As part of our #SexActually series, we asked people to write to us about their real-life experiences of sex. This author, 22 years old now and 20 at the time of the incident, tells us about her first sexual encounter with a boy, and how she moved on from it.
I was 20 years old and I hadn’t had my first kiss. This was a source of great embarrassment for me. And I worried that as time went by and I grew older it would only become stranger and stranger. Most of my close friends were already having sex on a regular basis, and here I was with no experience except for a few drunk kisses shared with female friends. But then came a wave of Tinder in friends’ groups. All of us were on it, and so was I. It was a bit terrifying for me to venture out there with no experience. Here were people who were “down to fuck” while I honestly would like to say “let’s talk a little and take it as slow as high school kids”. But I finally met R. We met somewhere in Bangalore. After eating we sat beside each other under a tree, and I could sense the conversation was just a farce, he was leading up to kissing me. I didn’t even feel connected to him yet. But that was okay, by this point I just wanted to “get done” with my first kiss.
He then led me out of the restaurant and as we walked down the street, he asked me to come to a hotel room several times, each time I said no. Then he spotted a park, and I was also eager for more making out so we went there. And as we made out his hands went right for my crotch. I stopped him. They went up my shirt. I let that happen. But I didn’t like it. He was roughly grabbing my breasts like he wanted to just tear them off of me. It hurt, not in a sexy way. Again his hands went for my crotch, I stopped him. And again, and again, and again, in spite of even telling him verbally to stop.
For 22-year-old me now, this would be a red flag: a partner not able to understand smaller moments of consent. Forget about even the politics of it. What disturbs me about all these moments when consent is breached is I imagine myself in the same position. If a partner shows any discomfort, even the smallest sign, I pick up on it. I stop. I would find no pleasure in continuing something my partner doesn’t enjoy.
This should’ve been a red flag, but I was none the wiser then, and so I met him again. And I did like him a little. He was funny. I was done with my first kiss. I had met a few other men on Tinder with whom things didn’t go very far, apart from kisses. And I thought I was ready for more. But I must admit, the attitude behind it was still “Let’s just get done with it, let’s see how it all works so I’m prepared when the real things comes.” I don’t find this entirely foolish. It’s alright. Sometimes you want to wait and sometimes you just want to go for test runs. It depends on you.
But I didn’t feel like I was completely comfortable or in control with how the test run would go. Honestly, even though I was eager to just try out the things that come after you take shirts and pants off, I wished for something slower, gentler, something revelling in the discovery of touch and another person’s body. When we entered the hotel room he had my shirt and bra off in minutes. It was a passion I did not mirror. He was new to me. This all was new to me. I had told him several times that I wanted to take it slow. He had held my hand and said alright. Then a few minutes into making out, he was pulling my pants off. I said, no. He looked away and frowned, saying, “Oh, I must be so ugly, that’s why you don’t want it anymore.”
I feel a degree of embarrassment for not calling him out on his bullshit whining right then and there. But I don’t know, in the moment I was so nervous and so tense that I used an age old line which was true enough to me – it isn’t because of you, it’s me! But he continued his drama, and I gave in, my pants came off. With the same routine my panties came off. He would ask me why I wasn’t getting wet. By this time I was so confused and dazed by how things were going that I didn’t know. It’s obvious now that none of it was sexy for me. And that it should’ve been obvious to him too. And that his teasing lines about how it is because he is ugly or not good enough were ridiculously emotionally manipulative. I still feel embarrassed for giving in to them so easily. But over time I have also tried to forgive myself for not knowing what I know only because of that encounter.
When I read the story a girl recently wrote about having her worst date with Aziz Ansari, I cried. I cried when she described him pushing her hand down to his dick. I cried about how she just gave him a blowjob even though she didn’t want to. I cried when she wrote about the “I hate men” text she sent to her friend immediately after. Because that’s what it felt like with R. I was into it, to an extent. But it felt like for him, sex was for him. He had no sense of how I was feeling through it all, and couldn’t care less. He would through the night keep pulling my hand to his dick even when I didn’t want to touch him. He would push my head down even when I didn’t want to go there. He would use lube because I just wasn’t getting wet. He would eventually penetrate me and ignore me when I said it was paining too much.
After this night I did not want to be with men for a long time. I was left with this image of sex. As something I couldn’t like. I was much better off with my own imagination and fingers. I should admit I felt disgusted with myself for a while. As I realised the ways he forced me to do things that he should have had the sensitivity and ethics to never do, and as I realised my naivety in not recognising them. I felt like my friends would’ve called him out the first time he whined, “Oh, you don’t want to go further because I’m ugly.” But I have also forgiven myself. It took that encounter for me to learn that it’s okay to be pedantically clear with how much you want.
If you don’t want to touch any penises – you don’t fucking have to. (If he acts hurt or thinks you’re a prude, well, what-fucking-ever.)
If you don’t want something in your mouth – don’t put it in your mouth.
In the age of online dating there’s a certain pressure to be open to “casual” relationships. I feel like my problem with the definition of casual that most men I have met on Tinder understand is almost emotionless. Showing any sign of affection is terrifying. But you know, I realised I can’t do this kind of casual. It’s not that I want someone to be my “boyfriend” but I want care and affection. And I’m not shy to admit that openly anymore.
Here’s a positive shorter story I’d like to end this on: it would take me two years to meet someone else. In that time I would have brief stints with people that I never would want to take to bed. But with this person, the physicality feels spiritual. It’s in a way that leaves me at a loss for words, like I have no language for it. I want to touch him everywhere, with my hands and my mouth. I want him sometimes to take all my clothes off within minutes of the door being closed. I love touching his penis and giving him blowjobs – for the two years after R I thought I would always hate it. And I love the way my he touches me everywhere. Everything in bed feels like an exploration, a learning and discovery of each other’s bodies – where someone is ticklish, where they have moles and birthmarks, the parts of their neck that can send them wild with sucking. I feel like this is what I had always been looking for and will continue looking for in bed. This is what sex means to me now: a co-discovery, revelling in the discoveries of what their touch can do and what your own touch can do.
I don’t regret “getting done with it” when I was with R. I have learnt a lot from that encounter. Most importantly I’ve learnt to know what I want much better. I’ve learnt that it isn’t really sex that I care for if the other person is treating you like a blow-up. More than the moment of orgasm, this has become what turns me on the most, learning each other, responding to each other, sensing each other.