The Home of Steven Barnes
Author, Teacher, Screenwriter

Tuesday, January 06, 2009

The First Time

101 Day Two

Ten Reasons to eat every other day:

1) Eating every other day is the simplest way imaginable of controlling your caloric intake. Your body leans out almost automatically.

2) There is a cascade of positive health effects that must be researched to be believed.

3) It will bring you into direct contact with the "voices in your head" and the fact that they lie to you. The messages that "you'll die if you don't eat" thunder in your ears. If you pay attention, you start asking yourself where else these voices lie to you.

4) If necessary, "bailing out" into the 101 Body/Mind diet (nothing but fresh fruit and vegetables every other day) has no negative effects, and considerable positive ones.

5) The time saved can be invested in other things. Anyone who complains "I don't have time to spend ten minutes a day taking care of myself!" will automatically run dead into their own bullshit.

6) The possibility of life extension is a plus. I've still got lots of stuff to do.

7) The sensation of controlled hunger is VERY useful to increase and focus motivation.

8) Fasting is considered a profound spiritual practice by all major religions. I.F. was referred to as the "Fast of David" by the Prophet Mohammad.

9) It saves money.

10) It's a great line of demarcation: anyone who can do I.F. has the discipline to accomplish their dreams.


The question of sexual attitudes, relationships, and my promiscuity arose. Considering the mental static that seems to exist on some of these issues, apparently preventing people from hearing what I'm saying, or remembering what I said, I thought it might be useful to really look at this stuff.

I have to be careful here because of necessity I'm not just talking about my own life, but the lives of people I still care about. A lot. So please understand my slight evasions here and there.


Was I promiscuous? Geeze, by any reasonable definition, yep. Most of it within the SF field was just the "kid in a candy shop" thing. That is, that I'd felt awkward and unattractive as a kid, found myself suddenly a star and a singularity in the SF field, and there were lotsa ladies who were enthusiastic, single, available, and willing. I had a great time. Later, I was researching sexual magic for "Iron Shadows" and got involved in a circle of people dedicated to pursuing both ancient and modern approaches to orgasm and sexual energy. That was fantastic, but probably damaged my first marriage.

Belief that I'd gone off the rails, and ended up somewhere I'd never had any intention of going, was sobering. I would die before I deliberately hurt my daughter, and here I seemed to have let myself become someone who couldn't maintain my relationship with her mother. That sucked. But it was a long road, one that began because I had no rules I could really accept and believe from my parents...and ended in me creating my own rules and living by them.

Was part of it the fact that I'm older now? No doubt. I'd like to think that that's as much a matter of gaining wisdom as it is that my sex drive has nose-dived or something. But because we discuss balance here, I think it is useful to look at this stuff.


BTW--one thing I'm very proud of is that, to my knowledge, there is only one woman I ever had sex with who ever really bad-mouthed me, and as far as I know that was because she married a guy who had an axe to grind, and she took sides. Later, he broke her arm and she found out she'd made a mistake. Probably if we met now, everything would be fine. Probably.

But my core rule was simple: unless I was willing to take a phone call from a woman at 3 in the morning, when she is having personal problems and needs an ear, it would be wrong to bed her. If I don't care that much, then what am I doing? What am I saying by engaging with her on such an intimate level? I'm sure I missed out on some interesting nookie, but I can live with the result.


I have no memory of my parents exchanging affection. I'm sure they did before their marriage collapsed, but I was too young to remember. And my mom never married again, and as far as I know never really enjoyed sex. Talking to my dad (late in his life) and watching his interactions with his second wife, I'd say Dad enjoyed it just fine. But I was raised by my Mom, and if her rules and attitudes about sex (not until marriage) had led her to such an unproductive place, damned if I was going to follow her suggestions.

I wasn't rejecting my mom. Any aspect of her life that seemed to bring her joy was something I would be happy to emulate. But why follow a path of pain?


