Authors: J.F. Goldsmith
The One - No one said it would be easy
Funny to think back now and realise I was always aware of my gender and sexuality, even at a young age. It was many years later however, that I first heard about orgasms and masturbation. Indeed – and how could it have been different! – I had the facts of life explained to me by a teen magazine. It had a column called “Between You and Me” where young people could ask awkward questions. A girl wrote in about the very same secret phenomenon that I, too, had dedicated myself to for quite some time by now, and with great pleasure. So there they were, the buzz words masturbation and orgasm. And suddenly I knew: hey, that’s exactly what you’re doing! A real aha! moment. It reassured me no end to see that evidently I wasn’t the only one to do that kind of thing and experience those kinds of feelings. Right up until I found out about what I was doing, I was somewhat worried, because I had an idea that what I did was “dirty”. I was also worried in case I wasn’t “normal”. Instinctively, I knew to do this secretly. Even though no one ever said to me, “Yuck, don’t you touch yourself down there,” nobody must ever know. If anyone had seen me do it, I would have died on the spot from shame and embarrassment. An interesting phenomenon. How come? How come that, as a young girl, you instinctively know that it wouldn’t be a good idea to fumble about under your skirt in public? Biology? Genes? I took great pleasure in myself, but at the same time I had a keen sense of shame. My worst horror nightmare was that someone would see me stark naked.
Anyway – I had a lot of fun trying to come up with new things to amuse myself with, and I kept trying stuff out. A small red jumping ball was in for it; I tried the water jet in the shower and found every glimpse of anything with even the tiniest sexual undertones extremely arousing. To this day I wonder whether I was normal. Then recently, a friend told me that, when she was younger, she used to play sexual games all the time. Thank God I was not the only sex-mad precocious little saucepot around! Please don’t misunderstand – my innocent lust for and fascination with what grown-ups call sex in no way meant that I wanted to have actual sex. All that was so very far away! It was simple curiosity and a slow and, I believe, normal and careful approaching of a world that certainly should not become real until beyond one’s teenage years.
If anything like that was being discussed in first grade, my ears turned bright red. I experienced total inner turmoil: on the one hand, I couldn’t get enough information; on the other hand I could barely manage to sit through our first sex education class in second grade for sheer embarrassment. And when I discovered that our first grade reading book, the “Fibel”, had a story featuring someone called Annie, I was mortified and dreaded the day when we’d read this story in class. I couldn’t handle the silly giggling because of the obvious rhyme or the stupid remarks even seven-year-olds appeared to be capable of.
I very clearly remember how I learned what “fucking” actually means. I was six years old, and I was on my way home from school with a friend. This friend was one of the most cheeky girls from my class, was extremely mouthy and forever being teased by the boys. No boy ever showed any interest in me, I was just the stupid mousy shorthaired teacher’s pet. The girl was being silly and asked me provocatively whether I knew what “fucking” meant. I was quite embarrassed because, naturally, I’d heard the word before and knew it to be bad. But what exactly it meant, I had no idea. So I said with as much self-confidence as I could muster: “That’s when a man and a woman kiss!” The girl snorted with laughter, she nearly fell over laughing and then announced: “Oh, you are so stupid! Fucking is when the man shoves his willy into the woman’s fanny!” Wham! Silence. Shock-horror! I couldn’t believe what I was hearing! I was completely shocked, not only by the actual content of the information but also because she dared to actually say these words. For me, any word describing primary sexual organs or their function was absolutely taboo. Even today I can barely bring myself to say them. I didn’t let on, though, because the cool girl must never know that, embarrassingly, I didn’t know. But inside I was shaken to the core and all I could think was: oh my God, how is that possible?!
