53 PiV and Me

January 9, 2013

So, this is something that’s been on my mind for a really long time (about 8 months now, all told), it’s something i’ve struggled with, along with gender, gender expression and everything else.

(apologies for binarist language; i’m going to be talking about media messages, which are are terribly binarist)

As i’ve gotten older (and have had a lot more of it), PiV sex, aka “the old in and out” has become kind of… distasteful for me. Not that i don’t want to do it, but i think that the way it’s often depicted in media, and the way those of us who are read as men are taught/supposed/expected/socialized to be, sexually, is pretty fucked up.

For example, if you look at the standard lads mags (Maxim, FHM, Stuff, Playboy) or at any visual media that actually tries to talk about sex (whether seriously or not), when it comes to men, the general axiom is LAST LONGER, because apparently every man on the planet comes in 30 seconds and their partners all are going to leave them unless they have porn star stamina. Men are also told that unless they make their partners have like 15 orgasms a night, they’re worthless.

But then if you look at magazines like Cosmopolitan, the message is always “how to make him come,” “here are his secret sex buttons,” etc etc etc. So, wait a minute, are men supposed to last two hours, or 20 seconds? Because according to that, women want men to come as soon as possible because that makes women feel sexy, and that’s all any woman wants because sex appeal is the end all be all of their self-esteem.

::side eye::

So, here i am, kinda caught in the crossfire of all this. I can tell you from experience that lasting longer does impress people, and can derive greater pleasure from my partners. I can also tell you from experience that orgasming quickly brings a different kind of pleasure to one’s partner for completely different reasons. How, you may ask? For that i must tell a story…

Once upon a time before we had a child, my wife and i fucked pretty much ALL THE TIME. At one point she’d been off the pill because the hormones were messing with her, and we were using condoms exclusively. This lasted about 6 months, i think. Now, my staying power has always been pretty good, because i took the messages from lads’ mags to heart, and read many sex books and did a lot of practicing (read: masturbating) to train myself to hold off orgasm. So, with condoms in place to take away some of the sensation, lasting a while was pretty easy. When she got back on the pill, the first time riding bareback again provided a notable difference in sensation, and i orgasmed in about 90 seconds. I was pretty embarrassed by this, but after a good laugh (which actually didn’t help with the embarrassment) she assured me that it was all good, and in fact hot that i came so fast, because it was sexual self-esteem booster that i just couldn’t help myself, and it sent the message that I was just THAT hot for her. Also, of course that just because i came ONCE, didn’t mean the night was over (and it certainly was not).

So here i am now, years later, actively polyamourous and having had PiV sex with a fair number of people at this point, and now i’ve got this mental block around orgasm. And not just that, but around PiV sex in general. Honestly i just don’t enjoy it anymore. I’ve been trying to figure what my deal is, and i’ve figured out a few reasons why:

1. I’m SUPPOSED TO. Being someone who is consistently read as male (whether i want to or not), the general consensus in conventional society is that i’m supposed to be all about sticking my dick in something, as a kind of biological imperative. It’s supposedly “in my nature.” Well, to hell with that.

2. Coupled with that is the general expectation that PiV sex is the pinnacle of human sexual connection. I disagree with that completely. There’s nothing particularly special about it; nothing that sets it apart from any of the many other types of sex and forms of intimacy, except for the fact that it can lead to babies. I’ve already got the baby part covered anyway.

Those are the main things, but there are couple of media components to it as well, aside from the aforementioned, that relate to gender and race. Basically, that since i’m an ostensible man, and because i’m black, there’s a subconscious societal expectation that i’m a grunting, jackhammering sex maniac. This has been perpetuated centuries of racist narrative that considers me and “my kind” to be something other than (and usually less than) human; typically animal, and thus more oriented toward physical activity as opposed to higher functions, like SPEAKING. So, compared to our white counterparts, we’re simultaneously desired as sexual objects (toys) but once that purpose is served, we are useless except for possibly some other mindless labor.

This narrative about black people is perpetuated contemporarily in various forms of media where we are viewed or depicted as sexual (movies, music videos, magazines, etc), but also in porn. BBC bull porn, cuckolding, and just about any porn with black people present seems to perpetuate the stereotype, gay porn included. Besides the fact that the characters (if there is a plot) are rarely anything but “ghetto fabulous” tropes, once the sex begins, it’s this constant rapid fire thrusting and pumping (which, honestly is the same as any porn, but from what i’ve seen it’s even worse), often with a “woman as receptacle” angle. And “straight” porn in general is just so misogynistic that i feel like someone with my desires and fantasies is pretty much left out of mainstream society. Not that i’m mainstream, but, y’know.

