The First

CW: sex
TW: sexual trauma (warning also pertains to any links within)

It hurts. A lot. Just like Momma told me.

He stops and gives me a kiss. A tiny stream trickles from the corner of my eye. I can’t quite tell if I’m happy or scared.

I have come a long way, though. Six years before, it grossed me out. It was this dirty, vile thing. I couldn’t even bring myself to take those pink, blue, and white pills for my acne. I didn’t want others to assume I was “active.” Three years before, the notion of sex disgusted me. You’re supposed to wait until you’re married to do it and even then only out of necessity – to keep your husband happy.

It took a good friend, a book on sexual trauma, and days of therapeutic discussion to overcome some of my own traumas. Of them, there were many.

For now, I try to ignore Mom’s voice in my head. All their voices – the pastor and my teachers and that counselor that showed grotesque images of sexually transmitted diseases on a giant screen in our high school auditorium. I am past all of that. I am clear of their programming.

Nevertheless, it feels peculiar. Nothing at all like I expected. Admittedly, I didn’t know what to expect.

I flinch and bite my lip as he goes all the way in.

“Are you okay?” he asks.

He is trying to be gentle. He knows, and somehow, that didn’t scare him away as I thought it might. How often do you hear of a 25-year-old virgin, after all?

I swallow. “Ca-can-can we stop?” I ask.

“Of course,” he replies with no hint of disappointment or dissatisfaction.

He pulls out and lays down beside me. His hand grabs mine, and he squeezes.

“I’m sorry,” I utter in a meek tone.

“Stop that. You have nothing to be sorry about,” he says.

I turn over and lay my arm across his chest.

“Thank you,” I say, surprised and grateful.

His chest is damp from my tears, and this time I know the emotion for sure – it’s happiness.

Two days later, I overcome my fears, all those years of programming, and accept sex as a natural thing between two people. (Though, maybe still a little dirty.)

18 thoughts on “The First

  1. Melony, this is so real and vulnerable.
    I see your concrit badge and wish I had some spot on advice for you. The tone is perfect, communicating your fear in the moment. I wasn’t sure where you were going at first, but that may be what was needed to take the reader along, which you definitely did. Well done.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Melony. This was so beautifully vulnerable and generous of you. Both the CW and the TW were well placed and appropriate (and kudos for using them!). You did a really wonderful job of taking the reader right into the moment, then pulling back to give some backstory — gradually moving the reader through time back to the narrative present. Using simple sentences and conveying action and dialogue without editorialising was a wonderful way to show the reader the scene and involve us. The only line I would mess with at all is the last one. Penetrative sex as the marker of womanhood is seen as a little outdated and inaccurate, and though it’s very clear that that’s what it felt like for you, the wording has the potential to alienate those readers who don’t define their womanhood in that way.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you so much for all of your words, Asha! I’m hoping you can help me with that last line. I intended for it to show that even though I say throughout the piece that I’m free of all that programming, I’m not 100% clear of it. It’s obviously come out as just an archaic belief instead, so would it be better to just cut it completely or hint at it somehow.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. I don’t think you need to cut it completely. It’s a marker of change and growth and that’s important to show. I think reflecting it back on yourself is a good way to deal with it. For example: “Two days later I finally felt like an adult” or “like a grown up” or “like I’d transitioned to the next stage of my life” — something that indicates the growth that you felt, the satisfaction with overcoming your inhibitions (or programming).

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Beautifully done, Melony. I agree with Asha’s comments. I wonder if you might experiment with overcoming the programming as the final line? I think your idea of showing the ghost of that programming might still be there is a sound idea, so it might be worth trying several alternatives to find something to show your true feelings. Thank you for sharing this.

        Liked by 1 person

      3. Thanks so much, Myna! I really appreciate all of the support from everyone! I’ve updated the piece now that voting has ended. Hopefully it hits the mark a little bit more

        Liked by 1 person

      4. Thirding what everyone said here, which, you know, if that’s your only critique of this tenderly-handled piece (seriously, it’s actually refreshing to find a “first, about how I was taught things are dirty” where the first acknowledges consent and everyone behaves like adults?) … but just want to add in the area I grew up in, “became a woman” definitely meant getting your first period (also gross and biologically reductive, y’know) and that’s why the line ended up throwing me.


      5. Thanks, Rowan!!! You really rock my socks, you know? That part about consent was the big reason I wanted to post this piece, and I’m still glad I did, given the support you all have given me. 🥰


  3. Hello Mel! I love seeing you writing! ❤ This is such a vulnerable and honest piece. I particularly love the line "I am clear of their programming" as if you are trying to convince yourself. For surely the subtext says otherwise. I agree with Asha on the last line…perhaps you can work more directly with the idea that you were able to conquer the voices in your head? Or an expression of how it made you feel?
    Lovely work.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I love the vulnerability behind this piece. The pace was really good and I like how you showed the backstory without having to go into too many details. It’s a bit sad how the messages we get about sex as children can interfere with our experience of something natural and beautiful. The last line about becoming a woman made me flinch a little and I I think it’s like what Asha mentioned re it being an outdated concept. I’m glad to see a piece by you!

    Liked by 1 person

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