***warning: frank talk of sex and abuse and possibly blasphemy
Physically, my body matured at a very young age. Mentally and emotionally, I was a late bloomer. I blame this on a combo of precocious puberty inherited from my dad, childhood sexual abuse inherited from our sick secretive society, and absolutely no libido.
I used to like it when I'd be cruising shot-gun down the road in my friend Heather's penis car and we'd hear the Naked Raygun song, "Libido". We called Heather's 1973 Nova a penis car because, young feminists ourselves, we agreed it was ironic for her to drive such a masculine car. We were hipsters before hipsters were cool.
I liked the Naked Raygun song about the protagonist's disinterest in sex because I could totally relate. In an era of songs such as Madonna's hit, "Like a Virgin" and George Michael's "I Want Your Sex," I felt like the oddball at the orgy.
Not that I was asexual. I had my first crush at age 4: Radar O'Reilly on "M*A*S*H". I had my first sexy dream in third grade: Han Solo. (Not Harrison Ford, mind you. The fictional character of Han Solo.) I put posters of "Duran Duran" on my wall in eighth grade, but I found myself drawn to the least flashy and most unattractive of the fab five: Roger Taylor.
I honestly think I was drawn to him less because I found him attractive and more because I subconsciously thought of the other drummer named Roger Taylor, the one from Queen, one of Mom's favorite bands. Mom used to play their eight-track tapes while she dusted the house. I have fond memories of that fun and innocent time in my life.
I had fictional, innocent crushes on people as I was growing up, and occasionally I'd "like" some kid in my class, but only because my friends had kids they "liked" and I didn't want to feel left out. I had no interest in wearing sexy clothes or trying to be flirty or any of that. I just wanted to play basketball, or barbies, or watch "Mork and Mindy".
My first major crush on a real person ended as most every one's does, embarrassingly. My love for R.W. (I'm still too embarrassed to mention his name) was unrequited, except for some minor 3rd base action, and although I have him to thank for my love of Pink Floyd and red wine, he crushed my heart. I swore off boys for a few years after R.W. told me to quit showing up at his back door.
I'd always been sexually attracted to girls. Even more so than most boys when I was very young. Androgynous girls. Tomboys, as they were called back in the day. At age four, I walked up to a kid I thought was so cute, and I asked the kid, "Are you a boy or a girl?" Like it was a question she'd been asked a thousand times before, she said, "I'm a girl." That's all we said about it and we went on to play.
I'd also always been sexually attracted to boys, but not mean, tough, uber-masculine boys. Androgynous boys. Sissy boys, as they were called back in the day.
Seems I'm mostly attracted to people who like to rip off the gender binding and kick over the fence that holds us within certain gender boundaries. I'm a sucker for androgyny.
As a late-teen and an early adult, I was a serial monogamist who dated both boys and girls, just one at a time. Each person had his or her merits, but the relationships never worked out. I was in a bad place psychologically in my life.
That's when I broke up with my latest girlfriend and moved into my own studio apartment. It was the first time I ever lived alone. When I was born, I had four siblings and two parents waiting for me at home, and another sister who lived with her mom. All my siblings were older when I was born, so instead of growing up with the kind of brothers and sisters who torment you, I was treated more like a living baby doll. They loved taking turns taking care of me.
They also dropped me on my head. Forgot to latch my high chair so I tumbled over, face first, on the kitchen floor. I got diaper pins poked into my little newborn hips, and slid out of a baby buggy my sister and brother were pushing back and forth, like I was some kind of ball, rolling out into the middle of the street. Mom had to pick gravel out of my little baby cheek. It made me the resiliant person I am today. And maybe, perhaps, a little brain damaged.
But mostly, my older siblings were wonderful, kind, entertaining, funny, and inspirational. I have spent my life trying to be as awesome as they are.
It wasn't always good. There was lots of muck too. I was sexually abused by my brother, who later died of alcoholic induced liver failure, and his friend who I lost track of long ago. It's funny to think of me being treated like an inanimate object when it's a baby doll or a ball. That's cute. But it's just sick when the inanimate object I'm treated like is a sex toy to two hormonally-charged pubescent boys.
I can't talk for all sexual abuse survivors. Each person reacts to trauma in different ways. When I was a young woman, I reacted by regaining control of my life. I lived alone for ten years. I put myself through college. I took care of a cat from the time he was a kitten til he died at age 14. I paid my bills and went to work. I read self-help books and talked to therapists. I took meds my doctor recommended. I invested in a Hitachi Magic Wand. I felt great.