Today I know that indeed it IS possible. And how! When you do it right, it’s actually great fun. And talking about it hasn’t been embarrassing for quite a while. The girls from “Sex and the City” celebrate it just like I celebrate it with my girlfriends. Watch out, boys! If only you knew what we talk about! We talk and we laugh, entirely without inhibition, about our current bedfellows’ sexual practices, their level of experience, the quality of kisses and making love and the size of their pricks. We are entirely, terribly indiscreet. For example, I know all about the sexual faux pas of a dear friend’s one-night stand. What woman’s jaw wouldn’t drop if, during copulation, she heard the comment: “Whoa, don’t you have a hot pussy?” AAARRRGGGHHHH!!! Exactly! Dirty talk is like tightrope walking, it’s an acquired skill and it absolutely has to suit the guy. The one in question was more like a slightly chubby albino meerkat, whose pornographic fantasies were running wild. Rule: Whatever you see in a porno movie, dear males, has not the remotest, not even the very remotest of remote semblances with reality.
I can now look back on a career of fifteen years in the fields of sex and love, which, of course, isn’t over yet by a long shot. Again and again, I observe how things are changing. Or not. In spite of the most painful experiences, I keep repeating the same dumb mistakes and insist on throwing myself – fully consciously - into yet another ginormously disastrous love affair. I’ve been hurt and I’ve caused hurt. I’ve been the poor lovelorn victim; I’ve been the asshole. I’ve betrayed and I’ve been betrayed. I had excellent sex, I had spooky horror sex, I had world-changing sex, I had run-of-the-mill sex, I had stoned sex, I had drunk sex, I had funny sex, I had romantic sex, I had filthy sex. By myself and with others. Meantime, I’ve relaxed some and I just have sex, without driving myself mad with whether I am beautiful or whether the guy finds me attractive, like I used to during my teenage years. I’m quite happy with that. These days I can say “no” and I can put a stop to useless fumbling – I can do this charmingly or, if the guy is crap, icily, without feeling guilty. And I have tried things I would have never thought possible, in the early days.
But I have to say I’ve become more indifferent. In the beginning, little pictures from marital aid catalogues were the best thing ever, the height of available pornography and unbelievably arousing. Or Emmanuelle movies, watched secretly on Vox on Saturday nights. Wonderful. Today, it takes one click on youporn.com and you can watch everything – and I mean, everything. When I first discovered youporn.com I was beside myself with excitement, having found a virtually never-ending source of sexually inspiring and arousing moving images. Unbelievable! I watched all kind of mini-movies for hours on end and masturbated to the point of exhaustion. So much for the yawn-inducing subject of “women don’t like porn”. And today? B O R I N G! Seen it all before. Doesn’t do a thing for me anymore. This actually shocks me. If I can’t get turned on even the slightest bit by the most badass hardcore movies, what will turn me on these days? Is that what happens to men? Is that why they’re always looking for new kicks? For new women? New adventures?
But in spite all of that, luckily there is still a lot of undiscovered territory and a lot of stuff not yet tried, and a lot of crazy fantasies in my head. For example, my sexual to-do list holds several as yet unfulfilled erotic dreams, like the famous lesbian sex, sex with a man and a woman, sex with two men, group sex and, oh I don’t know what! The adventure continues!
Number One: “Don’t worry, I won’t push him in!”
My very first experience of the sexual kind was like something straight out of a cliché teen-flick: during a youth exchange, aged fifteen and smack in the middle of puberty. Naturally, I felt terribly grown-up and mature, an impression only marred by the many spots on my face. There can’t be anything more frustrating and unnecessary in the world than spots, especially for a teenage girl entirely unsure of herself and everything around her. This was my first holiday without my family. I have rarely experienced such freedom. Culturally committed as I was at the time, I took part in a three-week exchange program with young people from Greece. It’s kind of obvious what’ll happen when thirty international young people aged between fourteen and twenty come together. Of course it’s not all just about cultural exchange!
As soon as the Greek contingent dragged their luggage through the gate at Athens airport, I started to check out the males on offer. At first, I was disappointed – on sight, I wasn’t crazy about any of them. But – and this has been confirmed again and again by subsequent experiences concerning interpersonal attraction: the more intense a shared event, the greater the likelihood of falling in love with other participants. This was even validated by science, with the so-called bridge experiment.
