Sweet Agony

I await you in my room, in the dark

No lights, don’t want others’ stopping by

This is to be our night, finally

No more guessing, no more holding back

My passion for you is huge and deep

An encompassing wave of anticipation

Imagining you arriving washes over me

The earth literally moves under my feet

I listen to my heart pound louder and louder

I feel the tickle of butterfly wings dancing in my belly

I am giddy, I am ready, I am going crazy

I hear footsteps and they stop at my door

I hold my breath as I watch the doorknob start to turn


Inspired by The Daily Post Daily Word Prompt: anticipate


Sexual Healing

Growing up in the 70’s, my sexuality was shaped by what are now considered to be pretty tame resources.

Remember that this was before the internet brought free porn into our homes, and nudity and sex acts were the norm in film and television.

It’s true: “free love,” second-wave feminism, women’s liberation, and the sexual revolution were making major strides in the 1960’s and 70’s. The 70’s saw many influential innovations. Edible underwear was invented. (Still being sold today.) Video Home Systems (or VHS) and Beta Systems were made available to buy in the mid-late-70’s, which the porn industry apparently mavericked for their retail use.

Like many middle class Americans, my parents didn’t have a VHS machine until the 80’s, so videos were not available to me. (We were also the last family I knew to get cable. My parents were against paying for TV for some reason. Maybe there were late night cable porn resources around in the later 1970’s, but not in our house.)

Despite there being many women who were battling for my future and the future of many young girls like me against the woman-as-sex-symbol stereotype, I remained steeped in the cultural and mass media imagery, messages and attitudes that kept that stereotype alive and well. And boy, did it all do a number on me.

I grew up in Houston, Texas, in a mostly white, middle class neighborhood.

Other than my brothers and the time this one guy was driving around the neighborhood without pants on, fondling himself, asking kids for directions, who I had the misfortune of being “exposed to,” I was not exposed to male nudity as a child.

But female nudity abounded, and shaped not only how I thought about myself and my body, but how I thought everyone else thought about me and my body.

So much so that the “me” in the sentence above and “my body” became synonymous in my mind. I WAS my body. My body was me. As in, I based my entire self worth on my appearance and whether or not I felt men were attracted to me.

(I still struggle with this encoding. But I digress. More to come on that later.)

Though I was born into the “Golden Age of Porn,” the “porno chic” years of 1969-84, I was not exposed to any of the films that were made famous during those years, notably Warhol’s Blue Movie, Mona, later The Devil in Miss Jones and Deep Throat. (They probably didn’t make it to mainstream theatres in Houston at the time, but even if they had, I’d never have gotten to see one.)

But we had magazines. Playboy and Hustler. Others. It was the photographic depictions of women in men’s magazines that primarily influenced how I saw myself as a woman.

My first memory of seeing and being influenced by a photo of a naked woman was actually a record cover, and this woman was not exactly naked. It was the cover of Herb Albert & The Tijuana Brass album “Whipped Cream and Other Delights” (1965.)

This was one of my parents’ favorite albums to play. I heard it often from an early age, and I loved dancing to the music, making up dances to the songs, which were saucy, sexy jazz concoctions.

But more than that, I was obsessed with the woman on the cover. I was attracted to her. (Maybe it was the appeal of the whipped cream. I was already way too into food: my eating disorder was gesticulating already.)

But it was more than that. On some level, I knew she was considered exciting, attractive and desirable, and I wanted to grow up to be just like her.

Also, TV shows such as “Love, American Style” Rowan & Martin’s “Laugh-In” were popular during my early years. Both had racy sexual references and innuendo and young women dressed in sexy outfits. From these shows, I learned that if you were sexy and young, you got positive attention from men. Think young Goldie Hawn dancing in those strobe lights in that green bikini with her painted body. The young women on the show actually wore babydoll dresses and Mary Janes because those were in fashion. Talk about confusing messages!

True story: If little me was asked at the time (when I was 4 or so) what I wanted to be when I grew up, I said “a go-go dancer.” I even had little patent white go go boots at 3!


