My First Sexual Experience - Playing a Sexually Liberated Woman. Personal Essay.
My First Sexual Experience - Playing a Sexually Liberated Woman. Personal Essay.
When I was the 17-year old teenager disappointed with the world around me, I lived in Kazakhstan – a post-Soviet country located in the middle of the Eurasian continent. I was born and raised in Almaty – the largest and the most populated city of this Central Asian country. It was indeed a unique place – its culture somehow combined religiousness and Unitarianism, tradition and modernity. The majority of Kazakh people were Mongolian-looking Muslims. However, they were inconsistent in their Islam practices. For example, on the one hand, they strictly forbade themselves to eat pork – even a slice - because Quran didn’t allow that; on the other hand, they never restricted themselves from alcohol - they probably were reluctant to notice what the Holy Book of Islam had to say about that. Kazakh women were expected to be chaste before marriage by the majority of people, but they didn’t have to wear the Hijab – they freely could show their legs in short skirts and reveal their cleavage in decollate. I used to think Kazakh men were so unjustifiably lucky – to be surrounded by sexy virgins.
Apart from the Kazakh majority, there was a large population of Slavic ethnicities like Russians and Ukrainians. They were Orthodox Christians. Their moral requirements for their women were generally less strict. They did not expect to marry a virgin as often as Kazakh guys did. But still they were pretty eager to call a sexually active woman “slut”, and thought of themselves as morally superior for not choosing to date or marry a “slut” whatever it meant too them. They preferred to marry a gentle caring woman who was good at cooking and kept the house well.
I felt out of place in that environment. Ethnically I was both – Kazakh and Russian, religiously – neither Muslim, nor Christian. Morally – I didn’t belong into their value system. It made me rather angry.
In particular, I was angry at men. It used to get me that they would happily label a girl who somehow expressed her sexuality with a derogatory term, while at the same time they prided themselves for being mighty conquerors for one-night-stands. Also, they would consider premarital celibacy to be the greatest virtue for a woman, while the thought of limiting their own sex lives was ridiculous to them. They wanted their wives to be virgins, while they before marrying many of them would trick inexperienced girls into sexual intercourse and leave. It puzzled me how women would remain virgins if men slept with them – whether by deceit or rape; and how men would have sex, if all girls decide to become chaste.
On the surface and most simplistic level, I rebelled against the double standards, which suppressed female sexuality. On a deeper level, I found it insulting and dehumanizing that guys were trying to fit all girls with their complex personalities into two narrow boxes - an angel or a whore - and base their judgment of a woman on such a shallow measurement (along with an aptitude for cooking and cleaning). It seemed to me that personality traits like intelligence and depth of character were not that important to them. But the core reason and the most vulnerable one, which I didn’t even dare to face, was that I just wanted to be loved. I perceived chauvinistic masculine attitudes as the inability to truly love a woman - as if she does not deserve that feeling, if she is not a virgin. It looked to me as if females were viewed almost like merchandise, which is not good enough if it is used.
There was a kind of men I hated in particular: pickup artists. I did not know any of them in person, I only read about them in womens’ magazines and on the internet. However, in my youthful exaggerated perception, it seemed that more than a half of males fell into this category. I used to scroll through one pickup forum after another to learn about their vicious tricks and be prepared in case if I ran into one. My portrait of male psychology was based solely on what I read on these forums - so it wasn’t surprising how much mistrust and animosity I felt toward the opposite gender.
Despite my misandry, I still met guys on dating websites and went out with them to alleviate my boredom. It also sometimes popped in my head that I could use them for sex the same way they used women. “If they cannot love a woman, I am not going to love them either. I will leave,” I thought. I did not know myself well enough and believed something like that would work for me.
When I went on dates, I didn’t go too far. Usually, I was too bored with a guy on a first date to even go as far as to kiss him. None of them was intellectually stimulating enough for me. I used to consider myself a high brow intellectual and I immediately lost interest in a guy if he didn’t read books or if a list of his favorite movies consisted of silly mainstream blockbusters. To be honest, I even didn’t find men that attractive. Their virility, their hyper-masculine manners and habits seemed rather brutish and barbaric to me. Back then I didn’t know why I disliked what was considered a socially appropriate standard for men, but now I think that unconsciously I was looking for love and affection, and a tough alpha male figure didn’t seem like someone who could give it to me. So I went from one date to another, and each one made me unsatisfied and bored. Until I met Alexander.
