It’s fine when you’re with him, when the fire moves along your skin and fills you from your hair to your toenails. When he surrounds you or you surround him, gentle and strong and it fills everything and all the wounded corners are soothed and covered and eased. It’s easy to be present and laughing and being, when he’s there.
But those nights are few and far between.
You do alright when his face and his cock are there on the screen, when you can imagine his hands ghosting over you, remember the feel of him, so gentle, moving in you.
He’s shy, though, of making too much noise, and that doesn’t happen nearly enough either.
You fight it a lot of the time. Go to sleep restless and wake up grinding and wash it away with icy needles in a hotel with an endless supply of hot water.
Sometimes the restlessness keeps you awake, and you need sleep more than you need air and your cock in your fist is like a rubber mallet to your head, and you try to focus on the light, try to keep his joy in view, but it’s not...
You hope you never have to tell him what is inside your head, that he will never know the places you go when he’s not there, not touching you.
Sometimes it’s what you remember. Sometimes it’s worse. Unfolding like a story in your head that you tell yourself, only you know it happened, you know it was, and maybe the only way to take back your power is to make the whole thing... yours. A tool.
You will never touch him that way.
You never want him to touch you that way.
But you remember.
Cock in hand or fingers in ass, you remember, thrusting blind.
You didn’t know if you wanted what he was offering, but his hands on your thighs tingled, and his laughter on your neck was everything, and he was sitting on you and he felt it. It wasn’t like you could control it, the body reacts the way the body reacts. But no one tells boys that it’s okay to not want. That it’s okay to think rather than blindly follow the pointer where it leads. Arousal equals desire. That’s what you were told.
And you knew that your body had never felt like that before, not ever, no matter how you explored yourself with fingers, with palm, with ... That was okay, it was fine, it was... good? This was something... else. So when he pulled and pushed and laughed and you ended up in the bedroom you shared like friends, like brothers, like something other than... no one had ever given you a context for what it was.
I mean, you knew, kind of, in the abstract, but in that moment, every word anyone has ever told you about sex simply does not include the idea that you might have a cock inside of you. That’s for girls, they said. You’ll meet a girl someday and fall in love. You’ll want to put your dick in her, because there’s a fundamental urge to procreate. Worry about pregnancy prevention. Worry about herpes. Use a condom, it helps with the diseases and might stop a pregnancy. Ten years earlier they might have told you about finger cots and dental dams and rubber gloves and filled you with horror at the notion, even in middle school, but the AIDS crisis lacked the teeth it once had, and so you’d known for a couple years that “gays” could get married, but other than a no-homo and laughing calls of “faggot” on the ice and in the playground, you had no context for what you felt in your room when he put his lips on your ear and laughed when you bucked against him.
You don’t remember talking about it. Lips on ears became lips on neck became arching your back because his mouth was on your nipples and you came in your pants from that and the heel of his hand shoved against your jeans while you couldn’t help but grind. You know now how to stop, but you didn’t then.
You maybe said “Quel...” and he said, “In English” and you couldn’t find the words when he pulled your pants down and his hand and mouth went everywhere.
And every nerve was on fire, past the point of reason or comfort. You whispered, “ Arrête,” and your hand was on his shoulder but you could barely breathe.
He did stop, then, for a moment, though he hadn’t understood your words over the roar of your body jerking against him. You breathed together, ragged, while his cock ground at your hip. You curled on your side on the bed you’d had for years, and he slid in behind you, wrapping himself around you, grinding against you, his cock slipping against your ass as he thrust, and thrust, first on your skin, and then in your crack and then you both froze as the head stopped...there, and he started to press.
You know now, but you didn’t then, that this was the worst way to do this. Going to college was a revelation in so many ways, perhaps most significantly in the unofficial student handbook distributed to every student, which told blunt truths about sex and drugs and rock and roll in 12 point comic sans with helpful line art cartoons. Lube Man and Banana Clippy are campus legends, right alongside Assman and Madame Vulva and the all latex Safety Squad. And if you’d had that at 14 you probably would had a much better time at 16 with him pressing into you. If you’d had ‘The Consent Lecture’ you’d not have done it at all. Maybe. At least you would have known you had a choice?
Use lube. Use a lot of lube. Look, get a bunch of towels and put one down on the bed and another on top of it and then have an extra two nearby, and some baby wipes, so you won’t be afraid of using too much lube. Be prepared to add extra lube in the middle, especially if you’re using a condom. Use comic amounts of lube. The frats buy the 55 gallon drums for a reason.
Condoms are a good idea (and by that we mean put a fucking hat on it every time unless you want to die) in the following circumstances:
Condoms and barriers are not perfect. They’re so-so at pregnancy prevention unless you use another method as well, and then they’re still not perfect. They are no substitute for knowing your partner. They cannot prevent all STDS, they just reduce your chances greatly compared to not using them.
When can you get away with not using a condom?
