Untitled by Sameen

My earliest erotic memories are violently rooted in biology and shame. I had been told at a prepubescent age that I was only allowed to love if it was for the sole purpose of marriage and eventual childbearing. In order to avoid the stigma I remained un-erotic and de-sexual for as long as I possibly could.

When I was twelve years old I went to my local branch of the Hamilton Public Library, a space that I had accessed for years on the stickiest of summer days. My usual routine was interrupted inexplicably by a detour into the biography section where I happened upon a copy of Marilyn Monroe: The Complete Last Sitting. At this point in my life I knew that Marilyn Monroe existed but had no idea what she looked like; I was completely computer illiterate and had no comprehension of the internet. I didn’t grow up watching Monroe’s films and we had no photos of her in the house. The book caught me by surprise because I never knew that naked photos of celebrities existed - my only interactions with celebrities were through grocery store check-out magazines, and television. Seeing Monroe’s nude body was a shocking image to me and I closed the book in a wave of shame and disgust. I left the section of the library and considered approaching the librarian to let her know that there was pornography in her library. I decided to go back to the book to have another look to make sure what I saw was real... It was. I stared at those images for much longer this time, my first interactions with a naked body. My sexual awakening acted as my first conscious acknowledgement of sex as a concept - I had previously understood that it existed, but only clinically. I left the section without an erection but felt a strange sticky feeling in my pants. I casually brisk-walked to the bathroom, stood at the urinal and looked into my underwear to see a clear fluid soaking my underwear. I thought to myself (an exact quote), “I now have the ability to produce children.”