It’s hard to tell what was so special about Alexander that I liked him on the first date. It wasn’t his looks. He was a 21-year-old thinly built short Ukrainian guy with dark hair. His appearance was unremarkable – he was the kind of a person you will not notice on the street. It wasn’t his intelligence either. He wasn’t an intellectual type – he didn’t read books; he wasn’t interested in arts and science; he wasn’t a kind of person hungry for knowledge. I think it was how he made me feel what touched me. He offered me a jacket when chilly Almaty wind started blowing in the evening; he texted me good morning and good night; he called me honey. My defense against love and romance began to drop under the cheesiest things after only three dates. It somewhat concerned me. “Is there a trick?” I asked myself. I analyzed him - I looked back on pick up forums to see if there was any coincidence between his behavior and the suggested tactics for winning women.
“Okay,” I thought to myself scrolling through the list of pick up tips. “It says a guy should be attentive. He gave me his jacket when it was cold. Was it being attentive?”
“Next, they don’t recommend kissing or making any physical advances towards a girl on a first date, so that she won’t assume that she is being used for sex. He didn’t kiss me on a first date. Is a red flag?”
“One of their rules is that they never take a girl out to places, where they’d have to pay for her. Well, we never went to get dinner or anything like that. Is he a pick up artist? There is a chance that he is…”
However, as soon I went on another date with him and saw his gentle smile all my suspicions disappeared as a droplet of water evaporates when placed on a heated surface. It was as if I was floating in a sweet dream while he was gently holding my hand when we were walking together in a beautiful park. A picturesque view on tall and mighty deep-blue mountains with white snowy pinnacles opened up before us.
“Do you like your name?” He asked.
“Yes. I do. Do you like your name?”
“No. It is the most unoriginal name ever. I guess my parents looked it up in a dictionary of the most wide-spread names in the world and picked the first one under letter A,” he said sarcastically.
“Don’t say such thing. I like your name.”
He kissed my lips softly. He was so affectionate, that I felt like sharing feelings of my teenage heart with him. After the walk, we sat in his car and I started pouring my laments to him.
“I don’t feel like I belong with my peers. I’ve always been a loner,” I opened up to him.
“I don’t go out much with my friends – and even don’t have that many. I mostly stay at home reading classical literature. I feel like it separates me from people my age. I was very isolated. In the ninth grade, I didn’t go out at all. I even missed New Year party.”
“Yeah. When I was 15 I read Mein Kampf. I wanted to understand why Hitler hated Jews. I hate nationalism and racism, and I wanted to know what the root of ethnic and national hatred is. Also, I love Dostoyevsky. My favorite book is Crime and Punishment,” I kept chatting.
Steadily, our conversation turned into kisses, which were becoming more and more passionate. Slowly, we were touching each other. It was the first time I allowed a guy to put his finger in me, and the first time I had held a male sex organ in my hand. It was fascinating to me - not the physical pleasure, but the feeling that I dared to do something forbidden. At one point, he offered me to go all the way. It scared me - I wasn’t ready.
“I don’t have a condom,” I found an excuse. It seemed like a perfect argument to me - it would sound rational and would not reveal my emotional discomfort. Showing my vulnerability was the scariest thing for me.
He opened a glove compartment of his car and pulled out a pack of condoms. My “rational argument” was ruined in a second. I just said in a bit unconfident tone of voice, “Let’s do it another time.” He immediately put back the pack back – I felt relieved. He did not pressure me into anything. And it was at this moment that my trust in him solidified – subconsciously.
But I still wanted to fight that feeling. That same night, after bearing my soul to him as well as my genitals, I got back home and I told myself with a fake cynicism:
“I will just fuck him and leave! Guys do that to women, and I will do the same.”
My mind resisted the fact that I developed trust and affection toward Alexander only after four dates. However, then I received a goodnight text message from him, all my mental attempts to be cold and cynical melted away.
The fifth date was our last date. Alexander was waiting for me near the entrance to my apartment building. My face radiated a smile as soon as I saw him. I hugged him with that innocent childlike affection, and he gently kissed my lips.
“Where do you want to go?” I asked curiously.
“There is a little peaceful clearing near the river all the way up to Almarasan ravine near the ski ramp. Have you ever been there?”
“No. I haven’t,” I indeed haven’t been to many picturesque places, which are abundant in mountainous Almaty.
