The First Time You Sleep With Someone You Really Like

You’re suddenly ugly, even if you never were before. The little spots and lines and dimples on your body that used to just seem an inescapable part of you who are — like the color of your eyes or the length of your legs — become these horrible scars that you wish you could scrub right off your skin. The word “insecurity” suddenly takes on a very clear, visceral meaning. You are not secure in your body: you can’t trust it, you can’t relax in it, you can’t just let it be. It’s something that must be controlled and maintained and managed. Even if you love yourself, all of a sudden you can only find flaws (because you imagine they will, too).

It’s so strange, though, because you really do like them so much, and a huge part of that is how kind and fair they come across. On a more rational level, you know that they would never look at the kind of disgust with which you are currently filtering your reflection. You know that they would likely appreciate you the way they have thusfar, but you can’t help yourself. It just hurts to know that you will soon be scrutinized by someone you actually care about.

You want to make the mood perfect, but you know that it never is. There is always a part of you which will feel out of the moment, which won’t be able to appreciate all of the squishy wonderfulness of sex with someone you know well. There is always something that you will look back on and cringe at, if only because the human body isn’t perfect, much less so when it’s under the unpredictable lights of someone else’s bedroom.

Holding your breath for what seems like minutes at a time, you will be unable to really enjoy it. Yes, it’s amazing. Yes, it’s what you’ve always wanted. But even if it were bad, you are too blinded by the fact that it is finally happening — numbed by your own pleasant surprise — that you can’t perceive individual touches. You can’t tell what was good, and what was just wonderful by grace of coming from them. Things will happen that your body will only be vaguely aware of because you keep hearing this echo in the back of your mind of “I can’t believe it. I can’t believe it. I can’t believe it.” You will hope that it was good for them, but you are so far away from the point at which you could comfortably ask them that you just come to accept your ignorance on the subject.

You will be in the dark, but so will they. And isn’t that the best thing about love that’s new and different? The whole mystery of it — even when it makes you nervous?

Soon enough, this will be like anything else. Soon enough, the rhythm of the things you enjoy together will slow to a comfortable, warm hum. Soon, you will really know who the other person is. But for now, you are just near-strangers who really, really like one another. Your whole lives — your whole histories — are choppy waters underneath a deceptively still surface. You only know just enough to be infatuated, just enough to make the sex so incredibly intoxicating in its tenseness. It will feel at once thrilling and terrifying, like riding a roller coaster you were always a little bit afraid of.

Because you really like them. Because this could be the beginning of something really great, and your whole body can feel it. Because their opinion matters, and even though part of you knows that it is definitely going to be positive, you just want that extra little bit of reassurance so that you can sleep easily when it’s done. But you can’t have it. Not yet. And, honestly, that’s kind of the best part. TC mark

image – whatmegsaid

Chelsea Fagan

Chelsea Fagan founded the blog The Financial Diet. She is on Twitter.

Trace the scars life has left you. It will remind you that at one point, you fought for something. You believed.

“You are the only person who gets to decide if you are happy or not—do not put your happiness into the hands of other people. Do not make it contingent on their acceptance of you or their feelings for you. At the end of the day, it doesn’t matter if someone dislikes you or if someone doesn’t want to be with you. All that matters is that you are happy with the person you are becoming. All that matters is that you like yourself, that you are proud of what you are putting out into the world. You are in charge of your joy, of your worth. You get to be your own validation. Please don’t ever forget that.” — Bianca Sparacino

Excerpted from The Strength In Our Scars by Bianca Sparacino.

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