Mary and Sue: A Morality Tale
Author's Note: This tale is an exploration of Christian morality that was possible in the 1970's but is nearly impossible to contemplate in today’s sex-negative climate. Though the story is fiction, it is based very much on an amalgamation of real people and events.
In November of 1961 two girls were born, nothing special about either, just two normal healthy American girls. As it so happened, in 1971, both girls moved into the same neighborhood in suburban Dallas, just two houses down from one another. It was called Christmas at the Dallas Galleria, Dallas Texas.
Interlochen. It was one of those many new neighborhoods being built for the new generation of upper-middle class professionals in the early 1970’s. The houses were large and an artificial canal system ran behind all the homes and connected to a small man-made lake. It was designed to appeal to young professionals with growing families and the homes were nearly always sold long before construction was completed.
Living just across the canal from one another, Mary and Sue became fast friends, attending the cutting edge open-concept elementary school together. When they started junior high, they attended an old school during their 7th grade year, but for their 8th grade year, a brand-new school had been completed. All in all, their lives were sheltered and they had all the advantages young people of their time and class might have.
Mary and her family attended 1st Baptist Church regularly, but not too often as to become overly churchy. Sue and her family attended Pantego Bible Church in much the same way. The two churches were popular and generally considered "mainstream"; however, 1st Baptist was very traditional with a focus on missionary support and traditional morality. Pantego was an early adopter of what would later be called Contemporary Christian worship, at the time however it was seen as mod and vaguely hippish with guitars and tambourines. Their focus was on a message of universal love and acceptance of all. The two family's religious choices would become more important as the girls moved through their teen years; but when they were small it made virtually no difference at all.
For both girls, their fathers were rather remote figures working six sometimes seven days a week, usually gone before they got up in the morning and home well after dark. This was not because they needed to work so much to make ends-meet but rather it was the normal expectation for young professional men. The idea that the father should be an active part of daily parenting was not yet a common idea. Sue in particular loved and idolized her father, yet she hardly knew him as his work took him all over the world and he would be gone for weeks on end.
Mary’s family was supportive if somewhat sterile with a strong focus on success and social position. Neither mother worked; though Sue’s mother did begin to attend the local university part time to work on a bachelors' degree when Sue was ten years old. Both homes were welcoming to the girls, their siblings and their many friends. They were in the same Brownie troop and went to ballet lessons together in 3rd and 4th grade. Mary showed talent in ballet and continued on, Sue did not. They worked on science fair projects together for several years. Mary was good at school, Sue was great.
As they moved through late grade school and into junior high they remained very close at home and in the neighborhood, but things began to change at school. Sue had always been cute, not particularly pretty, but cute. Mary had always been beautiful. From the first day Sue met her, from the first time anyone met her, Mary was noticeably attractive. This difference in their appearance had colored their relationship in subtle ways. In public, in particular, Mary was always given preference. Not that she sought it; it just was given to her. By the time they were at the cusp of adolescence, it was just expected by both girls. Over the summer after 5th grade, Mary’s body began to develop rapidly. When classes began again she was one of only two girls with real breasts in their elementary school. Everybody noticed.
Mary was more than self-conscious about her newly acquired breasts. Throughout her 6th grade year she tried her best to hide them. She cried on Sue’s shoulder about being a freak. Other girls treated her badly and the boys stared at her. Sue was there for her during that awful year. She hurt for her friend, but could not help but secretly envy her new curves.
When the warm weather came in late spring the canal that connected the neighborhood was warm enough to swim well before school let out. Mary's body had the hips and breasts of a grown woman, though she was only thirteen. Her mother had bought her a stylish new bikini to go with her new body. It was not particularly skimpy, but still, the boys noticed; not just junior high guys, but the older, high school boys.
Suddenly those older guys, and girls, in the neighborhood who had never even noticed that Mary and Sue existed, welcomed them into their circle. The first few weekends while school was still in session, and then the first few weeks of summer were a treat for both of them. Sure, both Mary and Sue picked up on the guy’s comments and looks. But neither had a real understanding of what the words and looks truly meant. They were still little girls at heart even if Mary now looked like a woman. And, those older girls, though a little condescending, treated Mary as one of them. Sue was quite sure it was because her friend had both those noticeable breasts and shapely hips to fill the bikini. Sue felt out of place.
It was not that Sue looked like a little girl either. Her body had begun to develop over that year, just not as noticeably as Mary’s did. Her mother had even bought her a real string bikini, one that was far skimpier than Mary's. Yet, she still felt she was more noticeable for what her figure lacked than for what it had.
