The first time a woman kissed me, I was shocked at my response. My body said yes, to her lips on mine and her hand on my fully clothed breast.
It was a late night, in the living room of a girlfriend I had known for ten years. She had seen me through the sudden hit-by-a-car death of my mother years earlier, holding me sobbing in her warm arms. She’d been the home daycare provider for my two-year-old daughter. She became the kind of girlfriend who could drop by anytime unannounced and be welcome in my home.
At one sad point in my all-but-defunct marriage, she was my hang out friend on the Friday nights, where looking back, my ex-husband was not really over-nighting on his office sofa to get more work done at his Washington DC high-stress job. More realistically, he was getting some downtime with a woman other than his 39-year-old emo wife, dealing with her mother’s sudden death.
It was this kiss on my girlfriend’s sofa (followed by naked tussling in her bed) that lead me to this realization—engaged in a feminine meets feminine sex, I was surprisingly free from my hetero programming around the Cosmo Girl injunction to master at least 50 Ways to Please A Man.
On that sofa and later, bed, I finally realized when I take the cock out of the equation, sex was no longer about pleasing him (either with my multi-orgasmic ability or my pleasure-giving skill set).
Instead, in a deep dive into the unknown of another woman’s body, sex was about curiosity and sheer play.
Because with my girlfriend I was not looking for her love, approval and commitment—that was secured in the years-long friendship already. I was instead in a place of free-flowing pleasure and play, a place of such deep eros that I delighted in my own spontaneity and willingness to be clumsy; to laugh; to say, hey I have no fucking clue what I am doing here.
Sexually, women are as variable as fingerprints. A formula a la Cosmo (stroke his balls, twist your hand etc.) does not remotely work with women. In the place of a recipe is this alive luscious sense of the raw present moment.
I have just begun to rediscover this place of playful curiosity with my new husband with whom the adventure of life has translated into the adventure of sex, entirely redefined as I enter the unknown terrain of menopause.
Yes, I kissed a girl at age 45 (and several more since) and this sweet exploration has opened me up. In risking same-sex love as a mostly-hetero woman, I’ve re-discovered the virgin in me, the part for whom sexuality is an exhilarating landscape of possibilities. And it seems I can be romantically straight, preferring a husband over a wife, and yet sexually I can sometimes be gay.
Now, at 50, I am taking these loin-lead lessons to heart.
I’m learning to look at my sex life with the man I married this summer, as an adventure, fraught with peril and pitfalls, but equally blessed with mystery and discovery.
I’m learning to love what I don’t know—about him, myself and where we are headed playfully in bed and beyond, together.
Bonus time. This Katy Perry tune was topping the charts just after my first girl kiss with a girl who really did use cherry Chapstick.