These were my role models. This was the kind of woman I wanted to be!

Later, I found my brother’s girlie mag stashes and would go in when they were out to pore over them. I was fascinated by the women’s bodies, so different than mine. I knew that I fell way short, but I remained hopeful that maybe someday, with enough hard work, I could create a body close enough to rate some man’s favor.

When I was old enough, I started to read the articles (yes, I really did) and the infamous “Letters to Playboy.” These were my education in what was interesting to men about women. Through them, I discovered what men really thought about women. What they really wanted of us. And it all had to do with our bodies.

I learned that I was here to be attractive to men. That what I looked like and how attractive men found me was my purpose on this earth. That there was little value to me other than my sex appeal, and that if I wanted any happiness on this planet, I better work hard to be and stay appealing to men.

And so I did. I became the perfect female consumer. I bought into it all hook, line and sinker. The beauty products, the clothes, the way of being in the world.

I transitioned from my brother’s hidden away men’s magazines to the magazines of my adolescence. Though they were women’s magazines – Teen, Cosmo, Glamour, to name a few – the messages of their content were actually perfectly aligned with the former’s messages about the female role in society. In these magazines I found my road map, the formulas for winning and keeping a man, 100 ways to keep him satisfied in bed, and how to stay looking young and sexy forever.

Every issue of these magazines had different versions of these same themes, over and over. (And if you buy these kinds of magazines today, they still do.) And I bought them and bought into them all, every time.

How I related to boys and then men was all shaped by that early imprinting. I look back and feel like I didn’t really get to have real relationships with men (and women — since they were always the competition for the men) until much later in life. Because through all my dating and early relationships, I was living from the outside in, trying to be the women I had seen in those magazines pages. Trying to find and live the life promised to me in the ads in the magazines and on TV if I succeeded in making myself into one of those women in the pictures.

It took several years after moving to NYC as a young woman for me to learn how to leave my apartment without make up on.

It has taken many more years for me to unravel all of that social and cultural conditioning to find within my own idea of being a woman, of my own sexuality, of what I feel is my intrinsic value and purpose on this planet. It turns out, none of it depends on what men or society think of how I look.

It has been a tough going, this “unlearning.” I was thoroughly brainwashed. I drank the Koolaid. Despite years of hard work to reprogram myself, I still find little pockets within me that harbor beliefs like that Victoria Secret models are better people and deserve more than women like me. Or that if only I looked like this model or that model, my life would be perfect. Little pockets of self-hate that dismiss my worthiness as a human because I do not have large boobs and perfect thighs.

There’s still a part of me that is scared writing this blog post. That I will be labelled as “ugly” just thinking these thoughts/going against the grain.

I take those parts by the hand when they reveal themselves to me and I whisper the truth in a loving tone and tell them I am so sorry they have ever felt anything less than beautiful just as they are, inside and out.

Today, I try my very best to love my real body. I pour my resources into that. (I no longer buy those magazines nor do I need they ideas they sell.)

I love being in my body, and I love my awakening true sexuality. I love feeling desirable. (Who doesn’t?) But I no longer seek to feel this feeling from outside of me.

Today, feeling attractive and desirable is on my terms, made from an internal collage made out of my true essence  – what I like and feels good to me. This inner imagery replaces the old template.

There is no longer a buxom babe at the centerfold of my spirit, beckoning to me with promises of happiness and fulfillment if I am able to become her.

There is me, and the unique beauty that I bring to the world this time I am here.

Like many women my now-age, I look back at the loss of all that time trying to be a sex symbol as a tragic loss of my life’s precious energy.

I waste no more such precious time today.


Inspired by The Daily Post Daily Word Prompt: edible

Night Moves

This was it.

The night of graduation. Four years complete. The party had long since started.

I’d taken ecstasy and was well into hours of drinking, running from party to party offering intensely felt goodbyes and impassioned promises of staying in touch forever to pretty much everyone I ran into.

Emotions were high, and so was I.

It was at the fountain, as Deborah and I danced around the falling waters, that he passed by. I realized in that moment that I had been looking for him all night, or perhaps just my body had.

