It Takes a Village to Make a Darklady
I slept in the same bedroom as my mother until I was 21. My father had his own room, which my mother visited irregularly as part of her marital obligations. When I was eight years old my mother told me that if I ever had any questions about sex, I should come to her with them. I was savvy enough even then to know that what she really meant was, “Please don’t ask me about sex.”
I handed over my virginity to a kind stranger beneath the stop sign next to my parents’ house shortly before my 17th birthday. Afterwards we watched a shooting star race across the sky and wondered aloud if it meant anything. Hitchhiking home after work late at night introduced me to the back of a liar’s van, the joy of jumping out of a moving car, the nervousness of negotiating sexual favors in exchange for safe rides home, the high weirdness of late-night phone calls from drunken men who had seen my dad’s name on our mailbox and wanted a second go-around with his daughter. My early sex life was like a Bergman flick without subtitles.
Luckily for this little fallen Catholic girl my public high school curriculum included a sex education segment as part of the health class requirement. After my second unexpected sexual encounter, I made a beeline to the local Planned Parenthood and picked up some supplies and information. My passion for learning the truth about sex had begun.
Since those early, sometimes agonizing, always amazing days, I’ve wandered through the halls of academia, translated my share of classical Greek texts, skipped my share of classes, paid Sallie Mae for my share of college degrees, stumbled down the aisle a couple of times, watched love turn into resentment a couple more, stared into computer monitors for countless hours – and experienced some of the most profound and intense emotions and sensations imaginable. I’ve died and come back to life — and seen those I love not fare so well. I’ve been proclaimed a goddess and a demon-possessed harlot, been praised to the stars and condemned to the pits of hell, called a social enzyme, a gonzo writer, a visionary, a genius, an egomaniac, a bitch, a beauty, and a damn good lay. These, apparently, are some of the qualities required in order to grow up to be a successful sex writer.
If it were announced tomorrow that age reversal or time travel were possible, they couldn’t collect together enough paper money to convince me to return to those awkward and sub-optimal days of pre-Goth era teen angst. I might consider doing it if it was required to save the planet from an alien invasion or a flaming comet heading straight for my favorite brewpub, but I’d have to be asked very nicely. I’m much happier as an adult. Much happier giving and receiving consent. Much happier knowing that I have choices – and the opportunity to learn first hand what they are.
– Originally published in Playtime Magazine –