Girls were always fascinating to me. I mean just mysterious and soft and beautiful and yummy. And I still vividly remember the first girl I ever really kissed. It was in high school, out on the lunch yard. Her name was Daphnia K., and she was sucking on a Certs, and I asked if I could have one, and she put hers between her teeth and leaned over. I got more than candy, and thought I was in heaven. Whatever the primal energy that flows between boys and girls (or girls and girls, or boys and boys...but my experience there is quite limited) it isn't quite like anything else, and hit me like a bomb. I probably could have had my first sexual experience with her, too...later she asked me why I hadn't come over to her house. I just wasn't ready for that.

But as my teen years wore on, I really wanted to lose my virginity before I hit twenty, and finally got the chance. A guy my mom had sold a house to had a sister who literally said to me one day: "Steve, I'm a nymphomaniac. Come over any time and get some."

Well, one night I did. Boy was I nervous, and the whole thing MIGHT have lasted two minutes. Maybe. But driving home, I remember being incredibly proud, and happy, and aware that I'd entered a new world. Nineteen. Late starter, by some standards. Let's just say I made up for lost time later.

More tomorrow if you guys are interested. But the question of the day is: "How did you lose YOUR virginity, and was it a good experience? Do you wish anything had been different?"


Lester Spence said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Lester Spence said...

So day two is fasting every other day?

I guess I'll start....NOW.

Robin James Burchett said...

Happy New Year all.

Steve, would you tell us, please, what software and other tools you use to track your goals? I’ve got a new iPhone and want to make the most of the next 101 days. I’m trying out Lou Franco’s Habits, which looks promising.

When are you going to have an online goal tracking system, customized for LifeWriting/101 Days, etc.? Then you could really monitor progress of groups and modify the system to keep the most people moving ahead. It could also drive traffic (and sales) at your site, and deepen the community around it. (Why not host all those blogs people are talking about?) Throw in the ability to print daytimer pages and an iPhone app, and it would kick ass.

My wife and I own a physical therapy clinic, and she estimates that patients do only about 20% of the stretching and simple exercises that their therapist recommends. This is a chronic problem in the industry, and if we can increase that, we’ll get dramatically better results. We’re opening a new site now and will be swamped for a few months, but sometime this year I intend to do a serious search for tools. There are bits and pieces everywhere, but I’ve never seen anything that deals comprehensively with the mind/body/spirit package.

Do you know of any sophisticated tools that do this? If I find or build one, would you be interested in using it for your site?

And my virginity?
Drunk as hell, 19, in my parent's basement with two good friends. One, the fattest girl I've ever known, a classic spooky chick - brilliant, psychic (or crazy), beautiful, very disfunctional, but a lot of fun, and with a lot of wisdom mixed in with the craziness, and a good heart.

The other friend was the actual instigator, although he wouldn't play and only offered encouragement and more alcohol. (He has gotten me into more trouble over the years...)

It was perfect, and I wouldn't trade it for the world.

Anonymous said...

My first time I was thirteen, I was suicidal and I had a dark sense of humor. It was just something I needed to take care of before I could die in good conscience. He indulged my wishes. The long version is in my journal here-

Unknown said...

I wasnt quite ready at 15. This girl was very serious about taking my virginity though. I slipped out of the first near collision with the "I don't have a condom so, no." route.

Later that night she showed up at my house while my parents were out.. She had a pack of condoms.

Reluctant Lawyer said...

Great post. Disagree with the idea that you have to justify any of your prior comments in terms of human sexuality, but at the same time, it shows great insight into the mistakes that you believe you made.

Kami said...

Virginity--I was nineteen, like Steve, very much in love, and very much in lust. It was great, but I was nervous, and so I had some rum first. He thought it would be dishonorable to take advantage while I was 'drunk' (I wasn't that drunk, actually) but I convinced him I'd planned on this little adventure when I was completely sober. I was taken care of emotionally and physically, and I still remember that time with joy.

Stark contrast to the attempted rape when I was 16, but I managed to escape with my virginity intact. I'm so, so glad that rape wasn't my first sexual experience! The close call sure made me wary of men, though, which probably explains my 'late' start. I think there were huge advantages to being relatively mature the first time, though, so in a strange way, the attempted rape probably led me to a good place, where my standards for who I would trust with my body were very high.

