I know that a person should have an orgasm as often as their partner. This feels right, fair and sensible. Yet, for years after I started having sex, it just didn’t happen for me with my partners. “It just takes a long time,” I’d say, or “that felt really good,” eluding the question of my orgasm entirely. Often, I faked it. These approaches felt wrong, but I was utterly bewildered as to how to make it happen. My body became unknown, uncooperative during sex. I would command and it would ignore.
That is, until I discovered the true joy of one of nature’s age-old carnal delights: sexting.
The summer after my first year of university, I went home to the US. I lounged on a pool chair in the backyard, read books all day and relished, for the first time, in the joy of doing nothing. When a friend asked if I wanted to go on a weekend road trip I felt, surprisingly, no inhibitions. I said yes right away. In the carload of people was a boy I’ll call Nick. Nick and I had always had flirty chemistry in high school, but a relationship had never bloomed, sexually or otherwise.
On the second night of the road trip, with all of us curled in sleeping bags on the floor of a stranger’s living room, Nick and I talked. In the dark, our hushed voices floated up to the ceiling, vanishing in the air like smoke. It wasn’t sexual. We talked about dorky people from high school that we had practically forgotten, and traced back the reason for why he and I had stopped talking in the first place. When the conversation lulled and a quiet fell on the room, I felt something new. I got up to go pee, to push the feeling down. In the bathroom mirror my cheeks were flushed. When I came back Nick was asleep, one foot poking out from beneath his blanket.
I went back to Vancouver shortly thereafter. One day, I got a text from Nick. We chatted. It was comforting to talk with someone from home as I navigated landing an apartment and a job in a city that still felt so foreign, and soon the conversation turned to sex.
I felt silly at first. Sexting was a thing I’d dabbled with in the early years of high school, when my sexuality felt so completely outside myself. I had hoped then that following neat, orderly rules would deliver me to supreme womanhood. Kiss a boy, let him touch your boobs, send him a picture of your butt and bam! A sexually mature woman! When I realized this wasn’t the case, I’d thrown out some behaviours — including sexting.
So when Nick first moved into that territory, describing my body with words that made me blush, I thought this wasn’t for me.
But as we continued to chat in the coming days, our conversations full of memes and idle chatter about what we were up to, I began to like the sexting that inevitably happened each night. Really like it.
It was the sexual exploration porn was never able to provide. Porn felt rehearsed and unreal — it was sexually stimulating, but not in a way that felt applicable to me, transferable to my own life. But sexting was my life, just typed out. The act of writing sexts manifested my realization of my actual desires. The letters on the page forced a truth where it hadn’t existed before. I didn’t lie to Nick about the sexual things that I wanted. In fact, nearly every sext began with “I want you to…”
The pressures of a person’s naked body in my presence was lifted. There was no need to fake it. There was only my own body in the room.
Nick and I stopped talking eventually. Feelings had become confusing on both of our ends and I had grown to want a partner in my Vancouver world, who would do the things I had finally figured out I wanted. I now wanted a real body in the room with me.
When I met my now-boyfriend for the first time at a bar in East Vancouver, I felt high on this new need. We ate nachos and drank cider, and smiled at each other a lot. A few dates later, when we had sex, it felt like a completely new experience. It was awkward and clunky, as most new-partner experiences are, but I was satisfied in my newfound awareness of and advocacy for myself.
Months later, when I went home over winter break, I didn’t meet up with Nick. We exchanged some terse texts and I explained that I had a new person in my life. Neither of us made mention of the months when we both badly wanted to be together in person. Instead, I sexted my boyfriend. I felt the same budding desire I’d felt the summer before, with one difference. This time, when I got back to Vancouver, I could turn those silly sexts into a reality.
Veronica Ciastko is a second-year arts student hoping to major in creative writing. She's an avid reader and lover of words, which would explain her love for sexting.