I wasn’t a particularly early starter, but I always looked older than my age so found that men were hassling me for sex from about thirteen. It didn’t help that I went out to clubs in Soho, and lied about my age, and wore platform shoes and had enormous hair (though I think men probably guessed I was younger but chose not to think too hard about it).
I didn’t have sex until I was almost sixteen, but up until that point I’d had quite a few close encounters, and many of them weren’t pleasant. The combination of being absolutely wasted on ‘Thunderbird Red Label’ and ‘Grolsch’ didn’t make me very street wise. It was the same era when the scary tombstone HIV adverts were on TV, and there was NO INFORMATION AVAILABLE ABOUT SEX. I went to an all girl’s school, and we talked a lot about sex and boys, but our only source of information was the pages of Just Seventeen and More. I knew one girl who wasn’t a virgin, and she tended to get interrogated because she was the only one who knew anything concrete (but she was a source of misinformation and said that you could catch HIV from a toilet seat and get pregnant in the sea if someone masturbated in it. This really put me off swimming with the local boy’s school as I suspected they all masturbated like mad whilst watching us do our weekly swimming lessons at Crystal Palace pool).
Anyway, times have changed, and nowadays you can press a button (it’s not even called a button, is it?) on your phone and see two people going at it like the clappers. You can order a sex toy, and some lube in your lunch break, and then go straight to a sex party with a clear idea of what goes where. For me it was different. I had leafed through my Mum’s copy of ‘The Joy of Sex,’ and she’d also left some pamphlets about contraception under my pillow. That was the sum of it so I learnt through trial and lots of error.
Here are the 5 things I wish I’d known back then. Things that would have made a serious difference and would have saved me a lot of not pleasant times.
1.Don’t feel you must have sex with someone because they’ve bought you a couple of drinks
This was the expectation in the late eighties. The thing is we were teenagers and didn’t have any money (we literally went out with a fiver in the pocket of our Levi’s 501’s) and so we’d be HAPPY that some guy was buying us drinks (rather than having to walk around and pick up old dregs of drinks and slurp them down whilst no one was looking), and then next they’d lure you into a corner/the park outside/their car, and stick their tongue down your throat, and you hadn’t realised that THOSE DRINKS DEFINITELY WEREN’T FREE AT ALL.
2. You can’t have sex through a pair of thick winter tights
I have possibly mentioned this before but one of my early formative sex experiences was with a boy from St Martin’s Art College (back then it was the coolest place on Earth if you grew up in South London and went to a sub-standard girl’s school). I remember that we were kissing in his room (my best friend Amy was in the same bed - snoring), and he jumped on top of me, and then started thrusting away like mad. I wasn’t sure whether we were having sex or not but it didn’t feel fun. I also had to take my tights off, and walk home with bare legs the following morning. Now I’m quite grateful that I kept those tights on because we hadn’t done any foreplay, I was a virgin and it would have been painful. Perhaps it was for the best.
3. Don’t pretend to like something because you want to make a boy happy
This goes with just about everything, but is especially true for sex. I used to say I liked getting love bites (who likes them?) And then I gave the impression that I liked the kind of snogging where boys just pour a litre of spit down your throat. It escalated from there- agreeing to things I didn’t want or like because I was a people pleaser (also because I didn’t have enough of a sex education to know what was normal either).
4. Don’t have sex in public because you’re too drunk to find somewhere private
Most people who are having sex in public are doing it, because they’re too drunk to make the journey home. The thing is if they got to their bedroom, they’d eat a loaf of bread, toasted with butter and Marmite and go to sleep. A long, difficult journey on the night bus is a good acid-test as to whether you’ve got the hots for someone. If you’re trying to find a spot on a bench in a park, then you’re not necessarily overcome with passion, you’re just very, very pissed. If you do the night-bus thing and still fancy the person then it’s a good sign.
5. Don’t have sex with people who are horrible
Oh jeez…the number of scumbags I snogged and then cried bitter tears over. There was one called Al who had the most RIDICULOUS PERM and used COCONUT HAIR GEL LIKE A COMPLETE IDIOT, and yet somehow, I thought he was the COOLEST MAN ON EARTH.
Every week at this club night, he would blank me, then start being friendly, blank me, buy me a drink, blank me, dance with me. I would start crying. Then after a couple of weeks of this treatment, we ended up at his friend’s house, and he tried the same trick as the guy who tried to have sex with me whilst I was fully clothed. He bit my neck, climbed on top of me, and then started getting his end away. The following day my experienced, non-virgin friend informed me that this was called - ‘dry humping’. I’d officially been ‘dry humped’ and hadn’t even realised it was a thing. I was appalled that a twenty-four-year-old man who claimed to be personal friends with Adamski practiced such a thing. What was the point of it?
Again, maybe this dry-humping thing wasn’t so bad, as it meant you could road-test someone like Al before you went for the real thing. Anyway, the following day Al blanked me, then made me breakfast, then told me about how he wanted me to meet Adamski too, then told everyone I was a slag.
Al if you’re reading this now… your dry-humping wasn’t hip and every time I smell Obsession for Men I feel queasy. NO MAN SHOULD HAVE A PERM UNLESS THEY ARE DOING IT IRONICALLY AND THIS WAS IN THE EIGHTIES BEFORE IRONY WAS EVEN INVENTED, RIGHT?
So, there you go. My 5 TIPS. I kind of feel they are pretty much redundant as Google means you can search for just about everything these days. That’s a good and a bad thing I guess.
In some small ways, it was good not to know so much.