I lost my virginity at nineteen. By modern standards that’s disturbingly puritanical. It’s even more alarming when one considers that my sexual education was a fifteen-minute film during the 7th grade featuring animated penises and a cartoon vagina. This speedy entrance is nothing I’m overly ashamed of though I don’t shout it from the church rafters; but unlike many parents, if my kids ever ask, I wouldn’t lie by offering up some Leave it to Beaver fantasy that gives the impression I was a chaste saint until I met their mom. It’s through acknowledging our mistakes that we can have the most profound impact on our children.
I knew the Queen was extraordinary when I didn’t want to sleep with her. As those first days turned into weeks and then months my compulsion to bed her was overridden by a desire to know her despite the urges that continued cascading through my nether regions.
The first time I saw a porn magazine I was about 10 years old. My family lived on a farm that made Little House on the Prairie seem like Broadway. After driving five miles of dirt roads through the backwoods of Deliverance our driveway was another half mile. The Branch Dividians looked at buying our piece of nowhere, but even religious psychopaths have some common sense.
Our single wide (notice I didn’t say double) trailer sat at the top of a hill and at the bottom stood a 100 year old dilapidate house out of a scene from Amityville Horror. It came with a large Hemmingway-ish front porch with a slope leading away from it. As a side note, that front porch made an excellent means for stopping while I learned to used my bicycle’s brakes.
No one had lived there in years but apparently the last inhabitant had a hankering for porn and tobacco. Inside strewed among old boxes, broken down mattresses, and small-town newspapers was a 70’s issue of Hustler next to a pouch of Red Man Chewing Tobacco.
Obviously, being a said redneck, I eagerly went for the chew first. Tasting like a piece of five-day-old roadkill, I spit out as much as I could and gagged down the remainder. The periodical however I approached with a bit more caution. While I had no idea what it entirely was I had a sneaking feeling it wasn’t something good. Thumbing through its pages of men and women doing things I’d never seen on Saturday morning cartoons was at first confusing, then intriguing, but soon was thrilling. I had just turned a new chapter in my life and hoping to savor it a while longer I instinctually hid my private stash from the eyes of annoying adults and ditched the tobacco.
That moment flipped a switch in my young subconscious mind. Seeing those beauties in their birthday suits opened up a Pandora’s box of sorts – sex. As I got into high school thoughts of sex began permeating my waking hours. With an ample supply of teenage cuties around it seemed no matter where I was – my thermostat remained on high. It should be noted here that none of these thoughts ever went anywhere (that’s for you mom), the notion of actually having sex was far more nerve-racking than my teenage constitution could stand.
Let it be known I am not a virgin. I have been married, divorced, and have two kids to show for it. Now that’s out of the way I will admit that my first time ‘doing it’, which was much later in life than most, was arguably one of the most disturbing yet exhilarating events I’ve ever had – and definitely the most disappointing and uneventful for her. I was never given a ‘birds and bee’s conversation, talk, or a grunt growing up and any pornography I watched was obstructed by static from a poor satellite signal. My only point of reference for the mechanics of sex was the bodily diagrams in our Health book and my imagination.
When a young lad gets to an age where his chances of actually having sex are greater than his chances of being hit by lightening a shift in his priorities takes place. A good portion of his time and energy is now spent in search of a willing accomplice. The youngster may find himself spending his parent’s money, telling her what he thinks she wants to hear, and putting on academy worthy acting performances in the hope of scoring a homerun. But deep down he never thinks she’ll really go along with it. He’s already gotten far more rejections than he can count but in the midst of all those NO’S sometimes he lands a YES and when that happens everything normally goes to crap! [pullquote]All he really wants now is a six-pack, silence, and a TV show that doesn’t include Barney or teenage vampires.[/pullquote]
I’m convinced any guy younger than 25 should be biologically prohibited from having sex. It should be like his junk doesn’t work until the morning of that birthday. First they simply have no idea what they are doing or how things work and they usually end up embarrassing themselves while the poor girl gets depressed that she went through all of that trouble for three minutes – two of which was spent getting ready. Not to mention these guys have no clue about romance, bonding, and intimacy. Those notions get totally lost in his amazement that
“Oh, my God, I’M GOING TO HAVE SEX WITH A REAL GIRL!!!”
Guys having sex at that age is like a bomb exploding – it’s total shock and awe. He’s finally been picked first on the playground and now has no idea how to handle it. But the sad part is he doesn’t really care because performance anxiety isn’t a young guys concern; it’s all about number one and basking in the success of talking her into it. And once she’s said yes it becomes all about how fast he can go from zero to touchdown and there’s not a woman who doesn’t know what I’m talking about.
Here’s how a guy knows when he’s too young to have sex. If he has to make excuses for the party ending too soon with the phrase “I’m sorry, that’s never happened before” then he needs to put it back in the box for a few years, because he just looks sad and it gives his buddies a bad name.
But a funny thing eventually occurs, believe it or not with age and marriage most guy’s longing for horizontal jazzercise wanes. A couple of kids, a mortgage, job, a yard to mow and all he really wants now is a six-pack, silence, and a TV show that doesn’t include Barney or teenage vampires. What once seemed like his only reason for living is now pretty much a nuisance.
It’s scientific fact that a male’s sexual peak is in his late teens and early twenties, during a time with the least likelihood of him actually having sex. While a woman’s sexual crescendo occurs in her late 30’s and into her 40’s and if the reports are accurate they aren’t having sex either. Which proves my point that if dudes waited a few years everybody would be happier and having more sex.
