I didn’t know sex wasn’t supposed to hurt as much as the first time every time you had it until two years after the fact. Up until my revelation that sex could and should be enjoyable for women, I was satisfied in my dissatisfaction with sex.
For a while, whenever I would retrospectively wonder why I had put up with so much bad sex, I’d end up blaming myself. I felt responsible for my own complacency with sup-par dick. I explicitly told the men I’d slept with — time and time again — that the sex was great, that I enjoyed myself, that orgasm was completely authentic. And yes, it is so wonderful that we came at the same time. And so on and so forth.
What a liar!
Why, if the sex sucked, was I sucking dick? Even then in my teenage naivete, I felt a distrust and disliking towards straight men. Yet, I fell into some sort of reversal when naked and attempting to reach some sort of climax — an effort often thwarted by my partners’ inability to locate anything with a nerve ending.
I noticed my yielding toward the will of gendered power structures I so actively hated outside of the bedroom. And that behavior was rewarded. Or, reinforced with what I’m sure the men I was sleeping with perceived to be positive affirmation. Later into my sexual life, I found the forms of communication used through sex which I had become accustomed were kinda fucked up. Both verbal and non-verbal, were oftentimes completely dependent and in response to whatever my partner was communicating.
That looked like:
Him: I want head.
Me: Okay I will give you head.
Him: You want to give me head, right?
Me: Yes, I want to give you head.
I actually hate giving head. I hated then and I hate it still, but I’d do it anyway. Me just doing the damn thing wasn’t ever sufficient though. I had to want to do it. At the least, I had to make it seem like I wanted to do it. If my enthusiasm was not where it needed to be, I’d be asking a rhetorical question, to which the answer was already scripted. It never felt as though I could say, “No, I don’t want to do this sexual thing because we did it before and you’re bad at it.” Often, I felt that to be the only truthful response. So I would lie.
Lying while laying. More focus applied to my moans than anything else. After a while, I decided that I hated sex and began to see it as a tool more than anything else. I rarely finished sex, because I rarely finished during sex. It became clear that once sex had started, to an extent, we’d done the deed regardless of if we came. Ta-da! Done.
I got very good at faking fatigue from over exertion, exhaustion from lust, electrolyte depletion from sweating — I could find any way to get out of a fuck. It is to this phase in my life which I attribute my theater prowess.
This happened so often and became so normalized that I wasn’t displeased or even deprived. I didn’t know what I didn’t have. I had never felt properly touched before, and therefore never longed for it nor suffered in its absence.
Actually, I thought I had the whole sex thing pretty down. Guys loved sleeping with me and frequently wanted to do so more than once. I usually declined, opting instead to find more bad dick elsewhere. Neither party seemed to be aware that the sex was good for one person, since we both actively expressed a singular, male viewpoint. I call this bedroom hegemony. It’s like regular hegemony in the way that we’re convinced the unequal distribution of power is normal when really, it’s not.
For example, I don’t particularly enjoy having a penis rammed down my throat. I don’t like having my head pushed in any direction. I like being choked, but you’re supposed to squeeze the sides of the throat, not the windpipe — that is how you kill someone. I don’t mind having my ass slapped, but I will be upset if I can’t sit down the next day. None of these are outlandishly deviant preferences. Though, I realized these were things I didn’t like because men kept doing them to me without asking.
I would say nothing. Actually, I would pad my silence with a bunch of well rehearsed “oohs” and “ahhs”, not that anyone was listening anyway. In my mind, since everyone was doing it, that was just sex, right?
It wasn’t until I started watching porn that I realized why all these men fuck like they’re trying to hammer a nail into a cement wall. The prevalence and seemingly formulaic incorporation of violence into mainstream porn fascinated me. The women, to whom I naturally paid the most attention, rarely looked pleased. When they did I instantly questioned if it was as performative as I myself had grown to be. Porn is graphic, you can see everything. What I was seeing looked painful. I then understood, men are being taught that violence is sexy. Yuck.
There is an overbearing theme of domination and objectification of women in porn. This isn’t necessarily a nuance, but when applied to the behavior I experienced in the bedroom, the themes transfer over. I see the unrealistic expectations and understandings of sex bleed from the internet into my actual bedroom. Sometimes that’s in the uncomfortably rough way men have handled my body. Often times, it’s in the overwhelmingly male focus and narrative of our sex. We’re done when he’s done. White flag means game over.
I notice the confidence in men who have bad sex. Clearly they don’t know they’re bad, and they’ve been bad for so long, they think they’re good. To which I say, we need to stop lying to men about their pipe game.
We’re doing ourselves a disservice, sure. But it’s easy to walk away from bad sex with a smile and never look back. I used to pull that all the time. Though, what we’re also doing is reinforcing male delusions of grandeur in the bedroom. Do not let the age old myth that he who fucks the hardest and fastest wins the race. He who comes first does not actually win. In the name of vaginas, anuses and orifices otherwise used in sexual activity, tell guys what they’re doing wrong. If not for yourself than for their next partner. Consider it as passing it forward.
Once I made the connections between my own displeasure and the looks of boredom on porn stars’ faces, I started speaking the hell up. “I don’t like this,” “touch me here,” “do not even think about it.” I wasn’t a dick about it, but if the service wasn’t up to par, I dismounted, packed my things up and took my butt home.
I had to explain to a lot of guys that no, that wasn’t how you did that. And they listened. If we needed to, we stopped. When I wanted to, I took the time to explain what I liked and how they could improve. It made my sex longer, better, and hotter. The active dismantling of male dominance in my bedroom made me love my bedroom a lot more. Made me love sex a lot more. Made a lot of guys into the men they are today.