The piece I was originally going to post today went by the wayside (long story), so instead I’m putting up something from the archives.
This is a piece about bad sex. Specifically, it’s about the first time — well, more or less the first time — that I had sex with another woman. What with it being a story about bad sex, I feel compelled to say two things: (1) I’m very glad I stuck with the “having sex with women” project despite a laughably bad first experience (an important lesson to remember when you’re sexually experimenting), and (2) Yes, I’ve learned a lot since I was 24.
Please note: This piece discusses my personal sex life — in particular, my sexual history — in quite a bit of detail. Family members and others who don’t want to read that stuff, please don’t. This piece was originally published in 1997 on Fishnet.
First Time’s a Charm
So we meet at the Mediterraneum, this quasi-beatnik cafe in Berkeley, and right away it’s awkward city. We have pretty much nothing to say to each other — she doesn’t read much, I don’t watch much TV — and while she’s reasonably attractive, she’s not exactly setting off the old sprinkler system, if you know what I mean. Plus, this is maybe my second time answering a personal ad in my life. Plus, I’m acutely and grotesquely self-conscious, hyperaware of the fact that “I’m dating a woman, I’m dating a woman, I’m dating a woman,” and way- hyperaware of my near- complete inexperience with said gender. Plus, this is a really shitty and difficult time in my life; I’m basically an aimless, passive, wounded bundle of neuroses, and I get awkward and tongue-tied at the drop of a hat. Plus, I want desperately to seem cool, and as we all know, wanting desperately to seem cool is pretty much an ironclad guarantee that you won’t.
Failing to find a hole in the floor of the cafe into which I can crawl and die, I sputter inanely for a bit instead and grasp for some other topic of conversation. We chat awkwardly for a bit longer, I’m trying to think of a graceful way to get the hell out of there, when she says casually:
“So, do you want to come home with me?”
The thing is, an honest answer would have been, “No, actually, I don’t. You’re not really my type, and I feel totally ill-at-ease and like a complete moronic geek- dork with this whole situation in general and with you in particular, and if you don’t mind, I think I’d like to go home, bang my head against a wall for a few minutes, and then go make a big joke out of it with my housemates.” On the other hand, I’m 24 and a dyke virgin (well, almost), and if I don’t take her up on her offer I will never, ever, ever have another chance to have sex with another woman as long as I live. Besides, I want to seem cool — remember? — and saying “No” to a reasonably attractive woman you just met who wants to take you home and fuck you is definitely Not Cool. Besides, at this point in my life, I’m really bad at saying “No.”
So I say, “Um… yeah. Sure. Okay.”
“Great,” she says. “My motorcycle’s out front.”
I honestly have no memory of how we got our clothes off and got into bed. I assume she managed it somehow. There’s no way I could have made it happen; I was far too busy doing my imitation of a deer on the highway to have done anything so aggressive and forthright as taking my clothes off. And sadly, or perhaps mercifully, I have very little clear memory of what we actually did once we got there. I didn’t have the faintest idea what I was doing, and she was offering no clues. “Asking clearly for what you want” was obviously not in this woman’s vocabulary (to be fair, it obviously wasn’t in mine, either). She was more of the trial-and-error, “grab something and play with it and see what happens and hope for the best” school of thought. And I sure as hell wasn’t about to ask her. I wanted to seem cool — remember? — and saying “I feel kind of awkward and don’t know what you want, why don’t you tell me” seemed like the absolute pinnacle of uncool.
The one vivid memory I have of the actual sexual encounter was of me going down on her. She was very close to coming, and she started pushing back hard on my forehead, a move that I interpreted to mean, “Stop, please.” So I stopped. I even patted myself on the back a little for having read her body language so well. Wrongo. Boy, howdy, was that ever the wrong thing to do. She sort of wound down, and a few minutes later she said in this kind of snide, frustrated voice, “Do you always do that?”
“Do what?” I asked.
“Stop right before someone’s about to come.”
“Uhhhhhh…” I retorted.
“So how’d your date go?” one of them asked.
I plopped down on the sofa, buried my head in my hands, and burst into giggles.