It's official: I am at the stage in my life where I am randy as hell 24 hours a day. The innocent molecules of air brushing up against my body can turn me on, creating an electromagnetic storm even when I am standing still. The supercharged air currents in my private atmosphere begin to vibrate and caress my skin, giving me instant goose bumps. Then my imagination kicks in and my nipples become "eraser tip" erect and I feel my wetness as I begin to drip.
Do people even notice my highly flushed post-orgasm skin? "What brand is that blush you are wearing -- you have this healthy glow about you," my friends say.
Because of my state and the lack of consistent male companionship over the last four-and-a-half years, my most reliable, trustworthy and constant lovers have been my dildos and vibrators. They all have names and I have my favorites: "big blue," "the G-man cometh" and my first purchase, the "silver egg." They all serve a purpose -- clit, G spot and just plain penetration. But my most expert and subtle lover still happens to be my hand.
I wasn't always so well versed in the art of self-pleasure. I was actually quite repressed and didn't learn to take full advantage of this incredible machine that I was born with -- my own body -- until I was truly alone and set aside time to study and practice.
But, along with research, my daughter was my mentor in masturbation. When she was about 2 years old she found her clitoris and began loving it.
One might conjure up the visual of the soft timid exploration of an innocent child curious now that she wasn't bound by a diaper all the time. Not my daughter. We're talking a full-on, sweaty, flushed, moaning orgasm. She especially loved to please herself while watching TV in the living room in front of guests. Diligently placing her favorite stuffed animal under her hips, squished between her chubby legs, she rocked and grinded and made preternatural noises to an unmistakable ecstasy-ridden crescendo.
My ex-husband was mortified. What were we to do with our freak "oversexed" girl-child? "Is this normal?" he would chant as we consulted the vapid "What to Expect" handbooks. "God forbid a man might see her and not be able to prevent himself from getting turned on" is what he really meant to say.
I was just plain blown away. I am a product of Catholic schools, and those nuns took great pride in messing with our heads with their sin-speak.
I don't remember masturbating until my early 20s, and then it was timidly. In college I swore I would never touch myself "down there" and practically passed out when, in my human sexuality class freshman year, there was a slide show of the different iterations of vulvae. They didn't look like exotic flowers, but more like some horror movie prop -- an angry open wound with shriveled, discolored edges. The graphic birthing videos, with all that blood and screaming, made me want to tie my tubes at 18. After exposure to all that reality, I was never even curious enough to take out a mirror and check it out for myself until after I had my first child. I couldn't believe how ravaged I felt and I wanted to follow the healing process. Now I wish I had paid more attention to the "before" (most likely a beautiful rosebud pink) and "after" (scarred and raw roast beef).
Even today, when a lover wants me to expose myself, spread-eagle, in broad daylight or with my bedroom lights on the "operating table" setting, I hesitate. I think he must be joking when he tells me that he gets excited by seeing my ... let's see, what do they call it in "The Vagina Monologues" again? "Cunt."
I never talked about my natural curiosity about masturbation with my ex, since we were both "too married" to broach the subject and that would have opened up the messy "Aren't I pleasing you, baby?" conversation. I wished that he would show me how men masturbate, since no one had masturbated in front of me before and I really wanted to learn so I could improve my technique. I just wanted to save that knowledge for a future rainy day when I would blow the socks off my lucky lover.
It was only years later, after truly looking, that I finally found my elusive G spot. Divorced, and as curious as hell, I read, asked girlfriends, bought my first vibrator and watched instructional videos. It was like a search for the Holy Grail. Finally, one day I found it -- it was right there all along! One joint of my middle finger in. Eureka! I was fully in awe of my body after childbirth and now my recent discovery only fueled my fire to try everything; it was time to race this Formula 1 chassis!
Then came a jolt of reality. I thought that my compassionate "sisters" would help me on my quest with useful sexual tips and a database of interesting men. Naturally we all want each other to win.
Not necessarily. The "you go, girl" attitude is just another myth birthed from the Oprahs and Nike executives of the world who want us to think we don't follow a few steps behind our men. The lesson I learned from my queries was that some of my girlfriends lie -- especially the married ones. They made me think that they were all tantric gushers who had vaginal orgasms at will. And they often came back at me with a condescending "I couldn't possibly divulge that private information" look or the condemning "Who even thinks of those sorts of things?"
I knew full well that these smugly married dears were into the "couple of times a month" routine and vanilla sex -- and never swallowed. Just the mention of "anal" would shock them to death. And this was the receptive group with whom I was supposed to discuss my daughter's new obsession?
They all titter about how much their sons love to play with their "peenies" in the bathtub and how "cute" it is when their pee misses the pot because of the early morning hard-on syndrome. But God forbid their daughters should go south. I was made to feel like my girl-child was some medical case study. My friends were genuinely concerned for me, as if she had a congenital disability. There but for the grace of God go my daughters, they prayed.
"The apple doesn't fall too far from the tree" is what their judgmental eyes said.
Contrast that to the high-fives parents give one another for the sexual prowess of their boys. I remember my friend's husband taking their newborn son in the other room so the drunken men could check out the size of his "member." Elbow, nudge, grin, wink-wink. Imagine them checking out a tiny girl's vulva -- perverts, the lot of them!
Everything about boys starts out with positive sexual overtones. If you are lucky, your daughters will remain virgins for life.
If this God-given gift is so purely pleasurable for us all, why wouldn't every child born want to have that incredible feeling? We are all born sexual animals with the same desires but -- because there is always a but -- we don't want to actually see our precious sugar and spice jack off.
I decided not to overreact. With some help from an enlightened pediatrician, I began to call the activity "private time" and encouraged my daughter to keep these pleasurable interludes to herself, within the confines of her room if possible. I told her that she was the only person who could touch herself in this special way. Mom and Dad, Nana and Grandpa and your nanny can help bathe your vagina, or the more politically correct "private parts," I instructed, but you are the only person who can give yourself such pleasure.
Eventually, her rubbing hungrily up against furniture at the drop of a hat lessened and she did prefer to please herself without the aid of an audience. Eight years later, she still likes to masturbate in private and isn't aware of the unspoken taboo: "You know, Mom, how if I make myself feel good, I can fall right to sleep?"
"Yes, I know, honey," I reply as I try to wipe away the image of a couple lighting up a cigarette amid tousled bedsheets.
I comfort myself that in some small way I have helped this young girl on the verge of puberty to think that her body is beautiful and that it is as amazing as it really is. I hope I have played a small role in the sexual evolutionary process. Thank heaven for little girls.