Phoenix

How do we know who we are sexually, what sex even is?”

 

This is one of those stupid questions I ask curled in the fetal position.

 

We just do. We just feel it,” or some variant is the answer I’ve been given time and time again, a profoundly unsatisyfing one.

 

Because if you’re not feeling it? Or feeling it as a phantom of something that used to live in you but now lives thousands of miles away from you? If you’re climaxing on the memories of who you are and it leaves you hollow and miserable, what then?

 

It’s like you’re desperately troubleshooting, and all anyone ever offers is, “Is the computer plugged in?”

 

It was only this weekend that I stumbled onto the issue. It was so obvious that I couldn’t even see it.

 

So desperate to be the person my first love wanted me to be, I estranged myself then from who I was sexually. When he told me that what I wanted was wrong and what he wanted was “the correct way”of doing things, I listened, manipulated my own emotions to match his assertions. I radically changed my behavior to please him. When he violated my consent and betrayed my trust, I blamed myself, considered it my sexual failure. Rather than rejecting his views of sexuality, I bore deeper into what he had taught me, had insisted sex was.

 

I have been living all these years trying desperately to think like my rapist, to feel like him, to experience sex as he did.

 

*

It’s funny how you realize these things. The second night of the con, Skyspook and I were darting around the space, getting up to relatively vanilla naughty business in any sort of dark corner or opportunities we could find.

 

Perhaps it was regression, being brought back to being 14 and sneaking around, hiding from parents, teachers, etc. That would be my best guess, though there was no conscious thought pattern leading up to it, but that evening at home, after we’d returned from the con, my early sexual fantasies and feelings flooded back to me in a cascade that was more vivid and sincerely intimate than anything I’d felt in years.

 

It is exhilarating and terrifying to be starting over, as myself, equipped with only my raw, honest desires, with the realization that the bulk of what I’ve experienced sexually being largely irrelevant to who I actually am, what I actually want.

 

It is bittersweet to wake from those nightmare years as a virgin. The future is as full of possibilities as it is daunting.

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