The good thing about being 40 years old and married is you can post about stuff like this without having to worry about any of your relatives reading it. Because they're too old to be snooping around on the Internet and can't see the screen anyway with their bad eyes and anyway, you're 40 years old and married so it doesn't matter anymore. By the way, if you're expecting this to be a post about how I lost my virginity, like some people are so bloody fond of discussing (I believe there was even a meme about that at one point) you can scroll on past because homey don't post that.
I'm re-reading a teen book I remember from when I was a teen, that I got at the thrift store with one of you lovely people, and the main character is a teenage girl who falls in love with the neighbor kid and runs away with him, partly because her mom is always harping on her about whether she's having sex with the boy and making her not see him. As it turns out, they end up not having a lot of sex and then he dies in a fiery car wreck before her eyes and she goes to the nut farm for a while. One of those Lisa, Bright and Dark true-life adventures so dear to the heart of the misunderstood 70's generation. It got me wondering what moms harp about now that virginity is no longer an issue for most people. Well, maybe for Xtians and some other religions.
When I got old enough to think about why my mom was so big on wait-till-you're-married, it made a lot of logical sense, even though she couched it in moral terms. Even though society had progressed some from women being treated like chattel, and from pregnancy being a woman's greatest risk of death or close to it, there were still a lot of risks to women having sex back in the 30s, 40s and 50s - lack of access to birth control, societal shunning and limited job opportunities for women who got pregnant, worse medical care for VD and for women in general. Even aside from all that, you had to deal with men who, like the Kennedys, treated women as "sexual Kleenex", and just expected favors from them. It seems to have been considered a lot more OK then for a man to expect a woman to sleep with him in return for, say, buying dinner, or for married men to cheat on their wives whenever they got the opportunity. ("Aw honey, a man's a man, we're just having a little fun.") And of course, then as now, if you got in some public scandal with some powerful guy (a real possibility in Washington) you'd end up a national dirty joke, like Monica Lewinsky, like Mary Jo Kopechne. Except that Mary Jo didn't get a good job and a book contract out of it, she just got dead. That's what could happen to you, if you let some powerful man get too friendly with you. You too could end up dead, and your poor parents would be left to try and explain to the world that You Really Were a Nice Girl. Really.
(I get the impression some women figured out how to game the system while hanging on to nice-girl status. Like my married Aunt G., who when she was single used to sneak out at night in hot pants to meet guys down by the river and turn the clock back when she came in so her dad wouldn't see how late she'd been out. She met some colonel when she was an Army nurse, and flew down to his beach house in the Bahamas when she was either engaged or about to get engaged or already married. Just to hang out. Nothing going on, so the story went. Actually, I think there's a good chance the story was true, as she was smart and lovely and good company and got along with men better than women and did exactly what she pleased for quite a few years until she started losing her health.)
So I could see holding out on guys as being something more than mere morals or Doris Day nicey-niceyness. (By the way, if you ever read Doris Day's autobiography with its tales of violent spousal abuse, nonviolent spousal abuse, crazed stalker managers and her own father fooling around with her best friend's mom before her eyes as a child, you will never watch one of her movies with a straight face again, Rock Hudson or no Rock Hudson.) The point is, saying no was all about preservation of your Self. Self-respect and the power to say "No, you don't own me. Now get lost." It's a power that shouldn't be dissed.
Of course, by the time I was a younggirl the world had changed a lot so all this wasn't readily apparent. And she would fuss at me about whether or not I was having sex, and veiled discussions would be had (Veiled because I'm pretty sure she knew stuff was going on, she's not stupid, and neither one of us really wanted to discuss it, I was a legal adult, after all). But she did always say, Remember, you don't owe them anything. And that part of the lesson took. And I did what I wanted. So I ended up with my mother fussing at me about having sex at all, and my boyfriends fussing at me about having sex with other people besides them, or not enough with them, or whatever, and various other men fussing about wanting to have it or angsting about it in general because they were supposed to be being "faithful" to "girlfriends" (Look, let's just accept the fact right now that probably 70-90% of people under age 25 are not ready to be completely faithful to someone, and get the hell over it, thanks) and instead wanted to sleep with me and about 50 other women while they were at it. And all those self-esteem issues and general icky worries that you have when you're young and concerned about whether you're attractive enough, or sexy enough, or whatever.
Blah. So glad I don't have to deal with that shit anymore.
I had some fun with sexual power like most younggirls do. I discovered you could use it to bend people to your will in some cases. That you could be a tease, you could play games, you could get revenge on some folks, you could be annoying in general (which I happened to enjoy quite a bit, like most punks I was mad at the world a lot of the time and liked to find subtle ways to annoy it and on a bad day I still do). Like a lot of younggirls, I managed to accomplish most of this without losing my technical virginity. Because of certain ways I'm physically wired up and put together, that wasn't a big hardship for me. I suspect it might have bothered some of the people I dated but I didn't have enough of an emotional bond with any of those particular people to give much of a damn how they felt.