Marty S said...

My first time was my wedding night. Ain't that quaint.

Christian H. said...

Lost my virginity at 12 to an older girl. I wish I knew what cunnilingus was at the time.

Mark Jones said...

I didn't even realize you'd started posting the 101 program yesterday--I was busy-busy at work and didn't get a chance to look at the blog til after work, when my wife mentioned it. But I fasted yesterday, so I'm golden.

First time for me? I was 21, alas. The summer between my junior and senior years in college. And sadly, I was a late bloomer mostly for lack of trying. I'll be an introvert til the day I die, but as a teenager and young man I was painfully shy and fearful of rejection. In retrospect, I probably could have managed it years earlier if I'd picked up on the signals I missed at the time.

On the other hand, it was great! I decided that the cute chinese girl I'd just met was going to be the one and pursued her with (then) uncharacteristic confidence, and damned if it didn't work. We had nothing in common besides sex, but was enough to carry us through to graduation.

Anonymous said...

Is there a danger that eating every other day would slow a person's metabolism?

If so, that might be bad for people who are very overweight or who have thyroid problems.

Just something to consider.

Josh Jasper said...

At age 18, right before I stated college, to a girl I'd known for quite some time before. We were friends at the time, and stayed friends after, though I've fallen out of touch with her.

Unknown said...

Age 15. I had wanted to lose my virginity for several years, but was quite unpopular and couldn't find a guy to kiss me, much less have sex. I desperately wanted to be grown up and out of my current life of high school hell, and sex represented adulthood to me. Plus, I was horny :) I finally found a boyfriend, and had sex with him outside in the woods near my house a few days later. It was a nice spot for a first time, but despite thinking I was ready, it hurt like hell and didn't work too well. It was the first time for both of us. It stopped hurting a few times later, and I had a lot of sex for the next few years, with various boyfriends. I did not enjoy the actual act of sex for a few years, and didn't orgasm with a partner until I was about 18. Which was probably around the age I was emotionally ready for sex.

For what its worth, I hold to your idea that if I wouldn't take someone's call at 3 am when they needed a friend, I shouldn't have sex with them. Not all of my sex partners were people I was in a relationship with, but all were people I genuinely liked as a friend at the very least. As I used to say in my teens, "Banging someone is a great way to say I appreciate you as a friend."

Lis Riba said...

FYI, since I couldn't find other means of contact:

New novel by Bernardine Evaristo, an alternate history of whites enslaved by blacks

I wasn't the first commenter to be reminded of of Lion's Blood...

Anonymous said...

Hmm. I was 24. I had a male housemate; he'd forgotten his music for a concert, so I drove up and gave it to him. In thanks, he brought home a 12-pack of beer and got me playing a drinking game. And. . . that was that. If I was sober, I would've said no, but I figured I'd see what the fuss was about. I wasn't attracted to him at all (likely 'cause I figured out I liked girls better, but not until later,) and I was totally blind to the signs that he was after me. Wasn't much fun. Haven't done it since (5 years), not with guys or girls. Too chicken, I suppose.

Which sorta makes me feel like a fraud at times, because I write erotic LGBT e-books and I'm not exactly writing what I know. :>p

Anonymous said...

Ah, a trip down memory lane! Cool! I was 16 and in love. He had been asking for nearly 2 years and I had been saying "no" just as long. Finally I guess I felt we were at a point in the relationship where sex was a good idea. I figure out orgasms looonnnnng before I actually had sex so I knew a few things. Plus I had read the neighborhood's sex novels and manuals (Masters & Johnson) while babysitting. So, I was quite well educated! Ha! At any rate, I cut school and he picked me up and we went to his cousin's house. It was good and we were together for 2 more years and enjoyed them all!

In contrast to another poster, it helped me put my subsequent rape at 18 in to some sort of perspective. I KNEW sex wasn't supposed to be that way. I think it helped to some extent.

Ok, so the last Memory Lane destination wasn't so cool.

Anonymous said...

