When I was 18 years old, indeed on the day that I turned 18, I took the T into Harvard Square and got my belly button pierced. I'd been wanting to do it for aaaages. It just looked so darn cool. Cool and cutting edge. I already had 7 holes in my ears, and this would push me over the edge of sexy punk cool.
The day I got it pierced my belly button looked a little weird. The dude at the piercing parlor marked the spot with permanent marker, so for about a week I had a hoop ring protruding from what looked like an enormous black-head. Immediately after the black mark washed off my belly button looked weird for another reason. Turns out my stomach wanted nothing to do with the sexy punk look; my skin rejected the piercing and not only got infected but started to re-grow over the edge of the ring. Kind of like a tree around a boat-tie. I washed it out with salt water every night for a year, and tried to play it cool. But the infection never went away, and when I tried to show off my cool piercing to my friends, they'd be like "AAAAH! Put it away!" It was maybe the grossest looking thing you have ever seen.
On my 19th birthday, I shuffled down to the college health center and got it cut out with a medical saw.
I think of that hole in my belly fighting to close itself up, and I get a sense of my body's personality: stubborn, squeamish, introverted. Fights off invaders, doesn't act cool. Doesn't listen to directions.
And somehow I'm not surprised that I can't have sex anymore.
Most folks say 6 weeks after birth is the magic number: when mommy and daddy put the baby down for a nap and finally feel like a couple again, repair their marriage, convince each other that life as they knew it isn't over for the next 20 years.
But I past 6 weeks and went straight on to 8, and I can tell you right now that it's like a bear trap down there. Nothing is getting in. Don't even think about it. If someone down the street behind a closed door even thinks about maybe downloading porn off the internet, I get a spasm of pain. And then I'm all, "Oh, is it going to rain? I can tell because I feel it in my vagina!"
In the interim I have completely stopped thinking about sex, which means that I don't even get sexual jokes anymore. My friends are all: "Did you hear the one about the tiny piano player?" And I'm like: "No, what happened? Did he have a birth defect? Does he have a show on TLC?"
All this is to say: props go to my long-suffering husband. He has put up not only with stretch marks and bizarre belly-button scars, but with the daily witness of these physical features in the absence of the normal sexual hormones that make these sights more palatable. On the plus side... makes co-sleeping easier? more time to focus on blogging? Yeah, I got nothing.