I had the kind of childhood you forget huge chunks of to get through. I don’t say this for sympathy but to explain why the oddest things stick in my mind from my formative years but others people might expect don’t.
Princess and I were talking recently about early sexual experiences and while she can remember exactly the first time she masturbated or had an orgasm, I couldn’t. Not that there’s any explicit trauma around those things for me but in blocking out the bad bits, you also shut out the good bits.
It got me thinking about the things that shaped my sexuality generally and because I have the most incredibly relaxed therapist I’ve been discussing it in sessions recently and seeing what was lurking in my brain after the time I’d forgotten I’d had my first three person relationship at the age of sixteen. And I got quite a shock with what I recalled.
Because depending what you consider your first sexual experience, mine was with a girl I went to primary school with. We didn’t fuck or even touch each other but it was the first time I ever got naked for pleasure with someone else which is a pretty notable sexual experience in itself.
We were friends at school because we were the dysfunctional ones in a school of privileged kids. My parents showed no real interest in me and her parents were divorcing at a time when such things were still incredibly rare in Ireland. And to add to our bonding, our issues were with our mothers in a society that exalts motherhood to the point of sainthood.
Her mother in fact had recently run off with a much younger man who rode a motorbike in full leathers and left her and her sister with their dad while she was clearly having some kind of mid life sexual awakening that fascinated us as we’d never really thought about parents being sexual until then.
We spent a lot of the summer between leaving primary school and starting secondary school at her house taking advantage of neither of her parents being around much but trying to make up for it by paying for MTV in the days when that had social cache. Occasionally we had to look after her younger sister and occasionally I had to skip her house to be looked after by my brother and he was the more useful of the two siblings.
Being as he was at the time a teenage boy, he and his friends spent a lot of time seeking out porn. In those days that came in the shape of magazines that had to be hidden more carefully from prying parental eyes than an internet search history does now. Unfortunately for them they weren’t smart enough to hide it from a curious little sister and I took them to my friend’s house where we thought it might enlighten us to what was making her mum act like she was.
We started out fascinated by it all, flicking through the pages seeing seemingly normal looking women get more and more scantily clad and turned on. Each page stripped off the bikinis or underwear we were used to seeing women posing in national newspapers or beer cans and we remained quite blasé until we discovered that these women’s cunts looked different to ours behind the scenes.
Both of us were at that stage of puberty where our bodies were changing but still not fully developed. I was slightly envious of her in the changing rooms because she was ready to wear a bra and I was still in camisoles but like most girls of that age getting changed for swimming or games meant not letting any part of your body below the neck be seen by anyone else for fear of social shaming.
So I’d never thought about hers or anyone else’s cunt and I’m not sure we’d ever been given the euphemistic advice to ‘get to know yourself’ with a hand mirror by then as we didn’t get the period talk until secondary school. We were goggle eyed when the pages got to the point of the women pulling their labia apart to reveal this whole new landscape behind the familiar vulva we knew we both had.
Like any kids learning about their bodies we found it hard to believe we could be like that too and I’m not sure if it was a practical decision or suggestion that we look at our own to compare with these blissed out looking women in Penthouse or Fiesta. I don’t remember if we undressed together or what stages it took but at some point we were both completely naked in her bedroom with the magazines between us.
There was definitely a childishness to this show and tell to begin with but as both of us lay against the bed with our legs apart, pulling our cunt lips open and staring at what we found on ourselves and each other, I remember the atmosphere changing. I’m not sure who turned the pages until we found the inspiration that we could slip our fingers inside these fascinating folds we found out we had.
I don’t know if she’d known you could do that before or had been doing it already but I definitely hadn’t and we both felt the effects of it as soon as we did going from casual exploration to pleasure seeking. I’m pretty sure I couldn’t have explained this as masturbation if pushed to explain but we’d definitely changed the dynamic now.
I remember her lying back on the bed against her pillows with her knees open and her cunt looking different to mine but right there with her finger inside as she wriggled and moved. I remember also putting a finger inside myself but being up on my knees with the magazine in between us and definitely continuing to flick through it.
We didn’t articulate what we were doing as I doubt we had words for it but we took turns in those positions to pull ourselves open into the same poses as the women in the magazine as if copying them and pretending each other was the audience even though it wouldn’t have occurred to us that women could look at each other too.
I remember being a stickler for rules and orders even then and not deviating from the poses I saw in pages and pages of porn. But she was a rebel who used her other hand to pinch her nipples and rub her cunt as well keeping her fingers moving inside her. I don’t know if she’d acquainted herself with her clit before but she was certainly a faster learner than me with her body arching and squirming as both her hands moved at once while I watched until she went still.
I think I thought she’d gone still because she’d heard someone coming home but now I realise that she’d actually come in front of me. I know I didn’t because I was still sticking to the orders of the magazines to pose rather than perform like she had. I bet if she’d told me what to do I’d have got over my shyness instantly.
And then we did hear her grandparents coming home and luckily both were slow on the stairs giving us time to shove the magazines under the duvet and pull our clothes back on. I remember feeling so aware of my cunt when I put my shorts back on with the almost throbbing ache I now know is being incredibly turned on but not getting to come.
I also remember eating dinner with her and her grandparents and then being sent to play together afterwards but her barely looking at me or talking until I went home with my stash of magazines rescued from her bed. I do remember that one was missing when I checked though and I also remember that she and I never hung out again before going on to separate secondary schools a few weeks later.
I also remember being very keen to get that intense almost uncomfortable but can’t think about anything else feeling between my legs back again because it felt so good to me. I suspect that that was the summer I discovered masturbation. I wonder what else I’ll remember next…