Sex is one of those things. One of those things that can be really good, really bad, unmistakably messy, emotionally entangling, seemingly life changing, and what you have before breakfast some days and after dinner others, like a cupcake. And in your mid-twenties and outside of a relationship it is usually a combination of power, alcohol and nearly expired condoms that you’ve found in the kitchen drawer and that belonged to three roommates ago.
Some of us were raised Catholic with the notion that the only option for our genitals was chastity until marriage, lest you confess your sex sins to the same priest you confessed calling your brother a “butthead” to in first grade. These days I don’t believe you need a life contract to love someone fully and deeply and physically and although I am as Catholic as a pigeon with a nub leg, I am not sure if things would be better if we were wired like bonobos to have sex in greeting and in conflict.
It all started when I was eating a corn dog at a baseball game and a friend recounted her escapades with a couple she regularly dates and has threesomes with. Since this made me feel less sexually active than a piece of broccoli I decided to start collecting information from friends about sex, which made me feel like a perverted uncle instead. (And just for the record, she sleeps in the middle).
Wedding stories are my favorite. How did they meet? I ask, pondering the possibility of also meeting my future husband while choking on a grape in public. I pestered a friend with this question before she left for a Colorado-weekend wedding. She detailed how she went to fetch a glass of water in the middle of the night, and walked in on the bride and groom having sexual relations on her stove the first night they met. And then they fell in love. Do not underestimate the power of stainless steal.
Similar to how my mother saved her sex talks for when I was trapped in a moving vehicle with her, I chose to interview another friend about his views on sex while he ate tater tots at a dive bar. Aside from offering his mindfulness strategy when donning white underwear during hookups, (the lights must be off and his chonies mustn’t be deserted on the floor inside out, in regard to skid-mark anxiety) he was doubtful of divulging more. He did note that he lost his virginity when he was eighteen years old and only later did he find out his four best friends had also lost their virginities to the same woman. “There are no rules,” he said between bites. There are no rules?
I whine to my therapist about men often. My brother no longer has brain cancer, my panic attacks have subsided and I am ambivalent when my ex-virgin, ex-boyfriend tells me that he misses me and all the girls in Missouri are fat. Usually she tells me that the kind of sensitivity and thoughtfulness I seek in a partner can only be found in a woman, but I’m just not ready to be a lesbian yet.
“Wait to have sex, ” she says. “Wait until his brain is in Seattle. Right now, his brain is in Miami and that’s the only thing he can think about. You’ve got to wait until that ends before you sleep with him.”
What she is referring to is the lulling lapse in a man’s mindset from the moment he begins dating a lady and the primal urge to procreate, stick it in, whatever, takes over, to the point where he considers her in the running for a potential partner, when his mind is in “Seattle” in that studio apartment that he will share with her (potentially). I don’t know how accurate or politically correct this analogy is, but when you pay someone for advice you at least consider it. However, resisting sex with someone after eighteen dates and utilizing it as an asset if power until I accidentally consumed too much tequila and then threw-up directly after seemed to not be what I was looking for.
Recently a guy friend – notorious for an ever-changing array of sleepover partners – stated that he met a woman that he was quite fond of. They talked and drank wine and watched a movie and went to sleep and that was it. It shocked me when I realized he was serious about this one, that based on his deliberateness he genuinely liked her. Why are we so keen to temporarily consolidate genitals with people we’ve known for hours, but careful with the ones we like?
I asked my roommates this as they affirmed that their sex lives consisted of the two extremes of random and drunken hook-ups and men those that they seriously dated. I asked why. “It’s because you’re nervous and you want to see them again.”
And because you actually care what they think about your vagina?
“Yes,” she said, “Exactly.”