Excerpt from Girl Intrepid

Chapter 4: Sexed

September 1953

“Girls don’t think about sex as much as boys.”

If that were true, then I was an anomaly even before reaching puberty. Starting at age ten, I had one crush after another on various boys. For a whole year of weekends, when I was about twelve, Tracy Coudert and I would crawl into his bed in the morning. We would wrap our arms around each other and we would gently and silently rub against one another, fully clothed, for close to an hour. There was no climax. It just felt warm and cozy. After we felt rubbed out, without a word, I would return to my room, which opened onto his, and shut the door. We would dress for the day and meet again downstairs for breakfast without the slightest acknowledgment of our earlier meeting.

In seventh grade, Camilla Cahill brought in an erotic poem, “This is My Beloved,” which she had filched from the bedroom of her sexy twenty-five-year-old half-brother. Although explicit and titillating, the poem was tender and lyrical—a sweet introduction to the joys of romantic love and sex, which were years away.