the conversation was going nowhere til i turned my hair
he started touching me and kissing me like he didn’t care
– Britney Spears, ‘I’ve Just Begun Having My Fun’
A couple of years ago, I decided to abstain from sex unless I was in a monogamous relationship. I just wrote a blog post about turning down a sex-based relationship because I had built enough self respect not to get into a mess, but I recently slept with someone with whom I’d actually wanted to have sex. I don’t want to go into any details or discuss the consequences that have come of this (which is precisely why I chose to avoid casual sexual relationships in the first place) but I wanted to write about it simply because something happened that doesn’t often happen with me: I felt pretty. I felt desirable. I felt sexual and I felt good about myself when it happened. I hadn’t felt that way in more than three years.
I have never felt like an attractive person and I have never been comfortable in my own skin. I have been called ugly for my entire life – from the time I was very little – and I have internalized the message that I am an inherently ugly person. I believe that even if I could walk out of my disability tomorrow, I would still feel ugly. I dislike my hair texture, complexion, nose, tummy, waist, thighs, and feet, and I would still dislike them and find fault with them if I were not impaired or I completely healed myself of my impairment. I understand that everyone has insecurities about their bodies and parts of their bodies that they dislike and want to change. I used to say to my personal trainer, ‘If everyone were happy with their bodies and the way they looked, no one would ever buy anything.’ He would say, ‘I’d be out of business.’
I think I felt more attractive that night because he kissed me. He was attracted enough to me to initiate what happened between us and to continue it when I responded positively to the experience. I felt wanted – in a way I hadn’t in such a long time – and that made me feel better about my body. My impairment, surprisingly, didn’t factor into the experience. My body is certainly stiff – particularly since I haven’t been to pilates lately due to other commitments – but it did not ‘impair me’ as I expected it would, especially since I was with someone new. My hips are very stiff my legs are weak and inflexible, but neither were a concern. That surprised me but made me happy because it reduced the stress usually associated with sex.
I’m sad that nothing will come of this – especially since I stopped having sex for this reason and recently blogged about ‘taking that stance’ – but it did feel good to have it in the moment and, most importantly, I felt good about myself and my body. I spend so much time and energy hating my body, working to improve it, criticizing it, and berating myself for all the ways that it betrays me. It’s nice to have experiences where I can work with my body and through the limitations rather than fighting against them all the time. It was just nice to relax into ‘what I have now’ and, for once, let that be enough.