I was looking for an escape from my family and my only option was to get married.

An interview with Esmeralda.

 
 
Artwork by  Eusebio Penha

Artwork by Eusebio Penha

 

Esmeralda | Age: 34 | Location: Oaxaca,Mexico | Occupation: Writer | No. of sexual partners: 5


Why did you take part?

If my words or my testimony can help other people, then it is important for me to share this. Sometimes we want to feel identified with someone, sometimes we feel lonely, or we think we are the only ones who go through some situations.  Maybe there is someone out there going through the same things I’m facing, and reading this could help them.

 

What events in your life shaped your sexuality? What’s your story?

My dad was always an unfaithful man. He has always had an infinite amount of women.  Moreover, my mom was a really submissive woman, extremely passive, she accepted all the violence. I didn’t want to be like my mom, I wanted to be more  like my dad. What I remember from my childhood is mostly violence, and the adventures my dad had. One day after a trip to Huatulco, my dad took his suitcase and he said he was leaving because he had another partner who was pregnant and he needed to take care of her. My family was really poor, I always dreamt of having an epiphany cake (rosca de reyes) like the ones you can see at the bakery windows. My dad coming back home with one one day is one of the best memories that I have of him. After some time he stopped visiting us for several months, we didn’t know why until one day we heard that he was in jail. He spent 10 years in prison, for sexually abusing one of his lover’s daughters. He always insisted on his innocence, but I’m really not sure what to think.

I have always been really curious,  I started having sexual encounters when I was 16 years old.  I did it out of curiosity. In my house we never spoke about sex, so I was curious, and I had no expectations. My partner then tried to find the perfect place for the occasion, a place with water, trees, in the middle of nature. Nevertheless that day we couldn't do anything - my body didn’t respond - I was too nervous I guess. I didn’t feel that losing my virginity was something important. Finally, one day we had sex in the first place we found. It was quick. I wouldn't describe it as pleasant, it just happened, it was as simple as having breathed one more time that day.  I stayed for many years with that partner, and I married him. I was looking for an escape to get away from my family and my only option was to get married. Sex between the two of us was incredible at a certain point in our relationship and wonderful for a long period. I remember the first time I had an orgasm, it gave me a really strong sensation. I felt scared because it was something that I had never felt before - I didn’t know that was an orgasm. I enjoyed it so much, that I didn’t have just one, I had many! We discovered so many things together.

One day I was overwhelmed by curiosity, and since he had been my only sexual partner, I wanted to experiment more. I had an encounter with another person, in secret, just out of curiosity. I was surprising  to see that men are so diverse physically. I thought being with someone else was going to be as good, but in this case it wasn’t so satisfying.

When I was 22 I got pregnant. I had big plans, I wanted to study, I wanted to do so many things. I knew that wasn’t the best moment to be pregnant. I thought about abortion, but my husband was really excited about having a child, so finally I decided not to abort. During my whole pregnancy sex continued to be amazing, and we continued to do it until some days before I gave birth. When my girl was born things changed drastically and horribly for me though. I realised I wasn't emotionally prepared to have a baby and it was really traumatic.  At the hospital I didn’t get a good service. I suffered a lot during labour. It was too long, I was left waiting for hours, just lying down for a whole day, I wanted at least to walk a little bit. During those moments the one who supported me the most was a nurse; she held my hand and reassured me.

With each contraction I felt that my baby’s heart was accelerating, I felt a lot of pain, there was a moment when I thought “please, I don’t want to live anymore, save my daughter, but I can’t stand this any more”. I was vomiting without end, I almost lost consciousness, and nobody was paying attention to me. The nurses where just shouting “push, push!” . My baby’s head started to get hurt at some point and I didn’t know what to do. At the end my baby stopped in the middle of my vaginal channel and they had to perform an emergency c-section on me.

When my daughter was born she wouldn’t stop crying. The nurses told me to breastfeed her, but I didn't know how to do it.  I didn't have any milk. I was alone and my family was not allowed in the room. Then, one of the nurses squeezed my breast really hard, and the milk came out. It hurt horribly.

They ordered me to go and take a shower, and when I took the bandages off I almost fainted because of the way my belly looked.  I looked like and old sack, with stitches all around - horrible! I couldn’t recognise my body. I had purple stretch marks, they told me that they were not going to go away, ever. Since that moment I have struggled with accepting my body.

