Sunday, July 3, 2011

Epiphany

By Lisabet Sarai




I still remember what I wore that night. It must have been summer, between my junior and senior years in high school. My sleeveless, dropped waist dress was light cotton, a rusty red with white polka dots. A line of buttons matching the dots ran from the neckline to the hem.
My boyfriend's parents were out of town. Looking back, I wonder that my mother didn't object to my being in his house, alone with him and his friendly Doberman, but perhaps she didn't know. I wasn't the rebellious type. I would not have deliberately lied. Maybe I didn't realize P. and I would end up there in his bedroom, after going out for a bite to eat in his VW Beetle. I can't recall.
We were sprawled on his bed making out (do kids today still use that term?), hot, wet, desperate kisses with lots of tongue. His hands wandered over my back and then, tentatively, cupped my breasts through my dress. "Take it off," he murmured, amazed, I'm sure, at his own daring.
"I can't..." I began. I knew that society required me to keep my clothes on when I was with a boy. I was well aware that girls who gave in to boys' requests would inevitably acquire a "bad reputation". Back then, even letting a guy get to second base (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Baseball_metaphors_for_sex ) would certainly result in whispered gossip and possibly in public taunts. Strictly speaking I wasn't a virgin, but my single sexual interlude hadn't taught me much. I was as awkward and confused as any sixteen year old.
P. kissed me harder, but he didn't press the issue. I was the one who wanted more. I wanted to remove my dress, to feel his hands on my skin. Resentment filled me. It seemed so unfair that society should forbid what felt so wonderful.
Then it hit me, quite literally like a bolt of lightning. I gasped. P. broke our embrace, afraid he'd somehow hurt me.
I didn't have to say no, just because other people insisted I should. I was free to say yes. I was dying to be closer to the guy I loved. Was that wrong? I understood that I'd have to accept any consequences, but seriously, was there a good reason why I shouldn't do as he asked?
"Wait," I told him. I stood up and started to unfasten my dress, one button at a time.

I wasn't deliberately trying to be seductive, but I felt the heat of P.'s stare as, button by button, I exposed my plain white bra and panties. I felt light-headed, jubilant, powerful. And free.
I don't think I knew the word "lust" back then. Certainly I didn't have enough experience to recognize it when I felt it. I saw my own excitement mirrored in P.'s face, along with a touching gratitude. He seemed quite astonished that I was trusting him.
I lay back down on his bed, clad in my underwear, more fevered and needy than ever. We didn't push things much further that night. It was almost as though the step I'd taken was enough for us, for a while at least.
Looking back now, I see that high school epiphany as a first step toward defining my own personal philosophy of sex. Why should I refuse pleasure just because someone else thinks it's not proper? Since that evening, I've said yes to many sexual adventures, and enjoyed almost all of them.
Of course, that was a golden time, after the invention of the Pill and before the discovery of AIDS. Sexual freedom had few if any restrictions. The Morality Police didn't yet have much influence. The boundaries between love and lust were deliciously fluid.
I learned something fundamental, back there in high school, not just about sex but about life in general. You can't allow others to make your decisions for you. Don't listen when someone tells you that you're not allowed to pursue your dream. Weigh the consequences and risks for yourself, but then don't be afraid to say yes, if that's what your heart tells you.
We all have more freedom than we realize. We just need to claim it, to make it our own.

21 comments:

  1. "You can't allow others to make your decisions for you."

    You don't know how long I labored under the belief that I was supposed to make my decisions based on what certain people wanted/expected of me. How incredible to know the world wouldn't end if I decided to do what I thought was right for myself. Thanks for the great post, Lisabet

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  2. Well said. You are so right. You have to make your own decisions. You are the one to live with those consequences. If it's wrong, well, you learn something. If it's right, you have a great experience. Not that I'm entirely free of living up to someone else's expectations but when I live only for my own expectations then I discover more about myself and have a wonderfuly experience that causes me to grow and become who I want to be. Thank you for sharing.

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  3. Lisabet,

    Love this line: "The boundaries between love and lust were deliciously fluid."

    Thank you for sharing this moment, with such memorable detail. The discovery of that passionate journey happens most often as teens, but for some it's later.

    Plus, *great* opening photo! Wow.

    Louisa

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  4. I wish I'd come to that conclusion far earlier in my life.

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  5. When I wAs reading I felt some envy for that guy, what a powerful thing it must be, at any age but especially that one, to say to a hot girl take off your dress and then magically she does what you;ve told her. What a powerful feeling that must be.

    You mention over all the string of sexual adventures you've had. Of course i closed that door off to myself at age 19, so i can only speculate what that could have been like. But what I'm sure of is that women control the gates of sexual bliss. They open the gate willingly, or you can force it open and take your chances with the law, but the gate belongs to them. It makes me wonder if women overall have more opportunity for sexual adventure than men do because they own the gate? Or would that have been a product of the time, considering how much women's sexual rules have changed since then. What do you think?

