There’s something about getting your hands on that first piece of erotica that just changes your life Forever …. And, yes, that was a Jude Blume reference. Need you ask what the first sex scene I read was?
Reading your first sex scene is so much different than watching your first sex scene. It allows you to use your own imagination: You cast the characters, you conjure the images, and you — fourth-grade you hiding under the covers with a flashlight and a copy of Tropic of Cancer that you stole from your dad’s study — are never the same.
We asked some of our favorite writers, editors and literati to reflect on the very first sex scene that they read. It is perhaps not the most highbrow list (no offense, V. C. Andrews), but it’ll make for a very welcome trip down memory lane.
Laura van den Berg, author of The Isle of Youth:
I didn’t start writing and reading seriously until I was in my early 20s, and so the first sex scenes I remember reading were from Mary Gaitskill’s Bad Behavior when I was still in college. The most striking thing about the sex scenes in Gaitskill’s stories was how much they managed to uncover about the characters. There’s a saying about dialogue in fiction, that dialogue is not simply about speech, but rather about what the characters do to each other with that speech. In Gaitskill, sex operates in much the same way.
Rachel Fershleiser, Literary Outreach at Tumblr and the co-creator of Six Word Memoirs:
Forever … by Judy Blume. I don’t know how old I was, but I had read all the Judy Blume I could find and then was super indignant there were ones I hadn’t read. So I was maybe 11? And was all, “MOOOOM, WHY DON’T I HAVE THIS JUDY BLUME, I WANT IT NOWWW.” I’m sure it wasn’t the first sex scene I’d read, but compare it to Flowers in the Attic or Clan of the Cave Bear, you read Forever, and you’re like, “Yeah, okay, I might do that someday.”
Jodi Angel, author of You Only Get Letters from Jail, “A Good Deuce” and The History of Vegas:
The first sex scene that I remember reading was in Judy Blume’s novel, Forever …, and I was in sixth grade at the time and that book was making the rounds among my group of friends. Everybody was worked up to read it, and once it was “your turn” to keep the book for a night, you had to read fast or risk getting the book yanked out of your possession by someone who was bigger and more eager to read graphic sex than you were. And I was pretty eager. I don’t remember who actually started the book going around or where it came from, but by the time I got it, it was pretty dog-eared and sticky, but I was not above getting my turn. I remember taking it home and reading it and waiting for the sex, and when Katherine and Michael finally bang it out and I had read the descriptions and details and graphic images and repetition of all the euphemisms and pet words for a dick, I was disassembled, rearranged and put back together again. I was 12 years old. I was awake. I suddenly realized the benefit of a locking bedroom door — and I don’t think I left my room much. I was so inspired and raging with hormones and a new vocabulary that I wrote a porno story in seventh grade and sold it around my junior high school for a buck a read. By 13, I had it all figured out — and I had moved on to Judy Blume’s Wifey by then. I had a whole new vocabulary.
J. C. Hallman, editor of The Story About the Story: Great Writers Explore Great Literature:
The first sex scene I read that really got to me wasn’t really a sex scene; it was the entire first chapter ofSabbath’s Theater by Phillip Roth. What this sequence taught me was that what really good writing does is arouse in us emotions that are somehow connected to body fluids — testosterone, in this case, but I quickly realized that the same basic principle applied to writing that makes us cry or sweat or choke on our own bile. So, in other words: Good writing crosses the mind/body divide; it’s a completely intellectual endeavor that nevertheless presents, in the reader, physiologically.
After I read that chapter from Roth, my own writing changed — and not just in stories. I did go on to write a whole bunch of sexy letters to a girlfriend (which actually did go on on to become a short story), but I later realized that to some extent Roth was borrowing from Nicholson Baker, who is a pioneer in all this. And what Nicholson Baker’s sex writing does — and I hope I have some insight here, as I just finished writing a book about him — is emphasize that sex and literature are connected, that sex has always been an analog of the intimate relationship between reader and writer. And for me, good sex scenes in literature are always dual in that way. We should never forget that “creative” writing has always been only a half-step away from “procreation.”
Read more: http://buzzfeed.com/adilawar/what-was-the-first-sex-scene-you-ever-read-g1q9