Fiction: Sex Shame, She Said

I don’t know why our Filipino teacher told us this when we were in high school. It definitely had no connection with Filipino. Maybe it was the fact that all of us in that classroom, and in that school, were girls, such that our teachers felt that they had to give our vaginas a talking to.

When Ms. de los Reyes had a boyfriend, she said she never gave into temptation. “If we break up, I knew, I could still look him in the eye and say ‘wala kang kinuha sa akin,’” she said with a glazed, far-reaching look on her face and a finger pointed up into empty air. They did break up, and so she was able to utter that dramatic line. Her message was clear: don’t have sex before you get married; you’ll feel ashamed when he leaves you.

Back then, we thought, why would she be wrong? She would know, wouldn’t she? Since she’s a woman, and we were women, then we’d all have the same experience, right?

But I forgot about Ms. de los Reyes’ leg crossing ways when I graduated college. A memory-erasing shot hit me at the moment he looked at me. Long rock-and-roll hair, dark eyes, and a sheepish smile. Someone that sheepish can never be dangerous, I thought. I was safe.

So when he asked me if I wanted to watch a movie in his room, I said yes, and I kept saying yes until every piece of clothing was removed with a Yes! Yes! Yes!

After four months, we broke up, and I saw him again at a party. He looked at me, and I looked back. I was surprised.

What was happening? Why wasn’t I feeling it? Where did it all go? All the feelings that I was supposed to feel by virtue of being a woman?

I looked at him, in the eye, and smiled.

There was no shame at all.

There was just—


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