    Garce

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  6. I remember the golden time well. Often, I've daydreamed of reliving the time. Envisioning the women is nice. Damn, I was so dumb back then. If guys like me could only have the bodies of our youth and the wisdom of age.

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  7. I agree that we have the freedom of choice as long as we're ready and willing to take the consequences. too few, i feat, enjoy the first and disregard the last. women, of all ages, should have the same 'freedom' as any male who doesn't and never has had to face the censure of possible results. you go, girl.

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  8. Jaime,

    I'd like to say that after that night, I never let fear of public opinion control my behavior, but that's of course not true at all. One advantage of getting older, though, is that you (or at least I) become more comfortable resisting the pressures of society, more confident in choosing your own desires.

    (Does that make up for having a young body and lots of hormones? I suppose that's a useless question.)

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  9. Greetings, She,

    I do think that there's a difference between making a responsible personal choice and going with the moment regardless of the consequences.

    Also, especially when you're in a committed relationship, you sometimes end up choosing the less preferred alternative for the sake of the relationship. I'm not advocating being totally selfish. But if we examined the real reasons for choosing alternatives we don't want, we might find many of those reasons hollow and unconvincing.

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  10. Greetings, Louisa,

    Thanks for your comments. I love the photo, too. I found it by searching Google images with the keywords "sexual freedom"!

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  11. Hello, Kathleen,

    It's never too late to learn.

    And I'd say you're making up for lost time.

    Hugs,
    Lisabet

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  12. Hey, Garce,

    I knew you'd like this tale... ;^)

    "It makes me wonder if women overall have more opportunity for sexual adventure than men do because they own the gate? Or would that have been a product of the time, considering how much women's sexual rules have changed since then."

    My personal view is that women have more obstacles put in front of them than men, when it comes to having a fulfilling sexual life. Men are expected to be sexual beings. Women are castigated as sluts and fallen women if they appear to enjoy sex. Still. Men never have to work for an orgasm; some women never experience one. And of course men don't get pregnant. It's ultimately the woman's responsibility to control conception, and believe me, the issue generates a great deal of anxiety.

    On the other hand, I came to realize that many, maybe most, men feel sexually deprived - they expect women to reject their sexual advances, and when they meet a woman who's sexually open, they're amazed and grateful. This is partly because, like women, THEY'VE been conditioned to believe that nice girls don't fuck.

    I really do think, sometimes, that society has really messed up traditional male/female expectations.

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  13. Hello, O'Neil,

    Thanks so much for dropping by the Grip.

    Yes, it does seem like a golden age, especially in retrospect. However, I wonder whether it would feel the same, to go back to our old bodies with our current knowledge and experience. Part of the thrill was the newness of it all, and yes, the sense of transgression, of going beyond limits.

    There's a great sci fi novel by Bruce Sterling called HOLY FIRE. The protagonist is a woman over 100 years old who undergoes a (painful and difficult) genetic procedure to rejuvenate her body. Afterwards, she's very confused. She feels overwhelming lust because of her newly flowing hormones, but doesn't exactly know how to deal with her feelings. When I read this, I thought, "Yes, that's exactly right."

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  14. Greetings, Larion,

    Sometimes it seems as though women have gotten a raw deal, doesn't it. But then you ask men, and they think that they're the ones with the problems!

    Thanks for joining us here.

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  15. An inspiring piece, Lisabet. I don't think I've ever really felt this level of freedom. Even when I know what I want and I reach for it, I always expect there to be a price.

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  16. Lisabet, I've always found that public opinion is one thing. Familial pressure to be something your (I'm) not is something else entirely, and in the end, caving to that pressure puts such a wall between you that you realize it was never worth it, anyway. Not only does it limit you, but now your someone you were never supposed to be and those closest to you don't really know who you are at all.

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  17. Hey Lisabet - nice...'freedom rings true' kind of post, perfect for our 4th celebration. Aren't epiphanies the best *grins*
    Thanks for sharing part of your past/your life (the picture you used made me smile).

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  18. This is a great sexual initiation scene, Lisabet - a genre that usually conveys more philosophical significance than physical ecstasy (because doing it well usually requires practice!).

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  19. Hello, Mike,

    You know, I didn't realize how lucky I was until MUCH later.

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  20. Thank you, Kay Dee!

    Always glad to coax out a smile from a friend.

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  21. Hello, Jean,

    It's funny, I don't remember the physical part of this (or most of my adventures!) at all - only the emotional aspects.

    As I said to Mike, I really didn't understand the significance of this little vignette till much later in life.

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