The Girl is nine. Ex brings her home after a week’s holiday just in time for school. Have you noticed? Have I noticed what? What? Apart from the fact she now has dreadlocks after spending approximately 150 hours a day in the pool. She’s filling out he says. And I spent the entire holiday picking up her knickers. They lay round the pool like little bunting. I think she’s a natural nudist. (Question: why do nudists always bang on about it? Also why do they always wear ugly hats and shoes? And why are nudists always the last people on God’s Green Earth you would want to see naked?)
He hugs her and goes and she belts off for a bath. Her body is one long creamy curve and perfect muscle tone. But he’s right – there is a hairbreadth of shape developing round her waist and hips. She’s growing up. She’s already reading a book called Hugs and Kisses about two friends falling out over a boy. Soon she’ll be on to Fags and Shagging.
Aaaaagh! In seven years time my little girl might want to have sex. Or even worse she might not want to and feel pushed into it. Like me. It wasn’t assault – more that I felt it was part of the deal and I wanted to seem sophisticated.
I really want my daughter to have great boyfriends/girlfriends and good sex. We’re not very good at teaching our girls to enjoy their sexuality. Sex Education is very much about preventing access to their bodies, of saying no or avoiding STD’s or HIV or unwanted pregnancy. The emphasis is on the prevention of bad things happening. Which is vital of course. But as a doctor told me when I put myself on the Pill: ‘Don’t be pressured into anything you don’t want to do. You know you’re supposed to have a nice time too.’
My early experiences of sex were crap. Not in a fumbly we-have-no-idea-what-we’re-doing-giggly way but oh-Christ is-this-it? way. Mainly because my first few sexual experiences were with older men. I sort of expected them to have an idea of what to do. Only much later did I realise that older men who want to shag very young women are
usually nearly always piss poor lovers. Techniques as follows:
The Smash n Grab
Usually performed by men who marry very young and never learn any kind of sexual finesse. So they grab and fumble and flail. Also these men are forever haunted by the idea that they are missing out on something. At forty they are still squeezing nipples and making juvenile fumbles at your pants like a fourteen year old.
You seem a bit nervous of sex said my lover when I was seventeen. He was thirty-four and didn’t understand why not only was I not thrashing about in ecstasy but saying: ouch a lot. Apparently it was because I was scared of sex, not because his concept of foreplay was to twiddle my nipples as though trying to locate Radio Luxembourg before thrusting away like a Harold Robbins novel. I finally dumped him because he had this habit of squirting Gold Spot into his mouth before lunging – an early warning system.
A few years later I had another Smash and Grabber who got drunk, lunged with his tongue and made a grab for my breast as though trying to get his hands on as much as possible before he got slapped.
The All Women are Generic Brigade
You don’t make much noise grumbled another man as he clambered off me, patting his beer belly as he did so. When I shyly pointed out the lack of any noise was down to me not coming he looked bewildered. Worked for my ex he said. It was a bit like that scene in Sex and the City where Miranda points out that her clitoris is about two inches away from where her eye doctor lover thinks it is and he sits in horror doing the she was faking and her and her and her maths.
I burn with shame at the sheer rubbish I put up with. And I don’t want my daughter to ever feel that way. I also know that she won’t want to listen to a lecture. What can I say to her? I can buy her books and maybe just maybe mention that if you don’t know what turns you on – neither will your lover. So apart from making it clear that she really can ask me anything, here’s a short list of red flags.
1. If anyone of either sex ever says: If you loved me you would . . . ‘ run for the hills.
You cannot change anyone. Only yourself. Women are subtly encouraged to invest in a relationship that they would be better off walking away from. This in turn encourages them to blame themselves when things go wrong. If only I loved him more, made him feel more secure. The media add to it by their use of phrases like: Will she tame him? Can she hold onto him? Can she tame his wild ways as though said male is a beautiful wild animal an endangered species instead of a needy immature man-child.
2. Learn to take pleasure in your own body. If you don’t know what turns you on, how will your lover?
I think most teenagers would rather cut off their head and eat the contents than have a conversation with either parent about masturbation. But how can it do any harm to casually mention that it’s the best way to learn how your body works? There’s even an app for it and once you get past the cutesy image, hell, at least it’s making female masturbation a positive thing instead of A Thing of Shame.
Sex just requires good manners, tenderness and attention. My partner once said that women also make the mistake of thinking that men just want their crotch attended to. The first thing that sex therapists tell couples is to concentrate on the rest of the body.
3. Don’t give in to sex, don’t have it because you haven’t the energy to argue. It chips away at your soul. Have sex because you really want to.
4. Don’t have sex with a man who is old enough to be your father when you are still a teenager. Just don’t. The fact that he wants to have sex with a very young girl tells you all you need to know about his maturity (low) and technique (crap).