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.

One Response to “53 PiV and Me”

  1. Lucie Le Blanc said

    This is a great essay, love. And I admire your courage to put these thoughts into words.

    PiV has never been something I really enjoyed. To me, it marks the end of fun: usually, once the guy has his way in, all he wants is his orgasm. Afterward, I’m left feeling like shit. Feeling used.

    But I’ve also been guilty of trying to perform to what I thought was others expectations too. Just because it’s what I thought was expected of me, I played the game. While all I really want is kiss and touch and lick and probe for hours…

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