I had my first boyfriend when I turned 18. A week in, we kissed for the first time. One month later, he told me I gave him blue balls. The next time he was close, I helped him finish. I felt disgusting afterward. I wasn’t really ready for that step. I didn’t want to think about the existence of his genitals or how close they were to mine, separated only by a few layers of clothing. But he’d had a girlfriend before me and I was sure she would’ve done the same.
It’s been three years and I have only recently realised my anxiety around sex. I’ve dated two boys and kissed another. Every first kiss felt like a fish sucking on my face. Their lips were always so much wetter and mushy. But I always said that they were good. I would say the same in bed. When it was over, I would feel the knot in my throat when they left. They always asked but I never said no. I didn’t want to find out if they’d be sick of me. Sex felt like something to distract them from my actual existence: maybe if I am a good vessel for desire, I create some sort of permanent connection.
Dating has never been easy for me. I was the little brown girl, an exotic creature with enough white dialect to be approachable. I didn’t have an Indian accent or scent of cumin. I spoke about Jane Austen and wore rose perfume. I embody someone familiar but intriguing. I use to get so stressed that I would smell like sweat and no one would want to be around me. I had trouble as it was to date. Everyone I dated, I always asked them out. I was never swept off my feet. I always felt an underlying tone that my relationships were some sort of sex fantasy.
When I had my first intimate moments with my only boyfriend, my thoughts immediately before were, “what has happened to my morals?” “When did I become so promiscuous?” “What if someone finds out?”. I wasn’t sure what to do with myself. My face felt hot and a pain pressed into my chest. It’s hard to remember this feeling unless you are in a situation of fear and exhaustion. I understood my familiar guilt of having not done anything but it was overwhelming others commenting on this.
It has only been in the last couple of months that I have been learning more about what pressures in sex need to be discussed. I’ve always understood sex as either pure love, pleasure, or objectification of women; there is so much in between the lines. There will always be unspoken fears between one another. Even if they are completely honest with you, there will be a small tick in your brain that worries about unable to fulfill their thoughts. Is it my responsibility to satisfy my partner? At what point do I have to sort them out? A hug, a kiss, a quick fuck?
I do wonder about a relationship without any recognition of my gender. It was good to be close. I’m not denying that. But maybe it wasn’t supposed to be. Looking back at that moment, I know I was innocent and ignorant. I didn’t know what I wanted when presented with the opportunity. I had sex because I felt like I had to. We were both consensual but someone an emotion was triggered that I didn’t approve to leave me. These thoughts are where secrets lie. My sexual desires had become apart of my personality, the smart girl who didn’t need sex. I can decide to do whatever I want with my body but other people being involved is when things become complicated.
No matter how many people give you advice, how long you’ve made a decision, or thought through every scenario, there is an underlying tone. When presented with desire, we don’t know if we should jump off that cliff. Will someone is ready to catch me or will I crash into rocks? At the moment, decisions like this can waver so easily. What I do know is no matter what, we are not responsible for anyone’s satisfaction. We can only do what we’re truly comfortable.