It was on a warm Sunday afternoon when their bubble burst. A high school boy named Cody became quite a pest to Mary. Even the two young girls could tell he was being encouraged and even coerced by the other guys. Several times while they played in the water he grabbed Mary’s rear end. Twice he put his hands directly on the triangles of her bikini top. Mary felt vulnerable and offended at his behavior, but she figured it was the price for being popular and grown up. After all, she saw more than a little touching between the older guys and girls. However, when he came up behind her and put his hands under the fabric of her bikini top, it was too much. She tried to get away without making a scene but the more she pulled the more he held tight. She didn’t know he had undone the string around her neck, but when she felt the top fall down she began to panic. It was then she realized the older kids were all watching. Only her scream caused the boy to let go. She swam to the opposite side and clambered up the concrete sides of the canal. Only when she was clear of the water, she realized that the boy held her bikini top and everyone had seen her boobs. Her small hands only partly covered the fullness of her breasts as she raced through three back yards to her house. Sue, once she had ripped the top from the boy’s hands, followed.
It was a pivotal day in both of their lives.
Mary didn’t emerge from her home for two days. This was the 70’s and the concept of sexual harassment or non-penetrative sexual assault had yet to enter public consciousness. Even if Mary had told her parents or authorities, the response would have been along the line of “boys will be boys”.
All she could do was cry into the arms of her best friend. At some point, she asked “Why can’t they be decent?” Mary cried more. “Why couldn’t he just be nice?” More tears. “I would have kissed him if he’d been nice.” They held tight.
The first kiss was no big deal, the girls often exchanged light kisses. The second was different, needy, wanting. Mary needed to be loved and she knew Sue loved her. When their mouths opened and they French kissed, each of the girls could feel something spiritual pass between them as their wet, bikini-clad bodies pressed together. Each kiss lasted longer than the last, and the final kiss must have lasted an hour. They lay on Mary’s bed, kissing with their whole bodies. They only stopped when they fell asleep holding one another. This was not sexual in the way they vaguely understood sex. They were young and naïve. It was just sharing between best friends. But yet, both Mary and Sue knew they had done something different, something more personal than they had ever done before.
For Mary, what they did had been comforting. For Sue, it had met a need she did not quite understand. All she knew was that she had found a way to be even closer to her friend and to feel needed like never before. Holding and kissing her best friend validated her unique importance to Mary. Mary had been hungry for her and Sue felt fulfilled when she provided what her friend needed. Inversely, Mary found that Sue could help her cope in ways she never imagined.
It was Mary, half a year later, who suggested they sleep naked in the bed together during a sleep over. She didn’t know why, but she thought this would bring her more comfort from Sue. It was not that being naked together was any big deal. They had, via sleepovers over the years, watched first Mary, then Sue develop pubic hair, the beginnings of hips, the growth of Mary’s breasts, and then the budding of Sue’s. It was not the first time they had been naked together, they had done it many times since they were children, but this time was different and both Mary and Sue knew it.
As she had been doing since that awful summer day, months before, Sue held Mary tight as they kissed deeply. Their complete nudity caused an unprecedented level of endorphins to flow. Though in the past they had hugged and kissed for hours in both their bikinis and in nightshirts & panties, the unbroken skin-to-skin contact was so much more powerful. Without knowing why, Mary took Sue's hand and placed it on her breast. This caused both of them to shudder. They had crossed a line and they knew it. Sue was thrilled to see what her touch did to Mary. Mary was for the first time truly feeling the potential of her adult-like body to make her feel special and loved.
They writhed and kissed late into the night. At one point, Mary clenched her thigh hard against Sue’s crotch. They kept kissing, but Sue could feel her friend rubbing up and down her thigh. She was unsure why she was doing this, and as Mary’s grinding on her thigh got harder, it became uncomfortable; but Sue was happy that it seemed to be something her friend liked quite a bit. The first time it seemed to be random, but over the night Mary came back to this action each time pressing harder and doing it longer.
When Mary had her first-ever orgasm, it was both frightening and exhilarating for them both. She was pressing hard on Sue’s leg and then her own legs began to quiver and her whole body convulsed in the most intense feeling she’d ever experienced. She’d heard girls talk of the word “orgasm”, but it had always been in reference to boys. Was this the same thing? When the spasms concluded Sue asked if she was all right. All Mary could do was nod and whisper yes.
For nearly two years when they were together alone they would often get naked and make out until Mary climaxed. In time, they were doing it not only on sleep over's, but on occasions when the girls found themselves alone in one of their homes in the daytime during a holiday or weekend. During a fall sleepover, Mary asked Sue to suckle her breasts. Sue was happy to oblige. Less than a month after that, Mary guided Sue to use her hand to stimulate her “down there” and soon thereafter Mary found by this method she could have more than one orgasm.
