scientific explanations of what was going on with my body and what more to expect coming, so I was only half-listening when she asked me if I had any questions about masturbation. I looked at her dumbly for a moment before asking, "huh"? She then went into what sounded like a very prepared explanation of how it was perfectly normal and healthy for girls my age to experience new feelings and to explore their changing bodies, that it was just part of being sexual. The entire time she was giving me this monologue I stared down at my hands as they opened and closed into fists, thinking to myself, "why is she telling me this? Shut up shut up shut up!". She asked me if I had any questions and I quickly shook my head no. "You can ask me anything, really. Are there any concerns you have about it, anything you might be scared about or not understanding?" With each new question I shook my head and said a small "no", a brave little resistance fighter who was been captured and refuses to give any information to her interrogator. I was not giving an inch to this woman who had seen me pretty much naked, poked and prodded more times than I could count. Finally she gave up, patted me on the head (which was patronizing), and told me I was always welcome to come to her if I had any problems. I rapidly thanked her, and rushed out to the waiting room where my mom was waiting.

Books have always been a part of my life, they were there with me as soon as my mom taught me to read. With the arrival of puberty my mother directed my attention to the several books on womens' health in the house. Some afternoons I got home from school and grabbed a bunch of them to thumb through laying on my bed. Her copy of Our Bodies, Ourselves must have been purchased when she was pregnant with my older sister, and was full of late 70's era clothes and hair styles (but not in a funny, disco way but more of a Gloria Steinem owl glasses and ironed flat long black hair). There were a lot of nude pictures in there, which excited me having a chance to look at adults naked- but I was also kind of weirded out by just how hairy people were back then, how positively massive the bushes were (I'd seen my mother naked and a few other adult women in the locker room at the pool- and none of them had such enormous mountains of pubic hair).

As anyone who has read Our Bodies, Ourselves or any of the similar books for and by women already know, there's a good amount of sex information there- certainly a lot more than I would have been comfortable asking about. There was a lot about STDs that I tried to avoid spending too much time consuming the horrific descriptions of warts and sores and crabs that would end up looking quaint compared to the AIDS virus coming a few years after the book was published. It was reading those books that I first started to question the position the Church regarding abortion, that it wasn't automatically about satanists forcing screaming babies into a meat grinder (the twentieth anniversary of Roe v. Wade was when I was in sixth grade-imagine what that was like at a Catholic school in a rural community!!). Reading the information about young girls and women with no options cornered by unwanted pregnancies a proto-feminist was slowly formed.

But it was the section covering female sexuality that earned my closest attention. The central focus (of course) was heterosexuality; there was the same basic mechanics of straight sex that I sort of understood already (man's penis gets hard, lies on top of woman, sticks it in, stirs it) with the those cross-section illustrations of male and female anatomy that always looked like a package of uncooked meat. New for me were line drawings of the different permutations of heterosexual couplings, or at least the more popular positions and acts (so no butt-fucking, throning, foot-sucking or prostate milking). The couples were pretty hippie looking, a big ol' tangle of untrimmed body-hair. Disturbingly, the beard and long hair made the hippie man look more than a little like Jesus...not the best thing to lay on my young and church-addled mind.

There, after the chapter about the many ways Our Blessed Lord sticks it to a woman with a Wookie snatch and before the section on lesbianism that I wouldn't get up the nerve to read for several more years, there was a chapter about female masturbation. There it was, in exacting detail, why women masturbate and how. It detailed all the different ways women touched them selves, from indirect clitoral stimulation to digital penetration and toys. And it was even illustrated with drawings of a long-haired -and big bushed, natch- woman striking all the different poses a woman could strike while pleasuring herself. I had discovered a detailed, non-judgmental how-to manual for my vulva.

It would would probably make for great reading if I now tell you that I instantly rolled over on my back, thrust both hands under the waistband of my underwear and quickly brought myself to wonderful and transcendent orgasm- but that would be dishonest. At this point I still shared a room with my sister, and while her career as a high school over-achiever kept her occupied a lot, I never really grasped the patterns of her schedule well enough to be sure when she would be home. At this point my sister and I were on limited speaking terms, communication kept to as little as possible ("when's mom getting home?", "we are out of shampoo" etc). I can safely assume she would react poorly if she came home from whatever extra-curricular activity she had been at that day, to find me sprawled out half-naked and self-abusing in our room.

Plus, I don't think what I was feeling at the time was so much arousal as it was a jittery excitement at this discovery. It was weird to think that these books had always been there on the shelves- mixed in with the popular novels, biographies, children's literature, nursing manuals and history books that my house was full of. How many hours had I spent laying on my back at the top of the stairs, my head hanging over the first step staring at the very livingroom that contained the bookcases that contained these books that contained this? It would take a while to process all this...

to be continued...

this has nothing to do with anything, but here's an Asian woman with large ta-tas


  1. sorry, off-topic here, but i love your playlist

    janis ian, no one better

  2. oh, thanks for providing me with my asian fix for the day!

  3. Thanks. The playlist has been a bit of an issue for me; at first I assumed it only would hold a few songs like on myspace. But it seems like you can load an endless number, so FAR too much time has been wasted putting more and more songs on.

    Found the Asian woman while searching for nice but non-porny pictures of women laying on their bellies (harder than you think. I think she's quite pretty, and was amused that the photo was titled something like "beautiful asian humongous boobs".



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