We’re in bed, getting down to it, and usually my one-track mind is laser-focused on what it will feel like when he slides his dick inside me. At the moment when I realise that’s not going to happen – he’s slowly softening and the look on his face switches from horn to confusion or embarrassment – I remind myself how lucky I am that I don’t ever have to worry about erections myself. Twenty years ago, if a guy went soft on me, my main feeling would be heartbreak: he doesn’t fancy me enough. I’m ugly. Unsexy. Incapable of teasing a boner from him. Ten years ago, I’d be annoyed: did he have a wank before we met up? Has he had too much to drink? These days, frustration and sadness have (thankfully) made way for a different feeling: relief that the pressure isn’t on me.
There have been times in my life when my cunt hasn’t worked in the way I’d like it to – it doesn’t get wet. There are two key reasons why this happens, as far as I can tell: the first is that I’m an anxious, panicky mess sometimes, and when my mental health is broken, my cunt decides to join it in solidarity. The other reason is more emotional: often I get used to one particular person, and the novelty of a new guy startles my cunt into disobedience. My brain is horny for someone, but my body isn’t there yet, because it’s too used to the previous person and can’t get into this unfamiliar new pairing.
Luckily for me, lube exists. More honestly for me, I can always use spit to encourage things onwards.
I know, it’s not ideal. I remember back in ye olden days before I met my ex, there were quite a few casual shags which started with me popping to the bathroom to moisten myself a bit before we got down to the fucking, because although my brain was well up for a shag, I could guarantee my body wouldn’t be able to get into it until at least partway through penetration. So: spit, rub, pull knickers up, wash hands, exit bathroom. Voila! I’d be ready to play. Lucky me. Seriously: fucking lucky me.
Worrying about erections
Recently, Mx Nillin wrote a fabulous piece about erection difficulties, giving advice on how to help reduce the pressure on yourself if you struggle to get hard, and then an incredible follow-up about toxic masculinity. The ways in which ‘get hard, stay hard, fuck hard, cum hard’ has been so woven into our sexual discourse that it’s hard for penis-owners to consider they’re having good sex unless they fulfil all those criteria. Mx Nillin is non-binary, and their perspective on these expectations is really interesting: even for someone who isn’t a man, the sexual expectations that are usually pegged to ‘manliness’ in bed still linger and cause harm:
“it’s weird to me that the same cis male fragility socialized into me as a kid & teen persists in this odd, ephemeral form for me today. As much as I wish I could just completely shake it, I can’t. The conditioning really is that pervasive.”
It’s interesting – and heartbreaking – to hear just how deep-rooted some of these ideas are. That even for people who aren’t men, if you have a dick you must ‘get hard, stay hard, fuck hard, cum hard’ if you want to have good sex. It’s really shit. And if I’m honest it’s one of the trickiest things for me – a cis woman who likes getting fucked really hard – to talk about. I am a massive hypocrite, because much of what I write here plays very strongly into that narrative. I fetishise hard dick, and buckets of cum, and brutal penetrative fucking, and although I try to write about the other stuff I love too, I can’t really deny that a lot of my erotic writing (erotic fiction as well as the true sex stories) fits this exact narrative.
I am not sure what I should do. I know exactly what I shouldn’t do, though.
My old trash opinions
A long time ago, when I was a baby blogger, I was so keen to Have Loud Opinions that I didn’t always think through those opinions very well before I wrote them down. I don’t think I examined a lot of my beliefs and expectations through the lens of cultural expectation, and how that has simultaneously shaped my desires and also harmed the people I’m lusting after. I fetishise hard dick partly because I’ve been told that tangible physical response is a measure of my own desirability: someone’s lust for me can be measured directly by how hard their cock is, how desperate they are to put it in me, and how swiftly they spunk once we get down to serious fucking.
Because of that, my sexual drive was very focused on hard dick. If you want to see just how focused, here’s the trash post I wrote about erection difficulties back in 2011.
Awful, isn’t it? I almost didn’t mention it in this post, because it makes me cringe so hard. But I think sometimes it’s important to acknowledge the trash people we used to be, to show that growth is possible. Specifically, it’s important to me to tell you all that I am frequently wrong, and often need a clip round the fucking ear to knock me off my ill-advised soapbox.
Worry about erections: then and now
I can’t remember feeling the way I clearly felt when I wrote that post. That person is almost a stranger. Reading the words I put on the page, it seems like I felt as if erections were not only vital for fucking, they were also something I was literally entitled to. Like, I’m here ready to fuck you, your side of the bargain is that you have to get your cock hard. It’s part of the deal. Eugh.
Since I wrote that post, a lot of stuff has happened. Not just reading more from people who have been on the crap end of this expectation, but actually having sex with more people who have struggled to get hard. Whether through drugs, drink, stress, mood, illness, or just some random thing that popped into their head and killed their boner, I have had many more fucks with people who couldn’t get erections, and fucks which were not centred around someone with a dick getting hard. And you know what? It’s still been fucking great. Whether it’s getting fucked with dildos on sticks, being filthily used by sex machines, or even having men use my own strap-on to fuck me. I’ve even had guys who have actively played on the ‘erection difficulties’ thing to make a really dirty mood: telling me if I can’t get them rock-solid with my mouth in the next five minutes they’re gonna beat me so hard.
I’ve also experienced more cuntfails in the intervening time, and so developed a better understanding of just how lucky I am that if my cunt won’t do what I want I have far easier solutions. Conclusion? I am not disappointed or frustrated or angry or heartbroken if someone can’t get hard, I’m just relieved I don’t have to worry about erections myself.
I feel sorry for my past self, who felt unattractive or let down just because sometimes the person she was with couldn’t get hard. But far far more than that, I feel for dick-owners. Thanks to societal expectations about what counts as a ‘fuck’, and the thoughtless ramblings of arseholes like my past self, we’ve woven a really horrible trap that makes sex far less sexy. I’m really sorry about that.
I don’t think there’s an instant solution to the toxic beliefs we hold/nurture/reinforce around erections. But I think it’s important to reflect on ways in which we contribute to and shape this discussion, and change the way we think and talk about it when we recognise where we’re going wrong. This kind of conditioning is fucking horrible, and it lingers even when rationally we know that it’s based on absolute bullshit. But as Mx Nillin says in their excellent piece:
“It fucking sucks! But maybe, just maybe, with each passing generation we can weed it the fuck out.”