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Deborah Calla Headshot

Owning My Own Sex

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While reading Lisa Guest’s post on her sex journey through her adulthood I thought about my own.

I have been sexually active since a very young age.  At that time I had
a boyfriend who I loved with all the heart of a tween and he loved me back with
his teenage heart.  Everything was perfect except that my boyfriend was
having sex with an older woman.  He told me because he didn’t want to keep
anything from me. He explained that the reason he was seeing this woman was
because he needed and wanted to have sex.   It didn’t make any sense
to me at the time; why would he be willing to have sex with another woman and
not me?  Didn’t we love each other more than anything else?  He tried to make me understand that I was too young but I wouldn’t hear it and I spent the next three months trying to talk him into having sex with me until I succeeded.

We continued living our love story until I turned seventeen and the world was too big a place for me to only be his girlfriend.   Although I don’t
recommend that tween girls engage in sex – I was lucky that my experience was one
of love - I only have good thoughts about that period in my life.  It was
a different era, when AIDS and a lot of other sexually transmitted diseases
weren’t as big issues as they are today, and so I lived out my tween/teenage love
story with a boy who truly loved me.

I learned very little about sex during that time as I never talked to adults
about it and they never thought to tell me about the birds and the bees’ story.

I loved sex but I also learned to use it as a way to feel “loved”. 
When I moved to NYC at the age of eighteen, I had many one night stands and while they
were fun when happening, they always left me with a bigger hole than the one I
had started with.  That’s actually the reason why I got into my first
marriage.  I met someone who I thought would help me get my life back on
track, working towards something meaningful and creating some type of a family. So at the age of twenty, I was tying the knot with a man eleven years my senior who quickly made me remember those lonely days fondly.

I didn’t have an orgasm until I was a thirty-two year-old divorcee.  It
just kind of happened.  I was fooling around with a boyfriend, a nice,
sweet guy, when it happened.  It was a sensation like none other and I was
blown away by it.  After, I wished my mother had taught me a thing
or two, or that my girlfriends who were having orgasms had shared
with me how it could happen and what it was all about.  I was happy that I was
finally having mine but I wished it hadn’t taken me so long.

Now having an orgasm in a way made things a bit more complicated. 
Before having a real one, I wasn’t sure what it was or what it felt like, so when asked
by partners if I had one I would always say “yes”.  I think you could say I
was faking.  Not that I didn’t enjoy myself, but I was certainly faking the
big “o” because so many men don’t really know and sometimes don’t care about female
orgasm.  It is a pity that we go through many sexual encounters that are simply unsatisfying on so many levels. So what happened after my first “o” was that unfortunately I had to continue faking it, but now with the knowledge that I was doing it.

When I told a friend that I was writing about orgasms she asked me why I
wanted to share such an intimate thing, and my answer was: “I believe
women need to share more so that we know more and then we need to share with our

I don’t have kids but if I had daughters I would want to talk to them, when the
time came, about their sexuality.  I would want them to own their bodies and their
desire much more than I owned mine when I was a young woman.  I think that
knowing how our pleasure works can empower us as women and can help us have
more self-respect and a more satisfying sexual life.

When I met my second husband, I found in him a sexual and spiritual
connection.  Here was a man who really wanted to love and please me the same way
I loved and pleased him.  He understood that my way of being pleased was
my own and that it was never a reflection on his abilities.  He was a man in
every sense of what the word means.

Today, I am a widow and sexually I haven’t been with anyone for about two
years.  Sometimes my body screams to be touched and I think back to those
days of one night stands. But soon I realize that those were the days when I didn’t
understand the depths of what being naked inside and out with another human can

I’m not saying that every sexual encounter needs to be with your soul
mate.  But I do think that for the sex to be truly fulfilling, it needs to be
honest, and we have to have a willingness to share the strengths and weaknesses
that make us human.   I guess my requirement of sex today is sex between
two adults. I have been through too much not to want to see another person with love
and compassion and be seen the same way. 
My idea and experience of sex has matured.

I do know love has many meanings and shades and so does sex, but at a certain
point in adult life some shades no longer look good on us.  So
the next time I have sex will be when I’m able to share all that has brought me
to where I am: a self-assured woman who owns her sex.

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