It was a whole year later, after Sue swiped one of her dad's Penthouse Forum magazines, and read about oral sex that Sue initiated going down on her friend. Mary was reluctant, but it did not take her long to change her mind. By then, the girls were no longer pretending they were just friends. In private they considered themselves lovers. Even before Sue first went down on Mary, they knew what they were doing was having sex.
Mary was quick to tell Sue she loved her and very much enjoyed being pleasured, but it never occurred to her to reciprocate in any way. Sue, enjoyed pleasing Mary, and secretly longed for Mary to do the same for her, but never dared broach the subject. There was something special about having her mouth clamped on Mary's vulva while her hips spasmed in orgasm. Once she tried to explain to Mary it was like she was inhaling her friend's energy as she climaxed, but Mary did not seem to understand. She knew she liked Sue doing it, but could not understand at all why Sue liked going down on her. The truth was that Sue very much liked touching every part of her friend's body and felt empowered at her ability to bring Mary to orgasm, not just once, but several times in a night.
It had not taken Sue long after the very first time Mary climaxed for her to learn to use those same techniques on herself. First, she tried to ride the sofa arm, it felt good but she knew there was more. She got better results when she clamped her brother's baseball bat between her thighs and moved it slowly. However, it was only when she began using her fingers to bring Mary to climax and she tried doing the same to herself did she have an orgasm. She was excited to show her best friend how she’d learned to masturbate to her own climax. Mary was both intrigued and repulsed by how Sue seemed to enjoy touching herself like that. It seemed wrong or immoral to her. Still, she found an odd pleasure in watching Sue masturbate, but she had no interest in doing it herself. After all she had Sue for that.
This all ended one summer night after their 8th grade year. Sue was spending the night at Mary’s. It was warm and they were both fully naked and very sweaty. Sue was sucking on Mary's clit while she pressed two fingers as deep into her best friend's vagina as they would go. From the hip thrusts she could tell that Mary was getting close to a second climax. Mary was breathing hard and her thighs pressed tight on Sue's head as her hips pushed upward into Sue's face and fingers. She let out an unusually loud cry.
The lights flipped on. Both girls jumped as Mary’s mother began to scream.
It was a harrowing ordeal for Mary that went on for months. The focus of the rage was on Sue, the shame was on Mary. Deep painful shame. “How could you do this!” was directed at Mary dozens of times over the next few weeks by her mortified mother. A trip to the church for the Minister of Youth to “set her straight” was even harder on Mary. Worst of all, it was the last time Sue ever stepped foot in Mary's home. It would be the last time they would speak in any but the briefest terms for years.
For Sue, the initial shock of being bundled off to her home at midnight was more bewildering than anything. Mary’s mother said hurtful things, but it was more a blur of events than anything else. Sue’s mother was not angry at her; however, she had some very harsh things to say about Mary's mother. Sue was assured that Mary’s mother had badly overreacted. What she and Mary had done was not wrong and she had done nothing of which to be ashamed. The pain came in the next days and weeks when she realized that not only did she lose Mary as a best friend, but her access to the “in crowd” had also been cut off. She had always vaguely known she was the tag-along, but the reality of it hurt far more than the words of Mary’s mother.
Fast forward four years.
Mary and Sue were high school seniors.
Mary had become one of their high school’s student leaders. She was vice-president of the Student Council, active in Young-Life (a Christian club), on an award winning dance team that traveled the region and a leader in her church youth group. She was also strikingly beautiful. She had a series of boyfriends. All had ended when the boy wanted to make good on her flirtatious ways. She was proud and vocal about the fact that she was pure and very much a virgin.
Sue had grown to be what was called in those days “a wall-flower”; neither pretty nor homely. She was short with too much figure to be petite and too little to be voluptuous. She wore glasses and was a top student, but had she not been famously promiscuous, she would have been unknown in her school.
It was the Halloween party for the teens in Interlochen, Sue was out back near the canal with Matt Cooper and Steven Lindal. They were both nice boys, that’s why she’d readily filled in the words of their hints and led them out the back door. Both were sophomores and, like her, not of the “in” crowd. She was on her knees, Matt’s pants were down and she held his balls with one hand while she swallowed his entire penis. She knew from long experience, that if she attended the head, he would spew immediately.
The other boy Steven just watched wide-eyed.
She savored the shape of his penis and tasted the lubricant that trickled out. She was attuned to his body and the pleasure she was giving. She’d become quite fond of sucking dick in the past four years. She liked fucking too, but for just fun sex play at parties, she preferred this (most of the time). She'd known Steven and Matt since they moved into the neighborhood when they were in grade school, but the social barrier between older girls and younger guys was pretty wide. Since freshmen still went to the junior high, they had just become part of the high school crowd and thus, to Sue, eligible playmates.