“Let’s go then”
It took about 15 minutes to get there. He drove into an isolated meadow to go further from the noisy road. The clearing was desolate and silent. There were not a soul around, the only sounds distinctly heard were a murmur of a little river and chilly wind quietly rustling leaves. We went out of the car to roam in the woods. We walked holding hands; he was squeezing my hand erotically. We didn’t move far from the car, as we stopped near a big tree and looked into each other eyes. He started kissing my lips. Then he switched to my neck, and his hands started lecherously gliding all over my body. I was half turned on - half nervous. I liked to be touched by a guy I liked, but his normal gentleness was replaced by pure lust, which made me uncomfortable. His hand slid down and unbuttoned my jeans - he started fingering me. He unzipped his pants as well - he pulled out his penis and put my hand on it. Today he was decisive as never before. His eyes looked at me predatorily. It made me uneasy –I knew dimly by some sort of intuition that he strongly intended to have sex right now, and I wasn’t ready for it despite the fact that I was always trying to convince myself otherwise.
“Let’s not do it today.” I said trying not to sound too timid, as I pulled away my hand from his sex organ. “Let’s do it another day.”
“We are not going to do anything of that sort. We will just touch each other,” he reassured me, but not convincingly enough for me to relax.
“Okay,” I said and I put my hand back. I didn’t want to admit that I was nervous, I wanted to pretend to be confident. Also, I wanted to trust him. Even though intuitively I felt that something was off – I didn’t want to believe that he would do something against my will. So I kept moving my hand up and down his organ with fake passion to hide my vulnerability and hesitation. He started to finger me more aggressively.
“Let’s move to the car,” he said.
“Okay. But let’s not to it today,” I repeated and internally begged that he would hear me.
“We will not do anything, okay? We will just move to the car to be more comfortable.”
So, we placed ourselves on the backseat. He took off my shirt and he wanted to take off my jeans as well. I repeated the same phrase again, “Let’s not do it today”, as if it was a mantra meant to protect me. I desperately wanted to believe in it even though I knew it was not working well.
His response was the same, “We will not to do anything.” The discrepancy between the desire to trust him and the behavior I saw on his part kept growing. The caresses he was doing to my body was too much for me – I wasn’t ready to go that far. But I obediently took off my clothes – I wanted to deny the fact that something was going wrong. My mind refused to admit that. I felt trapped and powerless in his little car. There were no people around, so he could do anything he wished, and I had no means to escape. My ego was being crushed – I felt small and insignificant. I was completely naked in front of him.
“You should undress too,” I said. It was my ego’s stupid and irrelevant attempt to redeem itself, which was based on a clumsy idea that if we both will be naked, the balance between us will become more equal.
He undressed. It was the first time I saw a completely naked man. He started sliding his dick against my labia.
“Let’s not do it today,” I repeated my mantra the last time.
“I am not doing anything. I will just rub it against you for a bit,” he responded in his usual manner.
I didn’t have a moral strength to resist him. I was afraid and just passively waited what was going to happen as I watched his penis massaging my intimate parts.
Finally, it happened. He inserted himself into me. I didn’t feel anything physically – my vagina was numb. But emotionally I felt like some subtle part of my soul has silently collapsed. As if the final decisive hit had shattered the fragile trust for him I yearned to preserve into tiny pieces. I lost the ability to move while watching his hairy body moving fast on top of mine. I felt almost like I was an inanimate object, which he could treat as he pleased. Shame and humiliation occupied my whole being. I hated to be completely under his control.
He started to move faster. I didn’t know back then that sex could be so fast. It made him resemble a wild beast even more.
“Move slower,” I asked him, making an attempt to remain at least some sort of control. Or an illusion of control. He listened.
“Can I go on top?” I asked trying to chase that illusion. I felt that if I go on top it would be less humiliating than passively laying underneath him. We switched position. However, the car ceiling was too low. It wasn’t possible to move up and down on him.
“It wouldn’t work,” he said. He put his hand on my waist helping me to dismount him.
“Bend over the seat,” he said and I obeyed – just out of hopelessness and the feeling of defeat. He entered me from behind. This position felt even more degrading for me. I couldn’t see him; I couldn’t feel him inside me, but I sensed the lecherous energy he emitted. I sensed how he received almost sadistic pleasure from invading my body. I was looking through the back window at the grass shivering under gusts of wind, trying not to think about what was happening and wishing that this filthy and dehumanizing act would end soon.
He pulled out his dick. I realized he came.
“I am so sweaty,” he said panting. His face looked as if what he did was absolutely normal.
“Did you like it?” He asked lustfully.
“No,” I replied coldly.
“Let’s do one more time.”
“Why?” He asked slyly touching my knee.
“I don’t want to,” I replied sharply.
“But I want to.”
