I’m going to get back to posting more churchy stuff, but i figure i shouldn’t lose all y’all who don’t exactly do church. That’s quite alright by me…I have a long history of ignoring church for various period of time, for sundry reasons. So.

I don’t always post carnivalia, but this one is close to my heart. The 16th Carnival Against Sexual Violence is up at Marcela’s. It would be good to note that both the link, and the material that follows is possibly triggering. Do what you need to do.

Also, if you know me personally and don’t want to know about what I think about sex…do what you need to do.

I haven’t posted about this in a while. Part of this that much of what I know isn’t always mine to tell. I have posted stories here, and have taken what I believe to be appropriate literary license to obscure identities while preserving the story faithfully. But there is a limit to that. And because this blog is under a pen name, and not written anonymously…I must exhibit a preference for discretion. So this is a very different take on these issues.

Thus, what follows is a personal, yet abstract, missive on the nature of…

Cock.

But, wait! Sly, you said this was about sexual violence, not a paean to dick!

Both and, my friends, both and. This is a move to remythologize the phallus.

I first realized my sexual attraction towards men rather awkwardly. Daydreaming as I am wont to due, an internal voice posed the question bluntly as I was driving back up to school one day.

Wouldn’t you like some cock?

Well, now that you mention it, sure. And, thus, Sly became queer.* This is at least the official version of the story, and isn’t too distorted. I recall very little of this Road to the Bathhouse moment with precision, but i do have a strong sense of the suddenness with which these new feelings came upon me. A conversion, a call to the ministry, the liturgia, the work of queerdom…as the scales fell from my eyes.

Now, most of the time, it does seem like work. The thinking, the speechifying, the writing, the analysis, the protesting, the gut clenching fear that I still get every time i get ready to interrupt an expression of homophobia.

It is also very tightly bound with my sense of joy. Reading over at Queer Dewd’s place, I just kept smiling. I’d re-read articles, driving up her server traffic just to give myself an excuse to look at the hearer, just one more time. I’ll wait here while you go over and have a look. You may have to select the QueerDewd Theme if you usually read there under the SFW theme. The men, standing together in fantasized pants, restraining visible signs of arousal and energy. The lounging figure, smoking a cigarette, languishing in the view of me, us, the imagined reader. The near painful ecstasy of the figure bound up in the moment of climax. I mean, damn. I’m going to go ahead and fan myself. The joyously transgressive, over the top, sexualized to the point of ludic non-sense.

Which all leads to my actual experiences with Dick.

Worry not, dear reader…I will restrain myself from being too graphic, but some level of specificity will be necessary.

To reprise something that I said way back when in the BlowJob Wars before I realized that it was going to be what it was…there are ways of relating to male genitalia that don’t involve submission. Just like how we’ve seen how it is a failiable (yet durable) narrative and not objective fact that imagines that active sperm go to a passive egg, I beleive that it is possible to put out new imaginative conceptions (pardon the pun) of male sexual pleasure. Enveloping is different than penetrating, and as the guy furthest to the right on Queer Dewd’s header suggests…the submission, and joyous loss of power in pleasure… This is not to begin theorizing Male Pinky Sex, but to at least place some of these new images alongside the old ones. Ones that I hope are every bit as sexual and compelling as the old ones.

Sadly, I sometimes ended up relating to dick as an insistent or demanding thing, too focused on resolving the tension (i’m going to stop apologizing for puns here) rather than enjoying the particular moment of the intermediate state. If we are honest, the erection is not the natural state of the penis, nor is the male sex drive entirely unquenchable. The eternal actor of active desire is mythos. But we are deeply socialized in that myth, and much of my trouble came from a vague feeling of obligation that was never named explicitly. Without intention the part of my partners, I was imagining their pleasure as responsibility.

The Demanding Dick is part of rape culture. Some of the ways in which it gets expressed, assumed, and internalized are just negative. There is nothing intrinsically wrong with an active penis, one that is imaginatively assertive. But the Cock of Ages, the Phallus of All Consuming Desire… That has to go. The “natural” end of a erection is not climax provided by domination over a partner. The end of an erection is the negotiated result of the (combined) imagination and action of the person(s) involved in sexual action or play.

Going back to my campy pictures…one of the things that I identify with is how present the phallus is, but without specific implication. Part of the conceptual meaning of the bathhouse is the multiplicity of options. One of the ways that I read those images is to understand the voluntary nature of camp. You quite clearly don’t have to join in, as there is a safer cultural space right where you are standing. In the invitationally transgressive, the full participation and assent of the individuals involved is known by location. The come hither stare of the queer boy pin up asks you to fuck, but the objectified male is relatively safe in so far that he resides in a socially unrecognized space. You quite clearly don’t have to go there. But so far as desire will draw you into the liminal, the Campy Gay Man will welcome you. Young man, you can get yourself cleaned, you can have a good meal, you can do whatever you feel.

It’s fun to stay at the YMCA, after all.

I try to have some integrity (think philosophical unity, not moral valence here) about this, and carry this into my het relationships, where there is a different dynamic is that there is only one dick. This involves decentering cock as the primary sexual object/actor, and recapturing an element of surprise. I mean, after all, what could be a better surprise than unexpected pleasure? I don’t mean to suggest ohmyfrakinggodwhaaaat surprise, but the sort that comes from a person who does not have a sense of entitlement. For instance, what this does not mean in a queer setting is strict, or almost retributive, equality. What my male partners may enjoy receiving or doing, may not happen to be my cup of tea to receive or give. I’m pressing for dynamic models of sex, ones that allow for broad ranges of possibilities, actions, and most importantly….outcomes.

So, thus is the opening movements of a queer dude’s erotics, my efforts to understand and practice a fuller sense of consent. And dick.

Phallically yours,

-sly c

* I should note that I was not at least, in the full political sense, queer at this moment. My growing radicalization occurred later. I was embarrassingly supportive of mainstream GBLT advocacy, and unaware of the complexity of the political and social life of queerdom. Sorry, but such is the history of a callow youth.

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