Of course, we had a lot of activities lined up within the context of British-Greek friendship; our daily routine revolved around numerous cultural and touristy activities. But my true interest was focused on much more exciting things, things that turned this exchange into a unique experience: I discovered flirting – and, for the first time in my life, was actually successful at it! During the very first days, a couple of guys stood out and drew my attention. Although neither of them won me over completely. I kept checking them out, weighing up their respective pros and cons. If my “chosen ones” paid more attention to other girls from our group than to me, I became insanely jealous. A feeling I could happily do without, even today. Jealousy is at least as unnecessary and frustrating as spots!
In the end, one of my two targets became “it”. My wonderful Number One. We started to flirt cautiously, a smile here, a smile there, a bit of teasing, for no other purpose than to draw the other’s attention. Your average teenage flirting routine. He looked quite masculine already, a manly body, deep voice and, hair not just on his head. Every time he looked at me, I had this unbelievable feeling of butterflies in my stomach and the slightest accidental touch almost caused me to explode with excitement. At some stage he took my hand, drew little hearts on it with a felt-tip pen and wrote in scrawly letters: “I like you”. So romantic! And so corny! And so wonderful! I could hardly believe my luck. I was so in love, and my beloved was actually interested in little spotty-bunny me!
And then, finally, t h e moment. This one magical, amazing moment. The first kiss. Somehow we managed to get away from the group and found a comfortable quiet corner with a settee, where we wouldn’t be disturbed. Of course, we both acted completely blasé and chatted in a totally off-hand and cool way. But on the inside, little me, inexperienced and madly in love, was in a terrifying state of upheaval and excitement. We sat next to each other. I was full of the kind of panic that almost rips you to shreds when you are with someone who is a potential candidate for kissing. And he would be my very first candidate for kissing, ever! Bend forwards, slowly. Should I make the first move, should I act like I don’t care, should I look away, should I look at him, oh God what if he’s a terrible kisser, do I smell OK, I hope he takes my head in his hands like in the movies, and so on and so forth. Even today, my head is bombarded with all these questions when I find myself in a new first-kiss situation. And so, that’s us on the settee, heart full of panic, stomach churning, hands clammy. And to top it all, the warm summer air reverberating with Bob Marley’s “No woman no cry”. I have no idea how we moved closer, but suddenly it all happened very quickly and bang, we were kissing. It was so wonderful; it practically knocked my socks off. The summer, this boy, this song, just everything. I was completely and full-blast madly in love with this Greek boy.
My first kiss was so wonderful; maybe my most wonderful kiss ever. And damn wet. And I was kind of salaciously moist, too – that first kiss was so damn arousing. Around our mouths we were dripping wet, we were really just a couple of inexperienced slobber-mouths. I realized: proper kissing needs practice. And my young man agreed. With his hand, he wiped the slobber off my face and said in his broken English: “We need to practice!” And we did. And how! Some hours later we had found the perfect technique and we kissed until we were sore. Every day. We held hands, made out like crazy and became inseparable. I was so happy and so in love with my Number One. Unfortunately, we had only a few days left until the exchange finished and the participants had to fly back to Greece, 2,500 kilometers away. We were hugely annoyed that we hadn’t discovered our interest in each other earlier. But that’s how it is – limited availability greatly increases desire, especially where love is concerned.
And then, our last evening together. Naturally, my most fervent wish was to be able to stop time and thus avoid the inescapable end of this first-love summer dream. Of course, that wasn’t possible. So we decided to make best use of our last hours together. One of the British participants had free run of his house, we had our party there. Booze flowed freely and my best friend got completely blotto and was destined to make an unforgettable appearance later in the proceedings, at the most unsuitable of moments. While everyone else was partying, my Number One and I disappeared into the host’s bedroom, having obtained his permission first. He just asked us not to leave any incriminating evidence behind. I’d not been able to keep my first little summer love from my parents and they had thoroughly briefed me ahead of this evening; especially my lovely mum kept telling me not to rush into anything.
