Young girls are perhaps the most sexual of all human beings. They do a variety of weird and seemingly unexplainable things.
How do I know they do these things? It’s because I did them. Most of my friends did them. And unless times have changed — or I am completely delusional — I assume they are still happening.
They pretend to be genitals.
Yes, you heard me correctly. Perhaps I had a very lecherous group of young friends. We were seven years old, all girls. We used to play a game called, “I’m your penis.” The rules were simple. One player would insert her head in between the other player’s legs. That player would lock her legs around the head, looking down at the other’s face. This talking head was supposed to be the penis. The conversations would go something like this:
“Hello, Cara, I’m your penis,” Penis would say.
“How are you feeling today, Cara?” Penis would ask.
“I’m feeling good. How are you feeling, Penis?”
“I’m feeling a little tired,” Penis would say.
“I’m sorry. Do you like it down there, Penis?”
“I get lonely sometimes,” Penis would whisper.
“How is your wife, Leslie?”
All the penises had wives. The wives weren’t vaginas though. They were other penises –girl penises. Out of all the penis wives, Leslie was my least favorite. She was condescending.
I remember the first time I played “I’m your penis” with a boy. It was my friend’s brother. He was nine, but was as tall as an 11-year-old.
I put my head between his legs. It was the same, except there was a bump in the place that was supposed to be smooth. I was nervous talking to him because I was afraid I wouldn’t be an authentic penis. He already had a penis — a real penis — I was squishing it with my neck, the zipper of his cargo shorts was digging into my throat. At first I didn’t talk. I was afraid he would say something like, “A penis would never say that.”
He didn’t. He just smiled when I talked but didn’t answer me back. I thought maybe he didn’t know how to play the game. Finally it became so uncomfortable, I told him that I had to go and meet my penis wife, Martha, for coffee.
So we switched.
I remember the rush I felt when it was the boy’s turn to be my penis. He didn’t put his hands to the sides like the girls did. He wrapped them tightly around my ankles. He rested his head between my legs. He was breathing on my stomach. Suddenly I didn’t want to play.
Why did we do this? We wanted to know what it was like to have a penis. We just wanted to talk to our penises, to see their faces. Little did we know, this game was the complete opposite of interacting with a penis. It should’ve been called “Talk to a Vagina.”
They role-play sexual intercourse.
I remember when I discovered what sexual intercourse was. My mother told me point-blank, we were standing in my younger brother’s room after a Mr. Roger’s Neighborhood marathon.
The next day I went over my best friend’s house and immediately told her. She seemed confused but intrigued. She finally said, let’s play “House.” I wasn’t sure what she was doing. We ended up in bed together, under the covers. She was lying on top of me, breathing heavily, my thigh between her legs. Her hot breath smelled like Doritos, and I leaned away when she whispered into my ear. We were in first grade.
“The baby’s asleep,” she panted. We were still playing House.
“No, I don’t think it is. I’m going check on it.”
I pushed her away and rolled off the bed.
“I just said it’s asleep. Come back in bed,” she whispered.
Playing “House” had a different meaning after that.
They masturbate excessively.
When sixth grade boys made jokes about the newly discovered miracle called masturbation, I was the girl who always knew what they were talking about.
I had grown up watching A Baby Story with my mother, so I had seen dozens of births, all from the crotch camera seated directly at the vagina. I was just doing what I thought bodies were supposed to do: have orgasms and have babies. It all seemed so beautiful and wonderful and normal.
I learned to masturbate early — anywhere from a high chair to a car seat. My favorite place to masturbate was while watching Mr. Rogers. I don’t see the appeal now — maybe it was the inviting way he changed into his sneakers or that zippered cardigan sweater. Nevertheless, a part of me felt relieved when he died. He had seen too much.
I’ve talked to friends who have confessed to similar stories. So what happens? Why do the perverted games stop as girls get older?
I think they stop when girls learn that talking about their own sexual desire is inappropriate. For me it was around age nine. I talked about masturbation with more girls from ages six to seven than I did from nine to 19.
When girls first become interested in boys — usually around age 11 — they imagine them as penis-less beings, Ken dolls. They judge them by their haircuts or choice in polo shirts.
Later they learn that they’re supposed to be afraid of penises. That it is normal, that they can get things from boys if they deny them enough — that there is reason to deny because not denying means physical pain and humiliation and only sluts don’t deny.
But in the process I wonder if in denying we were denying our bodies, if we were denying the chance of sexual growth. We learned that we were supposed to be wanted, not to want. So eventually attention became more interesting to us than sex.
Honestly, for me, the feeling of turning someone on, being desired, is one thousand times better than sex will ever be. And maybe this is true for many women. But what does this all mean?
All I know is maybe these weird, confusing sexual experiences we remember (or try to forget) from our childhoods may actually help explain some of our sexual desires now. Maybe we should stop trying to repress what we really want and all play a round of “I’m Your Penis.”