When I broke up with my boyfriend, I was so traumatized sexually that I quit masturbating—as much as is humanly possible. Let’s say I “cut down” drastically. When I explain to my friends how much I hated masturbating, they say, “Impossible!”
I am extremely emotionally repressed and have never felt comfortable crying in front of people, let alone myself. I was raised in the kind of household where if you expressed any emotion, regardless of its proportionality to reality, you were “making a scene.” I have been called “stoic” and “opaque” by boyfriends, told I am unreadable because of my “poker face” and asked if I “emote.” I can talk about fucking bodies with the utmost candor and animation, but when I am confronted about relationship issues—“feeling bullshit”—I turn to stone. Boyfriends have always been my only emotional outlet. Needless to say, once my boyfriend was gone, my feelings were expelled from my vagina (passive voice intentional)! Just kidding, but not really!
For the first few days after the break up, I shed a tear here and there, but it doesn’t hurt quite as much the second time around. I felt like I had had two months to rehearse, as the second break up was two months in the making. Thereafter, it was dull pain.
Normally I am all mind and no soul sexually, but with the boyfriend it was different. And I guess I didn’t know how to compartmentalize that extra—the parting present I never asked for. I wanted to be a cold, unfeeling jerk. Feelings are such passive chick bullshit, anyway.
Every time I got off, tears shot out of my eyes. But I didn’t feel sad. It was this weightless, detached thing—an automated nuisance. When I got my nose pierced, I didn’t feel any more pain than when I got other piercings, but tears flew out of my face because when you are irritated facially—as a protective measure—your body expels lubricating fluids. My tears were separate from the act, but they were deployed in succession and therefore associated with the act, itself. Despite the lack of upsetting stimuli prompting the tears, once they were out, I felt as if I had just cried. And while crying is relieving, when there is nothing you are mourning, it is unsettling. All the signs of grievance with no substantiation. Most logical people would find this troubling. And, besides, I was a little bummed out. If tears were part of your orgasm, a progression in the natural order, you would stop getting off too.
While still in the relationship, I was particularly sick with a cough for two weeks. Eventually the cough subsided, except every time I orgasmed, I coughed violently and uncontrollably! I always considered shooting dildos out of my vagina to be my theoretical party trick—as in, if I had to pick a party trick, that would be mine. Imagine my boyfriend’s dismay when his penis became the accessory in my routine. I wasn’t joking when I said my vag muscles are so strong they could crush penis (Well, since then I have let myself go). What I could have previously referred to as a “dildo launcher” became, more accurately, a “penis clamp.” I orgasmed and he screamed! He quickly learned to pull out immediately upon receipt of my orgasm. The coughing fit and vaginal spasms followed like clockwork. Trust me, I felt my vag contract. I felt my whole body turn inside out.
With the tears there was no indication. They left my body so stealthily—I wouldn’t have know what had hit me if it weren’t for the feeling afterwards, that dull burn, as if my orgasm had taken something with it and I was left empty and helpless on my bathtub floor. Think the “unfinished business” in Casper, the movie.
“When your family calls you make nice to them all and assure them you’re fine and you’re great. Then you cry in the bath cry so hard that you laugh and you watch televison ’til eight.”
–Bishop Allen, The News From Your Bed
I vowed only to get off in the shower because it is the most detached, mindless. Getting off in the shower can be one hundred percent mechanical. No imagination necessary. What I didn’t realize that he was physically imprinted upon me, etched into my wiring. My conception of sex with so intricately tied up in him that when his image was primed—and it was any time I went near my body—I had to expel him at any cost. I always thought it was okay that I stuffed all of my feelings into my vagina, because, in the words of Victor Mancini, “Sex pretty much cures everything.” However, it was impossible to store them in my vagina and have them leave out the same exit without mutual acknowledgment. My sexually-linked feelings became inescapable. The only option was sexual denial. Unfortunately, these sorts of things work better with feelings for which there are no physical repercussions.
I’m a poor candidate for masturbation cutbacks. I am constantly anxious, high-strung, and cannot sit still. I move around in my seat so much that I distract my classmates. I am a fidgeter, always alert. It is my biological disposition and I wish I could just chill the fuck out. I anticipated the stress-related repercussions, when I resolved to quit masturbating, because I’m fully aware of serotonin’s analgesic properties.
The addition to my disposition may have actually been positive in the workplace. My day became regimented and the countdown started upon entering the office: 150 hours since I last masturbated and only 8 more until I make it through the day without masturbating! Of course, I didn’t have to constantly check the hours at work, since it isn’t like I planned on masturbating there, but it was extremely motivational. And by motivational, I mean disruptive. It is like reading an article bearing in mind that once you get through it, you will get off. This soon gets adjusted to once you get through 60 percent of it, you will get off. Then you realize that you might as well get off now so you can focus on the task-at-hand instead of thinking about how badly you want to get off. The prospect of masturbating begins to seem productive. Hours left in the day can be broken up into infinitesimal bits of time. You can calculate and recalculate all you want. Your time would probably be better served getting off.
