i am thirteen and i look at pornography and i think, is that it? is that the grand event, the grand design spoken of in furtive whispers and secret asides, as if it’s some majestic cathedral of sweat-slick intimacy with a choir of grunts and moans and slap-smacked limbs, every orgasm a hallelujah on high? it’s just sex. it’s not a horror film about to eat your face with loving careful bites.
but then i am nineteen and it’s like the whole world worships in this heaving church and i am a tourist, each tower and crypt wondrous to behold—but i’ll rather not join in, will rather stay at the well-worn steps and stare into the sky but i will not join in.
at sixteen, i am terrified that everyone else has joined in and i am put together wrong, i am missing something, i am broken in unrecognizable ways, i am like the pandas too lazy to fuck for their own survival, i am evolutionarily backwards and, with the conceit of teenager, i pronounce the whole world doomed to extinction.
i am twenty and i think, goddamn it, sex is so fascinating, like a rube goldberg machine of staggering complexity with a million different things that can go wrong at any moment, a misfire, a missed opportunity, the wrong thing at the wrong time, the right thing at the wrong time and the wrong thing at the right time and it’s mind-boggling how it drives people into the irrationality and seeming randomness of time-worn grooves of cultures and traditions and incandescent inventiveness and mechanical ingenuity.
i want to place sex under a microscope, endless clanging rounds inside the mri, bombard it with x-rays and watch the silhouettes form under the film, let it race through a particle collider and smash it into fragments and examine each fragment to find out how it ticks and why, why, why—sex is so strange and lovely and i want people to treasure it and bask in it and to find their every moment of bliss in every smear of fluid and press of skin and weight of expectancy.
i am twenty and the sexual practices of all living things are amazing and sometimes i think, hey, maybe i should give this sex lark a go but—
(when i am ten, a book promises to tell me everything i need to know about sex and it is my favorite book in the world until i borrow a first-aid manual and suddenly all i want is the different ways to extract poison from wounds)
—then it’s so absurd, this contorted pleasure-seeking, an uncontrollable base reaction to base blood-pooling and neuron-sparking, that i smile and wish the sexuals to carry on, keep wild and carry on; i’ll be here for your kiss and your shoulder and the trembling moments of realization but your orgasm is on your own hand, in your own provocation; my itinerant hand stilling on your cheekbone, no more further south than the dampness of your exhaling curling breath. ☁