Anyway, these expectations permeate pretty much every encounter, and they totally aren’t *me.* While i’m glad to pleasantly surprise people, i wish that it wasn’t quite SUCH a surprise that i don’t have any desire to engage in 200 horsepower piston-fucking. Even in situations where i’m not “bearing the aerobic burden” as one friend of mine put it, i find myself feeling, if not unsatisfied in general, simply let down. That, or i feel like i had to *put up with* the high energy, high friction workout (and it does feel like WORK), to get to the actual human contact and real intimacy that i’m craving. Also, in these cases the encounter can feel phony and staged.

I’ve been avoiding sex in general because of all these things. If i’m not going to be satisfied with the encounters, i’m not going to bother.

So, what WOULD satisfy me?

Well, first off, the abolition of all of these expectations based on what i look like and my genital configuration. If my partners (current and future) pay attention to what my individual desires are and not what they think *should* be the case, that would go a long way. But also, a *feeling* of intimacy is very important to me, and the things that feel like intimacy when it comes to sex are the kinds of things that almost seem childish in their simplicity. Perhaps this is why supposedly sexually sophisticated adults tend to avoid them? I dunno.

Kissing and cuddling, for one. These are greatly lacking in the majority of my sexual encounters of late. This can often be a factor or time available (whee parenthood), but for me, time NEEDS to be made for these. Also, these are not FOREPLAY. Kissing and cuddling (and physical contact, and touching with parts that aren’t crotch-adjacent) are integral to my sexual enjoyment. I can orgasm without these things, but i usually feel empty after the hormone rush wears off.

Speaking of orgasm, the assumption that orgasm is the POINT of every sexual encounter is extremely wrong-headed. Orgasms are pleasurable, of course, and yay for having them organically. But aiming specifically for orgasm at the outset takes away from being in the moment with my partners, which dissipates the connection. So for me to have a sexual experience that doesn’t leave me feeling empty, that expectation has to be removed. If i’m honest with myself, it is something that i need to remove from my thought process as well.

When discussing this with a friend the other night, they mentioned that one of their biggest turn-ons (and i agreed wholeheartedly) was extended make-outs, to the point where the participants are dry humping each other because they’re so worked up. Not as a conscious act, but as an instinctual extension of the activity; because they’re so into what they’re doing that their body takes over regardless of what they might actually be thinking, if anything. This is exactly what i want out of my sexual encounters. Relaxed, in-the-moment, partner focused, and non-performative. Not to take away from the performance aspect of fucking; there’s a time and place for showing off and being all “let me impress you,” and that can be a LOT of fun, but i’m at a point where i’m tired of it because it’s been such a large part of my sexual life, and my ego doesn’t need any more inflating.

One delicate issue here, when it comes to partners who may be interested in the same thing, is physical compatibility. Sadly, sometimes bodies don’t interlock as easily or as well as we’d like, and no matter the desire in place nothing can be done about that. PiV just has to be taken off the menu in those cases, but so far that hasn’t happened very often.

Thankfully, non-performative expectation-free sex has been something that i’m finding people are into, and more so than i thought. So, it seems that i CAN have a mutually satisfactory sexual encounter. I just need to keep myself open to the possibilities and honest about what i’m looking for when they present themselves.

This is an update of my user manual from last year. As before, it has been restructured and revamped in lieu of the past year’s experiences.

I am a 30-something married polyamourous, queer, genderqueer parent of one. I’ve decided to split my two queer terms into distinct categories because they’ve both become clearer since last year.

