Almost two years I started writing my pretty dumb things, which I don’t call a “sex blog,” but a “blog with sex.” And yet this identification is a petit form of self-delusion. Looking at this writing in a cold, clear light of unobfuscated analytic light, this blog is a sex blog, or it has become one, anyway.
This post is my 444th. I can’t even begin to estimate the number of pages, of sentences, of words that comprise those hundreds of posts. I can’t imagine how many times I’ve used the word “cock,” employed the adjectival phrase “fat-bellied,” or summoned a metaphor of birds taking flight, balloons on the rise, tsunamis crashing or fjords dropping to describe my orgasms. I can’t fathom how many synonyms I’ve found for “pink,” or how many times I’ve said “spelunk,” while not referring to actual caves. I have, on these pages, yowled, yawped, ululated, screamed, gutter-uttered and howled like a banshee. (I have, however, never, ever used the term “cum,” unless I was employing Latin or being sarcastic.)
The point of my piling up the virtual metric tons of my things, pretty and/or dumb, is to point out this fact: I know a thing or two about writing a sex blog, however reluctantly I came about writing one. In the past two years, I have seen my readership go from a slender handful of people to a great burgeoning swell of thousands daily. I have the readership of a nice-sized small town daily. It’s a testament to my writing, I like to think, as well as a testament to how many people Google “how to deep throat” and come here for instructions.
I like to think I make it look pretty easy. Good artists do that, make difficult things look easy, and I like to consider myself pretty good at this thing I do, all hubris aside. Let me tell you, especially those of you who think you want to write a sex blog: it’s not.
Sex blogs have a mighty attrition rate. Few, very few, live longer than six months. Most are dead within a year. I have seen many really good sex blogs sparkle and fade, shine klieg-light bright only to burn out fast. Some writers wrote until they solved their issue. Others found their anonymity compromised and fled. A few have been hounded into darkness. Most, though, just go gently into that good night. Writing that was formerly torrential slows to a trickle, that trickle becomes a dribble, and the dribble dries to…nothingness.
Recently, for a clusterfuck of reasons, I’ve been thinking about why I write what I write. What it means to me, and what it costs me. Part of this thinking has come about from being outed to my college student by malicious blogstalkers. Part of it has come from the recent PBS coverage of Google’s temporary losing of sex sites to restructured searches, and how PBS wouldn’t link my blog in its coverage, a choice that made me envision Bill Moyers looking at me and shaking his head sadly. Part of it has come from the numbers of people who come here, from my choice to put advertising and affiliateships on my site, and the necessity for me now to regularly create salacious content to delight and instruct all of you, as well as to bring me cold, hard American cash. Why the risk? I think. Why the choice? I wonder.
Much of my pretty dumb pensiveness stems from my experience that as Donny and I grow emotionally intertwined, and as more and more people read me, and as I make more money from my site, I find that I am less willing to offer up my sex life for your ready consumption. It’s hard to write a sex blog when you feel conflicted about writing about your sex, and this conflict rests at the base of the high sex blog attrition rate.
The biggest fantasy that mainstream porn sells is that sex happens without emotions. Clearly, some filmmakers, like my friend Tony Comstock, challenges that notion, and I thank them for it. But in essence, what mainstream porn presents over and over is sex in an emotional vacuum. The zipless fuck doesn’t exist—however much we want it to, and now that I think about it all more deeply, I suspect that this zipless desire is part of our fantasy of the prelapsarian idyll, that halcyon time/space when people had zipless fucks because they didn’t wear clothes, real or metaphoric. In real life, though, sex carries psychic resonance. In real life, fucks zip loud.
And here’s the painful and beautiful truth: you can’t write about sex without it ringing a cacaphony of psychic bells. As soon as you commit erotic keystroke to computer screen, you’re signing a contract that makes you think and feel something, usually buried deep inside your fecund mind. Most people find themselves unwilling to carry that burden of revelation, to share it with the world, and to expose themselves in the multiple ways they have to in order to write about sex for very long.
Not only does writing about sex change the way you think about sex, but it changes the sex you have. I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve been fucking my lover and simultaneously narrating in my head our sex. It’s a weird fucking sensation, this double consciousness of doing and narrating, and it gets in the way of really enjoying the fucking. All of a sudden, the fucking is “about” something. It has to fit into a narrative structure. It’s limited, predetermined, finished before it’s over, and my pleasure with it. It’s a fucking loss. A loss that keeps on losing.
There are hosts of reasons not to write a sex blog—reasons I’ve outlined here, and ones I’ve hinted at. You can—and probably will—be read by someone you don’t want to read your writing. You will experience the big fat Freudian fear/wish dynamic about readership, both hoping that people will read and being anxious when they do. You will feel compromised, you will feel unsettled, you won’t easily be able to identify why. You will feel like the girl in the middle of the fantasy gang-bang, both titillated and shamed, at least if you’re anything like me. And then you'll feel as if some Japanese tour bus is driving through your bedroom and snapping pictures. It's a tad disorienting to feel as if the digital world is gaping at your cervix through the speculum of your blog. Not everyone can, or should be, an Annie Sprinkles.
It’s fucking hard to write honestly about fucking. However, I will tell you this: it’s worth it. At the end of the day, or in the middle of it, when I think about what would mark my presence on this wet blue earth if a safe dropped from the sky and squashed me flat as Wile E. Coyote, a few things come to mind: my friends and my lover, my dog, the students I’ve helped become better writers, and this blog. I’m proud of what I’ve written, and I’m proud of it all in no small part because I’ve written it at great personal price.
When I think about what has made me the basically happy, if somewhat stressed out, person I am today, I come up with two major points: my therapy and this writing. Catharsis is write. If you’re up to the change, the change will come.
It ain’t easy, this writing sleazy. It’s dragging the bumps in the night into the unblinking and faceless virtual light, but that—just that—if you can do it honestly and thoughtfully, with compassion to yourself and others, and then do it once more with feeling, you’re doing some very good work indeed. At least, I think so.