Sexual anorexia is a term used to describe a loss of “appetite” for romantic-sexual interaction but can be better defined as a fear of intimacy to the point that the person has severe anxiety surrounding sex with emotional content.
4am, Saturday morning. It is almost impossible to sleep. My lover is in town. My sleep schedule rearranged as I learn all over again to share my bed.
We have been in and out of bed all weekend and whilst it is reassuring to have this oversexed lil monkey crawling all over me I end up thinking far too much-both good and bad. The bad thoughts: wanting to escape, trying to remember old conquests, those perfect pornographic moments that always get me off. The good thoughts: fully engaging with newly learned sexual behaviors/insights. It is delightful to be mainly present during the sex. Now, when I say sex what are you thinking? The sex I have is, I am sure, nothing like most people.
When Bill Maher condemns sex addicts I doubt that he understands that most men who consider themselves sex addicts are not having the sort of sex that he is having. They are not meeting, fucking, cumming and leaving. Many men identify as sex addicts but the men I identify most with are actually porn addicts who seldom leave their apartments or Internet addicts on hook up sites with multiple on-line personalities. These men exist apart from the Tiger Woods variety of sex addicts: men who hook up with women or other men whilst wives and children sleep oblivious at home.
Bill Maher’s limited understanding of sex addiction and general scoffing negates those of us who work daily in order not to retraumatize ourselves. Bill Maher is certainly not recreating moments of childhood fear; he is not replicating perfect porno moments nor dealing with erectile dysfunction.
Tiger Woods may be a serial cheater but his story is the exception rather than the rule. Those of us who compulsively masturbate seldom get to meet anyone at all regardless of our engaging personalities. Addicted to the soothing effect of ejaculation, the calming thoughtless moments just after we shoot our dwindling load.
I was freshly out of prison. 1983. I answered an ad in Time Out for gay performers who wanted to make a play with Neil Bartlett for the Institute of Contemporary Art about pornography. Drawing on historical texts-Diaries of a Marianne for instance, we all at once celebrated and condemned the production, consumption and effects of pornography. In one scene we compared the fantasy of pornography with the reality of our own sex lives.
After our 10 city tour in the UK and Canada I went home and never gave the polemic we were positing another thought, yet had I my life would have turned out very differently.
How has gay pornography influenced my thinking, my relationships, my life?
Pornography has ruined my sexual expectations. Pornography: where men together do not tenderly hold each other, look into each other’s eyes, do not cry gently, do not laugh out loud, and do not ‘fail’ with half hard cocks. The perfect bodies, sexual performance and youth of most gay porn stars are impossible acts to follow.
Yet, the moment I get into bed with a man I try to emulate what I see in pornography. My stance is both dominant and aggressive, my voice lowers, I am uncharacteristically clumsy, and my kisses are full lipped. I have no idea what the end point of any sexual encounter is because I have so rarely ejaculated with another human being. I am rarely even in the same room because I am off in fantasy. I am rarely hard.
My lover is sexually submissive so what good am I to him if I am so full of fear that my cock does not get hard? That at the back of my mind I know my darling pornography waits to own me the moment he is gone? How many men cheat on their wives/boyfriends with pornography?
The past few days of sexual activity have been perhaps the best of my life because I am at least in the same room as the man I have elected to sleep with. I am authentic, present, calm and honest. I tell him the truth. Perhaps too much talking but frankly I would rather talk than be absent. There has been a great deal of consolation since he arrived. There has been a remarkable kindness. I no longer objectify him nor resent him simply because he sees who and what I am.
With the truth comes vulnerability, certainly never evident in pornography unless it’s a ‘mans first time’ with another man. Then the gay for pay virgin simply looks confused or humbled by desire. I have wasted so many years to pornography, so many wasted opportunities, so much lost love.
Men have humiliated me. I have, in turn, humiliated men. I have defined myself by my inability rather than my gifts. I have invested in my defects rather than my talent.
I am trying to have a few wonderful moments before my lover leaves LA and God knows if I will ever see him again. Of this I am sure: we got to know each other before we lay together. This meant that I had no shame when he finally held me in his arms. That I felt comfortable enough to let him know what was going on with me when I could not perform as perhaps he wanted me to perform. That we continue to laugh and cry and feel comfortable doing so.
I only have until Friday and I am going to make the most of it-before he returns to his own war zone and I to mine.