We often talk about our health at home. We’re taught to take care of our skin, watch what we eat, exercise. But we don’t talk much about intimacy. Our genitals and what we do with them are not a dinner table conversation.
That’s why we asked several Guanacastecans of different ages, genders, and sexual orientations to tell us about their first time. We wanted to know how these experiences have changed over the years and to see if how we talk about sex at home has improved.
We realized that, although talking about sex with a 70-year-old woman is different than with a 26-year-old man, darting eyes, nervous laughter, and euphemisms are all on the menu, regardless of age.
I would have loved to put names and faces to these stories, but because of the nature of the subject the participants preferred to remain anonymous.
“I was sixteen and she was twenty. We had gone out in groups, but hadn’t even kissed. One day she told me, “Look, I have a problem: the doctor says I can’t have children and I need to do a test.” I said that if that was necessary, I would happily help. I invited her over to my house on a Tuesday when I was alone. We went into my bedroom, turned off the light. She lied down and said, “OK, get on.” I was really nervous, thinking that someone would come home. At the beginning I thought I was doing OK, but she corrected me. It took less than a minute. Boom. She was a bit upset and left. When she left I thought that the test results could be bad. I didn’t use anything. I spent all week thinking about that and, when I saw her again, she told me that she indeed could not have children. I always wondered if the talk about the test was true or not. My parents never spoke to me about this; they were older and very serious. I learned everything watching movies and Porcel tv show, but all of that, when it’s time to go, isn’t good for anything.”
“At that time it was taboo. My mother never talked to me about sex. I knew a little because of what the girls at high school said. I had a boyfriend, but my parents didn’t know. He was 24 and I was 20. To go see him at his parent’s farm I lied to my mother. He sent a worker on horseback for me, brought me far away, like he was getting the earth ready, that devil. Boy, I was scared. The image still impresses me: that horse was there, and I was so anxious. I was scared, but I liked it. I didn’t want it to happen there, but where else were we going to go?
“My friends said, ‘don’t let let him bring that thing near you because he’ll make your life a living hell.’ I got pregnant right away. We got married behind my family’s back because they didn’t know. It was easy to convince him because his family stepped in. Weeks after we got married he became mean and the love died. We had two children and we separated. Now I have another boyfriend with whom I live all this in a much healthier way healthier.”
“I was thirteen and a woman from Santa Cruz came to town to look for a girl to work in her home. I always liked to help out my parents because there were a lot of us and it was a lot of work. My parents said that if I wanted to go, I could.
“After a month living in that house, the nasty old man, the woman’s husband, sneaked into my room. I have blocked a lot of this out. But I remember that I was asleep, that he took off the blanket and covered my mouth with a rag. He raped me.
“I asked God for morning to come quickly. I packed my suitcase and told the woman that I was leaving. She asked me why and I told her. She called the man over and he denied everything. I returned to my town and didn’t tell anyone because I was ashamed. The second time I did it was for love.”
“I come from a small, conservative Catholic family. I went to a religious school where sex and pleasure were taboo. I got a basic sexual education at home and in school, but the heternormative theories didn’t apply to me. I liked boys and I knew it. When I left Guanacaste I went to places where I could meet more guys like me. When I was 20, I went to a party with some friends. While chatting it came up that I had never been with anyone, and a guy offered to end my wait. So there was a guy who looked good and was willing, so… you can’t waste an opportunity.
“I experimented with what I saw in movies, but well, I realized that real life wasn’t that easy. But it was exciting and intense. I spent an entire week thinking about him: maybe we had fallen in love. Later I understood that it was a casual thing.”
A. Woman. 46.
“I grew up in a house where when they talked to me about sex it was about caution, fear, and how that could ruin my life. I grew up afraid, but very curious. Although I had some boyfriends, I didn’t want to be easy. I wanted to be respected. All of these judgments came from what I heard from my mother, sisters, cousins and schoolmates. Sex was seen as something to be very careful with, like a threat.
“My first time was in college. When I was 22 I had a boyfriend that I had gone out with for a while. When we decided to have sex, we first went to the gynecologist so that everything was safe. He lived in some apartments where all the boys shared a space with bunk beds. There was only one bedroom, so everyone took turns taking their girlfriends in there. That day we entered the famous room and I was so embarrassed that the other boys would see me. I was so nervous that I didn’t enjoy it at all. I was his girlfriend for eight years and when one of my sisters realized that I was sleeping with him she insulted me, so, I slapped her.
“Now I don’t want my daughter to grow up with those fears. I also think there was nothing to be embarrassed about when I left that room.”
D. Man. 36.
“I grew up in a home with a wonderwoman kind of mother. My father was (and still is) very chauvinistic and I grew separated from him. Mom worked full time, so we had quality time together, but not much. We almost never spoke of the subject. I feel like I missed having a father near, because the chauvinism dictated that girls asked their mothers and boys asked their fathers. So I never asked.
“I concentrated on sports and my studies. I never thought about that again until college, when I realized that real life is a little different from the illusion that I had about my ideal woman. When I was 25 I ran into an old high school classmate that I had always liked. We had gone out a bit in high school, and at the university we went out a few times. I got the rest of my information from Google, and what had to happen, happened.
“I didn’t want to be like my father. I wanted to have a “till death do us part” relationship. That was my illusion. I heard how my chauvinistic friends talked about their sexuality and I didn’t want that for me. When I decided it was the right time, I relaxed and removed all the pressure that I had brought to the situation. I never had anything serious with her, but I still believe that there is an ideal person for me.”