The Sex I Deserved
By Bishop Howard | They/Them | Associate Clinical Social Worker
My sexual liberation journey began in 2015, when I moved to Chicago IL and discovered the joy of intimacy and kissing. For the longest time I had a very strict rule about not kissing hookups. I used to believe kissing was this ultimate intimate act that I could only share with someone who was my partner or someone I was interested in investing time and emotional energy into for more than a one time interaction.
This rule was a direct result of years of childhood trauma. I was born and raised in Detroit MI as a black AMAB (assigned male at birth) person. Raised by a single mother who believed heavily in enforcing gender roles, it was sometimes literally beaten into me that I wasn't allowed to express my emotions. Outwardly expressing emotions, especially crying, was a showing of weakness. Being a black man in this world meant that being weak wasn't an option. So like countless other of my queer/trans siblings, I learned to suppress my emotions and even despise myself whenever I felt overwhelmed with emotions.
As I became sexually active, whenever I kissed someone — whether it was a stranger at the bar, a random hookup from an app, or someone I had one date with — I found myself longing for that person and the interaction. That longing would stir up so many feelings that I was unprepared and unwilling to deal with, and so I surmised that kissing had to be off the table going forward.
All of that changed in Chicago. I had visited there several times prior, and I'd gotten really good at having very detached emotionless hookups: you come in, we cum, you leave. Simple. But one day I was scrolling the apps and I started messaging this guy. He was very cute, very my type, and was down to hook up. So we were talking more about what we were into and he said he was into kissing, to which I replied, “I don't kiss.” He said something to me that I’ll never forget, he told me, “If you cannot kiss me, you cannot enter me.” It was one of the hottest things I had ever heard and it only made me want him more, so I said ok and he came over.
I remember him showing up and me being incredibly nervous, as if I’d not been about a hookup in a very long time. We got in the bed and talked a bit and then started kissing. It began as very small light kisses that just deepened and deepened as we got more and more into it. We’re biting each other's lips and playing with our tongues and the whole thing was just so hot. We started having the penetrative portion of the sex and continued to kiss the whole time, I felt very lost in this human and we both got off while we were kissing. I remember laying there after it was all over and not knowing what to do or say and honestly not even wanting to look at him. And then to my surprise, he got up, got dressed and left without saying a word, and I just laid there and cried.
I laid there crying for quite a while because in that moment I had a realization. I realized that for years I had been allowing my childhood trauma to deprive me of something magical. Not only was I depriving myself of good intimate passionate emotion filled sex, but I was depriving myself of the sex that I deserved.