He started to put his clothes back on without uttering a word. So did I. He sat on the driver seat, and I remained on the back seat.
“Drop me off home,” I requested coldly.
I was sitting at the back seat as if he was driving. Frosty silence filled the car. I felt resentment and disgust toward this man. I don’t know what he felt. But his face expressed maybe sadness, maybe anger and disappointment. I couldn’t tell.
He stopped near my apartment building. I exited the car and coldly said bye.
“Bye,” he replied in the same manner.
It was the last time I’ve seen him.
After I lost my virginity with Alexander, I came home and locked myself in the bathroom. I was looking in the mirror inspecting myself. “Did I change?” I closely looked at my face. I felt as if he had stolen something from me. My beauty, my youth, my innocence - I didn’t know what it was – it was something intangible, but definitely something had changed. For me it seemed as if my face lost its youthful radiance. I looked miserable. My body had a foreign smell on it – it was the smell of his body, his sweat, maybe his sperm. It was revolting - it felt as if this vicious male marked my body as his property, as if my body didn’t belong to myself anymore. The revulsion grew as I was looking in the mirror and inhaled that smell; it reached its peak, and sobs burst out of me. It was the first time in my life I experienced such sharp emotional pain. It came abruptly. It pierced me like a knife. I couldn’t stand on my feet anymore – so I collapsed on the floor and kept crying for a long time.
For the following couple of days my entire mind and my whole body was occupied with emotional pain. I couldn’t eat and sleep – the thoughts about what had happened possessed me and didn’t let me do anything. I longed for him to text me and apologize for what he did, tell me that he miss me or something of that sort. I refused to believe that he could use me so cynically and dump me out of his life as a disposable item. Inside myself, I kept repeating, “Please text me. Please, please, please…”
The pain filled my heart up like steaming water; it became overflowing. I couldn’t hold it in myself, I couldn’t tell my mom or my friends, so I decided to write a post to psychological help forum. I titled it was “I became a victim of a pick-up artist”. I refused to categorize what happened as a rape. Rape sounded too atrocious. Moreover, he didn’t use physical violence - I took off my shirt and jeans voluntarily; and it was me, who asked him to take off his clothes. I rejected this term – it was too scary, too unbelievable that something like “rape” could happen to me. My main concern expressed in the post was that he tricked me, used me, and left. The way I described the situation was that I just wanted to hook up with him but I was too naïve and fell for him. I wrote that he didn’t listen to me when I said no and that I wasn’t assertive enough to stand my ground. I blamed myself for being weak and foolish. I asked therapists how to not develop attachment again.
The first response came in about an hour. Marriage and family therapist Ahmed Yusupov replied, “That kind of slutty behavior won’t make you a good wife in future. If you keep doing that you’ll never build a good family.”
“What does it even have to do with my situation?” I thought angrily. His answer wasn’t helpful at all. I couldn’t understand why I deserved to be called a slut for all this pain.
The next reply was from Boris Karpov. “You are overreacting. You are probably a very attractive woman, and he couldn’t resist. He didn’t text you because he was upset that you didn’t enjoyed sex, and he felt rejected that you didn’t talk to him afterwards.”
“Maybe I indeed had hurt him,” I thought for a second. “Maybe he doesn’t text me because he thinks that I don’t want to see him anymore. Maybe he has feelings for me too. Maybe it was just a misunderstanding.” That warm thought flickered in me for a bit, but then I dismissed it. I was hurt deeply by what he had done – so the excuse that I was just too attractive couldn’t console me for too long.
The next reply was from a woman. It was more compassionate than other ones.
“You became a victim of a sexual assault,” she wrote. “But you don’t have to be ashamed of it. But why do you think it was you who became a victim? It happened because your own beliefs had led you into this trap. You despise men. You don’t trust them. You perceive them as lustful animals. But be mindful that, there is a law of attraction in our universe – you get what you believe in. The guy you met is just a manifestation of your beliefs. You expect the worst from men, and therefore you receive it.
Stop perceiving all men as vicious animals. They are as capable of love as any other human being. You should open up your heart – stop pretending cynical, because you are not – you are capable of love too. You will never find it, unless you stop building walls around you.”
Even though the law of attraction sounded too esoteric and new-agy, and my cold logical mind immediately rejected it as something that cannot be taken seriously, her kindness was soothing. Opening up my heart didn’t sound very appealing - I was too afraid of the destructive power of emotions, and I tried to convince myself that finding love was a pointless activity for naïve romantics. But intuitively I felt that there could have been a grain of reason in her words. So, it was something to ponder.