I'd like to say, to the guys (they all happened to be guys - a relationship with a woman wasn't totally out of the question, but I never met the Right Girl at the Right Time) who were nice about sex, or mostly nice given that we were young and imperfect, thanks, I think of you when counting my blessings. To the (very few, thank God) guys who weren't nice, you can have the joy of knowing that if and when I see you I'm mentally slicing your balls off with a straight razor. Rot in hell.
Eventually I got tired of all the games and decided henceforth I would just "do things" with people I loved That Way, who loved me back That Way. Things got rather quiet after that, but it was for the best. There's nothing another person can do for me that I can't do with my hand or a vibrator. Except truly care about me as a person. My hand or a vibrator can't do that. I also had decided by that point that I wanted to be with people for whom sex was secondary, an "it's cool, but I can take it or leave it and it's no big deal and no hangups" attitude because I was sick of everybody carping all the time, whether it was my mom carping about virginity and sin, or some jackass carping because he was sexually frustrated or worried that I was "cheating" on him (*rolls eyes*), which was just another variation on virginity and sin: to wit, (ownership concepts x ego) = massive stupidity to the Nth power. I don't like getting carped at, by anybody. It makes me shut right down.
There are a lot of reasons why people identify as asexual. Some of them have zero sex drive. I'm in the other category, the ones who do have a sex drive, albeit one that is probably lower than many other people, that some asexuals get bugged with for not being "true asexuals". They think we should call ourselves celibates or whatever. That's a wrong term, I'm not practicing celibacy. Asexuality, by choice, for me, is about de-emphasizing an issue in my life that too many people put on center stage for too damn long, that in the scheme of costs and benefits and values to me is now and has been pretty far down my list, and that I would rather not have to hear a lot about or deal with too much at this point. It's just been done to death, by my mom, by the guys I used to date, by a whole lotta people in society. For me, sex is like pie, I like pie ;) And after dinner I might want a piece of pie, or not. I might make pie, or I might go out and get pie, and there's all kindsa good and bad pie out there. But there are a lot of other things on my menu besides pie, and I don't sit around all day thinking 'bout pie, or waiting for pie. I've had enough great pie in my life that if I had to do without pie forever I could probably live with that and just miss it once a month on alternate Tuesdays.
I've seen other people wonder whether "asexuals" are frigid or whether there's someone out there who could somehow jolt them out of their asexuality. First, asexuality is not the same as frigidity, so learn something, idiots. Asexuality is what a person makes it, to some extent, but frigidity it is Not. Second, speculating about jolting someone out of their asexuality is about on the same level as speculating that there's some hetero person out there who could turn a gay person straight. Asexuality is a state of being, it's not a state of constant willpower or mind control. It's true that if you do have any sex drive at all, there might be some control over bodily urges involved in your day-to-day life in society. I no more fuck everyone I love than I punch everyone in the face who I hate. Even beyond that, I've found it a very creative, growth-oriented experience to find ways of loving people without having sex with them. Sex is one way to show love. It's not the only way. I think that's another positive aspect of restrictions on sex that sometimes goes by the wayside because sex is so emphasized in our society.
I find it interesting that sex is placed so on a pedestal, that when people are upset about losing the attentions of their loved one the first place their brain goes is, "Are you having SEX with someone else?" I used to get that from my ex all the time, "Did you sleep with him?" (Geez, what are you, my mother? You don't own me, leave me the hell alone.) It seems like people who focus on cheating are really on some level upset at something else, either instead of or in addition to sexual misconduct. They're upset at losing their loved one's emotional attention, not getting to spend enough time, not getting to communicate enough, not being able to meet all their loved one's needs, not getting all their own needs (probably including nonsexual needs) met, maybe getting left. Is it so important to X whether Y and Z are actually sleeping together, or isn't it bad enough that Y and Z are talking and hanging out and going places together and maybe just expressing non-sexual emotional attraction to each other without "doing anything"? Usually the latter is bad enough, but it all gets turned into a French bedroom farce because if you can establish that S-E-X was going on then it becomes a much bigger baseball bat to hit the "bad partner" with, and that's just stupid. I'm sure sometimes sexual fidelity and honesty are the main issues, but I think a whole lot of other times they're just the smokescreen of a lot of other emotional trust/control issues and people need to realize that. I know that it has never bothered me whether someone I loved is having sex with someone else or not - in the vast majority of cases involving unmarried people, they have been and I knew it. What bothers me is when someone has no time, no time to talk, no time to spend, no time left for you, on my way to better things. I don't care whether they're spending their time having sex with someone else or playing checkers with them or drinking coffee with them. I felt sad because there wasn't enough time left over for me. Not sex, I can bake my own pie. Time. Acknowledgment. Love.