I have a new piece on Adult Mag online. It’s on bad sex. Here’s a quote:
In the thirty-five years I’ve been fucking, I’ve had a wealth of bad sex. There have been men who rubbed my breasts like jinn would appear. Lovers, male and female, who would slip beneath the covers, take the token lap, and pop up like whack-a-moles. Men who mistook stamina for artistry, speed for skill, and my patience for pleasure. Threesomes that were blinding in their shared solipsism. Fucking is a lot like poetry. Sometimes it’s epiphanic; sometimes it's merely boring. Other times it’s just awful.
You can go here to read the rest.
In this piece, I describe the moment I opted to turn down the invitation to “climb on” a man as ostensibly delectable as an Italian pasty. It was one of the few times when I was presented with sex and I chose to forego. But this moment, cathartic as it was, was not the impetus for writing the piece. As most motivations are, mine for writing this piece were slightly more complex.
This past summer, I fell in love. It was brief, and it was horrible. More than merely upending my world for twelve weeks, this relationship made me feel really bad about sex—no, let me put it more clearly, more honestly, and more painfully: the man with whom I fell in love thought my sexuality was flawed.
Let me attempt to be fair. In the time that I spent with this man, I think he tried to adapt to a woman who, as he despaired repeatedly, needed foreplay. I tried repeatedly to adapt to a man who could only come from fucking my throat so forcefully that spit ran like snot out of my nose and down my chin.
I adapted my sexuality so readily that I dropped a hard limit for him: I went full ass-to-mouth, something that to me is utterly devoid of erotics. To get past this particular hurdle—something that was very, very important to the man in question—I called my friend Stoya, feminist, adult entertainer, writer, and all-around role model. I asked her to give me the personal skinny on swallowing a cock that had been in her anus.
“Does he like it dirty?” She asked, and I assured her, no, he didn’t. All carefully cleaned, tidied like a home when guests are coming.
“You know you don’t have to do it,” she said, picking up on my apprehension. “If you don’t feel comfortable, don’t do it.”
I assured her I did know and I did want to do it.
Stoya, who is brilliant, knew I was faking, but being a friend, she soldiered on, talking fast and medical and anecdotal about her experiences. The upshot was that all was most likely good, and so that night, I took it like a porn star, and I hated it.
I want to pause right now to state for the record that I’m not castigating those of you who like ass-to-mouth, do ass-to-mouth, cherish ass-to-mouth, get off on ass-to-mouth or otherwise fold ass-to-mouth into your lovemaking. Rock on with your ass-to-mouth-loving selves. I hope you find a partner who feels exactly as exultant as you do. This partner, however, won’t be me. It’s not my thing; in fact, it is most definitively my anti-thing.
We may never be lovers, but I’m going to trust that if we somehow ended up in bed together, we’d respect each other’s needs, wants and desires—even if we can’t meet them with precision. I’m going to assume that should you and I become lovers, we’d adapt, with grace and good humor. And if we couldn’t, we’d go our separate ways without making the other person feel like a tool for being the way his or her gods made them.
And this really was the rub with the man this summer. I assumed that like me, he was good, giving and game. And to some extent, he was. To his credit, he tried to cope with the fact that he was with a woman who needed direct clitoral stimulation to orgasm, but the fact was that he never quite cruised past it. So he said things like, “I’m just not used to women who need foreplay.” He said things like, “Really, you can’t come just from your g-spot?” He told me about the many, many women he made orgasm by finger-banging their asses. And the implication of all this kvetching was that my sexuality was flawed. I was wrong for not responding the way he wanted.
By about week nine, I started feeling exhausted and bad. I felt like a failure. I couldn’t please him; he couldn’t please me. The rare desultory orgasms I received when he’d sigh and rub my clit until I came were like subsisting on McNuggets. The whole bit was complicated by the fact he’d molest me in his sleep, and I lived in a perpetual state of unrequited turn-on, flavored deeply by unacknowledged guilt and angst.
And yet, I stayed. I can’t explain why beyond the strange delusion that I felt as if I loved him. I thought, too, that at my age, 50, this was the best it could get, a relationship that was imperfect. I couldn’t let myself acknowledge that it wasn’t imperfect; it was failed.
When the man bailed on me, closing a long finger-pointing disquisition with one diamond hard truth—“We’re not sexually compatible,” he said—it took me a few weeks to recognize this moment for what it was: a pardon. I was not trapped in this relationship with this man; I was not swallowing his gall-tasting blame while being told it was sugar; I was not my last bad fuck. I was better than that, and I deserved better than this man.
“I love watching you rub your clit, “ my current lover purrs as I ride him.
Do you? I ask, part inticing him to dirty talk, part still incredulous.
“Yes,” he says, raising his pelvis toward mine. “I love watching you feel pleasure.” And I give in to our shared joy.
Bad sex has three main lessons. Recognize it when you see it. Let go of the bad. And welcome the great.