A Passionate 22-Year Old Falls in Love on the Campaign Trail
| by Katie Morris |
I had never met Charles. I didn’t know how old he was, what he looked like, or if he would ever make me laugh. I simply knew, as only a passionately political 22-year old could, that I wanted to know this man, to be part of his story, to be more connected with him than I ever had anyone else. I wanted to have sex with Charles.
It was only recently that I had determined I was ready to have sex at all. I grew up in a conservative Christian family, and one of the chief “sins” that was hammered home in youth group (mostly through the use of Focus on the Family teaching aids) was sex before marriage. But toward the end of college, I started questioning a myriad of things I was taught growing up. When it came to sex, what I discovered was a deep personal truth that no one part of me is more sacred than any other part. My brain, my heart on my sleeve, my compassion, my humor, my empathy deserve no less reverence than my body. And so, I decided when I wanted to share deep parts of myself, I would choose to share all parts of myself.
And as that intensely passionate 22-year old, I decided that if someone came along who was special in some way – someone who challenged or inspired or surprised me – I wanted to feel comfortable having sex with them and creating an intimate connection. With no regrets.
Enter Charles. I had just started interning for a Presidential campaign and moved into a large house full of campaign workers. A fellow intern was showing me around and we got to Charles’ room. Charles was Assistant to the Campaign Manager. My co-intern started telling me Charles’ story – he was an Israeli who believed in peace. He had even spent some of his years in the Israeli military in prison, because he refused to serve in the occupied territories of Palestine. My guide probably said more, but I wasn’t listening. I had fallen in some sort of love with this man’s room and his story. And I was absolutely certain as I thought, “I’m going to have sex with Charles.”
We met later that evening. He wasn’t much taller than me, had an average build, and was a little strange. A good strange though – like he was just operating on a different plane than the rest of us. He was a bit arrogant and had a good sense of humor. I was intimidated, but falling more in love every second. I have no idea what he thought about me for the first few weeks I was there. But soon, we were both sent to New Hampshire for the week leading up to the primary.
The days were filled with nonstop campaigning – travel, handing out leaflets, events, phone calls. Often we didn’t see each other at all. But something was building, and on election night, he asked me to stay with him in the fancy Bed & Breakfast the campaign had put him up in. I had been staying in a dorm-like room at campaign headquarters, so obviously, yes, I went to the fancy B&B.
Even though we slept together, we didn’t have sex. I got nervous and intimidated and a little scared, and told him I didn’t want to. There was no pressure or questions, we just slept.
Two days later, back home, I confessed to him I was a virgin. He was shocked, but not judgmental. I told him I wanted to have sex with him. This time it was him that was nervous and intimidated and a little scared. He was definitely not a virgin, and asked why him. I told him I was ready, for the first time in my life, and that I liked everything about him. So we planned to have sex the next day. I think we both needed time to prepare.
That day I was useless at work. I could barely look Charles in the eye. Then the day was over and I went home first. We planned to meet in his room. I actually asked him what I should wear. He of course said he didn’t care, because clothes aren’t required for sex. So I wore navy blue fleece pajama pants and a baggy red t-shirt.
And we had sex. It was actually kind of amazing – he was gentle and supportive, but excited and passionate too. I had absolutely no idea what to expect. It didn’t hurt, and it lasted a lot longer than I expected. I kept my eyes open the whole time. When we were done, I went immediately to the bathroom and called my two best friends. I whisper-screamed “I just had sex!” Then I went back to his bedroom, got under the covers, and we “debriefed” of sorts. It was sweet and intimate.
We were lovers for almost three months. I never felt self-conscious with him, and always felt safe. Sex and politics go beautifully together. I was living passionately every day working for a cause I believed in, and at night, I was exploring sexual intimacy in a small room with a man who shared my commitments and passions. It was almost perfect.
In the end, Charles broke my heart. We certainly were never going to make it outside of the campaign, which he understood from the beginning. I, however, did not. I probably spent more time crying over him than I actually did sleeping with him. But a decade later, I feel nothing but happiness and contentment about sharing my first sexual experience with him and those months we were lovers. I loved him for his ideals and passion, and I certainly have no regret.