“A man’s kiss is his signature.” – Mae West
I wasn’t kissed; I was raped.
But one of them kissed me. He left his signature upon my lips. He marked a part of my body with slime and spit and indignity. A part of my body that is impossible for me to hide.
What is a forced kiss called? There’s a vulgar word for forced sex; I couldn’t say that word for months and months after I admitted that it happened to me and I still don’t like it… but there is no word for a forced kiss.
The two things don’t have to go together, sex and kissing… but my rapists took both from me. Sex can be had without the lips ever touching each other or any other part of the body.
In grade five when we had to take sex education. The boys and the girls were split up and given the lesson on sex organs and the process of menstruation and fertilization. Then we were all given little pieces of paper so we could write our questions out to the teacher to have her answer them without having to “out” ourselves as the person asking the question.
Someone wrote, “What does the kissing do?”
My fifth grade teacher, Mrs. S… red-faced and sputtering over her words… didn’t really answer the question. Something about kissing not doing anything for the actual sex, merely a way of showing affection… not really answering the question.
My seventh grade teacher, Mrs. G, refused to answer direct questions from students who raised their hands in health class asking what oral and anal sex were. She said that was not part of the curriculum and would therefore not explain it any further. There was also no mention of kissing or physical intimacy.
Could someone, for once, talk about what actual SEX is? We do not learn about sex in school; that is called anatomy. No wonder it is hard for women to differentiate between sex and rape in our heads. Fuck.
What does the kissing do?
Only one of my rapists kissed me. But when he kissed me… he took more from me than he was already taking from me with his penis. His lips took more from me. He wasn’t just tainting me with other men now, sexually… it was tainting me with everything I ever loved.
What is a kiss?
How can I kiss my nieces and nephews and children when my lips are still contaminated?
How can I greet my friends when my lips still hold the chemicals infused to them in… this is where that word would come in handy… rape?
How can I use these lips that are no longer mine with another man to show him that I love him? Or that I want him? Or that I need him, or missed him, or yearn for him?
And how can I be kissed now?
It’s funny… or sad… or something… I don’t even remember ever having kissed the first guy I had sex with. It was after I was raped and I don’t remember much about that time. It was just sex… animalistic, primal, disgusting, two bodies going at it. It had nothing to do with respect or love or intimacy. Nothing to do with how the other felt. That’s why I didn’t kiss him; that’s why he didn’t kiss me. Perhaps we didn’t want to mess up our own intentions. Our intentions were different, but neither involved love or respect or intimacy. They involved sex.
Now… now that I am kissing a man… all those feelings of love and respect and intimacy get mixed in with the swirly sex feelings and our intentions aren’t clear with each other. Our physical relationship started with lips touching, and nothing else. Our sex started with a kiss. Actually… it started before a kiss. It started with us standing millimetres apart, but not touching… it started with our breath and our eyes and a lean. But then it started with a kiss. And it still always does. Sometimes we just kiss each other everywhere for a long time before we even get into any other physical display of caring or animalistic want; I use my mouth to kiss him everywhere, as if it is my own. As if it is not tainted; as if it is not poison.
So much of everything is connected to my mouth. My voice. My words. My loves. My sexuality. My nutrition. My nervous habits.
My voice can be powerful. It was taken from me, but I am getting it back.
My words hold so much. They can show deep respect. They can injure.
My loves. My affectionate kisses. My playful kisses. My smiles.
My sexuality. My sex kisses. Oral sex. But also forced kisses, and shame.
My nutrition. My control over my body. My control over my food.
My nervous habits. Biting my nails. Chewing my cheeks. Clenching my teeth.
What belongs in my mouth? What is morally okay to go in there? And what is okay for me to do with my mouth? With my kisses?
Who can kiss my mouth? Who can I kiss with it?
Why did they have to take that from me? And how do I take it back?
Maybe I take it back the same way I am starting to take back sex… because what they did to me wasn’t sex; it was rape. Because what he did to my wasn’t kissing; it was… theft?
I think I take it back by kissing this man who I want to kiss everywhere I want to kiss him and doing whatever I want to do with my mouth, to him, or otherwise. Maybe?
I think I take it back by realizing that I am really not passing on anything to the people in my life who I kiss. That’s just in my head.
He may have stolen a kiss. That was not in my control. But there are infinitely more kisses at my disposal than the one he took. And I can do whatever I want with them.