“Wait so you don’t get sexually frustrated? Like at all?” my astonished cousin asks.
I take time to consider before answering. I was probably 19 or 20 when I was first asked this question. Though I was learning more and more about my genitalia and sex, I still had not fully grasp the meaning of being sexually frustrated though I can kind of get the meaning.
“There are times I am curious about sex and I want to try it so maybe that is being sexually frustrated. But it has never gotten to the point where I am desperate for it.” I finally answered.
Usually when I feel the want to have sex, it’s when I am reading a steamy romance novel. But even when I was feeling fluttery in my lower belly or my nether lips it did not hit me that it meant I was aroused and my body wanted to have sex. It’s like the sound of waves slamming the reefs, billowing my curtains up high, the last thing I hear. But because I grew up with it it’s just always been there that I never took note of. Until I went abroad, came back home for the summer and all my sensors seemed to have been powered by energy drinks. I took notice of those sounds, their prominence, and reveled in it.
Except these flutters were not always there. Their presence I just did not understand. Because I did not understand my body. When I finally addressed it, I did not even know what it wanted or what to do therefore I go back to ignoring it. Never once did it hit me that I can just, you know, give it a light touch then firmer as I become more enthusiastic in my exploration.
I knew about masturbation though. The problem? I had no idea vagina owners could masturbate as well. The first time I heard about masturbation and the rest afterwards were always related to penis owners. That much it was easier to picture the mechanics of it. But with my vagina, the last I had given it a good look was in my early teens out of curiosity. Then I forgot what it looked like.
At 21, I finally came across a book that described vagina owners pleasuring themselves as masturbating. I was mind blown. When I read of these female characters touching themselves they were always with their partners and upon their partners prompting, they touch themselves intimately and because their partner is watching them it stimulates them. But this book showed a woman pleasuring herself alone and labeling it as masturbating. So I went on Google to do more research. Then I watched a masturbating porn video to get a visual idea of the mechanics of it. On a vagina, that is.
At 21, I masturbated for the first time. And when I reached the height, I guess, I was left feeling incomplete and lost. I pondered if it was because I needed a partner to bring me to the heights those books took great pain in detailing.
Where are the stars and fireworks? My arms felt the pain of a workout, not the floating on water climax. It felt too laborious of a buildup for just a few seconds of anticipation itched. So I tried again. I thought maybe it might help if I be more wanton like in the porn video. No, several seconds in I gave up. My arms were tired and my Christian upbringing kicked in. Was I committing sin? Will God smite me for giving in to my physical wants?
I did not feel ashamed. I just felt scared and sorry to God for being an unfilial child.
But I told myself I will practice till I get it right. Now at 22, I have gotten it right. And you know how damn good that feels? The empowerment I have gotten. I discovered the power of the clit and what a cute little vibrator can havoc.
For my entire life anything sexual has only instigated crippling fear in me. So much so the trauma still lives with me to this day. Because I was still in my preteens when I started getting sexually harassed by male classmates, strangers, and relatives. My second kiss taken by a former stepdad. My third kiss taken by a classmate outside our classroom as we were about to enter. Just taken with so much assurance I was almost convinced they had a right to do so. And how could I not when my family told me never to speak about it. The police sided with him and not me, telling me he has his reasons and I ought to feel bad for him. How could I not when my friends and teachers were telling me, “Oh he’s just being a boy.” They just kept taking without asking. My body a convenient commodity for them to make themselves feel like the man they never were and never will be. Because they were made to feel little, they needed to be bigger, stronger, and masculine prowess and I was their bridge to that.
My first kiss, thank God, I gave to one of my girlfriends and that was only to disgust the boys so they would leave us alone while we went our merry way.
At 21 I finally took ownership of my body, my sexuality, and its pleasures. At 22 I can finally say it was I who gave myself my first sexual pleasure. No other man, consent or not, did that. It was me. All me. And no one can ever take that from me. And I cried because I lived and am still living with so much trauma from the sexual abuse I grew up with but I learned to trust myself and my body. To just zone in on my pleasure and not on the fear that often dilly-dally at the back of my head. I learned to see myself and what I was doing and not the ghost weight of their bodies and touches on me. I learned not to fear my body. For what I was never given, I gave myself.
“It is you who is doing it Selina. Just you and you alone. Feel and take ownership of it.” I told myself. I tell myself.