"We were basically always alone there."
Interview & Images by Jacky Connolly

Last month Elena asked me to interview her for a school assignment. She said it only had to be ten minutes long. When I asked her what what she wanted to talk about she said childhood sexuality, chat rooms and early lesbian experiences. Our conversation lasted over an hour.

Should we start off talking about the Internet?
Before then.
Before the internet. So what is your earliest erotic memory?
Probably taking baths with my sister.
You remember that as being erotic?
Yeah. Especially the first time. I was in Florida in a jacuzzi bath with her, just me and my sister. We were four, sitting on each other's laps.
Do you think she was aware that it was erotic?
I don't know. She was sort of fidgety. The first girl I remember having a more intense thing with was this girl Arielle from my summer day camp when I was five. She had this older sister that was 16 and sort of bad. She did a bunch of drugs and her room had Korn posters in it. I was an oldest child so Ariel was exposed to more precocious and mature stuff.
What would you and Arielle do together?
We would play these games, like chasing each other and being each other slaves. I had this notebook and she showed me how to draw a penis. We drew penises together for hours one day with little squiggles coming out of them.

Did you know what a penis looked like?
Only like a little boy penis maybe. These didn't look to me like anything I seen on the little boys I played with. This was an adult penis, with balls.
So Arielle knew what an adult penis was?
Yeah. And she taught me how to draw it. That day when I went home I was so ashamed. I had the notebook and it was really freaking me out that it was in my room. I couldn't sleep so I had to scribble all the pages out.
Were you interested in penises?
Maybe primordially. I don't remember why I was interested but it was pretty shocking.
In general were you looking for bad kids?
Yeah I was kind of looking for those people. I had a boyfriend named Bobby before who was the school bully. We'd play these kinky chase games. He had white blond hair.
Did you guys kiss?
How did you guys become boyfriend girlfriend?
This one day he said that he wanted to be my boyfriend right in front of this other boy Adam- this sensitive, soft little Jewish boy who was my close family friend and really taken with me. Adam was like, “Elena’s my girlfriend.” Then they told me I had to pick.
And you chose the bully?
I actually did something very cruel. I said “you have to race to the other side of the playground and whoever wins the race is my boyfriend.” But I knew that Bobby was going to win because Adam was a puny shrimp and Bobby was the big bully. And he won.

I didn't just reject Adam, I made him lose. I watched him lose.
Did you feel bad about it?
Kind of. We would have Shabbat with their family.
You still see him every once in a while?
Yeah. I've talked to him about it. I have a home video of him chasing me around pulling down my top. It was my sister's baby naming.
How long did you date Bobby?
For most of kindergarten. Then he said I had to kiss him and I didn't. I wasn’t sure about it or thought I was supposed to at least put up a fight.
So you wouldn’t kiss him?
No, but then he chased me around the whole playground and pinned me to the chain link fence and kissed me.
That was your first kiss?
Great first kiss. Were you in love with him?
In a 5-year-old way. I think my interactions that summer with Arielle were stronger. My house was a very innocent, safe type of house and she had one of those broken family houses. They were very rich, it was one of those modern houses and there was this evil atmosphere in the sister's room. I just remember talking about things that we weren't supposed to, or feeling like dirty when I left her house or my mom picked me up.

Was there more to the attraction than just being bad?
It was more an admiration- like they're different than yourself and you want to have some of what they are. But there was also a sexual attraction- like she would put her their arm against me or touch my wrist and I’d get the chills…. like, “whoo!”
How long did you see Arielle?
Only that summer.
Did you meet anyone else like her after that?
I don't think I met anyone like that for a while. The second relationship was a few years later with my friend Jenny. It was a different type of dynamic. Jenny was sort of nerdy and looked up to me- she wasn't as like precocious as Arielle.
You were the bad girl in that situation.
I wanted to be. I remember coming back from my first summer at sleep away camp-, I lied to her and said I had sex at summer camp.
You hadn’t had sex at summer camp?
I was eight. I had gone to summer camp pretty young and I told her I had sex cause because I wanted to make out with her, experiment with her. She barely even knew what sex was. I told her “it was so amazing, I want to show you what it's like,” but she wasn’t taking the bait- she was just really shocked. I eventually stopped being friends with her but never broke the lie.
You’ve told me you used to go to chat rooms. How did that start?
I started going to the chat rooms with my next friend, Karen, when I was nine. Karen was really pretty and her dad had passed away- her whole house was another really expensive modern house that was empty all the time. We were basically always alone there.

Where was the computer?
In her basement. Her whole basement was set up with cut outs from her sister's Bat Mitzvah- there was a Hollywood sign but it said Hailywood instead of Hollywood. There were fake palm trees everywhere, like a big movie camera cut out and stuff. There were all these troll dolls down there. And that’s where the computer was. We’d go down there and go on AOL chat rooms.
Which ones?
There was one called Romance Connection. One was Alone at Home.
Who did you say you were?
We probably used a name like Michelle or something. 15/F. Fifteen-year-old female from California. We would type in pink font.
Who would you meet?
We would find much older men that were attracted to us being fifteen, aka seven. Sometimes we would say that there were two of us and they would tell us to do things like kiss each other. They would always ask for pictures but back then it was normal not to have a webcam. I remember it kept getting harder and harder in my teenage years to pretend you were someone that you weren't on the internet.
Did you guys always understand what the people were telling you to do?
No. We also didn't understand when they'd send us like to porn sites.

Had you ever seen porn sites before?
No, that was my first porn encounter.
Was it good being able to share that with someone?
I mean, we were practicing some pretty dark material. Not being alone in that situation, having someone else there, was safe but we would also get each other going. If one of us got freaked out we wouldn't be able to sign out. Eventually it would get to the point when someone would send a really X-rated video and we'd sign out, run upstairs and hide in her room. I remember once Karen laughing so hard after seeing an anal sex video that she peed her pants. She was like ‘don't tell anyone I peed my pants,” because that's the age you get really made fun of for that stuff.
But it was an erotic experience, right?
Yeah. The men would be telling us to touch each other and make out. We'd be sitting on the same computer chair, our legs on each other, and and we'd sort of look at each other…
Did you identify the feelings as being lesbian?
I just think that all young girls have lesbian feelings towards each other. There's this intense subtle pressure they can't really resist delving into. There's no social precedence to just making out then and there. They all want to fuck each other, all the little boys and girls, but they can't.
Why not?
Because it's not something you they see representations of- kids making out together.

How old were you when you started masturbating?
Nine or ten. The first time I did it I was in the bath. I just put my legs up when the faucet was running. My mom came in one time when I was doing it and said, like “That's okay. That's nice.”
Did anything happen after that?
She gave me the sex talk a few days later. That was horrifying because, again, I was nine.
Were you thinking about things when you masturbated?
Not at first. When I was in the fifth grade I started looking at boys and girls in my class. It started with this boy Jonathan that was really disgusting. I hated him, he was this hideous fifth grade boy wearing sweat pants and a sweat shirt. He had braces and was really mean- just so ugly to me.
But you jerked off thinking about him?
For some reason I got really horny and imagined fucking him. Like, the same as adult sex. Fucking him but hating him the whole time. It turned me on.
Did you guys ever have any interactions?
None except him being like an asshole to me.
What about girls?
I always was always masturbating thinking about people I didn't actually like. People that were kind of mean and bitchy. This blonde girl in my fifth grade class, Alexa, I remember masturbating about her a lot.

From Sex Magazine #6 Winter 2014
Labelled Life