When I was 15, I started sending nudes to a boy at my Catholic high school. He was several years older than me, and we were only connected by tangent: the friend of a friend’s older brother’s friend. This boy was on the football team, preeminently handsome and a little bit short, which I liked. He also had a six-pack which meant a lot to a 15-year-old homosexual having spasmic, orgiastic fits in his bedroom to the idea of Fight Club Brad Pitt tensing his impossibly well-defined abdominals.
Naturally, our digital correspondence bled over into reality. On Thursday nights, he would pull his Ford F-150 up to the side of my house and I’d sneak clumsily out of my bedroom window, through the mass of foliage in my front yard and into the passenger seat of his truck. The two of us would drive around for a bit, small-talking, chit-chatting, shooting the shit one could say, while we searched for a place to smash our bits together.
I hated hearing him speak. Actually, I hated him, period. In all fairness, he always treated me with respect, and was in most regards a very nice boy. I think I hated him mainly because he was boring. Our conversations reminded me of two faceless people interacting in some kind of perved-out online chat room, more like an inquisitive “A/S/L?” ("age, sex, location?") come to life than a dialogue between two humans. Eventually, once the car had idled into one of many spots by the lake that offered privacy by way of tree and shadow, he would pull me into his sloppy and always overeager arms. I had fun with him, mostly. He was hot, I was young, we both had penises, etc. At that age, I couldn’t—and didn’t—ask for more.
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Of Course, I Wanted My First Time to Be Special. Of Course, It Wasn't.
On most occasions, usually during a logistical interlude, he would modulate his voice into what he must have thought sounded seductive and say, “Let me fuck you.” And every time he asked, I would flash my teeth like the little faggot I was and smile coyly before responding, “No.” The heart emoji was vocalized in spirit.
It wasn’t that I didn’t want him to fuck me. At that point, I had only ever had sex with one person before, a girl lying prone beneath me on the floor of my parent’s living room. Needless to say, neither of us finished. More to the point though, nobody had ever been inside of me. I needed, not wanted, that moment to be special. I knew in my soul that my first time was meant to be some kind of mythic and carnal expression of passion.
The boy would beg and beg as I used my mouth or my hands or, on one occasion, my feet to distract him from the fact that he wasn’t inside me. One night, I gave up waiting 'til it felt right. This time, when he asked his perpetual question, I said “Yes.” I closed my eyes and prayed to God it would feel special.
It didn’t. Mainly it felt painful. In hindsight, it was probably dumb of me to ask God for anything, what with the categorical sin we were committing with one another in the backseat of that truck. Afterward, as I lay in bed, sore and unsatisfied, I wondered if the girl I’d been inside felt the way I did then. As an adult, I’ve returned to this memory many times to confront why I wanted that moment to be more than what it was ever and always going to be.
All of Us Are Living a Myth
The word I often land on is "myth." We are always surrounded by myth, a grand tapestry of history unfolding and sullying itself against our cum-stained bodies. Girls snap selfies in white boho slips that recall Greco-Roman womanhood, nymphs playfully evading the penetrating eyes of gods. Crucifixes adorn the walls of churches and schools, reminding us of Christ’s sacrifice, the ultimate penetration. Sexy, dark-eyed teen vampires romp across screens and the pages of books, alternately fucking each other and drinking from the throats of unsuspecting victims. In youth, it feels impossible to separate our desires from the continual dunking of our heads into the fractured, kaleidoscopic pool of mythologies stretching out around us.
We want our first forays into sexual proclivity to be memorable, magnificent, meaningful. You want to be the maid running from Zeus, transformed into a lustful bull or swan, or you want to be the god himself. You want to be like Christ, suffering for the salvation and stimulation of others. You want to be Bella or Edward, young lovers unable to consummate their relationship because they literally will fuck each other to death on account of their unholy strength.
Separating reality from myth is where people run into problems. I myself have reclined beneath a sizeable list of men, hoping that this particular penetration would wind up meaning something. I have stared past many a shoulder, up at popcorned ceilings, and realized that this man being inside of me meant nothing at all. This ironically hollow, almost cosmic realization used to cause me plenty of grief. So, frequently, I would stumble out of passenger doors, hotel lobbies and the odd bush here and there feeling like something had been taken from me but I never knew what it was that had been taken.
It took time to realize that this nothingness in turn means nothing. The car crash of my own personal mythologies colliding with the warm and sticky reality of another body was actually the thing that set me free, if you can forgive the cliché. We all arrive at the conjugal bed with our own preprogrammed expectations and ideations regarding the myth of our own body. I can’t help but wonder what fairy tales were playing out in my partners’ subconsciouses as they looked down at me beneath them.
How Do We Learn to Let Go?
We don’t have to let go of our internal folklore, we just have to hold it up right next to the reality laid bare beneath or above us, as if they were two makeup compacts in either hand, held adjacent to one another. Or better yet, vocalize what twisted little narrative is unfolding in our heads.
Speak it aloud and allow your partner the opportunity to try and fuse your competing mythologies together at the groin. Honor whatever particular stories have infected your brain—always. Just make sure you’re honoring reality in equal parts. Now, as an adult, I am no longer asphyxiating in the miasma of fable and allegory. But sometimes, I still find myself yearning for an Achilles, a Jacob, to raise me up and out of the mundanity of tongues and hands and dicks and into that place where myth and reality touch nervously at the finger-tip.
Controversial poet Lana Del Rey said in a song once, “In the land of gods and monsters, I was an angel looking to get fucked hard.” Same.