So great, that I began thinking, huh, maybe I'm not going to end up in a mental institution like Jack Nicholson's character in "One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest". Maybe I could actually find a mate and we could have a family and a life together that sometimes sucks but that's mostly wonderful.
I met Will at the library. He made me feel tingly. His smell. His long hair. His steely glare with those big brow bones framing his icy blue eyes. He's tall and strong. His hair is soft and smells like flowers or linen or sunshine. He sings and he cries at the end of good movies like "Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind" and "The Fisher King" and dear God I love him so.
We got married and had Katie two years later. It's been rocky, but so rewarding. I've struggled with my anxiety and depression, finally diagnosed as Post-traumatic Stress Disorder and Major Depressive Disorder, but I've also learned a lot from it. I've learned to let go, a little.
I've learned that sometimes it's OK to let other people do things for me without it feeling like they're doing things TO me.
Will helps me enormously. He is an equal partner--totally--in our relationship. He takes care of Katie just as much as I do. He cooks and cleans just as much, if not more, than I do. He does all the lawn work. He works full time and he's been with the same company for nine years. His reliability is fucking hot to me. Someone who has been through trauma, like me, seeks out the dependable, the care-taking, the warm arms and firm embrace.
It's weird to give up so much control of my body to another person. But I trust Will. He's the only person who's ever made me feel orgasmic without simultaneously feeling anxious. He's all, hey babe, lay back, take it easy, relax, let me take care of you.
I never thought I wanted any of that crap until I met Will. The idea of letting someone rub the back of my bumpy thighs, my calloused feel, my jiggly belly--no. There's no way. People I allowed access to my body before I met Will were allowed to touch my mouth, my breasts, my hands, my vulva, and my back. That's it. Will, on the other hand, after a decade of marriage, has convinced me it's safe to let him lay his hands all over my body. I fucking love being married.
The loyalty. The trust. The understanding.
Some people like to be single, to be independent and strong and capable. I did too once. But I've found that having the support of a good spouse helps me allow pleasure into my life. I need the trust to let my guard down.
Don't let the people who took control of your body without your consent allow you to feel shamed by it. Your body is beautiful. Find someone you trust to share it with.
If you're scared at first to venture out into the dating world, I highly recommend that sexual abuse survivors get to know themselves through masturbation. I'm sick of society making it into a dirty thing. Masturbation is a healthy thing. Doctors prescribe it to men who have pancreatitis and women who have infertility. Check out the video, "Hysteria", about the introduction of the vibrator, which was used to treat women with the medical condition called "hysteria".
Masturbation helped me learn to love my body and all the amazing things it can do. I was a late bloomer. I didn't have my first orgasm until I was twenty-six. The day my Hitachi Magic Wand arrived in the mail in a plain brown wrapper from Good Vibrations in San Francisco. That was memorable. I felt completely and totally connected to every living being in the universe. It was intense. I'd finally broken the glass box I'd learned to seal around my libido after my experience with sexual abuse.
It's hard to get from a place of thinking of sex as bad and dirty and traumatic to full of connection and amazing sensations and universal harmony. But daaaaaaaamn! It's worth it.
Why do so many people shout out, "Oh, God!" when they come? I'm telling you: having an orgasm is life's reminder that we're all tapped into the same loving energy field: God. Don't let your abusers keep you from that feeling.
This morning after everyone went off to work and to school, I enjoyed a little me time. Afterwards, as I laid in bed looking out the window at the hint of glistening sunlight shining on the tree swaying in the breeze and the blue sky in the back, I said, "Thank you God!"
I'm a weird Christian. I actually don't pray that much. I dunno. Unless you're praying for someone else, praying for something you want seems selfish. I like to think God knows whats best for me without me having to give him hints.
But I tend to pray a lot after I come. "Thank you God!" "Thank you Universe!" "Thank you All-Encompassing-Love". I don't think about it really. It just happens.
This morning, I started humming one of my favorite hymns after I played around with my Hitachi Magic Wand. Then I started singing it with my own words:
To the tune of "Come! Live in the Light"
Come! live in the light!
Shine with the joy and the love of the World
We are called to be a sexy species
to live in the freedom of loooooooooooove!
We are called to act with passion.
We are called to love tenderly.
We are called to serve one another, to stop when you say no
Come! Open your heart!
Show your booty to all those you want!
We are called to be love for the loveless,
so all jealousy and unkindness will be no more!
Sing! Sing a new song!
Sing of that great climax when all will be one!
God will reign and we'll walk with each other as poets and lovers united in love!
Sorry, David Haas.