When I was 18 years old, my family doctor gave me my first gynecological exam. The examination table was in the same room as his desk. I sat in the chair across from this pudgy 60-something year old doctor. He puffed away at his pipe saying, “You know it’s time you learned about love and lust. Then handed me a copy of Rollo May’s Love and Will.
In the car on the way home, I cracked the book open. I think I read the first page about five times and still had no idea what May was talking about. I wondered if something was wrong with me for not understanding, but was too embarrassed to ask my mother. Her only comment was, “Yes. That’s a great book.” End of conversation. It sort of reminded me of the day I turned 12 when she came into my room and handed me a little pink pamphlet, Your Secret Body. “This is all you will need to know about your transition into womanhood,” she said and walked out.
Earlier on, as a young child, I was very curious about sensuality and played “doctor” in our suburban basement with a few friends. We took turns discovering what it meant to be aroused. Together we giggled and experimented. I vividly remember the first time I had an orgasm. It felt as if I had transcended universes. Like most people, I assume, I wanted that feeling over and over again.
During adolescence, I often read sexy books. I remember hiding Collins’ Valley of the Dolls under my pillow. I didn’t even know that I was being turned on. I lost my virginity with a junior high school guy who I had a huge crush on. One Friday night his parents were out at a party and he invited me over to watch TV. I don’t remember the show, but I do remember the drama of losing my virginity and how comfortable he made me feel. Although it was a mutual de-flowering, he was still very confident. The sight of blood was scary, however, and even more daunting was deciding what to do with the stained sheets.
When I arrived home that evening, my mother asked me if I had a good time. I smiled and said, “Yes I did.” When she asked me what show we watched, I said I couldn’t recall the name of the movie. “I’m tired,” I said, and scurried up to my room to write about my experience in my journal.
My journals have always been the place to hold my deepest and darkest secrets, like the time I was invited to another boyfriend’s house to listen to music in his attic. I knew it wasn’t just the music he was inviting me for. I think males knew that I craved intimacy, but thankfully I always attracted intelligent men who wanted to converse with me first before taking my pants off.
I met my husband in 1972. I lived in New York and he lived in Canada. For five years we had a long distance love affair involving writing love letters. We read and compared our readings of French writers such as Flaubert, Baudelaire, and Balzac. Our letters were inspired by our readings and were filled with lustful thoughts and longings.
A few years down the road, I became inspired by the diarist and erotic writer Anais Nin who taught me that open communication, intimacy and lust were all important reasons for living.
I got married when I was 23. My father-in-law, who had lived in France for many years, bought us a copy of The Joy of Sex. During our early married years together, we devoured the book. It helped us achieve open and honest communication and the ability to make our desires and needs known. It accentuated all the positive aspects of our sex life.
My in-laws practiced what they preached. Whenever we visited, they’d close their bedroom door each afternoon at four. It was no secret what they were up to. Would we be like that with our children?
As it turns out, children do subconsciously mimic the behaviors of their parents. I’m now the mother of three adult children, but when they were younger, my husband and I did the same as his parents.
A couple of years ago I turned 60 and continue to feel lust for life and intimacy. I don’t think we change much as we grow older, but we learn to accept who we are and what we need. I realize that I’ve always needed lust in my life and I hope to be lustful for as long as I live. That transcendent feeling I had during my very first orgasm more than 50 years ago, is a feeling I never want to loose.
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