11 December 2008


When I was sixteen, my boyfriend’s father caught us in his house skipping school, a minor infraction complicated by my state: crawling naked across his bedroom floor desperately trying to find my previously discarded dress. Phone calls ensued, about 10:00 that night, and soon after my mother hung up, she was in my room. I denied nothing, and waited for her to lower the boom. Instead she had a series of questions: Was he my first? Did we use protection? What were my motivations? In the end, the closest thing I got to a lecture or punishment for the act of sex (not for the skipping school part) was an understanding that she respected my decisions about my body as long as they were physically and emotionally healthy. After spending puberty under the tutelage of my redneck father and right-wing oppressed grandmother, it was not only a shock, but a liberating and empowering revelation.

Thereafter, I enjoyed an incredible sex life, one full of the usual pitfalls and disappointments as well as exploration, joy, humor, and not a little bit of pride. I’ve not considered myself promiscuous, nor have I denied myself much in the way of experimentation or creativity short of the rights and responsibilities of monogamy.

I am, at heart, a monogamist. I probably always will be, not because of well-worn and usually misogynist lists of rules, laws, and morals, but because when I love, I do it whole-heartedly and gushingly, no time for more than one. And maybe, too, because other areas of my life have left me with lingering stings from abandonment and misfit-ism, and my emotional, physical, spiritual and intellectual worlds are incorporated fully into my sex drive.

When single, my motto became “I do who I please and I please who I do,” which translated just as easily to monogamous relationships considering that one person is who I choose to “do”. I have an impressive (to me and others) list of lovers, all of whom taught me something about life, sexuality, love, or some other technical skill I couldn’t live without now. And I hold no room in my life for regret, even for my ex-husband, with whom I have the only bitter relationship of the lot, but also an incredible child. I love them all for what they have been to me.

Except one.

Not that I consider him a lover, not at all. In fact, for a long time I thought I had been able to deny that what happened between us was sexual at all, or that it affected who and what I am in the world in ANY way. The summer I turned 34 I was raped. It was not violent at all physically, but was an attack which struck from and at the other love of my life: spirituality. A double violation. I told no one for a long time and very few since. The initial feelings of anger, shame, revenge, worthlessness, confusion, resignation washed over me in about five minutes. And I was left numb. I decided I’d work it out later. I had a lot to do in my life.

That life only lasted about a month longer. Disaster struck my city and I found myself adrift and scrambling to renew security in mine and my child’s world. Busy, busy, busy, abandoned again, and insecure as I could possibly be. But I still didn’t believe I needed to deal with what had happened. I was fine, I hadn’t done anything wrong, and I could move on and let that whole episode be drowned along with all the fond memories I had had of that place. I ended up in therapy for PTSD and a pre-existing anxiety disorder, as did everyone else I knew from the city. But even THEN I didn’t deal with the rape. I entered a sexless relationship with a manipulative emotional (and sexual) cripple, hadn’t been laid since weeks before the rape, and still figured it would work itself out. When I found myself back in my hometown, I made quick work of popping my cherry again. And then I just did it some more, felt better, got a job, settled in, and figured the curse was broken. Maybe it is. Maybe, though, exorcism takes a lot longer than a year or so.

It had been almost two years when I met a boy: an intelligent, tall, creative, great-smelling, intense, and somewhat sad boy. We made love, and I kept him. We’ve had a fairly rocky road coming together and maintaining the same storyline, and I’m glad we both had enough faith in each other and ourselves to make it this far. (Far being 2300 miles from the starting point.) I love him dearly, closely, infuriatingly, frustratingly, passionately. Often, though, the passion stops somewhere at the edge of his skin. Is it this curse I’m carrying? Why don’t we have a physical intimacy akin to our intellectual and emotional one? These are things I need to speak to him about, and do. And will some more. What I want here is to indulge the emotional exhibitionist in me as well as the dirty mind and the playful libido, share the stories I create and collect, the conversations I have with my friends, and some incredibly hot ideas I have all while undergoing a renewal long-overdue. I’m embarking on a path of remembering, reclaiming, and reigniting, and I promise myself and anyone stumbling across my words that it will not be boring.

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