If you're anything like me, you started drinking in your teens.
You probably started drinking right around the same age you started dating, kissing and having sex. The thought of going on a date without having a "personality drink" first might seem foreign to you.
And sober sex? Just the fleeting thought of sober sex skipping across the surface of your brain sends a wave of fear over your body.
If you're anything like me, you're also probably wracked with insecurities about your body.
Maybe you can't even stand to look in the mirror without clothes on. Maybe you change in the bathroom with the door locked, even when you're home alone.
And just the idea of someone not only staring at you, but touching your naked body during something as raw and intimate as sex — without the help of booze? That's funny, babe.
And I get the fear. But your lesbian big sister is here to tell you that while the idea of sober sex might be terrifying, it's worth every anxious, heart-fluttering second.
But hey, I didn't figure this out until recently. In fact, I've been having drunken sex for most of my life.
The first time I had sex, I was 17 and blackout drunk. It was with a boy, and I was completely obliterated off cosmopolitans. (It was the early 2000s.)
It was a pretty sophisticated drink choice for a 17-year-old, but I was the kind of teen who went to grown-up bars, lied about my age and smoked cigarettes while bitching about the hardships of life with 35-year-old women.
No one knew I was a teen, let alone a teen virgin.
I can't remember much about that night, other than waking up feeling hungover, sore and empty.
Regardless of how shitty and unmemorable my first sex experience was, it still warped my brain with the idea that sex was something you did while drunk.
A few months later, I had drunken sex again with a girl for the first time. I wasn't blacked out this time, but I was at least two tequila shots deep, which will get a girl like me pretty tossed.
I woke up the next morning lying next to this sexy 18-year-old girl creature, feeling (once again) hungover and sore.
The sex was nothing but hazy flashes of girls parts wrapping around each other. I was pretty sure it had been decent, but I only had my first time to compare it to, so I thought,"Oh, well, this is what sex is."
At the impressionable age of 17, I had solidified in my mind that good sex needed two components: booze and girls.
It wasn't until my late 20s when I realized that I was right about the girls, but not the booze. Booze was actually making my sex life worse. Sober sex was far more electrifying.
When I figured this out, I was taking a break from drinking to deal with some boring, quarter-life-crisis meltdown and hooking up with a woman I loved.
I was terrified to have sex without the added bravado of alcohol. I mean, I couldn't even flirt without clutching a glass of champagne.
But one night, it happened.
It wasn't planned. We were just hanging out on the couch watching "Pretty Woman," when I started to feel really turned on. The next thing I knew, I was having sober sex.
I was anxious, but I was also high off the eroticism.
I don't think I realized what a mind-blowing, natural high arousal was until I had sex while sober. The alcohol might have been numbing my anxiety about my body, but it was also numbing the sensations of sex.
When I was sober, the feeling of delicate fingertips grazing against my spine felt better than any drunken orgasm I had ever had.
I was cognizant and alert to everything that was happening. Pillowy lips against my lips. Hair recklessly spilling everywhere. Fingernails digging into backs.
It was sensation overload, but it was an intoxicating, welcomed sensation overload.
I could feel the heat of her heavy breath against my neck. I could feel the way her fingers intensely interlocked with my fingers when I was really turning her on, and just the authentic, bare realness of that drove me wild.
Some sober sex feelings were good, and some were bad. I had waves of body anxiety. But I also had primal feelings of authentic eroticism, a feeling that I had never been able to tap into before.
I learned it's true you can't feel the good feelings (authentic eroticism) without letting in the bad feelings (body anxiety).
Now that I had peeled back the layer of alcohol and approached sex totally raw, I was feeling things on a whole other level, babe.
Was I nervous? I would love to tell you I was too caught up in the wild pleasure of it all, but yes, I was absolutely nervous.
However, the best experiences are nuanced. And the most incredible, life-changing moments will be ones that are both terrifying and amazing.
But what was the strangest part of the entire sober experience? The aftermath of sober sex.
After we had sex and our naked bodies were tangled on the couch, breathless and sweaty, I felt a whole spectrum of emotions I wasn't used to feeling.
Usually after sex, I passed out. The buzz would have worn off, and I would fall into a restless, dehydrated sleep.
But now, I was more awake than ever.
All of my senses had been stimulated, and my heart was pounding. I was high, my insides were rushing with endorphins, my heart felt like it was hanging outside of my chest and I was putty in the arms of the girl I had been intimate with.
In fact, that's a good way to describe the entire sober sex experience: When you're without the filter of drugs and champagne, sex is intimate. It makes you keenly aware of how alive you really are.
And feeling alive is wildly vulnerable — a safe, in-control, beautiful kind of vulnerability. It's a little terrifying, but everything that matters will always come with a side of terrifying. And that's OK.
Because feeling terrified can't kill you, but the sobering rush of raw vulnerability can bring you back to life.