If I remember correctly, our story of how I curated my first fuck to be strategically underwhelming left off with me subtly edging myself on a log. (Obviously I remember correctly. I’m just braindead from a long work week and out of cold brew, so I’m phoning in the stylistic devices. Be an angel and play along, would you?) I was sitting in the woods, sharing a spliff with my soon-to-be deflowerer, Aquaman McGee. His alias is derived from a devotion to the Aquaman fandom and the fact that his shameless nerd status got me absolutely drenched the night we met, perched together on said log. Unfortunately, that was about the only time I ever experienced any genuine arousal for him throughout the course of our – spoiler alert! – brief relationship. But at the time, I was certain that’s how I wanted it.
Going into college a sex-starved virgin, I wanted to make sure fucking would never be tainted by romance, which back then I thought to necessarily entail emotions like regret, envy, heartache, etc. (Shout-out to all the unimaginative frameworks of intimacy I grew up around!) If I lost it to someone I had no interest in beyond my first few awkward humps, there’d be no risk of unpleasant feelings if they bolted the second they pulled their Trojan-covered dick outside my ambivalent twat. I’d check ‘tear hymen’ off my bucket-list and go back to pining over the brooding upperclassman who occasionally bummed cigarettes off me and smelled suspiciously of glue.
Anyway, back to the log. As I sat in the pitch-black forest with all the other try-hards showing off their entry-level party tricks of blowing mediocre smoke rings and quoting David Sedaris, my instincts took over and I inched closer to Aquaman McGee. He scooted forward to put his sweaty hand on my patchwork coat I told everyone was from Goodwill but was actually from Urban Outfitters, and sure enough, we were making out furiously under the moonlight. A few cafeteria dinner dates and common room movie nights later, we were an (albeit unlikely) item.
It took about two weeks of dating for me to broach the topic of sex with Aquaman McGee. We’d been spending most of our nights together in his top bunk, sucking each other off underneath a poster of Poseidon and I was sick of risking a concussion every time my head bobbed up for some air. Plus, I was ready to join the ranks of those I saw as truly sexually active (like I said, I had an archaic view of what sex even meant and that was soon to be realized). Aquaman was a kind partner, and while I felt zero passion around him (as planned), he was someone I trusted to share a new experience like that with. For all the jokes I’m about to make regarding our predictably clunky first-time experience, I’m very grateful to be able to say it was consensual and communicative. Sadly, not all subsequent encounters followed suit.
I remember we were sitting outside on the bench in between my dorm and his when I asked Aquaman McGee if he’d like to take my virginity. I was chain smoking and disassociating while he was rattling off his to-do list for getting the DC Comic Club approved as a registered student organization. I don’t know why I thought I was so above stuff like that at the time, especially since my only extracurriculars were Tumblr and devouring the Trader Joe’s care package my roommate’s doting parents sent her every month. I always blamed my snack theft on a drunken Four Loko stupor but in truth, it was motivated by envy. The only things my parents ever sent me were strongly worded letters trying to dissuade me from majoring in philosophy. If only they knew that with the right amount of whimsically marketed beef jerky, I abandon all sense of integrity.
Upon hearing my proposal, Aquaman McGee’s face lit up with excitement. He had mentioned to me before that he also never had sex before but we never discussed it in depth, probably because the one time he brought it up, I was busy unbuckling his cargo shorts while Super Friends reruns played on his laptop in the background. I guess this is a good time to note that I was not the only one who was clearly not so emotionally invested in our dynamic. After I’d finished blowing him, he would spend the refractory period gabbing about his childhood best friend Livia with whom he was apparently still in love. We’d lay next to each other while he’d say things to me like, “I really like you but I’ll always love her and hate every asshole she ever dates if that makes sense,” and I’d say, “Yeah, that makes total sense” while scanning my face for any residual cum through the reflection of his glasses. My friends said I should have dumped him right then and there but I always felt a sort of peace in that kind of honesty. Somehow, I knew that one day I’d be in a predicament similar to his, so who was I to judge?
We agreed to have sex that weekend. I told him I wanted to go on a date beforehand and get the royal Aquaman McGee treatment, which ended up including Watchmen on DVD and an all-expenses-paid trip to the on-campus 24-hour diner (the first of many times I’d spread my legs for mozzarella sticks). Before going back to his dorm, we swung by the wellness center to stock up on condoms, marveling at the funny designs on the wrappers. He grabbed a fistful of them and then turned to me and said, “We’re gonna be having a lot of sex! But come the fall, it can’t be rough because I’m getting Aquaman tattooed on my back and I’ll have to take it easy.” It was an absurd thing to hear a person say, so I just cackled, plus in the moment I was too excited to fuck to really unpack it all. But as we headed back to his dorm to consummate a night of cheap food and Cold War subplots, I started feeling skittish as I replayed the scene from the wellness center in my head. What about what he said was throwing me off?
The nerves weren’t coming from a sudden desire for him not to fuck me. I wanted to be fucked that night, by none other than Aquaman McGee.
I was sure of it. What I felt was more a wave of confusion, memories of my initial aversion to sex started coming back to me and I started to feel like I was about to do something I wasn’t supposed to. We had condoms, and thanks to a few cursory sex-ed lessons from my enlightened SoCal friend, I no longer believed the puritanical propaganda with which my high school health teacher had temporarily brainwashed me. So why did I suddenly still feel like this was just not the right vibe, especially when everything was going according to plan? I had someone I trusted but wasn’t smitten over. I was horny. Things felt safe and low stakes. What was this sense of incongruence I felt and why did I not have language for it? Or was Aquaman just that much of a turn-off?
