I want to send someone an email, a message, something written, about our sex act. It was good. It was satisfying. I want to say, “That was good sex.” Good sex like masturbation after 9 months of pregnancy and another 3 months of postpartum healing. I’ve often heard mom talk about those women who did not, because they could not?, leave an abusive husband, a horrible relationship, because they “love men,” meaning, they love that thing about men. And always in disgust. But I wonder, good sex really does make a difference. And if you experience good sex with the man you’re with, then perhaps the relationship is worth saving. At the very least, you know that, at least in one aspect, he puts your pleasure first, or at least, he knows your body enough to make you come. You can't really give a woman good sex unless you know her body and what it needs. All these feminists (I am among them), all these talks about masturbation as liberation. I don’t see it. Can’t feel it. Personally, I find autoeroticism to be sub par. Really. Not all that it’s cracked out to be. Having another person touching you is so much more erotic than you touching yourself. You get wetter, come harder and longer, and in the end, much more satisfied. The only time I've been completely satisfied with work done by my own hands was in that long afternoon shower 3 months after Mary was born. I was ready to be sexual again, my body had almost healed itself and it had enough of the right hormones for me to have a libido, but not so much that I wanted intercourse. My body hadn't completely gotten over the shock of a 7 lbs baby pushing through my vagina, and it really didn't want anything coming in or out of there at the moment. So masturbation was the best recourse, and it was very good. It was perfect, just what I needed.
It took me a long long time to accept masturbation, and accept that it was okay to masturbate, that it was normal human behavior. I grew up thinking it was a sin, a great great sin that wasn't even religious, it was just bad, and dirty, a bad and dirty thing for a little girl to be doing. But it was the only way I knew to get to know my body, to come into my own. When did it begin? I don't remember. I just remember it was early. Even before I started menstruating. My menses began when I was 12 I think, or maybe 13, when I was in 7th grade. But I remember masturbating when I was in Vietnam. Maybe 7 or 8? Maybe 9. Or 10 I think. I don't know how it all began. Maybe I just woke up one day and decided to masturbate. Or maybe seeing the neighbor looking at nude pictures of women with another younger neighbor (they were both trying to shoo me away but I was incredibly curious and had to peek as I walked by them and saw those voluptuous white women with their full, perky breasts. They must have been from the 60s. None of the adults were home that afternoon; the younger neighbor was supposed to be watching us. I wonder if they ever did sleep with each other.) Or maybe it began afterwards, after I was molested (what's the difference between being molested and being raped?). My goodness, to use that word now, it sounds so strange. I have such a vague memory of this word, funny, such a vague memory for something that haunted me for so so long. Maybe later we can talk about it. I can't do it now. Not now. Not because it's hard to do. Not at all. It's actually quite an easy topic. I can talk about it with a great degree of ease now, after much struggle and fighting and horrible horrible fears, until finally, out of sheer exhaustion and out of time, pure time, because pains like this can't be cured by anyone or anything except time, just time, the memory just gave up and stopped h(a)unting me. I think it happened when I was eight. I say I think because I'm not sure. My Vietnam memories are time-less. They're all mixed up in one big collage I label childhood. What came before and what was after have shapeshifted until I can no longer recognize which is which, until they all peer out at me from a single window, and when I call one, they all show their gaunt faces. But, yes, like I said, later, later we'll talk about it.