Twenty six. I tried to lose my virginity at 17, 18, 19, and 20 without success. I had vaginismus. That is, I never relaxed enough to allow penetration.

At 20, I contracted genital warts without actually having intercourse!

For the next five years, I thought I was damaged goods and would NEVER have sex. I dated, but didn't let things progress to sex because I wasn't going to have "the conversation" and get rejected.

At 26 I went out with a guy, assumed the guy and I were going to be platonic friends after he said he wanted to be "just friends," and somehow ended up losing my virginity. It was shocking! I'm still not quite sure how it happended.

The following year, I was again absolutely flabbergasted when I found myself having sex with a guy who claimed to be celibate.

A few sexual partners later, I suppose I've been cured of vaginismus.

Daniel Keys Moran said...

This reminds me of a Bill Murray bit on SNL -- says he lost his virginity at 9, Jane Curtin is shocked: "How old was your partner?"

"Oh," he replies, "I didn't use a partner until I was 13."

I lost my virginity when I was about eleven to the sisters who lived across the street. We trooped over to the empty field a quarter mile away, got naked, performed oral sex on each other, and then I tried to stick my fairly small stiffy into one of them, I forget which, without much success. ("Stiffy" -- that one's for you, Jasper. :))

I didn't have an orgasm, though, because I couldn't yet.

I lost my virginity again a few years after that, when I was about 13, a girlfriend and I were having oral sex and mutual masturbation -- that is, I went down on her, but I wouldn't let her suck my cock because the teeth thing worried me. We didn't have intercourse but did have orgasms.

Eventually I got over the teeth problem.

A year or two after that we had actual intercourse -- maybe I was 15 at the time? -- and it went really badly and she cried and bled and neither of us had an orgasm. A few days after that, intercourse+orgasm ...

"I lost my virginity at roughly 11, 13, and 15."

There's an awful lot of my life that, looking back, I feel vaguely ridiculous about, and my sex life isn't exempt. (Though, possibly as a saving grace, I've rarely felt ridiculous at the time. It's only afterwards I'd find myself thinking, "Didn't we look kind of silly with the rope and handcuffs and the trampoline?")

Maybe more important to me is the first girl I kissed -- Kim, in kindergarten. I got in trouble for it. To this day I can remember the first time I kissed Girl X much more easily than I can remember actual sex. I think Steve's said the same once or twice.


As far as I know, no one I've ever slept with has ever had much bad to say about me afterward, but that does come with a caveat -- I once had a girl approach me while at dinner with a new girlfriend (who I ended up living with for 2 years) ... Canter's delicatessen. Girl asked how I was doing, I said fine, and she said, "You have no idea who I am, do you?"

I didn't, said so. She said, "NOW, Santa Monica?" -- and told me her name.

Nothing. Girl turned to my girlfriend, said calmly enough, "Get away from him. He'll pretend not to remember you later on."

I wasn't pretending. Don't know if that makes it better or worse.

I stopped using drugs and drinking in my late 20s. Probably for the best.


I've slept with women I had no particular emotional connection to, though I've never slept with one where there wasn't chemistry. Sometimes that's enough.

I admit to deep skepticism about men who get virtuous when they get older. By the time I was 30 I'd fulfilled every meaningful sexual fantasy I had -- it did zip to slow me down any, just made me determined to do another circuit of it all.

At 35 I got married to my current wife and got more-or-less virtuous -- driven mostly by circumstances. She's the mother of my children and exposing her to embarrassment isn't worth any sort of casual entanglement; I was 35 and my sex drive was beginning to decline; and to this day our sex life is incredible, when the press of 5 children permits us to have one. I that virtue? I doubt it. If I were magically 25 & single again, I don't believe I'd act much differently -- I doubt most men would.

Pagan Topologist said...

First time: 20 and newly engaged. Did not consciously plan it, but got carried away. Wish I had known about keeping a condom on my person for unexpected sex. It was several more years before I had sex with anyone except my (now ex) wife. She and I did so only once every month or so. I was always desperately horny, but I had no clue how to make such a thing happen. Sometimes I have the feeling I still don't, at 64 years old. I have had several partners, over the years, but they all seemed like accidents.

