For Sex Lives, GQ speaks with someone about their entire sex life up to this point about how their sexuality has evolved. This week: Sam, 34, London, straight.
I always had crushes on girls and a high sex drive, but it took me a while to put those things together. I remember at my eighth birthday party I caused a scandal because when I was inviting people, I didn’t just invite the whole class, or all the boys in class. I picked out three girls: Samantha, Jessica and Jade. My family still teases me about Samantha, Jessica, and Jade. I was definitely attracted to them on some level, but again, I was eight.
When I was about 12 was when I started looking at porn. I think it was a Yahoo search engine and it was just searching for “naked girls.” I knew what I was looking for, it’s not like someone had to introduce porn to me. I was still getting crushes on girls, but the thought of having sex with them was just not there, like I wasn’t quite making that connection, and that remained true until I got my first girlfriend at 18. I went to a very academic school and it was an all boys school, and I don’t think most of the other students were having sex. But then I started dating this girl and we would have these sexual phone calls and I started connecting with this girl who I really liked with sex. Because of exams, we never actually did anything physically sexual, but we did have these phone calls. I didn’t lose my virginity until I was at university at 19.
I’m the child of immigrants; I come from a very traditional and very academic background. I’m of Indian heritage, and I was very much brought up to feel like sex or relationships were just something we didn’t do. They were for other people. Public displays of affection, like couples holding hands—either my parents or other people who are married—that sort of thing just did not happen, I didn’t see it. And I struggled with that. Only one of my girlfriends has been Indian—the first girlfriend I had. I wouldn’t say that it’s hard for me to find Indian women attractive or anything, I just think that I find it hard to almost sort of make a connection with a possible sexual or romantic relationship with them. Honestly, I’ve never found myself attractive. I think growing up there was a real sense of like, this—sexual or romantic desire—is not for people like us.
At university, I had about one relationship a year—all very short, about two to four months. The first year was the girl I lost my virginity to. The second year was with a friend of mine; we fell into a relationship that was horrific. The reason it was so bad was because she was a really strong, powerful, very confident, very sure of her own opinions, very, very smart and was used to quite aggressive men around her. Her idea of flirting was being a bit of a dick to me, and I didn’t find that attractive. What she wanted—and I knew this, it’s just not me at all— was for me to pin her down and do what I wanted to her. We never talked about it. We had sex once and it was uncomfortable and weird. It was at the very end of our relationship. We literally broke up two days later. But a few months later we became friends again and we’re friends to this day.