Horny Before You Knew What It MeantWhen I was little I was obsessed with sex. I hope you find this precious and not creepy.

According to a psychotherapist I used to know, I had an "intellectual obsession with sex."

My first crush was at age 4. It was a tie between Bruce Lee and Mikhail Barishnikov.

There is a part in the 1964 comedy "Good Neighbor Sam" starring Jack Lemmon and Romy Schneider where Lemmon bursts into Schneider's bedroom and passionately kisses up and down her arm. I watched this 30 second scene over and over and over again. This took dedication as I had to keep rewinding as silently as possible in order to avoid discovery (there is apparently no rhyme or reason to what I am embarrassed by as you will soon find out).

My parents amuse themselves by recounting the beginning of this youthful fascination: Whenever we would go into bookstores I would vanish. After the first few times they knew where to find me: In the Harlequin Romance section, staring excitedly at the paperback covers. So many men in puffy shirts, so little time. So many hot white ladies with torn bodices, SO LITTLE TIME!!!

This was a habit of mine when I was 5 or so. At 8 things got better. I had a friend who would occasionally steal an erotic fiction book from her parents' room and this reading inspired me to create my own book of erotica. It was copied pretty much word for word from the stories I had read. Sidenote: This is the first time I learned about the words "cunt" and "cock". To this day, whenever I hear or read those words I can smell the mulch that lined the sidewalks where this girlfriend and I would do our secret reading.

But moving on.

My father is an academic and has an extensive library at home. When I was 9 or so I would spend a good deal of time secretly going through all these books searching for anything that had anything to do with sex. I flipped impatiently through Anthony Trollope (zzz), Euripides, Richard Wright, Herman Hesse, The Guide to the Great Railroad Trips of North America (leave no stone unturned), Harriet Jacobs Diary of a Slave Girl (I know), Churchill biographies (no luck there), and many, many more. When I had the good fortune of finding a sentence or two, I would fold the corner of the page and revisit it later. This eventually led to one of my most bizarre life decisions:

The night was cool and the tree frogs chirped. Rosy cheeked children the world over dreamed of birthday cake and going to the pool. Angora bunnies piled on top of each other and were the coziest things ever. A man with a hat sat in his window somewhere and played a tune on his saxophone, and I, snug in my pajamas, quietly poured over book after book looking for the word "nipple".

It was during this particular adventure that I stumbled across a little gem called Sexual Politics by Kate Millett. Sidenote: Interestingly enough, as I scan the book now, I am reminded of the intense need to pee. Why is it that you always have to piss when you're in the middle of doing something sneaky? I want you to think about that. Maybe there's a juicy answer.

But moving on.

I had no idea what this book was. I had no idea it was a landmark of feminist literature. All I knew is that if I flipped through it to the parts where the print was smaller than normal and indented, I would find something reallllllllly good. These were of course block quotes from books Millett referenced. I no longer had to scrounge around for hours just to find: "Siddartha felt his blood kindle, and as he recognized his dream again at that moment, he stooped a little towards the woman and kissed the brown tip of her breast."

Pshhhh. Hesse is no match for this:

"She was like a bitch in heat . . . wriggling like a worm on the hook . . . . Mara twisted like an eel. She wasn't any longer a woman in heat, she wasn't even a woman; she was just a mass of indefinable contours wriggling and squirming like a piece of fresh bait . . . . groaning, grunting, squealing like a pig . . . fornicating with a rabbit . . . . She crouched on all fours like a she animal, quivering and whinnying . . . . She looked like a crazed animal."*

DING DING DING DING. JACKPOT.

I was so overwhelmed by my discovery that I guess I lost my mind and decided to tell my parents all about it. They were both downstairs in the living room (probably watching Poirot). They didn't scold me. They were amused. I assume that they, having an understanding of the book, found it a little ironic, hilarious, or both.

But no no, it did not stop there. In my eagerness I decided I wanted to recite my favorite parts out loud to my parents.

I remember this vividly, and of course I would, because I am horrified by it. I started off reading the following (from Henry Miller's Black Spring) confidently:

"You never wear any undies do you. You're a slut do you know it?"

I pulled her dress up and made her sit that way while I finished my coffee.

"Play with it a bit while I finish this."

"You're filthy," she cried, but she did as I told her.

"Take your two fingers and open it up. I like the color of it."

…With this I reached for a candle on the dresser at my side and handed it to her

Annnnddddd at this point the incredible and horrible awkwardness of the situation began to dawn on me.

Let's see if you can get it in all the way.

And by that line, I found myself stranded on the island of The Worst Idea Ever.

I shut the book, said "Uhhh I don't want to read anymore," and without making any eye contact, went back upstairs.

The house was silent. The worst kind of silence. The kind that takes over a room when your parents are embarrassed about sex.

Or when you talk to them about a woman sticking a candle up her vagina. Who knows.

In conclusion choose your own moral of this story:

A) Feminist texts are wasted on the young.

B) No one likes to have their Poirot episode interrupted.

C) Progressive type parents will occasionally be hoisted by their own petard.

The next year I found Fanny Hill. Game over.

* From Henry Miller's Sexus

This post originally appeared on the blog This Moi. Republished with permission.