We didn’t have a plan.
I hate that.
It’s the afternoon of my last day in my hometown. I’m spending it with a very old friend, someone about whom I could easily say “we have nothing in common,” but we’re both here and I’m glad for it.
It’s a shock to see him drinking, though I know it’s not new. He laughs at that. Drinking isn’t all: apparently he’d decided–planned, even–to have sex outside of marriage. Plans fell through, but still, it was within the realm of possibilities. I ask about it–what changed, why he hadn’t sought other opportunities.
He says “It’s a lot easier for a pretty girl to just decide to have sex than for someone like me,” I know he’s turned down women before, so that isn’t all of it.
“Well, I’m right here, if you want to change that.”
His body language closes, tilts away. For a moment I’m not sure if he’s going to ask me to leave. “I can’t tell if you mean that seriously or not.”
“Yes, it’s a serious offer. I’m available, I wouldn’t want any kind of relationship–I’m driving four states away first thing in the morning.”
“What would you get out of it?”
“I like being responsible for people’s firsts–I don’t just mean sex. They look at you like you’re magic.” Well, that, and I’d get laid, same as you.
He’s undecided. I don’t want to push (well, I do want to, because “maybe”s drive me nuts, but I know better). So we talk about other things. Fail to decide what to do about dinner, drink too much to go get anything.
His roommate texts “Almost fifteen years of this, just have sex with her already.” It should annoy me, because fifteen years ago we had zero sexual tension. Hell, last year we had zero sexual tension. But today it is on the table and I can’t help but laugh.
Eventually it’s late enough I need to think about driving home. I ask if he’s hoping he won’t have to decide, just default to “no” when I leave. He says that’s not the case. Doesn’t say what is.
“Come here.” I pull him up next to me to kiss him. This is not how I kiss. This is a shadow, not a storm. I am giving him space, asking if it’s okay without a hint of teeth or claws (yet). This is not the storm but I can feel it, am greedy for it, there is something of thunder in every moment he says yes to.
Afterwards, I worry. Was I too pressuring? Might there be psychosocial effects he wouldn’t have predicted? I’ve had a lot of partners. (He didn’t ask how many, and I’m glad, because I don’t know.) Sex is something I enjoy, and yes, it’s a big deal but there’s nothing more attached to it than that. For him, it was a first, and I’m a little unsure why he said yes to it at all, least of all to me.
Turns out he was willing to answer that in a lot of detail:
Okay, why I said yes to you. Honestly, part of it was that I had already said yes to somebody else. Even though that didn’t happen, the fact was that I had already made the decision that it was something I was willing to do. When I agreed to it with [redacted]’s ex, it was for a few reasons. I found her attractive, yes, but much more important was how we’d had such an intimate relationship for so long that I wasn’t afraid of being embarrassed with her, and we were also in no danger of either one of us falling for the other and thus complicating things.
By complete coincidence, you just happen to meet those precise criteria as well, making you exactly the one other person in my life with whom I could imagine having sex with outside a committed relationship. I didn’t realize that until you made the offer. In fact, it hadn’t even occurred to me before that, though it seemed immediately obvious as soon as you said something.
I wanted to quell your fears over this, too. I don’t want you to worry at all about leading me to do anything I was not prepared to do. I’ve said that I’m responsible for my actions and I mean it; even had you come over with the express purpose of sleeping with me and you went into full seduction mode to get what you wanted, it still would have been my decision whether or not I’d do so. Girls have done that, so I know I’m capable of saying no.
What I didn’t tell you at the time is that I’d been seriously considering it since you first offered, and I decided to go through with it the moment you pulled me onto the bed. The whole time you thought I was afraid to take the next step was really just me stalling for my own sake. I’d made my decision, but I wanted to give myself time to see if I’d get freaked out while I still had the chance to back out. I’m sorry you had to put up with my insurance plan, but I wanted to be sure I wasn’t getting into something I’d regret. When I finally said yes, that wasn’t me deciding I was ready to actually have sex. That was me deciding I’d had enough time to change my mind on the decision I’d already come to. No second guessing ever came up, no moments of serious trepidation in the hours since saying yes in my head, so I went ahead and said yes outside my head too. I don’t want you to think I got caught up in the moment. I decided long before the moment, then gave myself all that pre-moment time just in case.
And even though I’d never have thought of you as someone to have my first time with, in a way I’m glad that it was you. You were always there for me all those years ago, even while you were going through far worse than I was. Even if we’ve obviously drifted apart in the intervening years, you were probably the first person I was ever truly–albeit not physically–intimate with. Somehow it feels appropriate that you were the first I was fully physically intimate with as well. Perhaps that’s silly of me.
I know it wasn’t a big deal for you and I’m perfectly okay with that, but obviously it was kind of a big deal for me. [Redacted] asked me today if I was happy I did it. Happy is not the right word; it did not make me happy. Neither did it make me unhappy. Instead, I’d say I’m content with it. It wasn’t some huge life-changing event or anything. I still feel like the same person, and I’m glad for that. But I’m also relieved. I’ve spent the last few years growing increasingly doubtful about my decision to wait, and now all that pressure, all that doubt and worry that’s been weighing on me is gone.
And that’s not even including long-familiar worries about my potential performance. I know I was far from amazing, but unless you were merely an incredibly convincing actress, I feel okay about what I managed for a first time. Perhaps with practice I can eventually become truly decent, though I imagine that day is still long in coming.
Whether I should have done it or not I cannot conclusively say (though I certainly don’t regret it now), but in the end that almost doesn’t matter. The decision was made, it’s over, and there’s no sense worrying about it anymore. So for helping me with that, I am genuinely grateful.
Oh, and it was really fun too.
All that said, I don’t want this to change our relationship because I value it greatly (yes, even despite the infrequent contact). I’m fine with referencing it or joking about it or whatever; I feel no need to hide from what we did, but I also don’t want it to define our relationship. I realize you probably weren’t worried about that, but I tend to overthink things. I was thrilled to see you and I would have been entirely happy about that day even had we not slept together, and I’ll be just as happy to see you or talk to you again even with no expectation that it will ever happen again.
Okay, I think I’m done with this painfully long and meandering text. TL;DR: I loved seeing you, and I thoroughly enjoyed having sex with you. I’m glad you came, and I’m glad you came.