An interesting thing happened during my separation and eventual divorce over six years ago. After the ex informed me she wanted to split, during an argument over a credit card bill of all things, little could I have imagined how quickly things would change. Later in the evening after tempers cooled and we were getting ready for bed I was informed that it would be best if from now on I slept in the extra bedroom – that she believed it was no longer appropriate to sleep together like we had the night before. And who could blame her? If someone doesn’t want to be married to you chances are pretty good they don’t want to sleep with you either. She had flipped the switch and suddenly sleeping with me meant sleeping with the enemy.
Though married for six years I was extremely naive about the inner workings of other peoples’ relationships. So it was a surprise to learn that getting kicked to the in-law suite wasn’t something just soon-to-be divorced guys suffered. It would seem that married couples, even those not intent on strangling each other in a courtroom, frequently opted for the room mate plan. But looking back it seemed our living arrangement leading up to the divorce was clearly not the norm, because until the day she asked for the separation I can’t remember ever sleeping in separate bedrooms other than when one of us was sick.
My naivety came full circle after I entered the post divorce dating world. I met a woman who hadn’t sleep in the same bed with her husband for over a year before they divorced. The whole time they lived almost separate lives, she said, only coming together as a couple during formal family events or neighborhood functions. While this may admittedly be an extreme case it has become almost laughable regarding the number of people I meet who chose to sleep in separate bedrooms months before there was ever the first hint or a discussion about divorce. What’s even funnier is the excuse for this behavior change seems universal among everyone I’ve met – ‘he snored too loudly’. Notwithstanding years of sleeping together before, apparently his deviated septum began to cause such a deafening noise that sending him down the hall was the only course of action to get a good night’s sleep.
Is there another room in the home which provides for a more natural setting for a couple’s intimacy than their own bedroom and particularly their bed? Just walking into another person’s boudoir makes me uneasy, it’s their sanctuary and their holy of holies, and not for random strangers. The bedroom is where lives are made and secrets told. There are few other places where a couple can be so open with each other or where they can more freely enjoy each other’s affection and sensuality. It’s a place where couples can reconnect and where they can fall in love again and again. If the bedroom is love’s temple then the bed is it’s shrine.
It was also unsurprising that these same couples who slept in separate rooms had virtually no sex life to speak of . Without the ability for closeness with his wife, a husband will find other places for his passion such as his job while her desire gets stifled or redirected towards the children. If allowed to continue they soon can become so disconnected emotionally and spiritually they may as well be strangers and any impression they might give of being the happy couple is only by sheer luck or to intentionally throw others off the trail.
I’ve often wondered what these men thought as they moved into their guest bedroom with suitcase in hand, what was going through their mind? Did they offer to fix the problem? Did they ever attempt to even change her mind? Or were they too busy returning emails or catching up on the latest scores to even bother thinking about it, because ignoring seems much simpler than dealing with the real issues in the relationship? Or maybe he was just satisfied that doing so would shut her up for a while.
I’m convinced of few stronger signals that a relationship is in serious jeopardy than when couples stop sleeping in the same bed together. Once that line is crossed what’s sure to follow is a loss of intimacy, affection, and finally love for one another. History is pretty consistent, a couple that doesn’t sleep together usually doesn’t stay together.
I have a sister three years younger than I am and we couldn’t be more different. She loves small towns and I’m a big city person, she is the outgoing social butterfly and I’m more of the reserved observer, she prefers to stay at home and I like to paint the town red. But for all of the many differences, there are a few similarities and one of the most notable is our trigger happy impulse to passionately argue a point.
“I’m selfish, impatient and a little insecure. I make mistakes, I am out of control and at times hard to handle. But if you can’t handle me at my worst, then you sure as hell don’t deserve me at my best.”
I immensely detest this quote for two main reasons. First, it’s repeated often, primarily by single women and usually in the forum of their Facebook or on-line dating profile as a way, I assume, of dismissing those nagging character traits or behaviors they don’t necessarily approve of about themselves; or giving advanced warning to a potential courtier that going out with me won’t always be rainbows and butterflies. While this might make for good champagne toasts, high-fives, and the ubiquitous “you got that right!” on girls night I wonder if they are aware their new found mantra was coined by a woman who, among other things: .
- Had affairs with both of the Kennedy brothers, plus Marlon Brando and Tony Curtis. And that’s just the ones we know about.
- Was married 3 times, with no relationship lasting more than five years.
- Invented, relished in, and profited from the “dumb blonde” image.
- Desperate for cash, agreed to be photographed nude which the photos became the first centerfold for Playboy and ultimately catapulted her career.
- Committed suicide at the age of 36 from an overdose of barbiturates.
Maybe its just me but I’m finding it difficult, in the midst of these trivial “worsts”, to see exactly when she had the energy for her “best”? If parents, family advocates, and the media condemn celebrity losers like Lindsay Lohan and Paris Hilton for their drunk driving and dependable rehab escapes; Marilyn Monroe would get her own special on “America’s Most Wanted”.
My second reason is a bit more cynical, I wonder if this womanly conviction benefits the other gender? Would this little maxim receive the same notoriety if it went something like this:
I’m self-obsessed, hotheaded, and a workaholic. I lie, I am a control freak and at times a complete jackass. But if you can’t handle me at my worst, then you sure as hell don’t deserve me at my best”.
Does this carry the same glamour? Would my buddies give me fist bumps between plays at the sports bar? Unless I wanted to spend my remaining days companionless I don’t need Don Draper to convince me that this probably isn’t the most ideal marketing campaign for the target audience.
On a final amusing note it appears Marilyn didn’t ‘walk the talk’, she filed for the divorce in each of her marriages with the most common reason as “irreconcilable differences”.