If neither of you has ever had sexual contact (including rape, molestation and anything that involved swapping various bodily fluids) and pregnancy is not a risk (if there’s a penis and semen, and a vagina, uterus and ovaries, pregnancy is a risk)
See chapter 4 for pregnancy prevention tips (hint: Withdrawal doesn’t count unless you do it right. Novices rarely do it right, and the calendar method is wrong.)
If you have been tested for STDs 6 weeks to 3 months after your last partner and are monogamous and come up “clean”, you’re probably not going to swap anything too unpleasant.
Caveat: People lie. If you don’t use a condom, there’s a risk.
Yeah, so you didn’t get that until you were 21. Fortunately you didn’t catch anything, he was probably... you don’t know. You were his first, sort of. He didn’t want to talk about it but he cried about it once.
You froze when he started to press into you, dry, without a condom, so, so slowly. You weren’t prepared, in any sense of the word.
The person with the asshole should poop first and clean well. Just trust us on that one. Also, they will be more comfortable if they bear down a little. This tells the asshole to open up. Life’s ultimate irony, trying to push it out helps it push in. Use words. Use lots of words. Like, “Yes.” And “No.” And “Stop.” And “I like that.” As needed. If someone needs to stop, stop. Anal isn’t for everyone. Done wrong, it can cause damage, including anal fissures and hemorrhoids.
LUBE. No, we mean it. Uncap the lube or better yet, get a pump jar ready and then put a glove on. You can use a finger cot, but a glove gives better coverage. A condom over your fingers works too. Don’t have long fingernails, it’s not polite. Anyway. Glove on. Lube on glove. Lube on asshole. Go slow. Be gentle. One finger. Stop. Move it slowly. Ease the muscle open. Gentle. Wait. Listen. If it hurts, stop. If it still hurts, pull your finger out. Don’t go to two unless one feels good. Don’t go to three unless two feels good.
Cock or toy only goes in once the circumference of the fingers exceeds the circumference of the cock or toy. There are toys designed to help “adjust”. They’re a good idea, but slow and careful are still key. And lube.
You weren’t sure at first that this was even possible. I mean, you knew you could get a finger or two in there. And you kind of knew in the abstract that it was a thing. But when he pushed against your asshole with his cock, you felt him push steadily against you and it felt like a wall. Like nothing was getting in. Like he would simply poke against you and you might never open. Then he reached down, and put a thumb on his dick, and pressed, and you felt your asshole suddenly give way and wrap tightly around the head of his cock.
Your body clenched, and he gasped, and you made a noise, and he said, “Relax,” and the word wasn’t even on the same planet as your body’s level of tension. He kept pushing, but you didn’t think he’d be able to get any further in at all, with how your body was fighting him. It started to burn as the wider shaft stretched you, but he was just pushing, so slowly, and your body was fighting so hard and you had no words for him at all.
“Push me out,” he said, like it would make it stop, and you thought it was an out, and you bore down and he was suddenly deeper and you were on fire. He didn’t understand “ Arrête,” when you said it under your breath over and over, unable to catch your breath to say it louder, but he understood when your hand flew back to grab his hip and still him. You don’t remember making your hand do that, it just did, like your body was taking over where your mind had stopped completely.
He waited until the spasming around him stopped, until your hand started to relax, and then pushed slowly and inexorably in. Your breath came in hard gasps, and your hand slapped back again against his hip, and he waited, but not really long enough.
He murmured in your ear when his balls hit your ass, and it was something about how tight you were and how good you felt and you’re pretty sure now most of what he said he’d heard in porn videos, because then he started saying, “I’m going to fuck you,” and started moving.
It didn’t feel like he could move, at first, with friction holding him in place, but he rocked back and forth and barely moved and then he moved a little more and with every jut of his hips he moved farther until he was sliding.
It felt like you were going to split apart.
And then his arm wrapped around you and his hand found your half-hard cock, still sensitive and slick, and something changed. College teammates explained once with powerpoint presentations how pain could turn into pleasure due to oxytocin and endorphins, and you know know that those alone are why the searing turned into burning which turned into tingling.
At the time, all you really knew was that one minute it hurt and the next minute your world changed and a minute after that you had an orgasm stronger than any other sensation you’d ever had in your life as he buried himself deep, lost his rhythm, and came hot and finally slick in your ass.
Your body went through it all, and your mind felt frozen the whole time, and you stayed that way, limp and spent and he didn’t pull out and you didn’t make him and you wondered for a long time why you didn’t.
You guess now that he didn’t know he should. That he didn’t know a lot of things. Or maybe it was your hand still on his hip, not holding him still, just there, that maybe it said to him “stay” but really it was just there.
But he was 16 and you were 16 and somehow you fell asleep like that for a little bit and woke with him sliding and your ass burning and you finally were able to say something in English, but all that came out was, “Please,” and he moved faster and you found the word stop just as he came again. And you didn’t, because it hurt too much by then. Finally you could pull away, Could talk. Didn’t know what to say. Shut yourself in the bathroom with the shower running and running while you shook.