People always say that when a woman has a child her vagina stays stretched, they say that men don't feel the same when having sex. I asked my husband and he said that indeed, he was not feeling sex the same way. That was really hurtful for me and it seemed like our sexual life was over.  We did it a few times, but months would pass without any sex at all, and when it did happen, for me it was more like a duty. I felt horrible. Afterwards I would go to the bathroom to cry, I don’t know what happened. I guess sex was the only thing that had kept us together because we ended up divorcing. The last time we were intimate was really ugly for me, he went out drinking, and came back home really angry at me, he held me by the neck, pushed me against the wall and took me. I was not longer using contraception, so I begged him to stop, I didn’t want to get pregnant one more time.

After that I found a new partner. He was rather passive so I felt safe with him; we were in the same tune, I felt calmer. We started dating and after six months we tried to have sex. The first two times it was him who couldn’t do it. Afterwards we tried again, and it was better. For me sex is a way of expressing, connecting with the body, it is something intimate. With him I was not satisfied. I loved him but there was something there that didn't allow us to connect.

I started partying  a lot and I had encounters with other people. I was looking for more pleasure, I did it to feel good. I used alcohol as a pretext, I drank a lot to blame it on the alcohol, to justify myself.  These encounters were pleasurable, even if I don't remember them at 100%. I just wanted something casual, I didn’t want those men to look for me afterwards. Men say that it is us the women who are clingy, but they are also that way, they can’t accept that we want them just for a one night stand.  

Then I had a third partner. He self-diagnosed with andropause and was a little bit older than me. 45. I told him we should go to a doctor, so we could know if he was indeed going through this stage and needed  to get treatment. If we stayed in our little world we were not going to solve anything. We stayed months without having sex. His desire disappeared completely. He would say that sex wasn’t something he needed. We loved it each other but I also wanted sex and needed it.

There was also man I have felt attracted to for a long time, but I never agreed to have something with. He was a womaniser, but I liked him. One day after a long time without sex with my partner, he asked me out. I knew what his intentions were. I thought that it was better to restrain and keep all my desire for my boyfriend. I wanted to behave well. But when I got home by boyfriend was ignoring me again, and once more he didn’t want to have sex with me even if I felt a lot of desire and passion for him. I felt sad and hurt, and I decided to go out with Saúl, the womaniser man. I decided that I was not going to drink that night, that if something happened it was going to be because I wanted to and I was conscious about my decisions.  I took the initiative, I took courage and invited Saúl to my place. I made the decision. It was absolutely pleasurable, that man knew how to take his time for foreplay, he explored me in detail, he gave everything. He cared about my pleasure and I didn’t feel inhibitions with him. I still see him sometimes. We have established the rules of our game. When we meet in the moment we belong to each other, but when we finish we continue with our own lives. There is no relationship between us. There is nothing. Only the pleasure moments, that’s it. There is nothing more with him. We have been really clear with what we want, we are not looking for something sentimental. It is better to be honest, it is not worth it to make false illusions. But in reality, this is not something just superficial, when we are together we do talk a lot, I love hearing people when they talk and listen to their stories. I don't talk much about my personal life with him though.

I have been thinking about something that happened to me in my school years, it is a story that I have not shared a lot with other people. I started working since I was really young because my father left the house, and there I met a man who was much older than me.  

We used to talk a lot, and I enjoyed his conversations. But one day he started following me, looking for me after school. I didn’t want anything with him, but I kept seeing him, deep down I had a lot of anxiety and premature curiosity.  We fooled around, but we never had sex, I imagine he knew that I was underage. He kept following me, he knew where I lived, he waited for me outside of my home, he sent messages for me through my siblings, he appeared everywhere I was. What makes me feel really ashamed is that he was married.  One day the owner of the business where I was working found out about what was going on with this man, and went to my house to speak with my mom. It was something horrible for me, I felt ashamed and exposed. My grandparents knew about it, my brother too, the whole family. It was awful. I told the man to stop looking for me and following me. I was scared to ask for help, and at the end everyone found out in the worst possible way.  My family started commenting on the situation, they told me I was doing something wrong. I just wanted them to shut up. I wasn’t doing anything, it wasn’t my fault. Nobody said anything to him. One night my mom started insulting me, she told me the worst possible things in the world, I would never forget my mom’s words. I started packing my stuff. He was waiting for me outside the house, he told me to leave my family and escape with him. Luckily I knew better. I only got into bed, under the blankets, and started crying. It was the only thing I did. I knew that escaping with him would have meant to waste my life. The last time I saw him he told me he would come back for me when I turned 18. It felt like a sentence for me. I didn't know anymore about him for a while, but years later when I was 28 I started working in a new place, and one day I saw him there, he was working there too. I was completely scared; I felt so vulnerable. All the sensations came back to me, his presence made me feel dirty. During many months he didn’t dare to talk to me, one day he said hi, I told him to leave me alone and to never speak to me again.

