By: Em Kwissa
My first forays into the awkward and heated territory that is disrobing in front of another human being occurred in my junior year of high school. I was seventeen and I had already dated a few people, but with all my previous partners things had been kept strictly over-the-clothes. This particular relationship was markedly different in two ways. One, I was in love. Two, I no longer had any interest in pretending I wasn’t incredibly horny.
Arguably the most important part of sexual encounters of any kind is that everyone involved wants to be involved. There was no question that I was enthusiastic about the direction in which my boyfriend and I were headed and the speed at which we were getting there; the problem was, I wanted to be involved as someone else. I wanted to be someone with a flatter stomach, smaller thighs, and bigger breasts. I wanted to be someone hairless and devoid of unsexy bodily functions, someone who could contort into wild poses and who smelled and tasted like vanilla ice cream.
Thus, my first sexual relationship was a very sad thing. In preparing to go and see my boyfriend, I spent hours meticulously correcting every imperfect detail of my appearance. In spite of wanting very badly to get to the fun naked things I knew we could be doing, it took me forever to get out of my clothes, and once I was in the buff I became preoccupied with sucking in my stomach and tensing my thighs and pointing my toes and lying only on my side to make my cleavage look bigger, and you know what? None of those things are conducive to fun sex. Here I was with this boy I loved and who loved me (and who, for the record, thought I was beautiful every inch), and for some reason I thought that things like a tan or a six-pack would make the experience better.
Fast forward through three years of experiences in sex and identity and arrive at present-day me, twenty years old and still soft-bellied, small-breasted, and covered in razor-burn if I shave my legs too often. This isn’t a story about how I started working out and tanning and applying various creams and perfumes and memorizing the Kama Sutra. I realized very soon after my boyfriend and I broke up that those things wouldn’t make a difference. My problem wasn’t with my body; my problem was with me, and no matter how much I changed my appearance, if I continued to believe that pleasure was only attainable if I became some future, new-and-improved version of myself, I would always be able to find something new to pick at.
I fully support physical self-improvement as a means of bettering one’s health and happiness, but I was kidding myself that I couldn’t be happy until I looked a certain way. I have the same body I did three years ago. The difference is that now I want to do naked fun things lights on and comfortable, because it’s way easier to have a good time when you’re thinking about how awesome sex is instead of how much more awesome sex would be if you looked like someone else. Don’t let a hypothetical version of you upstage you in bed. You’re here. You’re horny. You’re hot as hell. Go get some, kid.