Solve for X

Prompt from early this morning: tell me how you felt about math.

When I think of math I think of classes and teachers and time spent doing other things. I think of sex. Not that I was having sex during math, or that math is a sexy subject for me. But two things come to mind that make me associate sex with math.

When my mother first told me about sex it sounded like an equation. Penis + vagina = sex. And sex = babies. Note to fourth grade self: no sex. It was as simple as that in my little mind.

And sex remained as that equation for me all through my early puberty. When I reached eighth grade, when suddenly there was a pregnant girl in school, and when hidden giggles arose about who was doing IT with who, the equation of sex simultaneously matured while also staying true to its basic concepts and prime numbers.

The second instance that makes me think about math and sex is due to the fact that it was my eighth grade math teacher’s daughter who re-calculated the meaning of sex for me. In seventh grade I was starting to realize the factor of desire. I wanted to kiss, and I wanted to be touched.  I would randomly see soft porn on Showtime–something cheesy and light like “The Red Shoe Diaries”–and I knew there was something strange yet exciting bubbling inside of me.

What I didn’t know was how these bubbles fit into the equation.

The girls’ locker room was an excellent source for gossip. Our little flock of basketball players–myself included–were hanging out in the locker room before gym. I wasn’t one to really join in on any gossip, mostly because I didn’t know any. But I was a welcomed listener.

Becca, the math teacher’s daughter, had something on her mind one day. She was talking about the pregnant girl in our class. Somewhere along my maturity road from forth to eighth grade I learned that succumbing to desires of the body meant getting pregnant. Sex meant pregnancy, and desire meant sex, but something was missing.

Becca solved X for me.

“She’s pregnant!” Becca exclaimed about our classmate Trina. “Like, his penis was actually inside her vagina!” Squeals all around the room.

Oh…now I got it. I knew what sex, desire, and babies were, but somewhere in my mind I forgot that a penis + a vagina + desire  = sex.  Figuring out that desire was a part of that equation was new to me. And while I understood that equation, maybe my lack of fully comprehending and practicing it helped me to find my own identity. Because in my queer equation, the penis is absent. And there’s still a lot of desire there. No babies, though, which I’m also fine with subtracting from the equation.


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