True Stories: Final Fantasy
There's one thing I've never done, and I'm saving that for my future husband.
Once in a while, my friend Isis will smirk and comment that my "pearls are showing," always in response to some girly exposition on my part. This most recently occurred during my tirade about how I refuse to have anal sex.
But there's a reason I refuse, and it's not forever. As a vague nod to the traditionalism I typically reject (yet continue to idealize), I'm saving my back-end virginity until marriage. As an easily bored single girl, I've engaged in an extensive laundry list of sexual behaviors, but have never allowed a cock in my ass.
At some point early on, I decided I wanted to reserve one sexual niche exclusively for my future husband. And I certainly can't offer him my virginity, my first threesome, or my first time fucking in a rooftop hotel pool at dawn. Anal sex is something I've flirted with, considered, but never done, all in the name of keeping something, as they say, "sacred."
I played my teen years like a Gonzo fairytale, fast and loose, and slowly evolved toward an adulthood of (mostly) calmer and (mostly) more considered sexual habits. Always informed by an unhinged curiosity and a pro-fun feminist sensibility, my sexual decision-making slowly came to include consideration for other stuff, too. Like many women of my genus — young, single, urban, analytical, horny — my sexual narrative is informed by the tension between an abstract idea of my future — babies, a swimming pool, anniversaries — and the sex I'm having now.
Acknowledging the sundry intricacies of this shit can be genuinely impossible at this point, so my friends and I often attempt to make order of the chaos with restrictive, even punishing, life choices: "I'm only going to sleep with my exes this summer. New people would just complicate things." Or, "I'm off sex till I'm done with my thesis." Or, "Just making out at parties. I'm not going home with anyone." Some girls take an approach that's similar to mine in its self-preservationist agenda: they'll have anal sex, but not vaginal, allegedly keeping their virginity both spiritually and physically intact.
Since I have the kind of Type-A personality that's satisfied by rules, I contend with the tension between here and there by purposefully not doing something (anal sex) until a fixed date (marriage), not as a joke or endearing quirk, but as way to deal. Not everyone understands. I get hell from my girlfriends for not trying it. "You write about sex, weirdo. You can't not do it." A few of them think my decision is based in fear: of pain, of the unknown, of crossing some invisible slut line. Some of that might be true. I'm typically a wholehearted submissive (unless instructed otherwise), and there's a lot that's sexy to me about all kinds of power dynamics and their manifestations. But anal brings nothing to mind other than a stinging shock. My ever-expanding universe of imaginary and porn-related fantasy (a recent addition: panty-specific porn — so hot!) has never included anal. I click away from anything that meanders unexpectedly assward. There's no appealing wetness over there, no give. Watching a particularly large penis go to work on a young lady's backside is in no way erotic to me, even to the part of me that generally responds all too quickly to the combination of pain and pleasure. Anal just seems like too much sex, sex that undermines itself, a bloated and ridiculous version of the original.
My distaste is isolated, applied only to me, and only for now. I thrilled to discover that a Rory Gilmore-ish girlfriend of mine is a hound for ass sex.
And, penis-insertion aside, I'm not ignorant of the rewards — I've warmly welcomed fingers and tongues into the fray. I'm curious, of course, about the feeling of anal sex. The anticipation is tremendous, in fact.
Still, the whole concept feels too personal to share with a man who isn't the designated "one." My boyfriends, even important ones, aren't allowed to see me in certain compromised situations. I don't pee with the door open, greet them sans mascara, or hang around in sports bras. While I'm an advocate for frank discussion of sex, I don't enjoy talking about non-sexual bodily functions, which is difficult when you're friends with vegans. A maximally WASPy background has me convinced that giving it all away upfront is an autobahn to disenchantment, and moreover, bad manners.
My traditionalism also informs what I believe is a flaccid basis for modern marriage: two adults with enmeshed lives, formalizing their state of enmeshedness. I want marriage to bring with it something particular and new. It won't be a shared apartment or house; marrying someone I haven't lived with seems sociopathic. And it won't be his perspectives on monogamy, experimentation, quality communication, or how best to spend a rainy Sunday, which I'll already know. Saving "it" for marriage has slipped away, and I don't regret that. But I do have this one last thing I've saved.
I've had four boyfriends — or sort-of boyfriends — since I made my anal proclamation. The first, despite a robust interest in all things filthy, charitably thought of my rule as cute and a little weird. He didn't sweat it much, since we lived together and talked about our future married life on the regular. (He eventually dumped me for unrelated offenses.) The second was so interested in dimly-lit, "meaningful" lovemaking I'm not sure he was aware of the existence of other, less gentle methods. The third, who recoiled at the thought of anal because "poo comes out of there," was pleased and relieved. The fourth, a genuine jock with rugby practices and pink popped-collar Polo shirts, was truly disappointed. To him, it was like discovering his new BMW 760Li had arrived without a stereo, and he seemed seriously let down that his cool girlfriend with the tattoos and fun stories carried with her any kind of sexual restrictions. False advertising!
But such a rule has inherent rewards. Playing with limitations — much like, say, toying with the notion of coming inside someone when condoms are your birth-control system — can be really hot.
Boyfriend number four understood the nuances of my anal rule, and while I trusted him to never actually do it, he would often run his cock directly on and around the no-fly zone, sleazily ruminating about what he could do if he wanted.
Sexual submission is ultimately about control, about exchanging one kind of vulnerability for another. My anal rule is no different — just a way of ensuring there's something left for me to do, some value to my notions about the ideal characteristics of a marriage. Wanting to be a doe-eyed, exploitable novice about something is as much who I am as anything else. And while I want genuine equality and an overarching go-team attitude in every relationship, including my marriage, I still need room to play the role of virgin bride.
I do wonder, though, if marriage will inspire some kind of latent Stepfordism that I'm not anticipating. That would be terrible. Or what if Future Husband, assuming there is one, is the kind of dude who doesn't care about what kind of sex I've gotten up to in my youth. (And even if he does care, simply refraining from anal doesn't exactly un-whore me.) Or the worst-possible-case scenario! Said husband is sickened by the very idea of anal sex, and after all of my efforts, I never get to experience it. This final risk, more than anything, may finally turn me over on the issue. n°