We both yelled out “Heeeeey!!!!” as he passed by, and then I impulsively said, “I’ve been looking for you!”

“So have I!” he stopped and said.

“Let’s meet up!” I said.

“Yeah! Let’s meet up! Your room, midnight,” he suggested.

“OK!” I gleefully yelled at his back as he ran on with his fraggle (gaggle of frat brothers.)

My high ratcheted to interstellar levels.

I’d been in love with him all semester, since the choir ski trip. He finally noticed me one day on the bus when I made everyone laugh by reading a cheap romance novel aloud in a sexy voice.

After that he started leaving me hand drawn cartoons and notes, and then we started meeting up and hanging out here and there.

We never went on dates, exactly. My sorority and his fraternity did not mix, so it was a bit like the Capulet – Montague situation going on. I guess you could say we kept in on the DL, though that phrase was yet to be coined. I was so bedazzled by him that I didn’t even notice that it was happening.

He was just the most amazing guy. I had a huge physical attraction to him and he made me laugh so hard. He was creative and smart and I just got weak in the knees around him.

Though we’d fooled around, we’d never taken to the next level. Not that I hadn’t wanted to.

But I was not super comfortable with my sexuality then. I still felt conflicted about really owning it (all that inherited and social conditioning that a “good girl” didn’t admit to liking and wanting or even having sex.) So I tended to sort of deny my own sexuality while at the same time pursuing it.

But I knew one thing in that moment that night when I ran into him at the fountain. I wanted that boy.

And now here it was, the last night of school. My last chance.

After the fountain, the goodbye tour continued, as did my drinking and drugging. I had no purse, no watch, as I had long ago learned that I would lose anything not on my person. I remember riding on the back of somebody’s green moped through the night to hit all the spots, laughing. I was giddy with anticipation, and hazy with inebriation. In the back of my mind, all I could think about was meeting up with him.

At a certain point I suddenly snapped to attention. What time was it?! It felt late.

I grabbed the nearest wrist and strained to read the time. The big hand was on the 6, and the little hand…fuck! It was 1:30 AM! Noooooo! My last chance! And I missed it?!

I starting running at full speed across campus. Maybe he got caught up too. Maybe he’d be there, sketching funny drawings of me dancing around the fountain,

When I finally reached my dorm room, my heart sank into my gut: it was dark. I fumbled for the key under the mat and entered the room, tears welling in my eyes. I blew it.

Why had I played it safe all semester? Why had I passively let him call the shots? I really liked him. I really wanted him. I may never meet another guy like him again. Damn my stupid Protestant good girl upbringing. I’d missed yet another opportunity to really live.

I closed the door, and as I turned, my body became aware of another body in the room.

My eyes, adjusting to the darkness, began to discern a shape in my bed.

“Cal? Is that you?” I asked, my heart doing flip flops in my chest and my mind, reaching for possibilities. Maybe my roommate had gotten into the wrong bed…was that Kim? No, she was already gone. Maybe…hope against hope….

“Yeah. What took you so long?” That voice. He was there. In my bed. Thank you Jesus.

In what felt like the most bodacious move of my life, I slipped my dress off and stood there, in my naked desire.

I whispered out into the darkness, “I want to make love to you. I know we’ll never see each other again, but I just really want to. I just want this one night. OK?”

I risked humiliation in his rejection or total disappointment in his gentlemanly restraint.

I risked my imagined-but-until-that-moment-still-crucial-to-my-self-delusional-upbringing-repressed-sense-of-my reputation.

I risked my own potentially life-long regret in the light of day.

I took a deep breath, and I think in that very moment, I changed in some very crucial way. I already knew on some level that no matter his answer, it was my asking that would always matter.

I waited through seconds of heart-aching agony and anticipation for him to reply.

“Yeah, sure, me too,” he whispered back.

My entire body sighed in relief, and then vibrated in pure desire.

I walked the few steps over to the bed where he lay, looked down at his face in the moonlight, and began to descend.


Inspired by The Daily Post Daily Word Prompt: descend