In that very same place I met my current partner. When I had the courage to tell him what had happened years ago with that man, he didn’t believe me. I felt judged. Once again I was getting the whole responsibility for the situation. I started crying. It was the first time that I trusted someone with this story and he didn’t believe me. I felt guilty.

Sometimes I think that what I experienced wasn’t that serious, but many years have passed and I still feel pain and disgust. When I tell the story again I feel like crying. I feel intimidated, I’m scared that man will start stalking me again.

What were the aha moments in your sexual journey?

What surprised me the most was discovering my own body. I had never taken the time to get to know myself. To discover that even while being alone I could feel, that I could give pleasure to myself. It is always somebody else who explores you, other hands, other nose, other eyes, but it is never yourself. I wanted to know how it was to give pleasure to myself, and it is something really different, something we should all do.  

What does sex mean to you?

For me sex is an important encounter. I fantasise a lot, I make up images in my head of my partners. The emotions that sex provokes in me are really intense. Sex is inspiration, a trip, a journey through emotions, an exchange. It is something magic, though I mostly enjoy it with someone I don’t love.

 

What’s difficult about sex?

When I want it but my partner doesn’t.

What do you most enjoy about sex?

I enjoy it when a person discovers me and the new sensations.

Do you orgasm?

When I touch myself I can orgasm, with a partner it depends on the person. Men are obsessed with size, for me it is easier to come with a smaller penis, with a big one I can’t reach orgasm, in some positions it makes me feel pain and that reduces pleasure.

How often do you have sex?

Every two months.

Do you masturbate?

When I masturbate, I like to doll up, take a bath, put makeup on, use cream all over my body. I like to be pretty for myself. Feel what others feel when they have their hands over me. I lie in bed, I don’t like to use my fingers inside, I feel that the vagina is really delicate. Touching myself on the outside the pleasure I feel is never-ending. If I stop it’s because I’m tired, not because I don’t want more.

What specific things (e.g. techniques) have you found, alone and with partners, that have led to more pleasure in your sex life?

I enjoy men's bodies, I like to smell and taste the body.  When I give oral sex to a guy I take the time to do it, that is really important. Take care of every detail, start with kisses, suck it completely. I discovered that men are really sensitive in the testicles and they can enjoy a lot if you touch and lick that area, a lot of women forget that. Once, a partner told me that I give the best oral sex that he has ever received in his whole life.  

I also think that going to motels is really useful, they are places made specifically for pleasure, so you don’t have to inhibit yourself. Something important as well is equality, that’s why I always tell men that we have to split the price of the motel between us, that agreement makes me safer and empowered.

How do you see female sexuality portrayed in the society and how does it make you feel?

In my house we never talked about sexuality, and in school they talked about sex but only from an anatomical point of view. They showed us the penis and the vagina, but they never told us how exactly the process works. I couldn’t understand how the penis and the vagina were related, they were hiding things from us. One day a friend told me “don’t you know that the penis goes inside the vagina?” I couldn’t believe it! I think all the lack of information lead me to develop a lot of curiosity.

Nowadays, I’m not shy about sex, it has become a normal topic, but it is not like that for everyone. For example I asked other friends to contact you for this interview, and they told me I was crazy, they said we shouldn't talk about these things.  I thought we were living in a time with more openness, but now I realise it’s not true. Even when a person needs medical help, they feel ashamed of having to speak about sexuality with a professional, this is happening to my partner for example.

What advice would you give to others based on your experience?

It is necessary that women get to know their bodies. I don’t like the word masturbation, I prefer self-pleasuring. We need to know how to guide other people. It is beautiful to feel empowered and to know that we can give ourselves pleasure. For men, please take your time, go slow. Don’t be obsessed with size, I’ll be really thankful.    

 

Is there anything you want to explore?

I feel ashamed to talk about this. One time I had something with a woman and I liked it. It was beautiful. Even if we didn’t have sex. I would like to live that again and explore more. First I thought that it wasn’t right and I looked online for information about feeling attracted to women as well, I read that it is normal. I would like to know if it was sometime that happened just one time or if there is something else there. I feel a little bit scared to explore this. I really feel ashamed, I had never talked about this before.

Is there anything else you would like to share?  

Lots of shady things had happened in my life, and now is the moment I start to tell them, to discover myself, to travel alone, get to know diverse people. Us women, we have to speak up, we can’t stay quiet.