When you remember it, every detail, sharp like knives, you usually come right around the time he did. You have never surrendered to anything as completely as you surrendered to that, and you try not to think about how fucked up it is that the memory of being hurt and not stopping it churns deeper and makes you come harder than all the memories of kindness you’ve been shown since. A shrink explained it once, that reframing trauma can take power back from a powerless situation, that getting pleasure out of trauma can make the trauma less present, but when you relive it, you are there, and it is all too present, only now you really did go there on purpose, and it doesn’t feel healthy but you need the fucking sleep.
You don’t blame him.
But you never loved him. You thought you did. You thought the burn and heat and orgasms were that. You thought you must have wanted it. You might have, given the chance to say. If anyone had ever taught him to ask. To take no for an answer. To require yes before proceeding.
Sometimes your remember that first time. Sometimes you remember the times after, less pain, but he never asked before he fucked you, not once. You never told him no. You never told him yes, either. He expected it, and you were used to trying to live up to expectations.
He asked you once, to fuck him. It was the one time he did ask, and the one time you said no. When he asked why, you said you didn’t want to hurt him. You don’t think he ever made the connection.
You don’t wish you were with him. What lives in your head will always live in your head. You use the memories like a sleeping pill, and feel about the same level of annoyance at the necessity, but at least it won’t kill you the way the pills almost did. You needed to sleep then, too.
And the only time it really goes away is when your love touches your skin, and asks how you are, asks if you want, waits for a yes and takes no for an answer. Someday that might even be enough.
The Consent Lecture
This guide used to say “no means no,” but that's not enough.
Better: “Yes means yes.”
If you and your potential partner are not capable of using some sort of language together to communicate about sex enough to ask a question and get an answer, the answer is “No.” “Too shy” is not consent.
If someone is too drunk or otherwise intoxicated to talk coherently or drive safely, they’re too drunk to consent.
Someone who is asleep cannot consent to sex. Even if they say yes in their sleep.
If someone seems uncertain, the answer is no.
If someone is under the legal age of consent, even if they say yes, you may be guilty of rape if you have sex with them. In some states, if your age is close to theirs, this might not be true, but in other states the older party is still considered guilty of statutory rape, even if they are close in age. This is true even if the younger person is male and the older is female. The size of the age gap matters and is different from state to state. Statutory rape is rape can get you on the sex registry for life. Don’t do it.
Do not pressure people into sex. Consent obtained after hours of nagging is dubious consent. You may be legally protected but you still might be part of someone’s very bad day. Don’t be someone else’s trauma.
Coercion is not consent. Consent obtained by threat is not consent.
Consent can be as simple as “Hey, wanna fuck?” “Sure.”
Having sex with someone without their enthusiastic consent is bad. Having sex with someone when they haven’t had a chance to consent, or they’ve said no, or even after they’ve said yes but then asked you to stop... is rape. Don’t do it. Don’t be someone else’s trauma. Rape can derail someone from their education, from their job, from their ability to sustain happy relationships, for years. Your orgasm is not worth that. A rape conviction can also fuck up the rest of your entire life.
Clothing is not consent. They are not asking for it, not even if they are walking around naked, unless they are walking around naked saying, “Please fuck me” in so many words. A sign taped to their back doesn’t count.
Being drunk or on drugs is not consent. If someone has been rendered unconscious they need medical attention, not dick.
An erection or hard nipples or dilated eyes are not consent. They are signs of arousal, but arousal is not consent. Consent is words. Words like “Fuck me” or “Please put your penis in me now.” Bodies respond to a lot of stimulus, but people are more than their bodies. Consent comes from the brain.
Consent to one kind of sexual behavior is not consent to all kinds of sexual behavior. Ask. If you are fucking someone in the vagina with their consent and you want anal, you need to ask and get an answer and respect that answer before you move to their ass.
If someone seems to be “playing hard to get,” that means that they do not consent and should, in fact, be considered impossible to get until they show some sign of interest. It does not mean try harder. If someone says, “Stop talking to me,” or “Stop asking,” or “No, I don’t want to go out with you,” or “Don’t come over here again,” then continuing to do those things beyond that point is harassment. It can get you into legal trouble, no matter how cute media makes it look. In the real world, “I don’t want to go out with you,” means, “I don’t want to go out with you.”
It is okay to say no. It is okay to not want sex. It is okay to say yes and then change your mind and not want it anymore, even after you’ve already started. It is okay to set boundaries. No one owes anyone else sex.
Remember too the difference between fantasy and reality. Many people fantasize about things that they would never really want to have happen. Some people want to role play situations that would suck if they happened spontaneously, but those role plays are negotiated in advance with exquisite attention to consent. Read about BDSM and kink negotiation before you go there. Just because someone reads trashy romance novels with bodice ripping doesn’t mean they want someone to randomly pull their clothes apart. In the real world, we use words and get consent.
Yes means yes. Maybe means not right now. Stop means stop. No means no. Ask me later means ask me later. Words have meanings for a reason. They’ve very convenient that way. Use them.