The real reason I write about sex

Listen, I’m more embarrassed than you are that I’m still writing about the using boobs to sell liberty fracas. But I just had a thought in the shower that’s too good not to share.

Who the fuck is buying anything based on my boobs? I’m just trying to think back on my writing and figure out which of it was remotely “sexy.” It’s about sex sometimes. But I can’t imagine anyone sitting there fapping to me writing about crying over boys. Unless I’m forgetting publishing a series of erotic stories or a very sexy photoshoot (entirely possible) I think it would require having very passing familiarity with my writing to think of it as remotely sexy.

Another thing people get upset about is me telling them how to live. I’m writing about how I live. But it’s a stretch to say I’m trying to sell anyone on my ways. That shit is part of why I had to step back from punditry. Last weekend two friends babysat me through a rough acid trip. I have two roommates in a one-bedroom apartment. I’m in no position to tell anyone how to live.

The only thing I come anywhere near knowing is how not to live. It’s not hard to figure out, really. I just talk about what I was doing until yesterday (dumb shit) and how it worked for me (poorly). Voila, a blog readership middle school me would have KILLED for.

Like, people get all bent out of shape because they take my describing my thoughts and actions as some kind of implicit, insulting instruction manual. Y’all. If anyone out there is doing that, don’t. I have no idea what I’m doing.

I think of my writing more like, “Hey, here’s something I sucked at! You may want to learn from my mistakes, I like to think I have!”

I’ve changed my mind radically on important topics too many times to think that because I realized I was doing some things wrong I have everything figured out now.

Being misunderstood like this made me think of people mistaking the sex-positive movement for people who are squared away about sex. People who are squared away about sex don’t need sex-positivity. It’s for the people who are or feel they are weird about sex. Who suspect they’re doing it wrong. Who never feel like they’re sexual enough, or feel like they’re too sex-obsessed.

I don’t write about sex to sell anything. And not because I’m not trying. I’ve spent the last five years trying to figure out who I can target with nerdy, neurotic, self-obsessed, radically transparent, mildly amusing content, and what exactly I can sell to them. But so far I’ve got nothing. So, I’m not making any money writing thinkpieces, neither the corporatism ones nor the ones about my vagina.

Nor do I write about sex because I’ve got it figured out.

I write about sex because I’m still afraid I’m doing it wrong. And I sometimes worry that everyone’s got it figured out but me.

Frankly, I mostly feel like I’m sexually dysfunctional. Like, I can’t masturbate. Okay, I can and do. But I can’t fantasize. God, this is so embarrassing. Even more than still thinking about selling liberty with boobs. You guys. When I start to fantasize my mind wanders to some guy who’s hurt me. Like, what? It’s like when I’m trying to sleep and my brain wanders to all the ways I could die right then. Except instead of detailed imaginings of highly unpleasant ways to die killing my ability to sleep, detailed imaginings of highly shitty ways to be treated by another human being kill my ability to get aroused. LAME.

I honestly don’t think about this quirk of mine because I don’t want to deal with judging myself for it. My brain is all, “What a fragile, insecure, brittle whiny little shit! Grow up, honey! You’re going to let some douchebag stop you from getting off?”

Okay, so that’s bad, from start to finish.

But it gets worse? I don’t know, it’s hard to judge these things. Okay. I want a man to make love to me. *dies* Yes, that phrase makes my clit shrivel, but I don’t know another way to say that so we’re going to have to live with it until I invent something better. Feelings smashing? Yeah no. Gosh, I am earnest as fuck but even I cannot bear to try to describe what I want a man to do to me in my vaginal area. I’d love to write breezily about wanting to be choked in bed because that’s “cool” and “edgy.” Badass girls are into BDSM and weird shit. Basic bitches want a man to put on some Third Eye Blind and make slow, sweet love to them for a minimum of 30 minutes, most of which is foreplay and sweet nothings.

You guys aren’t ready for this next confession, but since I’m being real.

The last person who was giving it to me on the regular hurt the shit out of me. Yes, I know I’ve written about this before. Yes, I’m embarrassed by the whole thing. I’m embarrassed to still be hurt. I think of myself as really resilient. When it comes to this, I wonder “Who is this bitch?” I’m embarrassed to have trusted someone I shouldn’t. I hate that I remembered that we never had to talk about or schedule the kind of sex I loved to have with him. Every weekend, if we didn’t have to do something else, we were in his room, on his bed, not bothering to get dressed. He was always ready to go. He loved to fuck. And he was so good at it. His body was perfect and his penis was perfect and he was tall and in excellent cardiovascular shape. He looked at me like I was his entire world. I hate admitting any of this. I hate complimenting someone I kind of hate. I feel so stupid.

