I've always been overly curious about my body. When I was little — like really little, maybe five or six — my mother caught me rubbing a stuffed bunny against my vagina.
First, she told me to stop, then later that day asked me why I was doing that. I told her, "It felt good." But having been told not to do it again, I didn't dare to put the bunny even remotely near the lower half of my body again, and that was the end of my days of rubbing any of my stuffed animals against my vagina.
I didn't yet know what an orgasm was, but my mother rebuffing me didn't exactly put my curiosity to bed, especially since it felt so good.
Some years later, I had a flashback to that stuffed bunny afternoon. I was about 10 and in gym class. For reasons I'll never really understand about the public school system, we were doing a section on rope climbing. Even then, I knew I'd never have to climb a rope in my life for any real reason, but logistics aside, there we all were, climbing ropes for 45 minutes.
Having always been a little thing, I didn't have the upper body strength to climb the regular rope, so I had to use the one with knots. It was embarrassing, as usual, because there were only a few of us stuck with that particular rope, and the gym teacher, as was his way, treated us like mutants because of it.
So, there I was, slowly making my way up, using each knot as a sort of step, and much to my surprise — and probably the surprise of my gym teacher — I reached the top (the ceiling of the gym), where I promptly realized I was afraid of heights. I was terrified, but doing my best to be brave, I didn't dare cry.
I clung on for dear life as my teacher tried to persuade me to not look down, but to just try and maneuver my way, one knot after the other, back to the mat below.
However, as I was up there, my legs wrapped around the rope with the grip of an iron vice, one of the knots pressed up against my crotch and I felt a sensation in my vagina that was ... interesting.
It was far more intense than my bunny-humping days and as I started to blush and sweat, I immediately thought there was something very wrong with me. It felt so good (too good) and so wrong, like I was committing some sort of crime.
My legs began to quiver, my heart was racing, and I remember thinking (because I'm dramatic as hell) that I was dying ... or at least something equally tragic. I didn't want to die in that smelly gym, riddled with blue mats that desperately needed to be washed.
I let the sensation wash over me, hoping it would go away, so I wouldn't have to go to the nurse.
When the feeling passed, and it didn't last long, I made my way back down the rope. I was still shaking a bit when I reached the floor, both from the height and whatever the hell had happened while I was up there.
It wouldn't be until almost four or five years later that I would experience that feeling again — after realizing that my clitoris is clearly the greatest part of my body — that I understood what had happened on that rope that day: I had an orgasm.
Of course, at the time, I was too young to even know what an orgasm was. I was still in that part of my life where I thought sex involved putting a penis in a vagina and just leaving it in all night, as if making stew or something, in a slow cooker, but that's definitely what it was.
I had my first orgasm in front my gym teacher and 25 or so fifth graders, a handful of whom I'm friends with on Facebook these days.
I guess there is something viable in learning to climb ropes after all.