Getting a more culturally diverse selection of stories for my book – at least on ground level – proved tricky. Face to face, some of the people that I approached felt too exposed to grant me an interview. I was a bit too real and the enormity of what they were about to do was bit too scary…understandably. The internet, however, provides a buffer between the act of telling a very intimate story and the real world. It is here in the digital realm that I have often managed to reach the unreachable. I still don’t have the Muslim story in case you’re wondering. But I live in hope. In the meantime, today’s story teller is Jewish or ‘Of The Tribe’ as she put it. Not only that, but she tells her story beautifully. Before she begins, she gives it a bit of background….
‘I was sent to an all-girl’s school where we weren't given sex education, rather a short course in Year 12 regarding the ritual laws of marriage. There are a LOT of them, and some of them make more sense than you could imagine, for example once a woman has her period she's not supposed to have any physical contact with her husband for about two weeks. Then she does a sort of ritual bathing and the couple are back on for a fortnight. The feedback that I get from my married girlfriends as well as older married women is that it is a lifesaver for their sexual relationship. It continuously builds up the sexual tension and keeps divorce rates surprisingly low.
It's actually a mitzvah (a good deed) to 'be fruitful and multiply', and it’s generally understood that sexual purity (doing it in the right way, with the right mindset and only with your spouse) is a really big deal on a spiritual level. For me it was more about distinguishing my needs as an individual from the needs and expectations of the very protected, bubbled community I grew up in…..
I'm a 1989 girl, live in Australia. Spent some time is Israel. Lost my virginity the other day and then found your blog which was comforting to no end. Thanks for providing the stories that got me through the post-sex ‘WTF I JUST HAD SEX’ hours.
I was of the belief that my maidenhood was to be preserved for the poor man who got tricked into marrying me. He would be a religious boy, probably a virgin himself and we would make sweet love in a five star bridal suite, my designer wedding gown thrown indelicately over a lampshade in our haste. That was the big dream. Eventually all my religious friends paired up, got hitched and got pregnant, leaving me the last one standing. I spent years desperate to find someone who would lovingly pay my credit card bills and hold me when I was being histrionic. I fell in and out of love with bro-friends, all disinterested in me, went on a series of awful dates, etc, etc. You know the story. Eventually I let go of the idea of marriage, realizing that if I was going to wait around for a Yeshiva boy to sweep me off my over-sized feet I would never, ever have sex and that just wasn’t an option.
So I have been through the process of shedding off the archaic belief systems of my forefathers. While I still respect my heritage I can’t take the religious doctrine seriously anymore. I’ve seen too many cases of emotional retardation within married relationships in religious communities to want a part of it. So I’ve shifted into other circles, dated around. Was still left relatively unimpressed. Complaining to a dear friend of mine about my sexual frustration he suggested a boy he knew. I took one look at the kid, Marco, and wrote him off. A month later I caught myself thinking as I got dressed to leave the house, ‘Marco’s going to be there. Better change into something nicer.’ Which was ridiculous because I didn’t even like Marco. Couple days later we were at our mutual friend’s house listening to the Beatles on vinyl. Between furtive glances, fuelled banter and the intensity of, ‘I Want You’ drumming between us, I realized that I probably had a bit of a thing for Marco after all. And then I realised that, at twenty-one, in a modern secular society, if I had a thing for Marco and if Marco had a thing for me there was only one conclusion. Eventually we’d have to have sex.
Almost off the bat I told him I was a virgin. He took it well, assured me he was fine with waiting, that we could take our time, that we had to trust the process. We spent a week in bliss. I mean bed. We didn’t have intercourse but we found some really entertaining alternatives. It took us five tries over two months before Marco broke me in. I was in too much pain for anymore so we left it at that. The next day I asked him to come over and finish what we’d started. He came over. I demanded to be fed. We went for sushi. Came home. Fucked. It was that easy. A little discomfort at the beginning but for the most part it was fun and exciting and new and weird and different. What struck me was the reality of it: the sweat, the urgency, and the primal savagery of it. That’s what I’m left with more than anything. Marco was as slow as I needed him to be. We tried various positions, laughed and joked and talked to each other through it. I don’t think I’ve ever experienced something as bizarre as having a man come inside me, feeling every heartbeat and shake and shudder before we untangled ourselves and lay in an exhausted heap on the bed.
It wasn’t making love. It wasn’t a fantasy. It wasn’t a candle-lighted affair on red satin, he didn’t whisper sweet nothings into my ear, he didn’t fall in love with me, nor did I fall in love with him. Like he said when we were cleaning up in the bathroom, it’s no big deal. ‘Its just sex.’ I looked at him horrified. ‘It’s not just sex!’ I retorted. ‘It’s—‘ I made some wild gesture with my hands then gave up. I’d spent years imparting so much meaning onto the act. Sex was marriage, sex was love, sex was fantasy, sex was magic, sex was universes colliding, sex was ultimate unity, sex meant… well, on a practical level sex is what our bodies are conditioned to do to ensure the survival of our race. Its chemical reactions fizzling over and causing our minds to race with ideas and hidden meanings and loaded expectations. Marco was very possibly onto something here. Sex is just sex. And I had it. It was all right. Messy, clumsy, I had no idea what to do with myself but it was my first time and I intend on getting a lot of practice. It wasn’t everything I’d wanted it to be but it’s now something I have and can use and cultivate and refine and perfect.
Afterwards we went out with some of his friends for drinks. He held my hand, kissed me, kept me close, asking if I was okay. Later that night I curled up in bed alone, slightly mourning the loss of my girlhood innocence and wondering how this advancement in our relationship was going to affect it. That has yet to be seen. In the end, I’m glad I waited for Marco. Not because I know he’s The One. He probably isn’t. But he’s a good guy, he was patient, he held me through the process, he was there by my side for the aftershock and he just genuinely seemed to care. I honestly can’t imagine having had a more serene experience with anyone else and for that I am immensely grateful.