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THE SECRET OF ADULTS


The first time Linda used a vibrator, she was in high school. To earn extra money, she'd babysit for the neighbors. After putting the kid to bed at 8pm, Linda often had 2-3 hours to herself. Sometimes she'd do her homework, sometimes watch TV, but when she was bored with both, she'd snoop around the Johnsons' house.

It's been so many years, but the images and textures and smells come back to her. She can recall the shag carpet in the hall that lead to the master bedroom. They had a waterbed with a giant headboard that had a mirror and built-in night stands on either side. At the time, Linda never thought twice about the mirror; now she realizes why it was there. Her attention concentrated more on the drawers. In one side of the bed, she found a stack of nudie magazines. She assumed it was the side that Mr. Johnson slept on. On the other side, she found a rocket-shaped plastic vibrator and a jar of vaseline.

It's funny to think of now, but she honestly had no idea what she had really found and what it was used for. These were the days long before internet, or TV shows like "Sex in the City" that make references to vibrators. In fact, Sex Ed in school was taught only for an hour, literally. Sophomore year, the gym glass split up between boys and girls, and while the coach talked to the boys, the school nurse showed the girls a chart of the female reproductive anatomy. She'd learned about ovaries and fallopian tubes, but nothing about masturbation, and certainly nothing about vibrators.

Being the 70s, it wasn't like her classmates weren't messing around. The girls talked about boys, making out, getting to "third base," or going "all the way." Her classmates were pretty open about losing their virginity. But none of them ever talked about masturbation, and certainly not using a vibrator. There was still a stigma attached to anything of that nature. Linda could tell her friends that she smoked pot and balled a guy in the back of his Nova, and her friends would nod in approval, but if she said she'd masturbated the night before, her friends would surely scrunch up their faces and say, "Ewww."

So, when Linda found the magazines and the vibrator it was a real eye opener. In the images, she saw women, naked, splayed out, showing their private parts, sometimes holding their bodies open for the camera. Sometimes touching themselves. She had learned the terms "labia" and "clitoris" on the anatomy chart the nurse had shown the girls, but now she saw what adult women did with those parts.

To her surprise, the images not only informed her, but aroused her. She became tingly and wet at the sight of other women caressing themselves and giving themselves what looked like pure ecstasy. On one of the magazines, one of the women had a rocket-shaped vibrator just like the one in the drawer.

Linda took the magazine and spread it on the floor. After stripping naked, she took the vibrator. Sitting with her legs wide, she'd look down at the open magazine. She'd absorb the images on the page, and then turn to the next. She'd cup her breast in her hand, and rub the tip of the vibrator along her folds. She didn't need the vaseline; she was so wet. It didn't take long for her to discover that twisting the top of the vibrator turned it on. It leapt to life in her hand, and soon she realized how good it felt to touch to her clitoris.

For Linda, it was her real sex ed. Every time she'd babysit, she'd put the kids to bed, and go down the shag-carpet hall to the master bedroom, where she'd retrieve a magazine and the vibrator. By looking at images of other women, she learned about her own body, what she liked, and how to bring herself to a powerful orgasm.

She began to anticipate the thrill of a new magazine each month. She learned that Mr. Johnson had a simple system: he'd always have the latest issue on the top of the stack in the drawer, on top of the last 3 or 4 months. As the magazines cycled out, he'd stack them in the garage in a box on a top shelf. Of course she found them. She was a teenage girl. She knew there were only two options: either he threw them away or kept them. If he kept them, that meant they could be found. The Johnsons lived lived in a suburban ranch house, pretty much identical to her own: there were two bedrooms, the bathroom, kitchen, living room, garage. Obviously the public rooms were out, as well as the kid's bedroom, so that simply left looking in the master bedroom closet or the garage. It took her maybe 15 minutes at the most to find the stash of magazines.

With every issue, every model, she seemed to learn more. She saw so many different sizes of breasts: some small with puffy nipples, some large like hers, with aureolas the size of silver dollars. She saw many different shapes and sizes of vaginas. Some had protruding labias with dark lips, and some had merely a cleft visible. The more she saw, the more comfortable she became with exploring her own body. As she spent more time pouring over the back issues, she began taking the vibrator with her to the garage. It felt sneaky and naughty. It thrilled her.