-Family/baggage-

  • I’m from a fairly typical nuclear American family. Both of my parents are still alive and still together. I have one younger sister. My in-laws are likewise alive, married, and together. I have one brother in law. My daughter is a precocious 3 year old, fully able-bodied, able-minded and typically loves to get into trouble. My wife and I have been together for seven years (married for six) and have been non-monogamous and kinky the whole time, though on an active basis mostly for the last two years.
  • I have a strained relationship with both my blood sister and my brother in law. My sister is openly antagonistic toward me so i don’t contact her much. My brother in law is ok in limited doses. Mostly i feel uncomfortable around him because i can’t fully be myself, but then that’s the case with most of my family. With him the strain is heavier because of having lived with him.
  • My parents are both christian, and because of that, don’t know a lot of things about me, nor should they. Growing up was fine, i often had more communication with my mother about personal/life issues. Mom is a little high strung and always trying to give me advice and or stifle my online voice, which is why personal/angry/emo status updates are only put up in places where she can’t see them. She was most often the disciplinarian at home (spankings, etc.) Dad is laid back, and could probably deal with things in my personal/online life a little easier, but since they would afterward have to go thru my mother, no dice. He ever only spanked me a few times, and they were VERY painful. Not sure if i ever really processed that. I have left any formal religion behind, and it holds little sway in my day to day life, but having been raised christian i was stifled sexually (i was also taught that “friends first” bullshit, which really didn’t help). I didn’t have PiV sex until i was thirty (though i’d given and received both oral and manual sex by the time i was 23), to my later-to-be wife.
  • Because of that, it is only now that my sexual development is maturing, and i have come a really long way in that regard. So i’m very excited and open to talk about sex/sexuality/gender at any given time. Since i was so stifled and now feel free to explore these things, i’m kinda chomping at the bit to do so. I am still nervous at being so open and scaring people away, so it’s sometimes difficult for me, even though i really want to. This can depend on the crowd i’m with, and as i hang with a more kinky/queer/etc crowd, this is becoming easier.

-Me at a glance-

  • I’m a nice person. By that i mean i’m actually nice, not a Nice Guy ™. I’m athletic, artistic, and creative. I’m a talker. I’m a belly dancer. I’m also the quintessential black nerd. I love videogames, martial arts/sci-fi/fantasy movies, animation, comic books, rpgs… I’m all over the map with my nerdiness. I’m also an older nerd, so i’m a little bit of an elitist about it, and i make no apologies for that. I also really love music of (almost) all types, but my love of hip-hop and R&B stops at about the year 2002 with a few exceptions.
  • I’m also detail-oriented and hate being interrupted when i’m working. Just a random fact.

-Things i value-

My family, my health, my creativity, my gender expression. I’m very into social justice, and i’m not a fan of the government right now because they tend to suck at that.

-Things i like-

  • Conversation. I crave conversation on whatever subject. If you’re a talker, i’ll instantly be more attracted to you, assuming you’re talking about something we have in common. For some reason i love minutia (might be related to the detail orientation). All the the little, seemingly silly and neurotic things that people think about are exactly what i like hearing about. I think that sometimes, it’s not what you’re talking about that matter so much as HOW you talk about it.
  • Languages. I have a bit of an affinity for them, though i’ve studied very few. If you speak more than one language, i’m always curious about that.
  • Physical activity. I’ve always been into sports of various types, and i like doing new and different things. Also, i like watching other people do stuff. So let’s do stuff!
  • Dancing. Falls in line with the physical activity bit above. Dancing with/near/around/in the vicinity of me will ALWAYS get my attention.
  • For both of these things it comes down to the fact that i like watching bodies move. It’s just fascinating to me. Also, how i move is an expression of my gender, so it’s important to me in that way as well.
  • I like singing too. but that’s just because i like music.

-How to connect with me-

  • Movie references/quotes. Double points if they’re from kung fu movies.
  • Look me in the eye when you’re talking to me. You’d be surprised how many people don’t.
  • I’m an artist and photographer; model for me.
  • Spending a day together is awesome, whether that’s going out to places in a city, hiking, or just nerding out watching DVDs all day.

-How to impress me-

  • Proficiency. In anything. Seriously, ANYTHING. If you’re awesome at something and show it to me, i’m very likely to be impressed. Also, see -things i like-
  • Be comfortable in your own skin. As one co-worker of mine put it: “I am the queen of not giving a fuck. You can’t out-not-giving-a-fuck me.” YMMV on this since we all have our issues, but the thing is that i’m not always comfortable in my own skin unless i’m so occupied that i’m not thinking about it. So it puts me at ease if you are just comfortable with yourself all the time (or even if you fake it convincingly).
  • Be passionate about whatever your interests are. If you really like what you’re into, you’ll probably get me interested in it as well.
  • Take me out for interesting and different food. Bonus if you can cook/prepare it.
  • Speaking of food, if we go out to eat and you’re paying, generous tips (20% or more) give me warm fuzzies.

-How to turn me on emotionally-

  • Let me know that i’m allowed to be myself and that no aspect of me will be treated as weird in a negative way. This is especially important in light of my realizations about my gender.
  • Trust me and let me know that i can trust you. Don’t be afraid to be vulnerable with me.
  • Include me in activities with other people. I like doing new and different things. If you’re in another relationship, i want to meet them and connect with them as well. You should also get to know my wife and child.
  • Return communications. This is a big deal. Whether phone call, chat, text message, carrier pigeon, WHATEVER. Doesn’t have to be the same type of communication either, just at least acknowledge that you heard me.
  • Listen to me rant if i’m freaking out. I have a tendency to overreact (i’m working on it) and as long as i get that out early then i can think rationally afterwards.

