<This post originally appeared on Thought Catalog>
“Tell me how you want to fuck and I’ll tell you who you are.”
There’s a belief that, in order to be our true selves, we have to be exactly that person at every level. Consistency above all else must be maintained, lest we prove ourselves to be hypocrites – and surely there is nothing more despicable than to be a hypocrite, no? It’s a mortal sin. It calls everything about you into question – how can we trust anything you have to say when you’ve shown that you can’t be true to yourself?
And in the minds of many, there is no place where we are more honest, the most truly ourselves than when we have our hands down our pants.
It’s the fervent belief that who we are, deep down inside, is most accurately reflected by our libidos. Not in how we fuck or who but in the way we want to. We have a curious and – in many ways, antagonistic – relationship with our sexual desires. Sex, in many ways, defines who we are. Sex is communion. Sex is intimacy. Orgasm is le petite mort, the no-mind state in which our conscious shuts down and our inner self is open, revealed to the world. And so it makes sense – in its way – to believe that our deepest, secret selves are revealed by what goes on between our ears when it’s just us and our genitals, where nobody else can see.
There is always this desire to make sweeping judgements about people based on what they masturbate to. When 50 Shades of Grey became a runaway best-seller, suddenly there was thought-piece after thought-piece about “what it means about women”1 Oh sure, women may say they want equality and “nice guys”, but when so many women are getting the screaming thigh-sweats over Christian Grey, clearly it means that they just want alpha males to dominate them – am I right bro? Right? Damn straight I am. Bro-fist.
Similarly, people are very quick to demonize men on the type of porn they watch. Do they watch bondage porn? They have issues with women. Transexual porn? They’re probably gay and in denial. Do they watch cartoon porn? They’re freaks (or worse if it’s furry porn). Are they watching women getting “raped” or “degraded”? They’re would-be sex-criminals themselves.
In phantasiae, veritas.
But is it true?
I can’t keep track of the number of people who tie themselves in knots over how their sexual desires don’t directly line up with who they are in their day to day lives. They are literally terrified about what it means that they get off on these taboo fantasies – things they would never dream of doing in the real world, yet gets their dicks hard and their vajeens wet. And if they indulge in these fantasies – bringing them from the privacy of mental space into meat space – does it mean that their non-sexual life is a lie?
When the staunch radical feminist is constantly aroused by the fantasy of being taken – not seduced, but overpowered – by a brutish, powerful man, is this her subconscious telling her where her true feelings lie? Is it an indication of what women really want? Or for that matter, what does it say about the mild-mannered, respectful man who believes whole-heartedly in enthusiastic consent when his ultimate desire is to throw a woman against the wall and have his way with her? Or when his fantasies always seem to revolve around blackmailing or coercing an underling – his secretary, his maid, a student – into having sex with him? Are these the manifestations of an unconscious anger against women? The subconscious acknowledgement that all men want to dominate and control women? Does the woman who gets off to watching simulated date rape have a mental illness that needs to be treated? Is the man who watches Belle Knox choking during fellatio to the point of tears on FacialAbuse.com waiting for his opportunity to use and abuse an unsuspecting co-ed?
And what if those fantasies get even darker? Age play, extreme dominance and humiliation like pony-play, torture or even eroticized cannibalism? What do these sexual desires say about someone? Are you simply lying to yourself about who you really are? What does it say when our sexual desires are so different that they disturb or scare us?
- Especially when the real question is “why do so many people seem to be responding to objectively shitty writing?” [↩]