But I wanted to avoid those unpleasant feelings that were linked to tears, the extraction of which lead me to believe something was amiss. And so I determined that I would not get off unless the repercussions of not getting off became more unpleasant than repercussions of getting off, themselves.
The first week and a half is hell, a frenzied demise evocative of sexual absurdity. You come to the realization that you are a needy and persistent animal and wonder if your demands for self-restraint exceed the bounds of reason or, should I say, human nature. My cognitive stance towards my quandary could best be referred to as “willful ignorance.”
But the body is an instrument with an uncanny ability to solve its predicaments without your consultation or input. After a week and a half, my horniness pangs vanished entirely. It is like when you have to pee really badly for an extended period of time; eventually you become numb. And, why not? If you are going to willfully ignore your needs, you might as well skip the issuance of a constant reminder. But, as with pee, it comes back and twice as strong! Immediate attention required. I’d say this hit me at about the two to two-and-a-half week mark.
It became crippling. I could feel everything I did. It seemed as if everything magically touched my vagina. The air I walked through. The seam of my pants. The chair I sat in. The bumps I rolled over as I sat in my chair. All agitators—accomplices frustrating my mission of denial and deprivation.
And there was a pervasive, physical reminder—physical evidence that could not be ignored. Substantiation. That which logical human beings seek. What used to be benign “vaginal lubrication,” or simply “cum,” ominously transformed into “vaginal discharge.” An uninvited and unwelcome visitor—an interloper—that which was being discharged from my vagina for bad behavior. It lubricated more than my vagina. It piled up in my underwear, seeped out of the leg holes and moistened my inner thighs. As I rolled around in my chair, I slipped and slid in my pants. Worried about squishy sounds, I hoped they would be masked by the swoosh swoosh of my corduroys. I went to the bathroom and blotted and blotted to no avail. I went as far as stuffing toilet paper up my vagina, to collect the discharge preemptively. But I could not fool my body. Immediately upon walking, the drip, drip, drip resumed. Immediately upon sitting, I felt like I was sitting in a fucking diaper and I still hadn’t passed through Freud’s phallic stage.
I was disgusted by my regression. It became absurd, pathetic, and repulsive. Intense focus was demanded by my vagina and all of its complications. It seemed counter to the goal of denying my vagina’s existence and, thereby, its needs. In attempting to achieve that goal, my vagina only assumed more needs. My vagina and its upkeep became the center of my existence. Stupid fucking needy vagina. Nagging, hollow, and selfish.
My vagina was acting out. The solution seemed obvious enough, but was not met without resistance. At times like these, when my vagina ruled supreme, the effort it took to avoid getting off far exceeded the effort it would take to just get it over with. Stress peaked at the point at which my horniness began to wane, indicating that Stepford Wife-like compensation would soon be necessary if no precautionary measures were taken. So I resigned and masturbated every week to every week-and-a-half—basic sanity maintenance. I would let myself get almost to the point at which failing to masturbate would impair every area of my functioning, and then I would get off in a hasty and perfunctory manner.
It was an imperfect solution, but I could cease being thirteen and being accosted by so much vaginal discharge that I felt as if I should have been diapered. And that, folks, is the difference between boys and girls: When guys don’t masturbate, god jacks them off in their sleep, and when girls don’t masturbate, we drip, drip, drip all day long.
There was another intermediate solution. When we were still together, there was a day on which we were staying in a sleazy hotel in Turkey and we had gratuitous and torturous sex. Both of our bodies were used before we began, and I couldn’t cum until he came, but he was so sore he was having trouble. When alas we were done, after threatening to give up multiple times, we decided a beer and shower was in store. I snapped a series of pictures of him sitting on the toilet, drinking a beer, waiting until his dick went down enough for him to pee (he always sat after cumming, because he thought cum clogged his urethra and would cause his pee to squirt in many directions). A record of our plight, him withered and exhausted. It was a classic “Goddam, we are a classy couple” series. Actually, drinking Tuborg Green followed by a chaser of apple cider and a saltwater shower (we were staying on the beach) is a definitive sign of class.
In one of the pictures, his cock is exposed except the head is tucked below the toilet seat, making his cock look infinitely long (if you look closely, you can see the foreskin gradation in color, demarcating the shaft from near-tip). What you can’t see in the picture is that I am standing there, a pictorial predator, drenched in semen. He indicated “You next,” but by the time he was able to pee and we were ready for switchies, the cum started to melt and I was getting cum rash and it seemed like a really ugly scene. This was only accentuated by the fact that the sleazy hotel gave us insufficient towels because they didn’t want us to steal their fucking washcloth-sized towels to use on the beach. My reservations about being photographed showcasing cum and beer notwithstanding, I really had to take a fucking shower, albeit a saltwater one.
The pictures of him immortalized our trip, which simultaneously resembled a honeymoon and sexual finale, and our time together soon concluded. Following the break up, every time I needed to cry but was unable (as per my emotional repression), I looked at the pictures of his imaginarily eight-inch cock (his cock wasn’t imaginary, but it was not quite-so-long in reality) and wept. For all that I took for granted. For what I had lost and denied. I released a little at a time and it substantiated my pain, at least, its physical manifestation. And I felt validated. Because sex pretty much cures everything.