When we got back to Aquaman McGee’s quarters, he gently wrapped his arms around me and started slowly kissing down my neck, clearly trying to set the mood. Though all hopes of a steamy ambiance were quickly shattered when he turned on his speakers and played Weezer, of all things. There was no world in which I popped my cherry to the tune of ‘Island In The Sun’, so after we made out a while and I got my breasts sufficiently manhandled, I took one for the team (me and my clit) and delivered the anticlimactic news that I was too tuckered out from appetizers and Doctor Manhattan to have sex that night. We agreed to do it in the morning and I went to sleep with a stomach full of onion rings and a mind racing with questions about why things suddenly felt off.
Luckily in the morning I awoke feeling hornier than ever, especially upon feeling Aquaman’s morning wood jabbing firmly against my tailbone. I pressed myself into him and wiggled my ass against his crotch. He woke up soon after me and without saying a word, we began kissing, the rhythm of our bodies perfectly in sync. After a solid 10 minutes of our usual vanilla foreplay, we both knew it was time. “The condoms are in my coat pocket on the chair,” he whispered. Suddenly, my spacial awareness kicked in and I realized we were on the top bunk, not an ideal fucking location, even with his roommate gone. “Come down with me, I want you to fuck me on the floor,” I said. He seemed a bit taken aback by the request but followed me down the ladder.
He fished out a condom and struggled to open it. We both laughed as he read the application directions out loud, forming his fingers in a circle and putting them up to his eye like a monocle.
When the condom was finally secured and I was sprawled out on the floor, legs spread wide apart like I was a free-spirited anthropologist in the middle of a home birth, he climbed on top of me and slid his cock inside.
With every second he was inside me, the vibe started feeling increasingly platonic and sexless. I was intrigued watching him thrust in and out of me, eyes rolling back and then suddenly widening like he was accessing a sixth sense for the first time.
In no way was I having a bad time, but it didn’t feel like what I imagined sex would feel like. It felt much more empirical, like I was simply in the throes of the data collection process for an experimental trial to see what it felt like to have a dick inserted into my vagina. Within those six minutes, my mind oscillated between thoughts of “Oh so that’s what that feels like,” and “Why the fuck is my pussy wet but not the rest of me?” I didn’t realize it at the time but that was my body’s way of informing me that she was only one piece of the sexuality puzzle. Something else within me was itching to be accessed.
As I felt Aquaman McGee’s cock pound away, all I could think about was the head rush I got in the past when a partner would lightly slap me around during a blowjob, or when someone would call me a “dirty slut” as they fingered me. It was as if the arousal I felt near my clit extended up to my brain and my mind and body were in sync with one another. I hadn’t experienced it with Aquaman ever before, but I figured that’s because we were only just ‘fooling around’. But if that was the case, why was it still absent now during actual sex?! And that’s when it dawned on me: what if that head rush was what distinguished sex from the mere penis-and-vagina business meeting taking place below?
Before I could think any deeper, Aquaman McGee let out a loud moan, which snapped me back down to Earth. After a few heaving breaths, he pulled out and I quickly looked down to make sure the condom was intact. Once everything seemed to be in order, I sprung up from the floor and looked out the window. Everything looked the same, and everything felt the same. Aquaman walked over to me and hugged me from behind, making a joke about how now we no longer see the world through non-virgin eyes. I turned and smiled at him, happy that at least he felt something transformative had occurred.
We dated for three more weeks and ‘fucked’ about six more times. I never told him about the lack of head rush or how I felt like what we were doing was simply a game of “let’s see all the ways we can fit out bodies together”. Apparently for me, sex was closer to the time a skateboarder from New Jersey ordered me to kneel down and kiss his fingerless gloves. How would I even explain these feelings to someone whose concept of sex didn’t overlap with at least 50 percent of my own? When I broke up with Aquaman McGee, he cried and, much like my first time, I struggled to feel anything at all. But I knew I made the right choice. He’s been dating a cool chick for a while now and I’m a proud BDSM practitioner who never has to worry about missing a head rush again.
As this tale comes to a close, I feel I have to admit the introduction was a bit deceptive. I framed this as a story about having sex for the first time and ended with explaining why I didn’t feel like I had sex at all.
One might think all this underscores the meaninglessness of trying to define sex, especially when so many of the accepted definitions are based off outdated heteronormative notions of intimacy. Or maybe sex is a very simple, tangible concept that is just not expressed easily with verbal language due to diversity in preferences and self-understanding. I’m sure that’s at least partially why it can feel so thrilling to find a community of people who share your approach to sexuality.
Having spaces to speak about sex openly and effectively without the need for qualifiers or justification is hot but also fundamental to liberation. Sex creates community, sex unifies, sex mobilizes. You need not look far at all into the history of censorship to see the threat sexual liberation poses to oppressive structures. Each time you speak about sex without shame you are actively resisting centuries of indoctrination and giving life to a new collective imagination that views sexuality as an integral part to a freer world. Or you’re just writing silly little stories about getting fucked on the floor by the world’s no. 1 Aquaman stan. Either way, it feels good to be a freak.