The first time I gave head was with my first college boyfriend. His roommate was out of town, and we had made plans for me to stay over. I remember how tentative we had both been when he asked whether, I, y’know, wanted to, well, stay if I liked, y’know–

I felt like sleeping together meant, y’know, sleeping together . . . or at least something close to it. So as I lay astride him, we comfortably made out and dry humped and went through all the other moves we’d rehearsed together before, effortlessly and easily. But my mind was turned in on itself, focused on fretful questions: “When? When do we get naked? Do I? Does he? How does this happen?” The boyfriend gave no hint of what should come next, so I decided that I should take control. After all, I was the older woman, by eleven months.

Losing It, by Katie West

I managed to unbutton his jeans while maintaining eye contact and what I hoped was an alluring smile. I managed to get the zipper down without too much furrowing of my brow. And then I was stuck. An expanse of white fruit-of-the-loom packed tightly inside his jeans gave no hint of how to continue.

I looked at him and put on my game face again. “Here, let’s get you out of those,” I purred—or tried to. I eased the jeans over his hips with a reasonable amount of participation from him—enough to encourage me—and pulled with what I thought was a smooth motion. The jeans stuck at his upper-calf. I decided to plough ahead; his briefs ended up there too. I fought back a sinking feeling as I bent my head to his penis.

From where I lay, at his hip, it seemed huge: engorged, purple, stiff. I had no idea what to do with it, there and then. If I’d had my druthers, I’d have looked at it–privately, in my own time, playing with it and seeing how it worked without his presence to distract me or make me self-conscious. (Come to think of it, I still want that. I never seem to have enough time and freedom to simply experiment with cock. I wish I could treat a man’s body as Robbie does mine, at times—as though I am entirely absent from it.)

But I didn’t gaze, rapt, at my college boyfriend’s penis. I wanted to please him, and fast, so I began to lick it, in long licks, and to swallow it whole, sucking up and down the shaft. It fell out of my mouth. Fuck. How the hell did this work?

“I’m afraid I’m not very experienced,” I murmured to his crotch. “Can you tell me what you want?” I felt my face flush almost as deeply as his sex; felt something suspiciously lump-like start to form in my throat–the harbinger of tears. Being the Last American Virgin was getting less and less bearable with each passing month.

“I think . . .” he said. “It’s . . . “ he tried again. Finally he finished a sentence. “I think this would be going a little better if I had had less to drink.”

What did the . . . oh. That. I thought back to the party we’d just attended. He’d had two, maybe three drinks as I recalled it–not enough, I would have thought, to seriously affect performance. But I had to admit–something wasn’t working here, and it was probably time to stop pushing the issue.

I lay my head on his chest and he kissed me. I felt ignorant and thoughtless, for manhandling him, jeans, briefs, and all; for not knowing how to touch him; for pushing us both past our comfort levels when there was no need, no rush. Katie West, \At the same time, some part of me knew even then—and knows far more strongly now—that he must have been as puzzled and embarrassed, as eager and as nervous as I was. The eternity of awkwardness that I felt lasted less than five minutes, my baptism in the vulnerability that is the heart of physical intimacy.

“Come here,” he whispered to me, hugging me close. I felt safe in his embrace, knew that whatever mistake I had just made, it was okay now, smoothed out for both of us—we were back in synch. I slept there that night, as we’d planned, curled back-to-back with him, dozing fitfully, awed at the reality of being that close to another human.

He was a nice, thoughtful boy. We broke up when school ended a month later, and I didn’t try to date someone that kind for another two years. By then, although I had learned almost nothing more about the meaning of sex, I knew a great deal more about its mechanics, thanks to my best friend.

* * *

Thinking about my beginner blowjob bumbles reminds me of something I love about submission, something I rarely see discussed. When I submit, I don’t have to get things “right”. I am relieved of the burden of figuring out “When?” and “How does this work?” If I’m doing something badly or inadequately, I hear about it–usually gently, directly, and with an eye towards improving my technique.

All that falls under the general label of “control”, but it also relates to responsibilty. It’s less about me being unwilling to take responsbility for my sexual choices–at this point, I can (mostly) admit that I like pain, anal sex, and a half-dozen other things that I would never have imagined embracing two years ago. But I don’t feel responsible for ensuring that either of us has a good time. I know that the more I follow Robbie’s lead, the more pliable and “biddable” (his word) I am, the more we enjoy each other.

I consider myself a switch, but I will only top when I feel confident in what I am doing: when I know that I can make sure that my partner at least will have fun and that I might have a chance at getting some of the things I need. Submission lets me please in so many more ways. And since Robbie says domination gives him the freedom to please, things work out very well between us when we can let go of everything else and play our parts.

Photos by Katie West, via unscathedcorpse.