I didn’t really have any idea what exactly was supposed to happen. Despite that, my Number One and I threw ourselves onto our host’s bed and just got going, as though it was the most normal thing in the world. I had never had a real-life naked male person next to me in bed. Entirely unconcerned and full of curiosity, we explored each other. And we were really good at it! We tried everything, as though we’d never done anything else. We touched, we kissed each other everywhere. I wasn’t the slightest bit ashamed to be naked and to reveal all of me. I would have never thought this possible. Also, I was extremely surprised that a penis doesn’t actually smell. I don’t know how come I was so convinced that it would, but I’d always thought that penises would stink horribly. Maybe it was an imprint from early childhood – I’d always found boys revolting because they always stank. And somehow I was certain that it was their penises that reeked so badly. Truly. But not my Number One. He smelled really lovely. His penis just smelled of soap. Really fresh. I liked it very much and was extremely relieved. I touched it and even my lips and tongue dared to explore. My Number One enjoyed this very much, he groaned and I just carried on the way I wanted to and really went to town. And I loved it! Then we swapped over, and he got to explore between my legs. I was a little bit worried by then, didn’t want it to develop into the ultimate in-and-out sex; my ears were still ringing with mum’s warnings. But then he said, in his magical broken English: “Don’t worry, I won’t push him in!” And so I relaxed and just let him carry on. And he was very good with his lips, tongue and fingers, so that very quickly I experienced my first not-self-made orgasm. I came beautifully with my Greek Number One’s slobbery kisses in the unfamiliar bed of a friend who, incidentally, was over twenty years old already and had never had sex!
But before I could attend to my Number One again and return the favor, there was my best friend’s grand entrance. She knocked and, clad in nothing but my undies, I opened the door. Cross-eyed and staggering, she’d come by to tell me that she wasn’t the least bit drunk and would I please believe her. The state she was in, it didn’t even occur to her how much of a nuisance she was to us. Of course I was worried about her and I know I should have helped her get sober again, but over there on the bed was my Number One, and I really didn’t want our last hours together to be messed up by my best friend puking and being completely out of it. So I slammed the door in her face. She kept knocking for a while and complained furiously, but I really had more important things to do. I crawled back into bed with my Number One and, with mouth, tongue and hands gave him his, by his own admission, very first orgasm. Even today it makes me smile to remember what he groaned in his Greek English, just before the climax: “Ooohhh, iiiiiiit’s comiiiing!” That drawn-out i, iiiiiiit’s comiiiing! Afterwards he was completely bushed and thanked me profusely and several times, saying he’d never known anything so brilliant and that it was in fact his most wonderful experience ever. Long live British-Greek friendship! For us two absolute beginners, it was a grandiose start into our sexually active lives.
The next day heralded the beginning of a period of deepest mourning that lasted approximately half a year. I was so in love with my Number One, and it broke my heart to watch him leave and fly thousands of kilometers away. We took our Greek guests to the airport. I hated that day and with all my heart kept hoping for a miracle. Naturally, there wasn’t one. I cried an ocean of tears. When they had all disappeared through the gate, he came running back and called “I love you” from behind the glass wall. Just like in the movies. That was the last I saw of him, ever.
And so I spent approximately half a year in mourning. I’d never be able to love anyone else, of that I was certain. Almost every night, I cried for ages and missed him like mad. Back at school I pointedly displayed my grief. It should be clear to everyone that I was now dating a Greek boy. I have to admit that I was just a teensy bit proud, too – nobody else had had anything like such a holiday adventure. I made plans to immigrate to Greece and was completely convinced that I would. Every day I dreamt of seeing him again. I imagined what it would be like if he suddenly appeared at my door. And I was utterly convinced that one day, it would happen. But of course, he never did appear at my door. Once or twice we spoke on the phone. I kept bombarding him with love letters. He sent one single fax. And so I never did emigrate. And the thing I’d never thought possible did happen: suddenly there was Number Two. Rule: However terribly lovesick you may be, it will always pass and always there’ll be someone else. Always. Remember that! For the next time!
Ten years later, Number One got back in touch with me. He’d found my email address on the Internet and he wrote to me. I was that gob-smacked and surprised! And some of those old feelings from way back flared up again, just a little bit, even though by now we were out of reach for each other and we each had our own life. All the same, I was really touched; especially because he kept stressing that he couldn’t forget me either. We sent a few emails back and forth, a few photos. We complimented each other and promised we would never lose touch again. But despite all protestations to the contrary, our email connection petered out eventually. We lost each other again. But not in my heart – there, he is firmly anchored in place.