When the neighbors hired her so they could go out, they always took the Mr. Johnson's LeBaron. They left the wife's station wagon in the garage. Linda masturbated many times in the station wagon. Sometimes she'd imagine she was on a date with Troy, the captain of the football team, and she was letting him go "all the way." To her surprise, she even created a fantasy of being in the station wagon with one of the neighbors. At first she fantasized about being with Mr. Johnson; he would confess his uncontrollable attraction to her. In her scenario, he would be driving her home (although in reality, she only lived a block away, and would just walk home). But in her fantasy world, he would have to drive her a long distance home, past the school. past the drive-in, and out toward the farmland. He'd park the car. He'd tell her how beautiful she was. He'd ask to see her breasts, and she'd pull down her top and show him. He'd ask to touch or kiss them, and she'd let him. He'd ask to see between her legs, and she'd show him, like a woman in the magazines. In her fantasy, she'd masturbate for him. And as she brought herself to orgasm in real life, she'd imagine his eyes on her. This seemed to turn her on a lot.

But then she began imagining Mrs. Johnson seducing her. This scenario was more gentle and soft. It didn't have a plot, but involved kissing and caressing. Seeing Mrs. Johnson touch herself with the vibrator, and then showing Mrs. Johnson how she used the vibrator, and then Mrs. Johnson using the vibrator on her. Somehow the magazines, and the stories inside of swinging couples fueled her creative imagination.

Once, she was so caught up in her fantasies, rubbing herself with the vibrator, naked in the backseat of the station wagon, she didn't even realize the time. When she heard the LeBaron pull up, she never moved so fast in her life. She shot out of the station wagon, and dashed into the house, through the kitchen, and grabbed her clothes. She tossed the vibrator in the drawer and bolted into the bathroom. She was trembling, breathing hard, as she heard the garage door click open and the car pull in.

She dressed and reappeared from the bathroom, as the Johnsons came in. Luckily, they were tipsy from dinner and wine. Who knows if they noticed Linda's red cheecks, the glow of sweat on her forehead, or that she'd buttoned her blouse one button off. She'd been in such a hurry, she'd just tossed on her skirt, and shoved her panties in her coat pocket. She thought she could smell the musk of her wetness between her legs, and wondered if the Johnson's could smell her recent sex. Linda was so embarrassed that all she could do is manage to say a few usual things about the kid being asleep and no problems and excused herself as quickly as she could.

She walked down the street. The moon had risen and the air was cool, and thick with night's mist. Along the street of tall elms, she could see the stars peeking through the boughs. Sprinklers watered lawns. The air smelled of water and wet grass. Without really thinking, she veered over one of the lawns and stood over a sprinkler. The watershot up between her legs, icy cold. It seemed to sooth the burning fire of her recent excitement. She didn't want to go home smelling of her own sticky juices. And the water felt so good and soothing.

She walked back across the lawn and continued down the street. Her thighs had goosebumps. Her dark curls dripped dry. Her skirt was wet, but thin enough that it would dry in time if she kept walking, past the dark houses, locked tight, and sound asleep. As she walked, she felt perfectly covered, but also naked. Like a secret. As she walked past the houses, all built the same year form the same blueprints by the same developer, she knew the layout of the rooms behind the locked doors. She wondered how many of her neighbors had magazines or vibrators by their beds. she felt like now she knew their secret.

Linda wondered if the Johnson's would fall fast asleep or make love on their bed. Would they open the drawer and reach for the vibrator? Would they find it still warm and wet? Would they know? Linda didn't care if they did, because now she knew. They did it, and she did it, and every adult on the street did it, in their own way, without talking about it, but they did. Like a secret that's not a secret, because once you become an adult, you know, but you agree to pretend it's still a secret. That's how it was to become an adult, thought Linda.

Her damp skirt clung to her skin, and she walked, naked under her dress, toward home.


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