First Time For Everything: Anal Beads

Years ago, in my early 20s, I dated a guy named Mike. Now Mike, by all accounts, was heterosexual. Perhaps you’re thinking, Um, hello? Duh. Of course he was. He was dating you, and you’re a woman. But as any lady in her 20s living in New York can tell you, this doesn’t always guarantee straightness. No. It does not. However, Mike seemed thoroughly, authentically hetero. And as evidence of that fact – and just to get down to the nitty-gritty of it – I offer you the following: He had a healthy sexual appetite and, more to the point, he really enjoyed the performance of The Oral Sex. And more to the point, he was unfailingly, ahem, aroused after having done so to moi et moi’s lady-bits.

So this one night, Straight Mike and I were enjoying a couple of post-coital drinks and chitting and chatting, and I – in a pathetic if nonetheless truthful attempt to make him think me more worldly than I was/am – mentioned having made out with a girl in college. I said, “Well, there was this month in college when I kept making out with my friend Barbara.”

I expected him to tell me how edgy, original, and adventurous this was, but instead, he went, “Oh, yeah. Well, I mean, I guess I never think that stuff’s that big a deal. I mean, well, I sucked this guy’s dick, like … last year I guess it was?”

Here, allow me to recommend that if ever you hear shocking information about which you’d like more information, the best thing you can do is act like whatever you’ve heard is totally, totally normal. Thus you have encouraged the other person to share.

“Oh,” I replied. “Huh.”

Mike continued, “It was a thing I’d been interested in for awhile: Blowing another guy. Getting a blow job from another guy. And then finally, I met this friend of a friend who was gay, and was always going on like, ‘You’re so gorgeous. You’re so hot.’ And then one night last year we got drunk and, well, blew each other.”

“That’s nice,” I said. “I mean, it’s good to check things off the bucket list.”

That was all that was said on the subject. Mike and I continued on as any sexually active, heterosexual couple would, but then, six months later, for some godforsaken reason I can’t quite recall, I decided to reignite the subject.

“So, can we talk about the fact you’ve sucked a dick?” I asked.

“Sure,” said Mike. “What aspect of the whole thing would you like to talk about?”

I was happily surprised but nonetheless taken aback by his willingness.

“Oh. Well, good,” I said. “I guess I’m interested in whether you consider yourself bisexual? Or just … straight? But with … certain … oral … tendencies?”

“I guess I’m bisexual,” he said.

“I see,” I said. “And so, like, do you regularly find yourself attracted to men? Is that, like, an itch you’ll need to scratch?”

Mike shook his head. “Not at all,” he said. “I was interested in the blow job stuff, which I tried. And then, well…” He trailed off.

“What?” I asked.

“Well, the one other thing is, well, I know this one guy who’s straight, who said he came like crazy once because the girl he was dating did something to his prostrate.”

“With her finger?”

“No,” said Mike. “With anal beads.”

What I’ve tried to do here, dear reader, is explain to you how it is I eventually found myself in my bedroom with my boyfriend and a pack of anal beads. I was in my early 20s and insecure, which is, of course, the perfect recipe for being dangerously eager to please.

I was the one who bought them. Primarily because Mike’s birthday was approaching, and these beads were a cheap and easy gift. I went into a sex shop and on Manhattan’s Lower East Side.

“Hello,” I whispered to the least threatening-looking of the salesgirls. “I would like … some anal beads.”

Now here was a woman who was nothing if not seriously comfortable talking any and all things sex.


I’d watched enough “Real Sex” on HBO to know anything glass would be out of my price range.

“Um, plastic please,” I said, and was handed what, I swear to god, looked just like a kids’ toy: Four plastic balls of increasing size, all strung together along a small, cone-shaped piece of plastic.

“And so these go…”

“Up the butt,” said that least-threatening looking of the salesgirls. “Yes, exactly. One by one, as many as you can handle. Have fun with it!”

Later that night, I repeated these instructions almost verbatim to Mike. He laid down on his back and did as instructed, breathing all the while like a woman in labor; breathing all, like, “Hee-hee-who; hee-hee-who” as he worked to manage one bead, then the next, and then the next. When all four had been finally o’ertaken by his, ahem, bottom, let’s call it, I asked, “Now what? Do I get on top of you? Or … well, I don’t know. Just tell me what to do.”

Mike, like a man breathless over a wretchedly uncomfortable shit, managed, “Just. Take. Them. Out. SLOWLY.”

So then I did as instructed, at which point Mike enjoyed only a brief moment of peace before saying, “Oh God… oh God…” and dashing to the bathroom to tend to whatever the anal beads had, in a phrase, shaken loose.

Suffice it to say that that was my last go around the dance floor with the anal beads. Once Mike had cleaned himself up, it was suggested that perhaps I’d fare better than he had, but I refused.

“I’m sorry, but no,” I said. “My need to please stops here.”

Sara Barron is the author of People Are Unappealing and the forthcoming book Eating While Peeing (And Other Adventures) For more info, visit her website.