I remember locking myself in the bathroom with the issues of Cosmo that my mom picked up in the grocery store line, stretching out with my stomach against the cold tile. I only read the articles about dating and sex, turned on though most of the interesting concepts had no denotation for me. I looked up “oral” in the dictionary and concluded that oral sex was kissing.
When you’re a lonely kid, you think you’re the only one, and religious kids think that no one else knows about masturbation.
For my 11th birthday I asked for a teal iMac and was surprised when I actually got one, along with an internet connection. Like many kids in that era, I spent my time in sex-oriented chat rooms, concocting an a/s/l strategically and waiting for someone to IM me privately. There, I responded to questions as vaguely as possible in order not to disrupt the chat’s flow toward my desired conclusion—all those bodiless actions, phantoms without physical correlates even in my imagination, had a secret misdemeanor’s thrill. When these strangers described what they’d like to do to their version of me, it felt like making contact.