Coming Home: Day 18 – can orgasms be romantic?

Today, I’ll tell you, I was in a movie.

Sometimes having the radio on can do that, make me feel like I’m right in the climax– and not the orgasm-y kind, necessarily, though those played a part in today’s imaginings. No, it’s more like pushing into that part where the heroine is finally experiencing her big change, is swelling all the way into the kiss or getting the big phone call from a publisher or agent that will change her life or she gets in the car, finally finally, and you can see that she’s really going to go this time– she’s going. She’s going.

What if the movie gets to be your real life?

The song that got me today was Azure Ray’s Sleep– Some songs just sound like they’re meant to be around the heartbeat of a movie and this is one of those (and then I go look for the video, and check it out! The song was used in the film The Devil Wears Prada. Natch). In the movie that played in my head as this song poured into the bathroom, this is what I could see: a woman, let’s say, who’s gone through quite a bit of shit around her sex, she’s spent a lifetime feeling broken, and the movie, this movie, is about how she begins to really find comfort and joy and a place of agency and power and also release and vulnerability, particularly around her orgasm. Let’s say she just wants to come easier– let’s say she wants to be able to come with a lover the way she comes with herself. Let’s say she wants to come all the way home into herself.

And so this song is playing, and I’m in the shower, and I’ve got the montage scene in my head. Don’t these movies always have a montage? This is the montage from my movie: the woman’s joyous face, big smile over and over, enraptured, head flung back, all thick with passion and screams — in her bed, in a bath, in someone else’s bed, in a park, maybe on a rooftop terrace, in the nighttime, in the day. We get to see her body’s yes, the result of so many years of work (work? ok, yes, work.) We get to see the aftermath of her never giving up on the idea that she could have all the joy with her sex, that sex and coming could be a place much less fraught, less triggery, more open-bodied.

It was gorgeous, I’m telling you. Let’s find the funding for that movie.

The movie-making did, however, distract me from The Actual Business I was meant to be down to there on my back in the shower, so I was glad when the song was over and I could focus again.

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I’ve been thinking a lot these days about what a romantic I am, and how I like a LOT of romance with my sex — I got this concept from the Sex/Romance/Intimacy rap that we get at the SFSI sex educator training: this is a way to think about your ideal relationship style: do you like a lot of intimacy with your sex? or Romance with your sex? Or do you prefer your romance with intimacy but no sex? Here’s a good breakdown of this rap, complete with Venn diagram, from asexy beast’s blog. Check it out — I have wanted a lot of romance with my sex, but have had a hard time letting the intimacy in — that is, letting my erotic self fall all the way into the center of those three circles. That’s some of my work now.

(You know SFSI, right? San Francisco Sex Information — they have lovely things to say about sex in general, and women’s orgasm and masturbation in particular)

So, here’s what I’ve been thinking about, though: orgasm has mostly not been a place of romance for this body or psyche; keeping the romance out was another way to keep orgasm split away from the rest of my sex, I think. So orgasm, as a result of the fantasies that could carry me into it, was relatively brutal — emotionally disconnected (the folks in the fantasy  were disconnected from one another, and also –because those fantasy-characters were always strangers to me, like I was watching a porn movie — they were all disconnected from me), unromantic, power-over, hard, shameful. Now, some or any of those attributes could make for a pretty damn hot scene, I know, but mostly I just felt shitty about them.

In the stories I write, I could bring that hard/power-over/fucked-up alongside romantic/longing/vulnerable, and end up with characters getting what they want and ending up feeling pretty good about it, even if it was damn hard to get there. But that process took longer inside my own head.

Orgasm is a really fucking vulnerable place to be. Can I really welcome intimacy and romance there?

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Here’s another thing I noticed this morning: the closer I get to coming, the more my head starts to reach for fantasy — please, could we get out of being so damn close to the body, to this eruption, to this pooling explosion? Couldn’t we just get a little distance? Sometimes the distance of a fantasy can give me some psychic friction — how to explain this. But more, I think it’s about safety.

So this morning, as all my muscles started to tighten, I let myself give in to a couple of fantasies (first that you were Out There, listening to me; next, that I got to watch you touching yourself — you, then you. Yes. You, too, if that’s all right, riding those hands hard and sharp and now), but over and over, I was back exactly in my body, feeling the panic that I might not get over the edge, that I’d have to ride this tension all day, that I wouldn’t be able to Get There. Then the frantic waterspout eruption gathered hard and sharp in me and I felt everything sucked hard into my center, through my cunt and up out around — what are the words for the sensation of a black hole in the body that brings only light and a terrifying joy?

Then panting, laughter, get up girl, get you to work.

So much more to say here, but I’ll stop for now. Keep being good and tender to your body during this Do Something Lovely For Your Body Everyday Month (the long renaming of National Masturbation Month). Come again tomorrow, as it feels best for you. See you then.