Katie McDonough once told me a professor of hers gave her an intellectual hard-on. At the time I thought, now, why would you mix those concepts? Does being smart make you feel sexy?
I tried it.
During sex I actively thought about being recognized for intellectual achievements instead of whatever I’m supposed to be thinking about during sex to “achieve” an orgasm. Changing a honkey’s mind about Ferguson through pure logic and reasoning check Ooh yeah right there. Having my graduate school application accepted with a full ride check Uunhgh harder! Amy Goodman interviewing me about my book, the one about the murdering indoctrination of villian death in childrens’ stories blast off!! I love you I love you I love you!!!
It used to be, after getting raped during my virginity loss, I thought about how much I hated sex. During sex. Or not during sex. Later I started thinking about how the partners I was choosing were ineffectual and I needed to just find the right dick-haver. As time wore on this theory didn’t hold water (cumwater?) I began to think I was looking up at a dark sky from a deep pit with no escape. I’m ruined. I can’t orgasm no matter what I try or how much I read on the subject. All sex acts weren’t intolerable but the fact that I felt like I was lying to partner after partner, many of whom I loved, was intolerable. Sometimes I faked it. Mostly I didn’t have to because socialized-as-men-men are just as fuckedinthehead as socialized-as-women-women regarding talking about sex, and many of them never asked me if I came, and I’ll never know if it was because they didn’t know or if they didn’t care.
Someone finally appeared before me that I discovered I could trust. Like actually. And a year and a half in, I’m pleased to report that orgasms sometimes happen.
The Dueling Banjos theory I just came up with was feeling what was happening inside my body with no pain attached to it…while actively thinking about something else not to avoid the pain but to elevate it. If that means putting self-worth into a different brain bucket, I guess that’s what happened.
There are worn pathways of worthlessness when my brain considers sex. To untrain that, to get out of the ruts, I put sexthink into another place in my brain, the place where I feel confident and capable. Intellectualizing, indeed…
Go watch the scene in Deliverance* (a movie I generally can’t deal with at all) where Drew plays music with a local kid, it's the perfect metaphor. The kid is pure and visceral, like the feeling of a dick inside, and the dude is making it about friendship and competition. What’s a worse way to view sex than a competition?? But my cerebral fantasies do involve fucking winning. Being smarter and more articulate, and recognized for it, is literally an intellectual hard-on.
*The many ways in which this is a fucked up movie are an entirely separate but necessary post.