August 23, 2010

Fast Girls!

Welcome to my regular readers, and to new faces stopping by for this portion of the Fast Girls book tour.

When I was growing up, I was taught that being a "fast" girl was bad. I got that from my parents. I got it from a moralizing sex ed teachers. I got it from slut-shaming classmates who belittled girls for reportedly sleeping around. This, along with a number of other factors, contributed to fear, which led to a delayed development of my sexual identity. Part of me wanted to be a fast girl. Deep down, I knew that's who I was. But part of my was also unwilling to admit to this part of my identity.

When I was 21, I was fresh out of a bad (and boring!) relationship, and just starting to kindle the sparks with the man I would eventually marry. On our first official date, I knew he wanted to have sex - but I refused to go that far, even though I desperately wanted to as well. Every time I thought about taking my pants off, all I could think about was that if I did, it might make me a slut, and being a slut was bad - even after three years of college, I hadn't gotten that idea out of my head. So even though I wanted him, I waited. I made the both of us wait three weeks before I finally felt that we could fuck without me being considered "easy." Now, some people might enjoy the wait, but it was agony for both of us, especially me. I hated that doing what I felt I was supposed to do was getting in the way of the sexual and emotional connection I was developing with my boyfriend.

Four years later, I was married, and my now-husband and I were in the beginning of not just marriage, but also polyamory. I went on a first date for the first time since I met my husband. I'd met my date online and was so nervous that I got lost driving to a restaurant half a mile from my then-office. At dinner, we really hit it off. At the coffee shop, we hit it off even more. Then, he asked me back to his place. Those long-latent admonitions about being a slut, about being fast, suddenly sprung back to life. I decided to ignore them and accept his invitation. But once I actually got to his place, I panicked. While using the bathroom, I texted my husband and asked him to call my phone at a predetermined time so I could have an easy way out. Still, I was determined to overcome my fears. My date and I shared an awkward first kiss, but even awkward, it was still delicious, and soon we were making out. But I couldn't relax, I couldn't shake the fears of being easy. Somehow, it was fine if my husband and I were nonmonogamous, but it was still not okay for me to have sex with people on the first date. So when my husband called, I answered it, pretended there was an emergency, and despite the wonderful night, hoped he wouldn't call again so I wouldn't have to deal with the embarrassment of running out on him.

The resolution to that story is that he did call again, and I deferred on calling him back out of fear and embarrassment, but eventually I faced my fears and, before we even scheduled a second date, I asked for a lunch-hour bootycall and had what is still, and probably always will be, one of my top-five best sexual experiences. That afternoon proved to be a turning point. I had beautiful sex with a beautiful partner, someone I still hardly knew, and nothing horrible happened. In fact, my life only got better. That afternoon was crucial for me in shaking off what I thought it meant to be fast.

Reading Fast Girls was a fun experience, particularly because it's been only a year and a half since that booty call, and it's been interesting to reflect on how much I've changed as I read this. I see missed opportunities that I wish I'd taken advantage of when I had the chance, and wonder if I can make these fantasies realties anyway. Saskia Walter's "Communal," about sex in a dorm shower, brings back memories of wanting to fuck in my dorm showers, but never having the courage to do so. But despite the fact that I'm 4 years out of college, I'm now toying with the ways I can bring this long-lost fantasy back to life.

I see in these stories gradual developments in my sexual identity. Lolita Lopez's "Fireworks" brings back memories of when I finally put my fears aside and fulfilled my desire to have sex outdoors. Suzanne V. Slate's "Panther" was doubly delicious as I recalled my own initial experiments with public displays of sexuality.

And in one of these stories, I see a reflection of myself. Cherry Bomb's "That Girl" blew me away not just because of its emotional intensity or its hot sex, but because I could related to the narrator so well. As I experimented with my hurried sexuality, I discovered the extent to which deep emotions, and often love, were inextricably linked to sex. Like the narrator, I'm "emotionally reckless"; like the narrator, I don't just want sex, I want the whole package of emotion that comes along with it. I fall in love to fast, I fall in love when I'm not supposed to, I make messes and push emotional boundaries in my quest for connection. When I want someone, I want their body and their heart at the same time. Or, as the narrator says: "I am excruciatingly devoted; if you let me in, my heart will never let you go, and all I want is everything."

When you grow up with a definition of a "fast girl" which (in addition to being negative), portrays fast people as those wanting sex devoid of emotion, it's difficult to reconcile the fact that you want to be a fast girl and yet you are deeply emotional. As you begin to grow into your fast girl identity, the majority of images and stories you confront are still about women who want sex without emotion. When I have seen portrayals of fast women having emotional sex, it's typically in the context of established relationships; these stories demonstrate that being fast isn't incompatible with long-term partnerings. But I rarely see stories about women like me, who get into bed and then give everything right then and there. I was thrilled to find myself in these pages, even in a fictional representation.

Sometimes, the fastness that Cherry Bomb writes about and I experience makes things complicated, messy, and confused. But that hasn't stopped me from being fast. This is who I am, and I won't apologize for my sexuality, or for the emotions that come with them.

Fast Girls is available for purchase on Amazon, as well as independent bookstores in your area. For more information, check out the Fast Girls blog.

1 comment:

Emerald said...

I loved this post, Dorla! Thanks for sharing so much of your personal experience in this discussion of Fast Girls. I appreciated reading it and related to some some of what you said as well.

All best,