I remember almost nothing at all about the night we spent together.
I wasn't high or drunk or drowning in a sea of self-hatred…I just tuned out.
Before you go thinking that this was a hookup–it wasn't. The guy and I had gone on a handful of dates and there had been some light kissing before that night. He was a wonderful person, but a pretty terrible kisser. His tongue was like a stiff wet weapon-making persistent and horrible stabbing movements in my mouth. I hoped things would improve as we got more familiar with each other. And they did. Slightly.
One night we were sitting on the couch late at night and the talk turned to sex. What sort of things turned us on? What kind of porn did we watch? The temperature got a little hotter and the kissing started up. It was less awful than before. If I tried really hard, I could almost ignore the fact that his tongue felt like a dental instrument in my mouth. If I only focused on the way he was looking at me, like he wanted to devour me, this would all be fine.
As we dove deeper into the details of our fantasies more and more clothes came off. I was down to my panties when we moved things into the bedroom.
And that's when my epic amnesia kicked in. I know that we kept the lights off, and I know that we were in the bed together. I also remember very clearly that I was making my way down the front of his body, caressing his chest and thighs when he suddenly yells out, “Be careful! I have a scab on my knee.” (wtf!) Whether that was for my protection or his, I can't say, but it made me very self-conscious, and completely killed the mood.
Having sex for the first time with a brand new partner already makes me anxious without also having to factor in whether or not my every move or touch is going to cause him bodily pain. add to that the fact that I wasn't exactly head-over-heels for the guy, and you have a little cocktail for disaster.
I'm not proud to say it, but I have no idea what happened in that bedroom. None.
Did he go down on me? Did I go down on him? No idea. Did he feel good inside of me? Was he inside of me? No idea. Did I finish? Did he? I. Have. No. Idea.
If you're single and you're actively dating, it's unreasonable to expect that you're going to remember every detail of every sexual encounter, but to remember almost nothing? This seems a bit extra, and I can't even blame it on the alcohol!
If I had to guess what went wrong I would say that A) We probably shouldn't have gone so far that night and B) I shouldn't have taken his outburst so personally.
Years later I can now admit that my attraction to the guy was mild at best. I really wanted to like him. He was so very good on paper. We had a similar upbringing; we laughed at the same things; we both loved theater, music, food, and getting lost in conversation; we both wanted to travel more–again, so very good on paper. What was missing, though, was that very important yearning to touch him, to feel his mouth on mine, to explore every inch of him.
I don’t believe relationships can thrive when the foundation is solely based on sex, but I believe the opposite is also true. Relationships that don’t have a healthy sexual component, can’t thrive either.
These days I no longer try to force connections that aren’t really there. I use my head, my heart, and my body to point me in the right direction. It’s clear to me now that one of the reasons for my abysmal recollection of the sexual encounter is that I wasn't really into him, we both didn’t really feel comfortable with each other, and we both probably had some body image and intimacy issues to work through (sex with the lights off never screams body positivity).
Unfortunately, we'll never know if things would have improved for us. We never had sex again and we stopped dating soon after. We are, however, still good friends!
My takeaway? Sexual attraction is not something you can inject into a relationship. You're either turned on by the prospect of sleeping with someone or you're not. You can develop feelings of warmth, affection, even love for someone over time, but pure, raw desire, that ethereal mix of hormones, pheromones, and lust, I don't believe we can conjure that up at will.
Karina Gómez studied Communications and Psychology at the University of Southern California. She has primarily worked on research studies in cognitive psychology, and loves learning about human behavior.
She is a crème brûlée enthusiast, book lover, a Libra, and a freelance writer living in Los Angeles.