Anonymous said...

WOW Steve. I just want to say thank you for sharing so much of yourself. You defintely did not have to share about your first marriage.

I too felt the need to "lose" my virginity in high school. All my other girlfriends had already done it and i was curious. I think the curiousity also arose from the fact that my father had alot of porn stashed around the house, and i wanted to be like one of those girls. I even contemplated doing porn once i graduated. I felt as a woman, in order to be liberated, i had to taste everything. But now, i wish i had never just given myself away like that. 98% of the men i was with THEN i wouldn't even talk to now. I think it is beautiful for person to give themself only to another person they are married to.

Unknown said...

Hi Steve,

I'm having some difficulty finding an email address for you. I wanted to make contact to see if you'd be open to recording an audio interview. Rory Miller speaks very highly of you ( we recorded a 3 part interview over the weekend). After doing some homework I understand why.

My email is I hope to hear from you. I apologize for using this forum to make contact. The other addresses didn't work.

Kevin Keough

Daniel Keys Moran said...

Kevin, I just listened to the first 1/3rd of that interview the other day, off a link on Steve Perry's blog. Very interesting stuff.


Suppose I should add -- my deep skepticism about the purity of older men does extend to Steve, but much less so than to most of the men I've known over the years. I don't know what's going on in Steve's head, but he's walking the walk in enough other areas of his life, if anyone out there's got a handle on this stuff, I'm willing to believe he does.

My acid test for this has always gone along the lines of -- "You're alone on the road in a first class hotel when the doorbell rings. It's (Insert Name Of Fantasy Woman) ... she wants a night of your time and your SO will never find out. Yes or no?"

Male friends I've known well enough to pose that question to ... I recall a few looking at me like I was an idiot, but I really don't remember any who could maintain with a straight face that they'd turn the fantasy woman away.

I don't disbelieve in the possibility of sexual virtue in men. But I'm not sure I've ever seen a case of it.

Rory said...

Just for the record, it's happened to me (a few substitutions e.g. long deployment for road trip) more than once. I've always said 'no' because I had made a promise to always say no. I won't break a promise to a stranger, how could I break one to someone I love?

Anonymous said...

18- head over heels in love and lust. Was a great relationship and taught me what to look out for in a woman (she was not the most faithful sort...). Honestly, I have yet to find anything close to that experience again. Some good times sure but not quite like that. Wonder if it was the engery of youth (we where both teenagers) or it was just the first time that made it great?

Unknown said...

I'm not sure what chemistry with no emotional connection would feel like. Or at least, I'm not sure what chemistry without wanting an emotional connection would feel like. There's different kinds of emotional connection, though; of the people in my life that I'd have been willing to take a 3AM phone call from, I've cared about them sometimes in very different ways.

There's a sense in which I'm skeptical of the sexual virtue of everyone - men, women, myself, my husband, the Pope, the late Mother Teresa. That is - sex is appealing, anyone's capable of being unfaithful to a promise under the right circumstances. So part of being faithful is reminding yourself of that promise, and another part is doing your best not to put yourself in whatever situations, for you, would try that promise.

That means that my answer to the hotel question would be - I certainly hope I'd never do that and I fully intend never to do that (and I haven't in fact been unfaithful to my husband) - rather than that I'm so confident I'm a good person that I don't even have to worry about it.

Steve Perry said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Steve Perry said...

Gotta go with Rory on this one, Dan. When we were hippies we were into free love and psychedelia, but we did a remarriage ceremony atop a big sand dune a couple decades ago and left all that behind.

So if the beautiful bad girl knocked on my hotel room door and I was absolutely certain my wife would never know, I'd still have to take a pass.

Would it be tempting? Oh, sure.

But if my wife never knew, I would still know.

Aside from which, once you have been around the track a few times, the very idea that such a thing would happen is unlikely. Life isn't a porno movie; much as I like to think of myself as a dashing fellow well-met once you get to know me, I'm not stud muffin material. Women don't melt when I walk by.

Boy-toy doesn't have quite the same ring as geezer-toy ...

