Earlier today I was watching The Great on Hulu.
If you’ve never heard of it, it’s a brand-new show about Catherine the Great of Russia and what it was like for her in the early days. Like most young girls, she had a lot of daydreams and romantic ideas about what love would be like. For instance, here is what her mom told her about sex:
The man caresses you softly, pressing his lips to yours. Your breasts and skin awaken and shiver with palpitating joy. Between your legs quivers and moistens with longing. He enters you and you become one. Your bodies meld, your souls mesh. As a sensation takes hold of you, you fall into a black sky filled with the shiniest of stars. You float for a time in ecstasy, before waves of pleasure push and pull you back into your body. Your body ushers forth yelps, and sometimes song, before he and you explode within, collapsing together, spent and unified. Then, you lay together, laughing softly, weeping occasionally with ecstatic joy, and finally, he wraps his arms around you, whispers poetry softly into your ear, and you fall into a… delicious sleep.
She soon learns that her mom’s experience is…different from hers…
I had a lot of very romantic ideas of what love would be like. For the most part, they’re true. The things that aren’t haven’t really been a letdown because I know that real life isn’t a romantic comedy. However, love and sex are different things. They can-and often do-go together, but not necessarily.
I know what you’re going to say, “They’re just doing it wrong.” Maybe so. I’ve had experiences that were very intense, very meaningful. I know that’s what it can be like. But in this day and age, we’re usually not given a “flowery description” like this.
You know what I was told about sex, from different sources?
I will say that I could have been told these things in an effort to keep me from getting pregnant as a teenager. I knew several girls who did. I have, however, seen the truth of some of them.
“Your first time will be awkward as hell, assuming it works at all.”
And it didn’t. My high school boyfriend and I tried to have sex once but it did not physically work. To be a bit graphic, he couldn’t get into me. I was probably nervous but a lot of that could have been that it wasn’t the right thing to do. I was supposed to wait until I was married, and I wasn’t going to marry him. It fits. I did other things, but my husband is the first and only man I’ve ever “gone there” with.
“Nobody knows what the hell they’re doing.”
Yep. My first “real-time” was on my wedding night. Everything went fine, I guess, but I was so tired after that long day that I didn’t do much. Most people are able to “learn on the job”, but I was not because I got into a wreck less than a year later that pretty much rendered me unable to, ahem, assume most positions. The ones that worked for me didn’t for my husband. I thought my hip replacement would fix it and, in terms of mobility, it did. However, the gynecologist confirmed that everything-everything-had been pushed to the right. As a result, I know absolutely nothing about how to please a man. Where to touch a man (besides the obvious), what to do with those things when I get there, how to get/keep anything going-nothing. I did other things before I was married, but 1) a lot of that was allowing things to be done to me, and 2) they were done with the agreement that the full expression of sex and love is meant for marriage. It must be even more awkward for men.
I’ve learned some other things, which is helpful. I know how to speak of it-I had some erotic stories online once but I got rid of them. I know what to do to myself. One thing I didn’t count on was the fact that both I and my husband are on medications that cause problems in that area. Looking back, that’s probably why we never really were very passionate. At least that way I know it’s not me.
“Sex is pretty much all men care about.”
This isn’t true about my husband, but it definitely is about some people I’ve dated. There were a lot of times I did something I didn’t particularly want to do because I felt like I had to. Either that, or that was the only way I could get him to leave me alone. I have friends and relatives who have been raped and one thing they’ve all said was that it did one of two things-either they fear sex or they treat it like it’s nothing. My sister told me that she ended up giving it to whatever guy wanted it because she figured that they were going to take it anyway so at least that way she would have *some* control of the situation. I can totally see that.
I can’t imagine that the good men out there enjoy being lumped in with the assholes who think only of themselves.
“What you think you’re going to like and what you actually end up liking are two different things.”
I can see this as well. The magazines that give you all these ideas about what a good sex life should be aren’t usually talking about people who have medical issues that make things difficult for them. The movies don’t show how long it took that actress to get into that position. Media often makes it sound and look a lot easier than it actually is. I’m very interested in sex but sometimes I’d rather take care of it myself than try to do anything else.
They also make it look like it’s easy to separate sex and love when it’s really anything but. Stupid flings aside, I wouldn’t even *kiss* someone if I didn’t have some sort of feelings for them. I once tried a “friends with benefits” thing thinking it was just silly fun. Nope. Feelings got involved.
Similarly, my morals are often different in fantasies. There is no way I’d go home with a guy after the first date, no matter how much I loved him. Yet, some fantasies have me doing exactly that. That’s the fun of fantasies, though-you get to be someone you’re not, if only in your mind.
I will often dream or daydream about what it might be like to kiss/touch/be with a particular man, but I do this in the context of a larger story line starring a version of me. I’m usually dating whoever it is I have a crush on at the time. It’s always a younger one. A lot of them take place during a time in my life that could have been a lot better or at least happier had I made different choices. The choices are almost always about breaking up with or never dating a particular person, but sometimes my entire world is different. I wonder if it’s my way of trying to get that time back.
I have no ending for this except to say that sex is much different from what I thought it would be, but that’s okay. That’s what I hear from pretty much everyone I’ve talked to, men *and* women. I got to bond with my husband in a lot of ways I may not have-or not as much-had I not gotten into the wreck. I also learned that it’s not really all it’s cracked up to be, but there are other things in life I’d rather have. Even so, it’s still fun to dream about.