I don’t touch myself. My own hand between my own legs doesn’t feel sexy, it feels invasive. If I pinch my own nipples I am bemused by the dissociation present between the parts of my body and my mind. If I cup my own breasts I am just shocked by the weight of them rather than enraptured by their curves. I do not touch myself.

Which was the cart and which the horse? I don’t remember masturbating as a child, so much so that I didn’t really know it was a thing a girl or a woman would or could do. My thrill was in the sensation that could be generated in my body by another’s touch. Unexpected, invasive, sometimes penetrating, always transgressive and deeply thrilling. I didn’t learn about my responses at my own hands but at others. For a long time I thought that meant they owned them. It is a fairly recent discovery to know that, in fact, they are mine.

I remember the youth club car park and the boy’s hand in my knickers bringing me to a panting, buzzing cliff edge that I could not get over no matter what. A pub garden where I wore a white dress with squirrels on tied at the shoulders and no bra. He stood behind me, hands sliding in between the fabric and me and proclaimed ‘look, a living bra!’ I felt a pride in them that I hadn’t before, with the edge of shame at what a slut I was, not only to let him, but to like letting him.

This letting him, and if I am honest now, letting her, is so deeply connected to my sexual response that without another to let, there is no desire. I crave the falling into it, a deeply hidden pool of sensation, that another’s hand or mouth can let run to the surface in a way I never can for myself. I love my responsiveness, sprung out from the confinement that did not feel confining until the moment it is freed. I melt into sensation, am overtaken by its gush and torrent, and am buffeted down stream to a sea of lust in which I happily drown.

That this needs another to happen is at once a strength and a weakness. It is hard to learn more about yourself when you need another to experience yourself through. It is also very easy to find yourself in exploitative relationships because of the nature of this kind of sexuality. Still it is a journey worth making which ever path we take. I have come to acknowledge that my sexual drive is responsive. I need another to act and for me to respond. Perhaps this is a deep seated ambivalence about being a sexual being that is so rooted in me that, like bindweed in a garden, is impossible to get rid of. Or maybe it is a lack of confidence in my attractiveness, who knows, but it is still a marker of the way I engage sexually. I am coy in a way that I despise because I am afraid to risk rejection, stern when I could be flirty, restrained when I am longing to let go. Second guessing and hiding whilst appearing present is my super power. One I use against myself.

If my imagination was more visually orientated, if I could recall how things look rather than how they feel and sound, perhaps I might be able to conjure up a fantasy that could tip me over. As it is, I turn on my wand and leave it on low as I scroll twitter. I have to regard my arousal from the corner of my eye, not look at it directly until it becomes inevitable and is pulled from me by the incessant vibrations. Effectively I let the vibrator give me an orgasm. Yet again responding to external stimuli Is this a good thing? I am not sure, but in the end I am happy that I now can have orgasms. It requires me to remember that it is a thing I can do, which is not so often as I don’t remember it is, but still it is an option now.

Mostly I think there is more to explore and perhaps as I get older i will begin to find new pathways and countries that I had no sense of existing until now. Perhaps aging will be the thing that gives me confidence because of a sense of the finiteness of this experience we call life. Or more likely perhaps, the experience of being loved by someone, who I know, sees me better than I can see myself.

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