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14 March, 2008

How I Didn't Lose My Virginity

This is a story I've never told in full before.

A long time ago, I had a friend who was in love with me. A bit troubled, in a complicated sort of way. A little suicidal around the edges.

The fact that I wasn't in love with him, wasn't able to be in love with him, was driving some of the darkness. And we were close, so very close that the person he had to turn to with, "I feel like killing myself over this girl" was me, the girl.

I love him as a brother, you know. My dear little brother. Who needed me, in ways that I could not truly give.

And I sat there on the cusp, thinking about who I was, what I am. Do you know the word "hierodoule"? The breakdown of the etymology is "temple/sacred slave". A nicer word for temple prostitute, really, the women who, for reasons of faith, were vessels for sexuality in the home of the gods. I thought about that sort of thing, not in words so coherent, not in words at all.

I offered, and he agreed. And we talked, anxiously the way young people with no experience would do, trying to make plans, anxious and nervous and, for me, razor-edged. He did not know that I had been assaulted; it was well before I could even dream of telling anyone about that, it was all folded away in me.

A few days later, he decided to turn me down. He laughed and said I could get the point off the Purity Test for "offered a pity fuck and been turned down".

I was relieved, deep in that broken heart of mine. And I made him swear that if he was going to kill himself, if he decided to do it, that he would come to me first, and we would have sex, because I would not let him die without the surety of being loved. Even if it wasn't the way that he wanted.

He promised. I think he knew that it was the only way I would let him release me. The only way I was not the hierodoule, right then, was to make the vow that he could call upon me for that, that he could come to the temple, if he needed it.

These days he's, so far as I'm aware, happy; living with a woman who our mutual friends tell me is wonderful and very good for him; I am reasonably secure that he will never call in that vow.

But I still feel it at times, recognising as I get to know someone the power to heal, the weight of the hierodoule, the path that I would have had my feet upon if near-rape hadn't broken me and bent my sexuality and made me too afraid to be able to offer that touch, to be able to actually do that work when the recognition is there. I've told people in the past that I had that inclination, occasionally, talked about it, without ever saying why, without ever outright stating that trying this maybe saved a life, even failing at it saved a life or at the very least healed one, because I was willing to try, because I was willing to offer.

And I wonder about that other world, sometimes.

And I wonder about this one, where people say that sex workers clearly had to have suffered horrible things to do that job, when I know that it's only because horrible things happened to me that I didn't.

My liege made a comment once that the only way he could see me being sexual was when it was personal, when it was intimate, and the hierodoule sobbed, quietly, in the place she might have been if only if. Like I cry now, thinking of loss and salvation and missing my little brother, who doesn't answer his goddamn email. Heh.


Deoridhe said...

This reminds me very much of the claim that only people who have been damaged as a child want to be a psychologist, and my own internal "No! No!" reaction to that claim.

*offers hugs*

thene said...

...I have to ask, would the level of intimacy & personalness of your writing have been different, in your other world?

Dw3t-Hthr said...

I was born to tell stories.

I suspect I would have had different stories to tell, though.

Daisy Deadhead said...

I don't like the contempt evident in the term "pity fuck" (I've offered a few, as you might imagine), since it distills an act of repair, regeneration and healing to something sentimental and IMHO, almost hateful. I think a "pity fuck" is perfectly fine, but I really hate that term for it. I think it's indicative of everything wrong with our culture, and its patriarchal sexual definitions. Why not "healing love-making session"--since that is closer to the purpose one usually has in making the offer. (But then, WE aren't the people making the definitions, are we?)

Great post!

Daisy Deadhead said...

And Happy St Patrick's Day, Kiya!!! :)

Magniloquence said...

Wow. I've had... exactly that moment. I never had the concept for it, before. I found bits and pieces of it in the Kushiel books, but that wasn't quite right either. (And besides, it's fiction... nice as it may be, people look at you damn strange when you try to explain things with that.)

Everything just falls into place for me, now. I tried, over and over again, in High School and college, to do that. And I failed, time and again, because... there's no box for that. I didn't even have the concept of polyamory until college, and even then, uncertainty and confusion tripped me up.

And the one time I succeeded, it crumbled everything else because I couldn't explain it.

Thank you, thank you, thank you, for giving me the words to explain what I did.

Dw3t-Hthr said...

Well, some people look at you funny. (One of these days I suspect I want to compile a list of Books That Might Make Me Comprehensible....)

I am so glad that I gave you words.

Sally said...

Thank you for your raw honesty