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Do you remember your first time?

What did you think of just then? I’m willing to be a fair number of you thought of your first sexual experience. This is an erotica blog after all.

Today, I’m talking about my new anthology release, First: Sensual Lesbian Stories of New Beginnings published by Ladylit. You’re probably still thinking about first sexual experiences, aren’t you? However, this anthology is a collection of stories about lesbians, about first experiences, and about sex. All three of those things feature in every story, but that’s where the similarities end.

First: Sensual Lesbian Stories of New Beginnings takes a wider sweep over the canvas of first times. A woman sees her lover for the first time after years of blindness. For the first time in her life, a top trusts her girlfriend enough to let her take control. A connection forged in a bar in New Mexico encourages a breast cancer survivor to take a lover. Stories of new love and first lesbian encounters intermingle with other emotional and physical firsts, and the excitement of new experiences: an around the world flight, the thrill of a carnival, and even the first time to see the sea.

To celebrate the release of First: Sensual Lesbian Stories of New Beginnings some of the contributors talk about first times of their own.

Annabeth Leong, whose story about a woman’s first competitive boxing match kicks off the anthology reminisces about what attracted her to boxing:

I remember the first time I heard about women’s boxing was in a big article in Vogue about Marlen Esparza. They had absolutely gorgeous pictures of her training, wearing awesome red boxing shoes, and also modeling stylish clothes. I had a huge crush and wanted to be as much like her as possible. I always think about her workout regimen when I practice boxing myself—though of course I don’t come anywhere close to what she does!
In case anyone is curious, here’s a link to the article (with an amazing picture right up top).

An excerpt from Annabeth’s story Roses and Thorns

Ruth sighed, tucked in the ends of her wraps, and turned to Arlene. Her tough, tattooed girlfriend had first caught her eye with a butch swagger to die for, but now she fretted and paced. She tripped over the half-spilled contents of another girl’s backpack. The familiar smells of sweat and rubber training mats focused Ruth, but Arlene didn’t seem to notice them.

“I’m going to be fine,” Ruth told her, but she didn’t even pause. Ruth stepped closer, bumping her hip with a wrapped hand. “I’m going to be fine,” she repeated.

“That other girl is going to hit you,” Arlene said.

Ruth laughed. “And you can cheer when I hit her back.”

Andi Marquette has contributed a compelling story The Sum of Our Parts about a woman dealing with the aftermath of a mastectomy. Here, Andi shares her own story:

The first hour after surgery is always a bitch, and I remember thinking exactly that as I gingerly got out of my hospital bed and walked slowly to the bathroom dragging that damn wheeled IV rack with me. I kept my left arm close against my body because it was also my first official hour awake without my left breast, and things on that side of my body were uncomfortable and sore. It was February, 2012 and I remember thinking on that trip to the bathroom how much I hate hospitals and why the hell is my pee blue before I remembered that I had gotten an injection of dye the morning of the surgery to light up my lymph nodes. The surgeon took a few of those, too, for checking. All clear. Thank whatever deities for that. No chemo or radiation required. Thank you, again, deities.

I didn’t look at my chest until I got home the next day. I didn’t want to, but you have to in order to deal with the drain and its tubing, which you have for 2-3 weeks, sometimes longer after surgery. That first time I looked at my chest post-surgery, I remember carefully unbuttoning my shirt—I wore really baggy flannel shirts that buttoned in the front while I had my drain tube—and exposing the puffy slash across my pectoral. It looked weird, I decided. The surgeon had done a great job with the incision, but my body was no longer how it had been for the first 45 years of my life. That was hard. I avoided looking at my chest as much as possible for months, only doing it in the weeks after surgery to deal with the drain. I didn’t even look at it much when I got my first prosthesis and mastectomy bra a few months after surgery.

Basically, it took a good eight months for me to really look at my body in the mirror and not freak out about the blank expanse of skin on my chest. It took another six months before I settled in with the reality of life without a breast, but it was about two years after surgery before the prosthesis and mastectomy bras became part of my daily routine, and just something I do in the mornings and evenings.

The Sum of Our Parts is the first story I’ve written featuring a character—Kim Perez—who is dealing with what I did. Kim is thus a watermark for me, because I’m comfortable enough now with the new geography of my body to write part of my experience, something I couldn’t do prior to this. And though I don’t yet have a tattoo to map my geography, Kim does, and there’s a scene in the story that I hope captures a bit of the experience for some of us every time we look in a mirror after losing a breast. Here’s part of it:

Kim studied herself in the mirror. She was finally used to seeing her chest with one breast, twenty-two months and twenty days after the fact. Seven months ago she’d decided on a tattoo to mark where her breast had been, and she liked how that tatt looked, the vibrant greens, yellows, blues, and reds of Quetzalcoatl, the Aztec god who sometimes took the appearance of a feathered serpent. He did on her skin, a dragon without legs whose body was a muscular, serpentine splash of life over her scar, and his tail curled up to her shoulder, while his feathered fierce head rested on her sternum, almost touching her remaining breast, across a background of glyphs from one of the god’s temples.

The tattoo artist had taken several sessions to do it, given its size and color. All Kim had felt during each of them was the pressure from the tattoo gun because the mastectomy had taken nerve sensation along with breast tissue, and she was mostly numb from her armpit to an inch below her scar. The surgeon had said that would happen. She might get sensation back. She might not.

Kim pressed on her skin, and traced the lines of Quetzalcoatl’s tail down to her scar, barely visible, until she found the spot where the numbness ended below it. She ran her fingertips slowly back and forth along that boundary, and wondered how another woman might see and feel her, if Kim decided to remove her shirt and allowed someone to touch her again.

She thought then about Jordan, and the little buzz she’d gotten last week. Kim liked the buzz, and she liked thinking about Jordan, but losing a breast had affected her more than she had predicted, though she’d never worn feminine-cut clothing or worked to attract a male gaze. Funny, how she carried the weight of culture, history, and womanhood somewhere in her psyche.

With fantastic stories by favorite writers such as Sacchi Green, Harper Bliss, Tamsin Flowers, Allison Wonderland, and Jeremy Edwards, the variety in this anthology means there is something for everyone.
Check out First: Sensual Lesbian Stories of New Beginnings on Amazon or visit Ladylit’s site for other distributor information.