-How to turn me on sexually-

  • Physical touch means a lot to me. It says a great deal more if you touch me when you talk to me, or hold my hand in whatever situation.
  • Kisses, hugs and cuddles will ALWAYS work. In fact, the longer any of these go on, the more turned on i will be. I am very much NOT goal oriented when it comes to physical affection, and by that i mean i really just enjoy being in the moment and savoring what’s going on physically. I don’t generally try to push forward to the “main event” whatever that means. For me, a lot of times, what others call foreplay is the point of the interaction. I will make out with you for HOURS if you’ll let me.
  • Once clothes start coming off, massages absolutely turn me on whether i’m giving or receiving them. You honestly can’t touch my back enough, either with your hands or your mouth. Ditto for my nipples and my ass.
  • That said, i do enjoy sex a LOT. I define sex as anything requiring protection to perform. So, if we need a barrier of any kind to do it (or if it has the term SEX in the name), it’s sex. This includes, oral, PiV and anal. If at any point you are confused on this, ask. BDSM play, while it is often sexual, isn’t the same thing as it requires a different kind of trust (and protection) than sex. At this point the two have never intermingled (with exceptions made for D/s dynamics), but i’m open to it.
  • It is important to note that while i am working on it, i have a mental block about orgasm. I’m perfectly capable, but in my quest to control my orgasms, i seem to have internalized a “don’t ever come EVER” thought pattern. I want to be able to separate the ability to hold off from a *need* to hold off. I’ve also internalized a “make your partner orgasm 9 million times” thought pattern. These being said, when i’m in a situation where PiV sex will occur/is occurring, both of these have become a type of internal peer pressure. So, in order for me to really enjoy myself, i have to know explicitly that there are no expectations about orgasm for either party. The best PiV sex for me would basically be a really long makeout/cuddle session, but with that little extra.
  • With BDSM, i’m a bottom, a rope slut, a pain slut, and I get very subby very quickly. I like claws, knives, electricity, fire, and especially thuddy impact play. I recently discovered a love for having my face slapped. I’m willing to try almost anything, but it helps me a great deal to see something done to someone else first before i’m willing to have it done to me.
  • Wrestle with me; try and overpower me. Bonus if you actually can.
  • Watch porn with me. And not the boring heavily made up implant porn, i mean stuff like The Crash Pad, Chemistry, and ShortBus. Tell me what you like in porn and what you’d like to see in porn.
  • I also really love helping other people fulfill their fantasies, either scene-wise or just sexually, whether i’m directly involved or not.

-Queer Stuff-

  • I am queer both sexually and in my gender.
  • Sexuality: I’ve often been to events with a sign that says “all genders welcome.” I really am open to anyone at this point, but my attractions are still oddly narrow when it comes to how people actually look; it’s mostly in the face. If i’m attracted to your face, i’ll be attracted to the rest of you. As for what else attracts me to people on that visceral, heart thumping, cold sweating, cheek flushing, makes-my-underwear-get-tight kind of level… i got no idea. There’s no definable list of criteria at this point. It basically boils down to the fact that if i think you’re hot, then i think you’re hot. Sorry i can’t be clearer.
  • Interestingly, i think a lot of it has to do with the fact that the first “alternative lifestyle” person i ever met was my godmother, and she was the coolest person on earth when i knew her, so on some kind of subconscious level, if i’m attracted to you, no matter your gender, you exude a quality that i saw in her. Couldn’t begin to tell you what quality that might be, though.

-How to turn me off-

  • Racist, sexist, heteronormative, cissexist, transphobic, homophobic, classist, ableist, or binarist crap, and doubling down when called on it. We all make mistakes, and life has given different people different experiences and that’s all great, but there’s a limit. I’ve become very tired of trying to explain why things are problematic.
  • On the race side especially this includes but is not limited to racial fetishization. If you see me and you think “big black cock WANT” you can die in a fire. Don’t ever invite me to a BBC party unless you want me to just start throat-punching the other attendees. There are plenty of bigger cocks you can buy for relatively cheap. I am not a sex toy. I am a person.
  • Conceit. Self-confidence is great, but self-absorption is full of fail.
  • Insult me, or treat my interests as “weird.”
  • If you don’t communicate clearly with me, things won’t work. I’m really seriously NOT psychic.

If i’ve missed anything, or you feel i was unclear, feel free to ask me in the comments!