She knew how grateful they were.
She unswallowed is erection and looked up at him “So, what do you think of your first blow job?”
He just stammered “Wow!”
She motioned Steven closer and helped herself into his pants. Again, not spending too much time on warm-up she took him down to the base of his not overly large penis. It was a little tricky, but she kept one hand slowly jacking Matt. She really enjoyed sucking guys like these two who never got any from other girls. They were always so grateful. Sometimes too grateful. Despite her effort not to overly stimulate, she could tell Steven would blow soon, so she pressed her lips tight and began to mouth fuck him. By the tenth stroke, the semen was already in her mouth. She kept it up until she thought he would fall down, then did the same to Matt.
Just a few minutes later, several female eyes followed her return to the party. One of them was Mary. She overheard the word “slut” from Mary’s friend. Sue pretended not to notice. But when Mary said “She’s always been that way, even when we were young”, Sue almost turned on her heel, but refrained. What good would it do to say that Mary had been her first, longest and most intimate lover. And, of course it was true, Sue’s reputation for being easy was deserved. She loved sex. It was one of the few things she could do that both felt good and made her feel good about herself.
While Mary’s mother had responded very negatively to the incident four years before, Sue’s mother had used it to build up her daughter and began a dialogue that continued on for years. It was her mother who brought up birth control just months after the night Sue was thrown out of Mary's house. Rob, the nice but nerdy high school senior who lived just up the street, had been hanging out at their house since school began, and though Sue and Rob were only friends, her mother said “I think you should start on the pill… just in case”.
But it wasn't Rob who taught Sue that giving a boy oral sex could bring the same sense of empowerment as going down on Mary had. A boy named Vince Stubafield was visiting his grandparents across the street for Christmas. He was an upperclassman and very handsome, someone who would not normally pay attention to a girl like Sue. She was very flattered by the fact he seemed to be into her. The ongoing talks Sue began that terrible night when she was fourteen years old with her mom ensured that she was not surprised when sitting on the wicker loveseat on their back porch, he went quickly from kissing to putting his hand up her shirt. She didn't resist at all. She rarely wore a bra at home even though her chest was now a solid "B" cub. He seemed surprised that she was bare under her Science Club tee shirt. The fact he could not tell she was braless before told her he was not nearly as experienced with girls as he wanted to act. Still, he went right to caressing her breasts and tweaking her nipples. It was exciting to have someone else touch her like that. She thought about letting him finger her, but her tight jeans would simply not allow that without pushing her pants down to her thighs.
She'd been reading her dad's magazines a lot over the past year and she was sure she knew how to go further right on the back porch. So she whispered that she wanted to give him head. She was actually surprised at his surprise and excitement when she offered. After all, in the magazines, girls were always doing that. She didn't ask, but wondered if it would be his first time too. Though she'd never even seen a real guy's penis before, she thought she was ready. In the past few months, she'd been using a hair brush handle as a pretend penis to both suck and fuck. The real thing was shorter, thicker and not nearly as hard. She relied on her experience with Mary to know what was "working."
Not ten minutes later her mother came out to the back porch. She found Sue alone on the wicker loveseat. The teenager was feeling a jumble of emotions. She had many of the same feelings as when she had done it with Mary. So those feelings of both empowerment and a desire to masturbate were not new. But it was different. What was missing was the love she still had for Mary and, the love Mary had for her. She had been surprised by how the semen just kept coming even after she’d taken his penis out of her mouth. She got the warm white stuff all over her face and shirt. But when he was done, he had abruptly done up his pants and left. That was something she’d never imagined happening. She'd expected more kissing and holding like with Mary. She was excited she'd done it but worried she'd done it wrong.
Seeing the semen that remained in her daughter’s hair and on her shirt, her mother suggested casually that “it’s less messy if you just swallow it all. Contrary to what you've been reading in your dad's magazines, real guys don't really shoot a gallon of semen and it usually doesn't have much taste.” She sat down and hugged her daughter. She told Sue, "It's not like me and my friends didn't do all the same things kids today do. Sure we had rubbers but they were hard to get. If we'd had the pill back then a whole lot of us would not have gotten married so young. It's not that I wouldn't have married your father anyway, but I would have rather gone to college first. As it was I barely finished high school and got married before I started to show." Sue had long suspected her mom had been pregnant with her older brother when she and her dad had gotten married; but, it meant a lot that her mother shared that with her. Then her mom went on "We didn't have magazines to tell us how it worked, the first time a guy jizzed in my hand I thought he was peeing. Really! So you were way more prepared than me." That broke any tension or embarrassment as they laughed.
