“use your body at your own discretion and seek your own pleasure.”
alysia harris, this woman (2015)
the end of 2015 found me in recovery mode from (yet another) unrequited love. a boy who loved me, just not in the way i wanted or could understand. determined not to fall prey to the talons of failed love (is love ever failed anyway? maybe misread, misunderstood? maybe just altogether missed) i vowed that if i was going to have to get over someone i may as well get under someone else (or several some ones…)
i’d been wanting to explore my sexuality for a while. growing up queer meant that where my more sexually normative contemporaries had had the space to express, discover and experience their sexualities openly in relationships, i had to repress the outward expression of mine as best i could to avoid violence. while friends would speak about the frictions and joys of their various romantic and sexual exploits i was day dreaming about someone touching me in a way that was decidedly non-platonic; to be something desired and shamelessly lusted after. i’m glad for this period in some ways as i had a lot of time to figure out in my own body what i found pleasurable; how i liked to be touched and where. the flip-side of this being that due to the environment that i was discovering my sexual body in (a hyper-masculine, hetero-normative, sex negative diocesan high school) there was a deeply embedded stigma that got ingrained into my psycho-sexuality. seeking pleasure, specifically bodily pleasurable, was something that brought me a lot of guilt for a long time. i’m still learning how to seek pleasure with gentle conviction that is rooted in the belief that i’m deserving of being able to enjoy the marvelous machinery of my sexual body.
back to the end of 2015 and my adventures in hoe-ing. I got myself a profile on manhunt (a gay dating/hookup app), started trawling gay, hookup, internet chat rooms and web-camming with strangers who seemed to be looking for something similar to what I was looking for. sometimes that was exhibitionist companionship via webcam; someone to bear witness to me enjoying my body while I did the same of them. to commune in our shared desire to exhibit our bodies for the pleasure of another and, concurrently, our own pleasure as well. and sometimes it was the simple pleasure of having the weight of another male body on top of me: his cock making space for itself inside of me, his hands atop mine, his sweat pelting my body like rain and the undeniable corporeality of our bodies in ecstatic motion. however, these interactions weren’t always something out of a mills and boon novel.
i like to rape a black boycunt, i think interracial sex is so hot, i’m not racist, just a preference, can i call you my beautiful black boy… these were just some of the things that were said to me both in person and online/over social media. at this stage of my life dealing with racist macro and micro-aggressions is just another part of trying to survive white, capitalist patriarchy. the sexual realm is not exempt from this. the personal is political. i still haven’t reconciled having had men who saw me, on some level as ‘other’ and subhuman, inside of me and on top of me. there’s something deeply disconcerting about the image of a black man on his knees servicing a white man who doesn’t even recognize the fullness of his humanity. i think back on the night where i hooked up with this beautiful, white boy in his lush apartment in the cbd of cape town. we must have said less than four full sentences to one another through the whole interaction. he wouldn’t let my lips touch his but was happy to find another use for them. when i was on his bed with my legs spread-eagle and he was inside of me, i found myself both highly aroused and disgusted by how much i enjoyed letting him make use of my body; being submissive even to a potentially harming and dehumanizing extent. i’m not sure what that means.
i’m not sure whether years of being denied pleasure or the feeling of being legitimate and deserving of that pleasure has made that dynamic part of how i understand and desire sex. i don’t know if submission can ever be a non-political act, most especially in the context of two bodies that carry the weight of so much racialized histories. it’s messy. people are messy. for a long time i wanted to deny that messiness of myself and others but much of where we exist lies in that messiness. that friction. i believe that the thing, among many other things, that characterizes our humanity is our fallibility. there are things about us that are difficult to reconcile. but i’m no longer interested in guilt and shame. i don’t think anything useful or loving can grow from those spaces. right now i believe in love and sex and the inextricable weight of time and the undeniable fact of death. i’m not looking for perfect sex or perfect love or perfect people. i’m just looking to have an experience and to be able to say after the fact that i was there. that i was present. that i lived in my skin and was awake for the experience. and that i had a lot of good fucking sex while doing it.