“No! Gross! Of course I don’t!”

sometimes they aren’t lying

So last night we were improv-ing a scene where at one point I am being examined by a gynecologist, but I’m having a conversation with my friend next to me. I’m laying on my back and talking to the woman next to me, and I realize that the boy between my legs is just that: he’s between my legs. And I’m thinking, “How did I get here? Why is there someone between my legs? Why is it me doing the gynecologist sketch?” And then I start thinking, “Why hasn’t he moved at all?” I start giggling, because that’s what happens to me when I can’t figure out how I got myself into a situation, and I turn to him and go, “What are you doing?”

“I have absolutely no idea,” was his response. “I thought, ‘Well, someone has to be the gynecologist, so I guess that’ll be me, and then I got there, and I had no idea what to do.’”

“I know,” I said. “I felt that, it was like, you got between my legs and went, ‘…well, there she is!’”

“That’s pretty much what I felt, yes. I was like, ‘Now what do I do? Oh, the little snowman lost his hat, I’ll put his hat back on.’”

It took me back to those times when I was younger and just starting to experiment with boys…those moments when you’d feel them just stop moving, because they weren’t sure what to do next. Is it touching, then kissing, or kissing then touching? “Why can’t she just be touching me?”

My first boyfriend found all of the experimenting to be terribly boring, and only attempted to satisfy me once. I should mention that I wasn’t sexually active then, so we were having to do all of those other things that you do when you don’t have sex, but he was completely unwilling to try any of them for me. “It just takes so long,” he’d say, as he’d push down on back of my head towards his crotch. I soon realized that we were not in a two-way relationship, and I was feeling rather neglected. But since I was so young, he made me think that I was the only girl in the world who didn’t just melt and ooze at his touch. I thought I was broken. Turned out he just held absolutely no sexual desire for me. None. I was with the wrong person.

And in high school everything is so weird and incestuous, you know? Two years later I’m talking to his new girlfriend and she’s telling me how great he is at sex and how attentive to her needs he is and how he makes sure she has multiple orgasms and how wonderful he is and I looked at her and said, “Well, you should be thanking me every time you have one.”

What is it about our bodies that freezes men in their tracks? Or makes them stop wanting to try to please us? What is it about women that places that taboo about masturbation? We were all talking about it the other night, and the men were saying, “Come on, everyone does it.” And I said, “No, I’ve met far more women than men that would never, ever touch themselves. Not for religious reasons, but just because they feel that their own bodies are dirty, and touching themselves would be a disgusting act.”

They couldn’t believe it.

When I was a freshman in college, for some reason I was elected Female Body Knowledge Champion. Whenever a girl in the dorm didn’t know what a word was or a body part or something, they’d take her to me. “Pam, she doesn’t know what a clitoris is!” they’d whisper. And I’d have to teach them. Not by show-and-tell or anything, for Pete’s sake, but it was my job to explain. There were girls who had never even seen their private parts. Girls who didn’t know what birth control was. Girls who didn’t know how babies were made. Eighteen, nineteen year old girls who were going to keg parties and “hooking up” with boys who probably knew quite a bit about what they wanted on a date. These are the girls who thought that it would fall off if they didn’t put it in their mouths when it got big. Girls who thought that everyone would know if you touched yourself. Girls who thought that you got AIDS from toilet seats and drinking from the same Coke.

How could they go so far in life without knowing, you ask? Sheltered, small town lives. In high school I sat behind a girl in health class who was President of the 4H club in our school. She had gone through hundreds of cattle births, and has delivered baby cows and goats since she was a little girl. She turned to me one day in class when we were studying reproduction and asked, “Why do we have so many ovaries when we only make one egg?”

“What are you talking about?” I asked her.

“Well, since you only get to have a baby when the man is right, why should we worry about all these birth control things. You only get the baby when God wants you to be with that man.”

Oh man.

“People have more than one child,” I said to her.

“Well, that’s when God likes you a lot and you are doing a good job,” she said.

“Satanists have babies,” I said.

“The devil makes women have hundreds of eggs,” she said, with her eyes wide.

“How come cows can have so many babies?” I asked her.

“Come on, cows don’t believe in God,” she said, rolling her eyes and looking at her friend on the other side of the aisle.

She was seventeen.

We sit here and blame Barbie or Vogue for our low body image, but I really feel that it comes from the mystery that we surround the female body with. All these little parts and gadgets… what do I touch? “What do I rub? Just forget it, too much trouble.” And women decide that their pleasure comes second. I mean, women actually say, “Well, I usually don’t orgasm, so we just don’t worry about it. Sex is more for him than me.”

And that is so wrong that I just want to cry.

Power and sex go hand in hand. When you give up your sex, you give up your power. That’s where low self-images come from, being uncomfortable with your body because you don’t understand what’s going on down there. You feel ashamed of what turns you on, or how you like to be touched…

Why was I nervous about doing the gynecologist scene? Because I was nervous about having a boy’s head between my legs (even though it was at my knees and he was holding onto my feet) because I’m still uncomfortable about what it is down there and I couldn’t see what he was doing. Oh, I wonder if I look fat from that angle? I wonder if I smell? Do my shoes stink?

We get uncomfortable about our body images when we feel we’ve lost the control over our bodies. When it’s up to someone else to touch us or be close to us, and we don’t know what is going to happen, we lose control. And when women are brought up being told that they don’t talk about things like that, their relationship never grows to where they are telling their partner what feels good, what they like, and sex becomes a mutual experience.

And I guess everyone’ first idea of what sex is and what it looks like is from porno mags when we were kids… and women were spreading apart their body parts and making them look like seafood. They don’t look like what you see when you look at yourself, and so your own perception of your body changes, and makes you feel inferior to Jasmine or Tiff or whoever it is in those pages.

But everyone is so curious. Everyone takes those purity tests, and no one wants to score a 98. There’s something about being a secret “dirty girl” that’s appealing. You know you have one friend who you love to hear sex stories from. You live through his or her crazy sex life because yours isn’t just what you want. Or maybe you’re the friend who shares the stories for others. You know your role in the relationship. I’m just saying if everyone was happy, we wouldn’t hang on the tales of others.

So what am I doing here? Why am I writing this? I don’t know. I just hate the fact that some men and women never get to experience what can happen when two people with a sexual maturity and understanding get together. Oh, whatever. I just want everyone to have fun. Have fun everyone. It’s cold outside.

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