So here I am writing about sex again. Unlike the previous occasions I chose to write about it, I am now entirely comfortable with myself as a sexual being. I know what I want, I know how to get it, and more importantly I know how to ask for it. So when I went to see The Sessions yesterday, I was surprised to see how much I regressed.
The Sessions is a well made film (for an accurate review read Ebert), but to be blunt it was probably the most painful experience I have ever had in a cinema. I saw so many of my hopes and struggles played for laughs to make the audience feel comfortable, and this in turn made me decidedly uncomfortable. My first time was not unlike Mark O’Brien’s. I too paid for sex, because I had no other choice. I lost my virginity at 20 after feeling so sexually repressed I felt that I no could no longer control my own body.
Like everything I could not keep this choice private. Someone had to help me logistically to get in and out of my wheelchair, and that remains to this day the greatest thing that person ever did for me. It is a tough thing asking someone to help you prepare for sex (‘Hey let’s go so I can have a good fuck!’ isn't the appropriate motivational technique) let alone having that same person come in and out of the room before and after the event. Though I did not find these circumstances embarrassing, I found them to be an annoying imposition. Just like the rest of my life.
I don’t expect people against prostitution to understand the motivations behind the decision. At the time I thought that I was never ever going to have sex with someone who cared about me. Thankfully I was proven wrong. I wanted sex to be an act of affection. I wanted sex to be special. I wanted to sex to be about love. My first time was about none of those things. It was biological. It was an expression of relief, physicality and (yes) anger. No cuddles, no kissing, no post-coital conversation except ‘Will there be a next time?’
I don’t regret what I did, but as I saw The Sessions, all those painful memories came flooding back. How long it took my body to get used to the sexual touch of another person, all the logistics and manipulation of my body, and the indignity of it all. My most vulnerable moments were projected back at me as a tool for laughter, it made me feel like I was 16 again.
That’s why I had to write this. Deciding to go to a stranger for sex was not my choice. It was one of the toughest decisions I ever had to make and should not be subjected to ridicule. If you go and see The Sessions think how far you would go to feel physical love. If you have never had to answer that question consider how lucky you are, and then think twice before laughing about it.