Is it safe to be naked?
I was 16 years old the first time I had sex. I wasn’t in love, and I wasn’t pretending to be. I had decided the night before that I was ready. So I called a guy that was feeling me and told him that I was coming over the next day. And yes, I stated my intention clearly. He was more than happy to oblige.
I didn’t have any preconceived ideas about how it was supposed to be, except the fact that I expected it to be painful. Because “they” said it would be.
It was fall 1990. I can remember the way I felt that morning, buzzed and excited. Somehow I knew when I came home that evening that I would be different, not quite a woman, but no longer a child.
I took the public bus through Los Angeles to get to his home. The sky was a beautiful shade of blue, the clouds were playing peek-a-boo, and the sun was just warm enough.
He lived in an unsavory part of the city, but I wasn’t afraid. As I approached his front door my heart had began to race, not with apprehension, but with excitement.
I should mention that I didn’t particularly like this guy, but I liked that he liked me. Which was the beginning of a pattern that would weave through my life for a very long time.
When he opened the door, I could see he was trying to play it cool, but he was nervous. He wasn’t a virgin, but he may as well have been.
He led me to his bedroom and offered me a seat and a glass of water. There was a huge, incomplete, mural of LL Cool J on the wall behind me. He was an artist, with immense talent that was just aching to be sourced.
The room smelled like a teenage boy. A mixture of sweat socks and masculine cologne. The sheets were freshly laundered, per my request. He was surprisingly accommodating, but of course he was a guy who had been promised a platter of pussy.
We talked for awhile, about nothing in particular, before I finally removed my jacket. He moved close to me and kissed my shoulder. This was foreplay.
I asked him to remove his shirt, because he worked out and I was dying to ogle his chiseled chest and defined arms. His body was really nice and he was very proud of it.
By this time I was breathing comfortably, and I was acutely aware of the ticking clock. We had to be done before his mom got home from work. So I took off my shoes, removed my pants, panties, and bra.
He was the only one in the room, but I felt like there were a million eyes on me. I made small talk, but it wasn’t helping. For the first time ever, I was feeling like someone was really seeing me, and it was fucking uncomfortable.
I refused to remove my shirt, because I didn’t want him looking at me. At the time, I thought my reservation was about my fear of him not liking my body. But I have come to know that it had nothing to do with what I thought he would see with his eyes. It was more about what I thought he would see with his heart.
This was the first time that I was allowing a guy to enter my body. And I had never felt so vulnerable and open as I did in that moment. I was trying really hard to remain expressionless while lying on my back, waiting for him to put the condom on. When he began to slowly move between my legs, I thought I was going to lose my shit.
I was feeling so many things. Thoughts and emotions were swirling in my head. I couldn’t help thinking how much better this would be if it were dark. I would have been able to exhale if we had done this under the cover of night. So that he couldn’t see the fear in my eyes or feel my heart trying to beat its way out of my chest.
But I was too stubborn to stop, even as my vagina clinched and threatened to remain shut forever. I urged him to just push it in as quickly as possible. He had reservations because he didn’t want to hurt me, but I insisted.
With one incredible heave, I felt a surge of pain shoot up the back of my spine, but he was in. I was holding my breath, clinching my eyes, and telling myself that the pain would subside soon enough.
He asked me if I wanted him to stop. I said no.
I felt time pause, as I left my body. Aside from the discomfort, I don’t remember feeling anything else. There was no sound. He was talking, but I didn’t hear a word he said, although I’m quite sure I responded.
He brought me a warm towel when we were finished. I thought it was really sweet that he made sure it was warm. My legs felt weak and I wanted to cry, but I didn’t.
He held me for what seemed like forever. He was quiet, because I was. He was worried that he wasn’t good. I was worried that my mother would be able to tell that I had spent the afternoon fucking, just by looking at me.
Somehow I thought she would smell it on me. Or that she would notice my legs were shaky and unstable. I thought it was one of those intuitive things that mom’s just knew and I was convinced that she was going to have my head for it.
On the bus ride home I strategized how I would go straight to my room, take a shower, and go to bed early. Because she couldn’t peep the truth if she didn’t see me, right?
As it turns out, the fates were on my side, because I beat my mother home. I was able to take shower and change into sweats and a t-shirt, and pretend to do homework before she arrived.
I shared the entire experience with my older sister, who cried like a baby. I am not sure if it was the fact that I was no longer a virgin that shook her up so, or if it was just the memory of her own experience. But I felt very loved and supported through her tears.
When my mom arrived home, she went straight to the kitchen to start dinner. I would normally go in and help her, but not today. I stayed in my ass in my room, praying that she would stay out.
Typically my mother would yell when dinner was ready, but not this time. This time she deliver the news in person. And as soon as she walked in the room, the truth spilled from my lips.
“I did it today.” I said.
“You did what?” she replied.
“It…I did it.”
Her brow furrowed the way it always did when she was annoyed. But then it softened. And she sat down. I told her what happened, sans the intimate details. I asked her questions about her first time with my father, and she shared what she remembered.
The exchange was comforting, but there was no real closeness. My family was not big on warmth and affection. So it was more like girls shooting the shit, but not.
I was relieved to have the truth out in the open. And I was feeling quite proud of myself for coming clean. I knew so many girls who couldn’t talk to their mothers, but here I was telling my mother everything.
I didn’t know it at the time, but my victory would be short lived. A few months later my mom would use my confession as ammunition, to prove what she believed was a point. Her intention was not to hurt me, but her words cut like a knife.
And that was when I decided that it wasn’t safe to be naked.