The Moments In Between
By Helena Bon'em Harder | she/her
I’m 12 and my best friend and I start experimenting with things I read about in Playboy while babysitting. At the time, every family I babysat for had a dad with a Playboy subscription. My best friend and I didn’t really know what the words meant; “orgasm” was not in our vocabularies so there was no magical goal we were trying to reach. It was just play and fun, but the foundation of my sexuality.
I sometimes wonder now if she identifies as straight.
I’m 19, on a beach at night. He bites my nipples and I ask him to bite harder, please. He looks at me and says,
“Wow, you’re kinky!”
And I become aware that my desires are my desires and pleasure is for me to dictate.
I’m 23 and time spent not having sex is time wasted.
I’m 25 and he spanks me for the first time and my world explodes with new sensation. Pleasure and pain take me to a new orbit and I am drunk, for the first time, on endorphins. I have found the best drug that exists and I begin to collect bruises and stories.
I’m 26 and I meet the woman I will eventually call my wife, my Batma’am. I learn more about service from her than I could learn from a lifetime of serving. I make her laugh and she makes me feel protected.
I’m 27 and I meet him. Sir. Sitting at his feet, the way he pulls my hair, the hand around my throat, his whiskey flavored kisses. Together we discover unexpected firsts, both thinking we already knew ourselves.
I’m 28 and I read Lolita for the first time. I am uncomfortable. I see myself in her youthful sexual promiscuity. I find myself in her youthful sexual promiscuity. I didn’t know I was looking.
I’m 35, my wife has just died, and grief takes me on a new journey. Grief consumes my sex drive and decides when I am allowed to experience pleasure. For the first time in my life, sex is not...important. It is, but it also doesn’t matter. I want it, I crave the touch, the attention, the moments of feeling alive, the moments that blot out the grief. Or, I could make a nice cup of tea.
I’m almost 36 and I find my liberation in the little moments, the moments in between.