And for the rest of my life when I think about those long days in bed I’ll remember me thinking one thing and him knowing something else.

That sucks! It sucks that it’s true and it sucks even more that I’m still upset about it and it sucks even more that I’m ashamed of still being upset about it.

Sex-positivity hasn’t given me a great sex life. It’s good. I’m grateful for the very high highs and I’m okay with the lows too. But I’m still afraid I’m doing it wrong.

Sex-positivity makes me feel like it’s not completely my fault that I’m so embarrassed about everything to do with my vagina. Sex-positivity tells me that I don’t have to be ashamed to not be squared away regarding sex. I go on and on about sex-positivity not meaning sex is always good, but meaning sex is always consensual. I go on and on about it because sex isn’t always good for me. I go on and on about how it means there’s no “right” or “wrong” way to have sex. I go on and on about it because I need to know that I’m not the only one who doesn’t know what they’re doing. I’m sex-positive because I can’t grow as fast if I’m wasting too much energy being ashamed of what’s in my way.

So if you’re here because you’re titillated by my anxieties, I’m not going to kinkshame you. You’re welcome here. It wasn’t my intention but hey, awesome. I don’t have anything to sell you, but I’m working on it.

If you think I’m telling you not to use religious dogma to make decisions about your sex life or to not be monogamous or not be sex-negative, you misunderstand me. I’m saying those things didn’t work for me.

I write about sex for the fucked-up kids who are afraid they’re doing it wrong and ashamed about it, but are ready to hear that they don’t have to be. That it’s not all their fault.

But mostly I write for me, to remind myself of those things. Because I don’t have it figured out yet.


  1. Michael B.

    In my experiences, I’ve found that sex with friends that I’ve vetted for who can handle it (it takes some practice) is a lot better than sex with strangers and acquaintances. The closer the friend, the better. The theory is that people who care about you are less likely to do things that will ruin the memory of the sex. The trouble is finding such friends. Many people have trouble having sex with friends.

    In any case, I think that generally if someone treats you badly, then surely it is their fault and not yours.

  2. Lucy Lawless. Madeleine Albright. Janet Reno. Freaking Mulan.

    These were the first people I thought of when I read, “What a fragile, insecure, brittle whiny little shit! Grow up, honey! You’re going to let some douchebag stop you from getting off?”

    That kind of thinking is reminiscent of 90s feminism.

    You know, the kind of feminism that argued that women can achieve equality of they simply drowned out their stereotypical femininity. Pant suits are only allowed here. Sport short hair cuts. Be analytical about everything. No emotion allowed or else you’re a baby–or worse, acting like “a girl.”

    Unfortunately, that kind of thing came coupled with toxic masculinity.

    Imagine if your male friend said, “What a fragile, insecure, brittle whiny little shit! Grow up, honey! You’re going to let some [bitch] stop you from getting off?”

    Suddenly, the whole situation becomes gendered. You’d comfort him, tell him it’s OKAY to be upset. That doesn’t make him a lesser man.

    And having those feelings don’t make you a lesser feminist.

    In fact, acknowledging those feeling are super good for you. Yeah, XX was a great lover. It’s okay to admit that.

    Yeah, XX hurt you. You have permission to feel that way; it’s normal and okay to feel that way. And the fact that it affects your ability to masturbate is normal and okay too.

    The only shame you’re feeling derives from an awful old construct that says that women must be a more-perfect version of masculinity than is possible.

    Call bullshit on it. That toxic masculinity ain’t got no place here, and it certainly shouldn’t be pushing you to self-doubt, shame, or worse, invalidate your own experiences.

  3. I liked the second half of Rachel Burger’s reply.

    What I don’t like is that there is a pervasive idea in our culture that adults *should be having sex all the time*. You know, sometimes it’s ok not to have sex for a while, it’s something we used to save for very special people in our lives, whether a friend like Michael said, or a girlfriend/boyfriend, or a spouse. I think some of the anxiety many people have over sex and feeling normal with it stems from the pressure that exists making people think if they’re not frequently having sex with one or more partners, that something is wrong.

    Thanks for writing about this!

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