Part I: At First Blush

My relationship with naughty books isn’t a casual one. It’s intimate and long-standing.

Curiosity started it — that and frustration. Like all kids, I was vastly curious about the magical province of “ess-eee-eks”, but in the dark as to how it was done.

Kids at school were just as ignorant as I was, so books seemed like the obvious solution. After all, if I could find books about how far away stars were, or what dinosaurs ate for breakfast, surely I could dig up a few words about what men and women did in bed at night. But despite a thorough search, the library at my elementary school revealed nothing. Even the dictionary seemed to be missing a few words.

This made no sense at all. Surely, I reasoned, there must be books on such a fascinating subject. Maybe I just wasn’t looking in the right places.

It was at a sleepover that I was first rewarded. Sleepovers were closely connected with all things sexual, not only because (as I grasped much later) one set of parents had the luxury of complete privacy. It was also because of the darkness. Those silent hours, when the rest of the my hometown slept, were oddly liberating. All sorts of mischief were possible on that fold-out couch in the den or spare mattress and sleeping bags in the basement.

Nowadays, I realize that had the grownups known about our nighttime antics, they would surely have banned sleepovers forever. But they never suspected. Indeed, why should they have? We were only kids, after all.

Little did they know.

“Do you want to see something gross?” said Kelly one night.

At my assent, we snuck across the hall to her parents’ bedroom. She got down on the shag rug and groped around in the pitch darkness under the bed .

“They must have moved them,” she said, when a thorough search revealed nothing.

“Let’s go,” I urged, certain only that this was a Naughty Thing and if caught, we’d receive a scolding at the very least.

Undaunted, or at least certain that her folks wouldn’t tear themselves away from the TV this early in the evening, she went around to the other side of the bed and soon came up with the object of her search. I didn’t get a good look at what she was carrying until we were back in her room, under the covers with the flashlight on.

Recognition brought a flash of illicit pleasure. It was one of those magazines that they kept on the top rack at the corner store!  Right there in front of me was a picture of a naked woman. She smiled at us invitingly, offering her boobs in her hands as if they were made of candy.

I drew a juvenile breath and squeezed my thighs ecstatically together. Boobs were so neat! The whole prospect of growing up and becoming curvy was our most intoxicating fantasy. We’d been inspired by Barbie, of course. Even though she had no nipples, Barbie was undeniably sexy. Sometimes when I was alone, I’d put tennis balls up under my t-shirt and admire my make-believe boobs in the mirror. But it was never without a sense of disappointment because they always seemed to look like tennis balls and not like the boobage of real women I’d see on the street. Not even like Barbie’s unrealistic projections.

One glossy girl in particular held my attention. Aside from black, ankle-length boots she was entirely naked. Ropes secured her crossed wrists and spread ankles to a horizontal bar overhead. The glistening red of her secret place was both alluring and frightening.

Unschooled and curious, I didn’t wonder if the model enjoyed that position. I didn’t reflect on whether she’d been exploited, or if looking might predispose me to fantasies of power and surrender; none of which I could help thinking if I saw that picture today. Back then, I was simply fascinated by all the hair.

“That’s where you poo and that’s where you pee,” said Kelly, the budding (and, as I later learned, erroneous) anatomist.

She paged forward to some colorful comics. I wanted to read the words, but my friend, who’d seen it all many times before, turned the pages far too quickly. From what I could make out, it was about a haunted mansion where a lascivious ghost ravished some not entirely unwilling guests.

We spent quite awhile under the covers, letting in cool air when the flashlight and our combined breathing made the atmosphere too stifling. At the sound of a parental footstep in the hall we flicked off the light and flattened ourselves against the mattress, hearts pounding in fear. But the moment it was quiet again, we returned to that mysterious comic with its wide-eyed girls, so immune to the effects of gravity.

In those moments, I was on fire. Naked cartoon bodies were so much safer than the unsettling redness of other pages. With naughty sound effects displayed in in the Pow! Biff! style of Batman, it was better than any comic book I’d ever seen. So we knelt in the torrid atmosphere under the blankets, I with a heel unconsciously pressed into myself and rocking, rocking.

We stayed that way until Kelly announced it was time to replace our pilfered treasure. What was more, she insisted that I accomplish the mission, even though her parents had already gone to bed.

“I can’t do it!” I whispered, very much the B-movie heroine, “they’re in there.”

“You’ve got to,” she hissed. “What if they wake up and find it’s missing?”

“We can do it in the morning,” I argued. “They won’t look.”

“They might.”

Swayed by this faultless logic, I retraced our path, wiggling on my belly like a commando as I pushed the pernicious glossy ahead of me. Suddenly, a grunt-and-snort from the mountain of blankets caused me to freeze in place. What next? I waited with rigid muscles, realizing at last that this  was what authors meant when they wrote about somebody having their heart in their throat. In the end, I cracked under the strain. I flung the magazine under the bed (wrong side, but I didn’t care) and hightailed it back to Kelly’s room.


This post’s featured image is labeled for reuse, although the site I got it from probably wouldn’t appreciate being mentioned here. Thus,  I’ll forego the credits this time.



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