Steven Barnes said...

Robin--no tracking software, but once we're running, I'd love to talk with you.

Marty--wedding night? That is so sweet, and since you're happy about that, I'm delighted for you!

Josh Jasper said...

Dan, some of us have enough sense to find someone who won't mind if we had that night, as long as we called them and asked, or let them know afterward.

On the other hand, I've got no problem turning down anyone who insists my partner won't get to know about it no matter who they are. That sort of request is an instant turn-off. No fantasy partner of mine would want that at all.

Steven Barnes said...

I have no evidence that eating every other day slows metabolism, nor have I seen any. I don't think the fasting period is long enough to have that effect. But also, you are MOVING every day, and that is the key to keeping the engines hot. If you have any other concerns, then it is easy to use a "sprint" protocol: (walk fast, walk slow. Repeat) to jack the metabolism up.

Steven Barnes said...

I don't consider my current status to be a matter of virtue, because I don't think the way I used to be was "wrong." I think I have a different understanding of what I want from life (what I always wanted, and didn't realize). We're looking at efficiency, and honesty.
I'm not the kind of guy that women tend to have an indifferent response to. Generally the reaction is either "Steve's an OK guy" or "Va Va Voom." Not much in-between, and it took me some time to realize that the women I was engaging with weren't just having fun. In time, I came to suspect that they rarely were. And once I came to that opinion, regardless of what they said, I began to sense a far more serious intent under the "I'm not the marrying kind" flippant comments they'd make on the way to bed. Once I saw the vulnerability, I just couldn't walk that road again. I couldn't un-learn what I felt I knew. Also, I don't want to screw up my marriage. Tananarive is the cornerstone of my life now, and I wouldn't hurt her, in any way, for the very best professional-level blowjob in creation. To be honest, I believe that if I screw this up, it's all downhill from here (in that arena). On the other hand, if she got hit by lightning or something, I'd probably do just fine...

Daniel Keys Moran said...


Yeah, open relationships are a form of sexual virtue, if everyone's on board. I've seen such relationships, and had them -- they have their ups and downs as well, but they are honest.

Rory, I'll take your word on your conduct. I do believe men like this exist, just not sure I've ever run across it in person -- certainly never when I was younger. Finding that guy at 25 would surprise me. I'm close to that today -- a little wiser and more self-disciplined, a big drop in sex drive -- but it's not who I was back then.


Yeah, getting old does ruin the boy toy thing. I don't miss being young and clueless, but I wouldn't mind being young and pretty again for a day ...


I don't think the way I used to be was "wrong."

Once I saw the vulnerability, I just couldn't walk that road again. I couldn't un-learn what I felt I knew.

Curious how you reconcile this. You weren't wrong because you were clueless? This isn't a shot, most young men are clueless in this area -- if by not wrong you mean not malevolent, sure, I get that. But that's not the same thing as not wrong.

Steve Perry said...

"I wouldn't mind being young and pretty again for a day ..."

Really? Why? What would you do with it? If your wife likes you like you are -- and she's the one getting the benefits of Dan-ness, then having the sweet young things pant when you go by isn't going to be worth much.

Since I never was boy-toy material, that's not something I miss as the male version of a crone. I mean, ego-boo is nice, but I could always supply that myself -- walk away, pretty woman, but I can tie a figure-eight knot in a cherry stem with my tongue ...

Daniel Keys Moran said...

Seriously, great question. I don't know that I'd do anything -- I'm pretty sure Amy likes me the way I am. She knew me when I was 23, and didn't take me very seriously (with, admittedly, good cause.) She's a few years older than I am, and it wasn't until I'd aged enough to pick up a little gravitas that I think I really worked for her.

Or it could just be the muscle. I'm carrying about 25lbs more muscle today than I did in my 20s. I do know she likes that.

... mostly, if I really could be 25 again, I'd go play full court basketball for 8 hours. It's been almost 20 years since I was able to do that -- go to the park in the morning, play until it got dark. Admittedly this is what ruined my knees, but it's probably the thing about being young I miss most.