Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Like A Virgin Sacrifice: My Very First Time

I believe all human animals are sexual creatures, but some more than others. I fall into the “some” category. This is not to say that I have more sex than other people (sadly, I don’t), nor that I need it more than the rest of the population. Rather, it means that sex plays a huge role in dictating my behavior, as it has my entire life. At the dawn of my pubescence, this was what drew me to my like-minded idol, Madonna, and it’s why some people find my “Vogue Boy” video profoundly uncomfortable to watch. I wasn’t fully aware of my sexuality at the age of nine, but I was beginning to appreciate that it was already a lot more potent than that of my peers. I will never forget one of my grade school classmates that year informing me that there were rumors about me at the junior high school, where I didn’t know anyone. I asked what he referred to, and the rumor, apparently, was that I was practicing sexual experiments at home. When I heard “experiments”, my young mind immediately pictured a mad scientist laughing maniacally in a laboratory with beakers full of glowing liquid, and I wondered how any of that tied into sex.

The poster that adorned the living room wall of my first apartment. 

Until I was just one month shy of my twentieth birthday, my exposure to sex was limited to my exposure to porn, a pastime I picked up the summer after seventh grade. The first adult film I ever saw was Debbie Does Dallas, which still bothers me because I wish my introduction had been by way of the Marilyn Chambers classic Insatiable. Debbie Does Dallas, special place in my heart aside, is not a movie that I care for a great deal. Insatiable, on the other hand, is my favorite picture to emerge from the Golden Age of Adult Film. Even moreso than the genre-defining Deep Throat or Marilyn's breakthrough, Behind The Green Door, Insatiable is a profoundly liberating celebration of how much fun sex is supposed to be, regardless of gender or orientation. Debbie Does Dallas sends a different kind of message. For viewers sexually attracted to women, it is titillation in the form of a physical control fantasy about a woman in need of what her partner has. For those of us sexually attracted to men, the titillation is about mental control of the man who has what we want and how his partner will use sex to get it. To me, from “Debbie” onward, sex was always a means to end. It was about pleasing the guy I was with but hiding the power that his pleasure gave to me. It fulfilled my innate desire to be an Old Hollywood actress: like any great female movie star, having the ideal male co-star was crucial to making our happy ending work for an (imaginary) audience.

Drenched in "Drowned World" sweat: the last photograph of my virginal face.

During my late teens and early twenties, I was utterly infatuated with a virtual stranger whom I was certain I was meant to be with. While waiting for my secretly admired (aka "James") to fall for me too, I abstained altogether from physical intimacy: there was no sex, there were no encounters, and I never got in on any of the “let's try it out” action that was a part of so many people's high school and/or college years. I craved sex, but I also valued my virginity. After all, it had earned me a dedication in Madonna's Like A Virgin album--"to all the virgins of the world"--and I hoped that selling it off on eBay could earn me big bucks and lots of controversy and launch a phenomenal career in gay porn. But fearing that my chastity would not be able to compensate for my poor physical shape--or that police would find my ad before the press--I avoided negative feedback and/or jail time by nixing this idea.

The first night of The Drowned World Tour in Boston was the very first time I ever saw Madonna live, and her first moment onstage was the very first time I ever made direct eye contact with her. The second night of Drowned World in Boston…..well, let’s just say that that, as referenced in my recent Sex book post, was a different kind of “very first time”. It was August 8th, 2001, and I was loving the second show even more than the first, but feeling heartbroken that I wasn't sharing the experience with James. The music that fueled that particular Madonna tour was almost entirely from her 1998 Ray of Light album and 2000's Music. The former had been the soundtrack to the years that followed James leaving my school, while the latter was a constant presence in those final months before he left my life. Coupled with my loneliness was a raging case of sexual frustration. After two full decades without sex, the dazzling work of Madonna's beautiful male dancers aroused my mind and my libido, and the effects of that killer combo would soon redefine my life. 

After the show, I was still fueled by a longing for James, a lust for Christian Vincent (my favorite DWT dancer), and the lingering effects of a white-wine-and-klonipin cocktail used to calm my pre-show anxiety. I felt truly evolved after two nights of finally seeing Madonna live, as though the journey that began when I paid tribute to "Vogue" in Hampton Beach had lead me to Boston Garden exactly ten years later. A new journey was about to begin, but could only happen with a ritual sacrifice....of my own virginity. I was not consciously thinking of that metaphor at the time. But looking back, I cannot view my spontaneous and relentless determination to shed my chastity any other way.

Once my fellow Madonna concert-goers had gone home, I went to my gay sanctuary: the America Online “M4M” chat rooms. It was during my freshman year of high school that I began tiptoeing out of the closet by way of openly expressing myself online, but I never met the people who I chatted with and refrained from sharing photos of myself until James was out of the picture. But in 
the all-nighter that I pulled after the second “Drowned World” show in Boston, I was on a warpath against my own virginity, and determined to experience gay sex by way of AOL. I had a fantasy that Christian Vincent would be in one of those chat rooms, looking for the company of a nineteen year old virgin while the dancers were spending their last night in Boston. But assuming that fantasy might not come true, I was searching for a consolation prize in the form of the perfect guy--at least, the most perfect guy of whomever happened to be online in the wee small hours of August 9th, 2001. 

