Staff Note: An amazing writer sending an amazing message. In a time when we hear all the effects of a misogynistic society upon women there is a forgetfulness of how it effects men as well. I think this gives a new light onto things. Not to mention how it personally struck me.
When I was sixteen, I dated a boy who called himself nothing. It wasn’t even an original nickname, he stole it from a Poppy Z. Bright book. We never had sex. I know, it’s kind of a strange detail to share, especially at the beginning of a piece about sex… but it’s a fact.
He was a rebound boyfriend, kind of like a set of ropes that I propped myself up against, after my first real romance fell apart. I don’t know why, but this eighteen year old kid was obsessed with me. I was ambivalent. I didn’t really feel anything for him. Actually, maybe I did, but I had been burned so bad by the last guy… it was hard to imagine letting anyone affect me that way.
Anyway. We never had sex, but I watched him have sex with a lot of other people. Pretty girls and boys, who had no issues with me watching while my boyfriend fucked them; I masturbated.
I think I realized, early on… that I wasn’t like a lot of other girls, when it came to sex. I’ve never had a problem sharing, so long as I feel emotionally secure enough in a relationship, and I’m not at risk of contracting any diseases.
I watched nothing have sex with other people, because I didn’t trust him enough to sleep with him. Perhaps it was also because it got me off so hard? Maybe I was also trying to make a point, to him or myself, that he meant as much to me as his name implied.
For a while, I thought we were both enjoying it. We’d go to a party, or meet up with someone… I’d watch him have sex, then the other person would leave, and nothing and I would just hang out and get stoned. Sometimes we talked about how much everything sucked, and how we were going to get out of the stupid town we were stuck in.
It wasn’t conventional, but it worked. I figured we were both getting what we wanted out of the arrangement.
But one night… He looked up at me, while he was really banging this punk girl. He surprised me, because he looked so miserable.
I was pretty sure he was crying. I had to wonder, how long had he been holding it back? I was… overwhelmed by the notion that he had been doing all of it… for me? I’ll be honest. I felt a little pleased… like a surge of power; a sadistic thrill. But mostly, I felt like some kind of evil monster. I was seriously disgusted with myself… and I felt sorry for him; for both of us.
I want to make it clear, that I don’t think there was anything wrong with what we were doing… but any kind of kink, or unconventional sexual relationship should always be mutually gratifying for both people. I felt sorry for us, because it was clear that we wanted very different things. I had never even considered, that he would be the one who was looking for an emotional connection; insecure about MY approval.
That’s when I learned a few important lessons about sex. The first being that boys can have the same problem separating sex, from intimacy, from love — that is frequently attributed mostly to girls. Sure. Teenage boys want sex, but you know… you should never assume that’s all they want. Sometimes, they just want to be close to you.
The second is that there has to be a clear, mutual understanding between lovers, honest admission of what you want out of the relationship, and a baseline of respect. Without those things, someone is bound to get hurt.
I’m not proud of it, but I bailed on nothing, after that. I didn’t tell him I was moving out of state, to Seattle, to get back together with my Ex.
My dad told me that he stopped by the house, after I left, looking for me…
I wrong that kid… and that’s something I can’t change. It was something I did when I was a stupid, mean kid. I wish I could take it back, but that’s not how life works. So, instead, I took the experience and learned from it. I learned how to be a more considerate lover, and a kinder person.
We’re taught a lot of social bullshit, especially about sex and gender. I just… want to remind girls, who might be at the same age I was, and who might just be starting to explore sex and love.
Something that you might forget, because no one seems to mention it. Not your parents, when they warm you to “stay away” from boys. Not your teachers, when they lecture Sex Ed… not even boys themselves, because they’re dealing with their own social pressure and chaotic hormones.
Boys have feelings too.