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 "Boys Eat Ice Cream I" by Hank Ehrenfried.

"Boys Eat Ice Cream I" by Hank Ehrenfried.

 

Deep thinker and budding "probottom" Ty Mitchell explores the perils and pleasures of coordinated cumming in an exclusive erotic essay, Getting Close. This piece originally appeared in Cakeboy SS18.

 
 

You don’t have to cum. Not because we’re a little high, or because we’re nervous, or because we’re strangers. Because I like to break the rules. There’s a script to this, sure, but there’s also a script where we’re straight, one where we’re in love, another where we’re ashamed of ourselves. You don’t have to cum, babe. That’s not why I’m here. Save it for the morning, or next weekend, or after I leave. I’m gonna get off, though, but that’s just me. You can watch. You can help. Yeah, like that.

Nobody teaches us how, when, or where to cum. We learn some things from TV and movies: men cum quickly, consistently, often uncontrollably, and women do not appear to cum at all, just moan and wince a lot. And we learn from porn, from money shots that sync narrative to sexual climax. None of this learning is as straightforward as if we were actually being taught. All of it, porn or not, is subject to complex modes of viewing that range from critical to mimetic; usually some combination of both. Porn might teach us a few things, but it is ultimately no more didactic about sex than drag is about womanhood. Keep in mind that homemade, amateur porn is immensely popular, but despite being unbound by industry or studio standards, it tends to follow similar conventions as studio-produced porn, which suggests that our sex lives may already be stuck in a feedback loop between representation and reality. Perhaps the norms of sexual aesthetics are already established, and rather than lust after more creative pornographies, we may have to find other ways to teach each other how to cum.

Tell me what you need. Let me pose for you. Keep your eyes on my hole. Play with it. Tell me what you need. We can put on a porno. You can close your eyes. It doesn’t mean we’re not being present, or intimate, or real. It doesn’t mean we’re broken. Tell me what you need. I can play with your nipples. Your neck. Your ear lobes. Your ass. Your feet. Kissing feels good, but I think it’s distracting you. Don’t focus on how you’re losing focus. Don’t think of how close you were a second ago. Don’t fight with your own body, as if it’s not yours, as if it’s separate from you, as if this is work. Tell me what you need. Yeah, we can take a break, of course we can. Drink some water.

There is nothing wrong with not-cumming in and of itself. Sex does not need to center around orgasms, or conclude with them, in order for it to satisfy a given desire. And there are many good reasons to struggle to cum: a new partner, a strange place, a stuffy room, a drafty room, uppers, booze, weird music, too much at stake, too many distractions, holidays, exhaustion, or the worst good reason of all: too little sexual chemistry—or none at all. Perhaps this is what we are most fearful to concede when we keep rubbing and pumping for a lost cause, but even this appears salvageable: something I did, something I said, some way that I said it, something rectifiable, for next time, or with someone else.

‘Chemistry’ doesn’t really mean anything specific. It stands in for something difficult to explain, or something we shouldn’t have to explain. It is what’s right, when it’s right— and what is missing when it’s just okay. It spares us the micromanagement of sexual compatibility, and eclipses all other reasoning because, after all, chemistry is science, and science is indisputable. And yet it is a kind of quantum mechanics, defying simpler rationality with magical and mysterious magnetics, repelling us from lovers who are ‘good on paper’ and attracting us to the lopsided mattresses of our exes. While it by no means endows us with more radical sexual ethics, it may at least lead us to other genders, other races, other bodies that we might otherwise disregard.

I want to cum when you cum. How is this confusing?

Sexual chemistry cannot be bought, sold, stolen, or managed; eons of patriarchy have, by insisting on its presence anywhere and everywhere, celebrated it as that force of desire which must transcend power and consent. But, perhaps in recognizing and accepting its absence we liberate each other a little bit: to know our limits, to not-cum, to move on.

I want to cum when you cum. How is this confusing? Give me a two-tier warning: “I’m close,” which is negotiable, and “I’m gonna bust,” which is not. Here’s the kind of bottom I am—I want it until I get quiet. When it’s sore, which is after it’s totalizing, which is after it’s hot, which is after it hurts. Fast and slow, in alternation, but if you’re not afraid to sweat, then go for it. Here’s the kind of top I am—good at tricks, french vanilla shit, like spit, spanking, choking, licking feet, grabbing wrists. Tell me when you want me to cum, and I will. Less than two positions is insulting, but I can’t make you like me. Nobody knows this, but on feels more intimate than in. I need you to see what you made me do.

Disembodiment makes it difficult to cum, turning the body into both a distant object after which we are always chasing or dragging along and an unruly subject to whom we are miserably bound. It is a precursor to the more famous dysphorias, dysmorphias and dysfunctions of the body, spanning across an incredible variety of subjects. And it is that baseline dissonance between ghost and machine upon which we might apply diets, genders, drugs, workouts, and touches. When it is difficult to have a body, it becomes difficult to cum through one.

Late capitalism is disembodying. Late capitalism makes it very difficult to cum. Patriarchy, white supremacy, and religious trauma are disembodying, too, but to leave it at that suggests that embodiment is a privilege of identity or upbringing, which I’m not sure is the case as I’ve encountered countless agnostic white men who cannot seem to dance or fuck with any measure of embodied grace. Late capitalism (or maybe just regular capitalism) makes it the normal condition of everyday life, a requisite to participating in society at all, to feel in conflict with a body that is questionably your own. The totalizing stress of survival is desensitizing, as is the explosive and inescapable stimuli of commerce.

Of course, there are many perfectly legitimate, individual reasons why it is difficult to cum that have nothing to do with capitalism. But I have grown skeptical that it is possible to dependably, satisfyingly reach our orgasms without stretching away from society itself, and seeking out ways of being a body that feel better, perhaps even free.

There it is. Right there, that spot. I can do this. Don’t stop. I—never—have—but I can do thisdon’tstop. No, fuck, it’s gone. I lost it.—