There was one guy whose general appearance was close enough to what James looked like to make  me crave his company, a'la Hitchcock's Vertigo. Alas, he turned me down. When I pleaded with him (by way of Instant Message) to reconsider indulging in the pleasures of my sexual inexperience, he encouraged me to cease my search. It’s funny that someone who did not know me at all, save for a few overlong IMs, could tell so quickly how naïve I was. This complete stranger knew that I’d very likely end up arranging my own destruction, and broke character from the coolness of "cruising mode" in a sincere attempt to get that across to me. The Universe is constantly sending me blatantly obvious alert messages like that, and I’m forever ignoring them for one reason or another. Perhaps my love of horror movie archetypes gives me a need to end up wishing I’d listened to wisdom instead of impulse. One way or another, I remember that guy only because I did NOT take his advice.

"I'm open...and ready....for you.....to justify my love."

It was somewhere around 7 AM the morning after "Drowned World" that I finally found the perfect candidate. I thought he looked like George Clooney in his (blurry) picture, and how could I possibly turn down losing my virginity to George Clooney? By the time he came over, I was falling asleep. In fact, I was woken up by his arrival at my door around 9 AM. Most unfortunately, and with all due respect, he did not look anything like George Clooney. It's not that he
 was unattractive, it's just that he was not the fantasy man that I opened the door ready to give myself over to.

Farewell, fantasy...

I was ashamed of myself and didn’t want him to know about my sudden lack of interest. So I said "hello" and immediately began making out with him. It was the first time I had ever passionately kissed anyone, and within moments, we were in bed. I was surprised by how naturally it all came, how effortlessly my body moved with his, how much I suddenly wanted to have sex with someone I was barely attracted to. Barring the rapid-fire showers we were required to take after high school gym class, it was the first time I had ever been naked with another man. And unlike in the locker room, I was neither covering my body for fear of being out of shape nor covering my eyes for fear of being outed. 

As this hot-'n-hairy stranger weighed down on me, ferociously pawing at my mouth and neck and chest, I found my mind going back and forth. One second, I was in the moment, absorbing something that felt so right. The next, I was having an out-of-body experience, looking at myself with my suitor and amazed that this was actually happening off of my TV screen. I was definitely impressed with my performance, and a “performance” it definitely was. In the months since James had ceased to be the active object of my affections, I turned my obsessive gaze to someone who looked a great deal like him: Lukas Ridgeston. I learned a great deal from watching the Slovakian gay porn superstar whose indescribable beauty made him king of the Bel Ami studio, and I put those acting lessons to use that morning. My suitor did not believe me when I kept insisting I was a virgin, and I took this as a great compliment. 

As a matter of fact, I still do.

Jeroen Krabbe & Renee Soutendijk in my favorite "gay film": Paul Verhoeven's De Vierde Man

I refer to this gentleman as “my first suitor” because I have no idea what his name was. For some reason, out of all the details I can remember from that life-changing day, his identity is not one of them. I think it was David, because that name kept popping out of my subconscious and into my creative work over the next two years. But it was very possibly an alias, anyway. He told me he was a lawyer, which I don’t entirely believe, and he also said he was thirty-six, though I suspected that he was probably closer to forty-six. Either way, he was a nice enough guy, but I was too convincing an actor, in no way letting on how uncertain I was about how far I wanted to go with someone who I desired so much more in fantasy than in the flesh. The naturalness and fulfillment of intimacy with another man was amazing, but the more I sensed his pleasure, the less I felt that my own reactions were genuine. We never fully consummated the traditional gay male sexual encounter, as defined by porn movies. He wanted to, but I did not, so I came up with a lame excuse to get him out of my apartment, though not before he left me with my first and only hickey. He pointed it out with pride, and told me to tell people I got it from shaving. By my own avoidance, I never saw him again. 

I immediately felt stained with shame, for the years I’d spent saving myself for James had just been flushed down the toilet by a horny stranger whose day got off to a GREAT start. After he left, I washed the sheets and did everything I could to get the hair and overpowering scent of his sweat out of the place. In retrospect, it really didn’t smell so bad at all: it was the aroma of animal lust, of consummated desires, of a bottled up passion finally let loose in the final weeks of my teen years. But at that time, it was the odor of sleaze and sin. It wasn’t that I felt sinful for being with a man, but rather that I felt sinful for being with a man other than my (imaginary) betrothed. Everyone I knew rightfully thought I should have gotten over James years earlier, and told me that putting my romantic life in the context of a ninth-grade classmate was, among other one-word reactions, absurd. The Catholic guilt I took with me when I graduated from St. John’s Prep reared its head that morning, and would continue to haunt me for months to come. But when I let go of that day's shame, and finally got over that James, my defining "Emmanuelle Era" truly began...

1 comment:

  1. That first Boston show of 'Drowned World' was my first time seeing Madonna as well - I almost cried when she first appeared, and then again during 'You'll See'. Thanks for bringing back those moving memories. - Alan