Cherry Popping

Okay so, previously on this blog I’ve talked a lot about bad dates. And some good dates. And dating strategies. Mostly that’s what I write about.

Stuff is about to get more explicit, though, so get ready for some talk about sex and bodies.

Are you ready?

I was at a friend’s party last weekend, and the discussion took a turn towards periods. My friend mentioned that she hates wearing tampons, the she finds them uncomfortable. As she was saying this, I realized that I also used to feel this way, and I said so. “Oh yeah? What changed, then?” she asked. I thought about it for a minute and then realized the answer.

The answer is that I must have had one motherfucker of a hymen.

You don’t hear much talk of hymens, really. They aren’t that important anymore, not since the days when people cared whether women were virgins (ugh). That’s really the main association people have with hymens as far as I can tell. Which is kind of inaccurate, it turns out. Some women are just born without them, or they break at a very young age when playing on jungle gyms, etc.

And then there are women like me. I don’t actually know for sure what happened but in retrospect I think I can postulate a theory, a theory that involves me having a really persistent hymen.

Sex with the first few partners was not easy in that department, and I thought for a while it was somehow psychological, or something? The first time I had sex there was bleeding – kind of a lot, actually, and it freaked me the fuck out. After that I had plenty of sex but intercourse was not huge on the menu because it was just difficult and uncomfortable and it happened but just not that often.

But this got annoying, because it just started stressing me out that I didn’t understand what the deal was, and I was annoyed at myself because I really thought it was a psychological block I had. So anyway during a spate of a lot of dating in NYC I kind of geared myself up to just kind of go for it.

In the spring of 2011, I dated two guys – the first was John. (I honestly don’t really remember that much about John, and I’m using his name here because it’s so common and he will never ever read this blog and I have literally no idea what his last name even is, so.) John and I went on exactly two dates. I will maybe tell the story of our dates in another post because it involves pulling in a bunch of other background stuff that I don’t want to get into here. The point is that John had a small-ish penis and I was like, oh good this is perfect, I’m just going for this. We had sex and it was entirely lacklustre but nothing bad happened and there was no bleeding and I was so relieved and happy. I didn’t care that the sex was bad. I will always be grateful to John for helping me get my intercourse confidence back.

A few weeks later I met another guy – let’s call him A. A and I also went on exactly two dates, and at the end of the second date, we went back to his place. We started having sex, and it was going pretty well actually until we both noticed that there was blood just… everywhere. He asked me if I was okay, and I said yes, because I was. I wasn’t in pain, I hadn’t felt any pain, I had no idea what had happened. It was definitely not when I was supposed to get my period, so it wasn’t as though the movement had instigated that, so I was confused and kind of worried, because that amount of blood is not a good sign especially if you cannot think of a reason for it.

So anyway I had a shower and he had a shower and then the mood was kind of ruined. And part of my brain was trying to think of what the fuck had happened and as we were lying there, he started laughing and I was like, what? And he was like: ‘ohhhhhhh you know. Special moments.’ And he laughed again.

And suddenly, suddenly I realized that this man, this man who was something like, I don’t even know, something like the NINTH person I’d slept with, suddenly he was under the very distinct impression that I’d just lost my virginity to him. And I was like ‘uhhhhh’ but there was literally nothing I could think to say at that point to disabuse him of that belief, because I still had no idea what had happened. And it looked kind of a lot like I had just lost my virginity (or whatever, I mean, honestly virginity is not even a real thing but that’s the topic of another post or dissertation or something).

He wouldn’t see me again after that, probably because he thought I was going to imprint on him like a baby duckling? Like, p.s. that is not a thing, losing your virginity to someone is not a recipe for biological and emotional attachment, and penises are not magic wands that cast magic love spells on women. That’s not how this works.

I didn’t figure out what must have happened until later that summer, when suddenly tampons fit much easier and I started dating another guy and suddenly sex was just not a problem at all and there was zero bleeding. I heard subsequently that people have had to have procedures done to get their hymen broken, and that just sounds really awful and painful.

And so I wasn’t angry that he wouldn’t see me again, because I will always be grateful for this guy’s valuable contribution to my sex life, grateful for the fact that he literally was the one who finally popped my very definitely non-virgin cherry.

 

 

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The Only Way Out is Through

So that semester happened.

It’s been a while since I posted. That isn’t because nothing has happened, but because too much has. I got an instructorship at a university in my hometown this year (next semester too – but it should be less busy and so there will be more regular posting). Teaching is something I love, a lot. This semester was challenging as I was teaching myself a lot of material, and also learning how to make things like Power Point presentations (ugh, I know, but also accessibility, so) and how to teach to a 200 person class (wtf lol omg).

I didn’t do these things perfectly, I still have a lot to learn, but I had a great time doing it. It was busy, it was uplifting, it was inspiring, and exhausting. I learn so much when I teach. I love it so, so much.

It also helped me retrieve something of myself. I also dated this semester – three lovely people, and all of those things have ended (well, mostly) for various and sundry reasons. All amicably, as far as I know anyway. And these endings make me sad, but I also think they are, ultimately, for the best.

And, if I’m honest, I’m still not over my last serious relationship. The previous post was a letter I wrote to the person who, in all my 35 years on this planet, has managed to do something that basically no one else has: he broke my heart.

I’ve been hurt before, sure. I have had my fair share of disappointments and frustrations in love. But I don’t think anyone has ever broken my heart the way that this man did, and I’m not gonna lie, it blindsided me. It’s been over a year now, and though progress has been made, certainly, I’m still pulling myself out of the rubbish pile of self-loathing and sadness and frustration and anger.

I did not expect it to take this long. I am angry it has taken this long, that it’s still taking me this long. I want to just be over it already. Don’t get me wrong: not for one second do I think I made a mistake breaking up with that person. That decision was for the best. That is what is so bloody confusing about it: to know, intellectually, that something was the right decision, and yet emotionally this break up threw me for the biggest romantic loop of my life. I still don’t know quite what to make of it. I still don’t know how to talk about it. Or if I should continue to talk about it on here, though I suppose the letter of my previous post got as real as I can possible get, so.

But yeah. Teaching did something for me this semester. It forced me to dig back down inside myself, to find the stuff I have to give to others, to remember how much I love pedagogy, how much I love figuring out what kind of teacher I want to be, and remembering how goddamned hard it is to constantly bring the best of myself to teaching, and how that means reflecting on what it is to learn, to imagine how others who aren’t naturally inclined to philosophy learn, and to examine my own understanding of, well, most things.

I found something in myself that I love again this semester. And it was a nice reminder that even when things seem overwhelming, the only way forward is to keep going, one step at a time. There were times I felt overwhelmed by all I had to learn, all I had to teach myself, all the lectures I had to write and how to write them and constantly trying to resist being crushed under the weight of it. But there are no shortcuts. There is no way of diverting the weighty stuff of life. The only way out is through.

And so it goes. More posts soon to come.