Sue’s mother again hugged her daughter two weeks later when her girl told her she and Rob had sex at his house when his parents were out. Telling her mother seemed so normal. It was the 70’s after all, and her mother had made it clear she fully supported the sexual revolution. Even her church youth leaders were deliberately vague as to the issue of whether teen sex was a sin. They just seemed to present that it could be a sin, but was not necessarily one. So, for Sue, there was not even a trace of shame in the fact that at fifteen she'd had sex with a boy who was not even really her boyfriend. She had initiated it, not Rob. She had simply done it because she wanted to. It was enjoyable, though not so fulfilling as it had been with Mary. Still, she knew she'd be doing it again soon.
Since that month when she gave her first head and fucked for the first time, Sue had put forty-eight dicks in her mouth, fourteen in her pussy and one in her ass. She knew this because she kept a diary that recorded each experience and, by the 6th blow job and 3rd fuck, began to rate them. At no time while in high school did she have a real boyfriend. Rob had gone to college so they only did it when he was home. She and a guy from the Science Club, Kurt Steinman, had been having sex on a semi-regular basis for well over a year; but she was not in love with him. She did have a crush on a really cute guy named Jack Foreman, but she was afraid of rejection so she kept their sex on a "friends only" basis. That was the good thing about sex. Guys always said yes to a blow job or fuck. She was good at that.
Sue knew full well she had been invited to some parties because she was sure to give head to one or more guys and sometimes to fuck. What was more, she didn't even care if people knew all about it. Her reputation at Lamar High was made at a Halloween party less than a year after giving her first blow job. That night she had sex with a senior guy right in front of everyone there, just because he'd asked nicely. The truth was while she'd blown a good many guys just for fun at parties, she'd only fucked publicly like that a couple of times, but just a few was enough to cement her reputation as someone who didn't care who knew or even watched.
That was not to say she went to parties to be a whore. She did not blow or fuck just anyone. She made a point not to go to parties where Mary and her crowd would be there. She just would not subject herself to that if she could avoid it. The parties she attended were mostly of the outsiders, the people in the science and drama clubs. As far as she knew, she’d given head to every guy that was a regular in both of those groups, many of them she'd done a good many times. At first, some of the girls in the science club reacted negatively to Sue's sexual promiscuity, but in time they just accepted Sue for who she was. She was one of them, only she did what others just imagined doing. In more than a few cases, she knew she had been a role model for other wallflowers to blossom into modern 70's sexual beings themselves.
In the world after the sexual revolution and before the rise of AIDS she was hardly alone in having a very active casual sex life. She particularly liked hanging out with the drama people, they took pride in their Bohemian casual attitude to sex. At the drama club’s spring production wrap party, she was introduced to receiving oral sex from another girl. They'd been playing spin the bottle and well, who was she to say no. How long had she waited to feel the smooth cheeks of a girl between her thighs, and she thoroughly enjoyed it. She felt obligated to pretend she'd never been with a girl before. However, after a later spin had her go down on a girl, her knowledge of how to give oral sex to a girl made her friends question if it really was her first time.
Beginning with her time with Mary, Sue knew she received pleasure and validation from sex. She was a sex giver. She did not expect something in return for the pleasure she gave. The giving was the point, and when the boy (or on occasion, girl) gave back, that was a bonus.
Mary had learned the opposite lesson in sexuality. She received validation from not having sex, while using her sexuality to keep everyone attending to her. She blamed Sue for “abusing” her and not once since her mom flipped on that light switch ever acknowledged that Sue had acted at her behest and for her pleasure. She expected others to please her, and if she pleased them in the process, that was their bonus.
And so dear reader, I ask who is the moral player in this tale?
Sue’s story is based on a friend of mine whose wife had indeed blown nearly all the guys in her rural high school’s graduating class. She did it for the same reason as Sue, she liked doing it, and making others feel good validated her. She became a kindergarten teacher in another state. At her 20th class reunion, there were those who clearly wanted her to be shamed for her actions back in high school, and my friend got the distinct impression that they thought he should be ashamed that his wife had given head to most of the men he met, and fucked more than a few of them. Neither he nor his wife felt shame. Good for them.
I’ve known more than one woman like Mary via my years of involvement with the Christian right. Sexuality is a game to them. They use their sexuality but pretend they do not, and it is always played for their benefit. And the way they play the sexual game is also a way to feel superior to those who are givers, not takers. So, though she is a composite of several people, the character type is very real.
So I ask again, who is the morally admirable character and who is morally deficient?