I have some very talented, inspiring sex-positive friends out there. This poem was written by someone who I used to be on a committee with but never actually started speaking much to until I’d moved away from where we studied together, unfortunately, but we’re making up for lost time now. I asked her to write a bit of a commentary to the poem which is below it. Enjoy!
i never thought i’d hit double numbers by twenty,
was always taught the higher your number
the lower your value.
felt safe when my body count fit on one hand
remembered those people who told me
everyone you fuck takes a little bit away from you,
wondered how long til i was left empty.
but those nights i spent with girls
against bathroom doors, in their brothers beds,
didn’t feel draining
walks of shame didn’t feel so shameful
as my number grew so did i
left behind hair grips, underwear, but not any parts of myself
took books and photographs instead,
reminders of girls i loved or liked or wanted
for a night, for a moment
reminders that i am not who i fuck,
but if i was
i’d still be incredible.
“Before I lost my virginity, I was terrified of what having sex would mean. I grew up in a Catholic family and went to a Catholic school, so a lot of emphasis was put on how important sex was and how important it was that it only happened between a married man and woman. When I was much, much younger I genuinely did think that I wouldn’t have sex before marriage, and me and my friends would sit and imagine what losing our virginities would be like- these discussions usually involved lots of declarations of love and candlelight. When I realised I was gay though, I realised that I probably wouldn’t be losing my virginity to my future husband, while I was okay with that, I was still scared that after I did have sex, I’d feel different or regret it.
“When I finally did lose my virginity, it was not at all like the fantasy scenarios me and my childhood friends had imagined. I was drunk, and she was a complete stranger. It was the opposite of how I had imagined it to be- but somehow it was a ridiculously nice experience. The next day I didn’t feel any different, I didn’t feel ashamed or embarrassed like I’d been told I would, and all the fears I’d had surrounding sex pretty much disappeared. Over time I grew much more comfortable with my sexuality, and realised that every person I slept with was a new experience that added something to my life, rather than taking something away. So that was what I was thinking of when I wrote the poem- that having lots of sex isn’t a bad thing if you don’t want it to be, and it doesn’t change anything about who you are. “