The Logic of Sensation
(Trigger Warning: Giant, Rock-Hard, Throbbing Cocks. Possibly NSFW.)
Your rectum and your penis are two different organs. They have separate sensations, separate nerve endings, and can be “sexualized” (that, fulfill an erotic or sexual investment) entirely separately from each other. Some of the best bottoms I’ve ever fucked weren’t hard while I fucked them. Not only that, but I’ve actually seen more than one bottom have an orgasm and ejaculate from getting fucked while his dick was completely flaccid. (Just a reminder: orgasm, ejaculation, and erection are three different bodily events and each of the three can happen without the other two). In short: anal pleasure and penile pleasure are two different sensations of which the body is capable. Just because they often occur together doesn’t mean they can’t occur apart.
In our obsessively phallocratic culture, we tend to consider erection the condition of male sexual pleasure. But erection isn’t the condition of male pleasure, it’s a symptom of arousal. (The proof of the thing is simple: lick a guy’s balls while he’s completely soft, then ask him if he enjoyed it). Obviously, from a purely statistical standpoint, most guys tend to get erect when they’re aroused, but not everyone does to the same extent, and to suggest that you can’t experience pleasure through your rectal nerve endings unless you’re simultaneously experiencing pleasure through your penile nerve endings is like saying that you can’t enjoy having your shoulders rubbed unless someone is giving you a foot rub at the same time. Sure, it’s nicer to have both at once. But I’ll settle for one or the other, especially if it means I get to fuck you.
To say that our culture is obsessed with sex is an understatement. As Foucault convincingly shows in his refutation of the “repressive hypothesis” in The History of Sexuality, vol. I, the discourse of sexuality is everywhere, all the time. But whatkindof things we say about sex is a very different question than how often we talk about it, and discourse on sex tends to take two forms: either general principles and axioms (“blow jobs feel great!”; “if you have unprotected sex you’ll get an STD”; “don’t play ball unless there’s grass on the field”), or idealized fantasies (whether these take the form of porn or advertising or actual fantasies we have). Much more rare is the kind of discourse on sex that would be the most useful, which are specific statements and honest anecdotal information. There are all kinds of details people don’t like to talk about. Your straight guy friend will gladly tell you about the chick he banged last night; he probably won’t tell you that he lost his hard-on while he was fucking her and she had to give him head for 25 minutes before he got it back, so that even “true life” stories about sexuality tend to fall into the category of idealized fantasy. As a result, there’s a fundamental mystification at the heart of our knowledge about sexuality which, until and unless it’s replaced by experiential knowledge, can be a source of profound anxiety and awkwardness. The current topic is a perfect example - how many inexperienced young guys who have more access to Internet porn than they do to other men’s bodies will read the post I linked to and assume that unless they can stay hard the entire time they’re getting fucked, their partner won’t be turned on? These are the kind of assumptions that, when unspoken or unexamined, can produce intense loops of cognitive dissonance and account, in my opinion, for a large measure of the tension and anxiety that surrounds sex for so many people, especially people who haven’t had a wide variety of partners or experiences.
Porn is a perfect example of the kind of mystification I’m talking about. Don’t get me wrong - I love porn. A lot. And I’m a dedicated consumer of porn. But for fuck’s sake, I wish I could take every gay man on this planet and implant in their brains the simple fact that porn isn’t real. Porn shoots involve editing, and lighting, and Viagra, and lunch breaks, and vaseline, and prep work. It may look like the top shoved his whole dick in the bottom out of nowhere in one thrust, but that bottom spend 45 minutes loosening himself up with a dildo earlier. You know how many hours of footage it takes to produce 25 minutes of non-stop erections? Generally an entire day’s worth. Do not - I repeat, do not - take porn as your model for what sex should be like, because unless you’re either mind-blowingly hot or very, very lucky, your sex life will be consistently disappointing, anxious, and frustrating. (The major except to this are actual activities they engage in - switching up positions, angles, and locations is one of the best ways to keep your sex life interesting, and in this regard porn has a lot to teach us).
Oh, and for the record, there are way hotter guys than Ethan on Sean Cody.