I was never given any guidance around the subject of sex. My parents shied away from discussing it with my or my sister and we never saw any evidence of attraction between them. Where some children are embarrassed by their parents’ display of affection, we never had that feeling. They rarely embarrassed us.
As a child, I had no knowledge of sex. I never questioned things as most curious children do. The reproductive system and menstrual cycle was taught at school in Science. We were never taught at home. My parents left that to our teachers. My sister and I never talked about that side of things, we were not close and our relationship was already unsteady and resentful. I wanted to confide in her and ask questions but my fear to approach her in this matter was too overwhelming and I backed away. Fellow peers at school always seemed more enlightened on the subject than me. I wondered if they could talk to their family about their curiosities.
At my all girls secondary school, I remained intellectually inexperienced in sex, looking to my more confident peers to set the example. I was envious that many of the girls knew about sex and could talk about it freely to each other. I would not have dared joined in. I just listened from the sidelines picking up information without them realising. My teenage years were turbulent at home and my needs were pushed to one side. Socially, I was doing okay. I had friends and due to my dream-like and false reality, I was able to appear confident and capable. No one truly knew how much I was suffering inside.
At the age of 16, when my mother and sister had gone and I was left with my ever-changing father, sex became more of a forefront in my life. I switched school and my year group was now mixed. I was seeing boys every day and socially, I couldn’t cope. I was not popular, fading into the background in my first year. I was developing crushes and obsessions easily, feeling heartbroken if the feeling wasn’t reciprocated. I began thinking about sex but never acting on it. I’d only kissed one boy until the age of seventeen. I was behind in a lot of ways. My friends at the time were surprised how unsuccessful I was with boys as my confidence sent other messages to them. I got on well with boys as I had a good, sarcastic sense of humour. I could poke fun at myself and was easy-going. But I did not know how to turn on the sex appeal. I never felt sexy.
By the time I reached Drama School the majority of my friends had all lost their virginity. As it had never been discussed at home I had no idea how to broach the subject. I was frightened of it and although I was having natural urges, I pushed them to one side. I did not feel attractive in any way especially around boys of my age. I hated competing with other girls and naturally moved away from those scenarios. I was drawn to older men often getting more attention from them on nights out. My friends loved that twenty five year old men were attracted to me, they thought it was thrilling and I was encouraged to take it further. I enjoyed the flirt as I was good at that. I was great at banter. However, any further would just scare me off.
I learnt about sex from film and T.V mostly as a teen. As a young adult, it was from listening to my classmates stories and sexual experiences. I asked questions shamelessly. I wanted to know every detail. They didn’t mind, they enjoyed talking about themselves. I realised that it was something I needed to do, I wanted to experience it. It was unlikely that I would see it in a relationship as I was unsure of how to even begin one. I couldn’t “love” remember. The girls at Drama school were shocked that I was an eighteen year old virgin. It was practically unheard of. Even though they regularly encouraged me to do it I wanted to do it on my own terms. I wasn’t waiting for love. I just wanted it to feel right.
The hunt to find it began.
Part 2 to follow.