1 Wanting Everything Amber J. Keyser
I had a kid’s body—no hips, hardly any breasts, hardly more than pubic hair peach fuzz. I’d never had a period or a boyfriend or a date for a middle school dance. It was the summer after eighth grade and I was abuzz with physical desire. I’d known for a long time that it felt good to touch myself, and years earlier I’d played kissing games with neighborhood girls, but now, as I careened toward puberty, my body was a constant source of wow.
When it came to sex, I had zero experience but a lot of book learning. We had moved the summer before seventh grade. Among my mother’s discarded books on a garage sale table, I found my textbook—an explicit memoir by a sex-loving prostitute. Heart racing, I’d pinched it off the table and snuck it to my room, reading and rereading her bawdy accounts of sex with both men and women. Her uninhibited attitude painted sex as a healthy and positive part of adult life. If it felt good and everyone wanted to do it then anything was a go.
By accident, I discovered just the right way to ride my bike so that the seat vibrated against the mound of my crotch. It seemed my panties were always damp, and I masturbated often—in the bath, in the hot tub, in my bed at night. I imagined what it would feel like to have oral sex. But in this stew of horniness, I also worried that something was wrong with me for thinking about sex so much. I watched the girls at school that everyone said were doing it. Were their bodies constantly on fire like mine? Or was I freak?
But arousal was constantly sneaking up on me. I crushed on actors in movies, characters in books, and Jason, a gawky boy who lived down the street. At school, Jason and I ignored each other—he, no doubt, because of my bottom-rung social status, and I because that’s what you do to avoid humiliation in the halls of middle school. After school, we were less frosty. With a handful of other kids, we rode bikes through the golf course at the center of our neighborhood, infuriating men in plaid pants, and played tennis on the old, cracked courts. Jason and I snuck away to kiss in the tunnel at the neighborhood playground.
I wasn’t thinking about having actual sex with him but the kissing sent heat coursing through me. I wondered what it would feel like to have him touch me. When my younger cousin crashed her bike and Jason carried her home like some knight in shorts and sneakers, I wished it were me bleeding at the knees and leaning against his chest. I took every opportunity to hang out with him, waiting to be alone, wanting more kissing.
Toward the end of the summer, I was house-sitting for an old lady who lived in a condo nearby. One day I dragged Jason and two of our friends along with me to check on the dog, and there they were—empty bedrooms, open beds, and not a single chance of discovery. A surprise, believe it or not.
I hadn’t planned any of this.
There was no forethought, no real thinking at all.
My brain had vacated the building but my body was full speed ahead.
We paired off, our friends upstairs and me and Jason in a guest room with white carpet, a red bedspread, and tacky furniture detailed in gold paint. His lips were as soft as I remembered from the playground, his face pre-shaving smooth. We had our clothes off in moments. How did that even happen? My memory is a blur of color and texture. We slid into the cool sheets like otters sliding into the water.
What I remember is wanting everything.
His touch sent sizzling waves coursing over my body. This was nothing like when I masturbated. This was the best thing I had ever felt. My skin was electrified where we touched. Thigh to thigh, chest to chest. His arms around me. My hands in his hair. He smelled like boy and awesome.
I slid down under the covers, my cheek against his taut belly. And there was his penis. Hard inside but shockingly soft and smooth on the surface. I put my lips on the velvety end of his penis and took him in my mouth. After a while—who knows how much time passed—we changed places. And his mouth was hot and wet on the slit of my vulva. The new best thing ever.
When we were face to face again, we did not talk. We did not think. We did not consider protection or consequences. We were far too absorbed in good-yes-slick-hot-more-now to ask ourselves if we were ready. Instead we went to work figuring out how our parts fit together.
The problem was the parts.
Like mismatched puzzle pieces, they just wouldn’t go together no matter how we twisted and writhed. His aim was terrible, and though I was aroused, my prepubescent body was also tight and unaccommodating. In the midst of this conundrum, our friends knocked on the door, ready to go. We scrambled, slightly dazed, out of the bed and back into our clothes. Jason and I hardly spoke, pretending, instead, that nothing had happened.
A few days later, his best friend asked me if we’d had sex. I didn’t know what to say. Had we? There was no penetration. Nobody came. I shrugged, noncommittal. He smirked, and I felt dirty. My brain kicked back in and with it came shame and worry.
What kind of girl did that kind of thing? Was I a bad person? How could I have gone so far without even thinking about pregnancy or disease? What if Jason had been less tender and had pushed me beyond what I could do?
These were the thoughts that could have, and perhaps should have, accompanied the yearnings of my body.
My brain finally caught up with the rest of me.
Jason and I never did anything like that again. In fact, I didn’t do anything sexual with anyone else for a long time, and I was seventeen before I went all the way through with penetration. But I often remember Jason and the lovely, rich pleasure we shared in each other’s bodies. We were young, that’s true, but was it really so wrong for us to kiss and touch and explore in a way that made both of us feel so good?
I don’t think so.