“I’m not really a writer.”
These words echoed in my head as I sat down to make my first entry for the website. I’ve never been paid for what I had to say (not that I am now), been published, or ever produced something outside of a term paper or two in school. I pride myself on being somewhat articulate and can edit someone else’s creation with no problem, but to come up with my own construction is something else entirely. Now, I have a few days until my first deadline and the pressure is not sitting well with me.
A walk around the block and a fun-size bag of M&Ms later, I’m staring at the computer screen. Diet Coke? Check. Slow rock music that’s not mainstream or so indie it’s pretentious? Check. Let’s do this.
How else to start a series about sexual health than to talk about how I learned about doing the deed? With any luck, my parents will never read this and will forever assume that I am a virginal youngster who has no idea what the word “sex” even means.
Back to my junior year of high school and my first real relationship…
Eventually things developed to the point where I felt like I was ready to take the plunge and have sex for the first time. I predictably stressed over the matter and wondered if this girl was the right one to lose it to but I was also dismayed to discover that the video of “Where Did I Come From?” that I had seen in third grade had been completely wrong! There was going to be a whole lot more to this whole thing than two bodies just rubbing up against each other (although, to be honest, at that point it would have probably been enough for me).
I hadn’t seen much porn at that point in my life and certainly wasn’t shown by anybody else how to go about my business, so how was I supposed to know what to do? Sex wasn’t something that I talked about with my family and as my friends had known each other since kindergarten, we certainly did not want to hear about each other’s sexual exploits. I was also much too embarrassed to ask for help in this situation and even if I felt like confiding in someone else, who would I go to?
Luckily, at this point, two things kicked in: the confidence that my parents had instilled in me to do what I felt was right and the ability to think for myself. As much as I might have periodically hated my parents while I was growing up, I do have to say that they did teach me how to stand up against things that I didn’t believe in. Sure, I caved into peer pressure on occasion, but I also learned that doing things that I wasn’t comfortable with was never a good idea. These principles guided me to make what I thought were smart choices about my relationship and about sex.
A few minutes and a failed attempt or two later, it was over.
Looking back, I am fully confident that my first time did not represent my best work. Not even close. As big a deal as I made it out to be, I honestly can’t even recall what happened, when it happened, or where it happened. Does that mean that it wasn’t great and special? Hardly. Nevertheless, in the grand scheme of things, it wasn’t as monumental as I thought it was going to be.
It has been years since I’ve lost my virginity and I’ve learned a lot of things along the way. Talking to friends, the media, and even making a mistake or two has shown me that while I still don’t know everything there is to know about sex, I know a whole lot. As I’ve matured, the notion of sex has gotten increasingly complicated but I thoroughly enjoy the fact that there’s always something else to discover. Now, instead of just worrying about having an unplanned pregnancy, I have to also consider infections, timing, performance, and even what lurking bundle of crazy I’ll release by sleeping with someone.
In future articles I will explore different aspects of sex and sexuality, some funny and some serious (some might even be both!), in order to make the unfamiliar a little bit more familiar. I am not an authority, but perhaps simply talking about things will help others to be more comfortable. You are welcome to come along as I delve a little bit deeper into understanding how we interact with sex…and undoubtedly learn about myself along the way. To me, this is not about preaching, mandating, or even simply health education, but sharing the knowledge that I’ve acquired with others.
I stared at that last paragraph as I thought about how to wrap up my first attempt at a formal article. I’ve managed to get my words down and now I just had to sit back and wonder if other people would read what I had written. Or even care. Could I have produced something better if I was a trained writer? But then again, maybe writing isn’t necessarily about a title, but being able to open up just enough to show a little bit of yourself to the world; writing just might be about the willingness to explore the dark corners that you’ve kept hidden for so long. Perhaps writing is the ability to create something personal that comes from a place of truth, yet is also inclusive enough for others to see themselves reflected.
So maybe I am a writer after all.