Queerness, Pornography, Virginity

It’s a paradox, thinking that because I’m aware porn isn’t realistic, my experience of it isn’t real either.

I never quite know what to say when the cam guy asks the audience, “how are you?” Do we have a little chat, like friends over coffee? Do we pretend we aren’t on a website where models are presented like food at a buffet, with a menu consisting of “masturbation” and “2 fingers in ass” and “music request?”

When you have enough of these humdrum conversations with people who are flashing their entire buttholes on  screen, it becomes easy to forget what is happening. There is a degree of mundanity on camsites during  the downtime when the sex worker is not being sexual but still working. I’ll watch the cams and message in the background of studying, or while I’m playing video games. I’ll even go to open the website on the train before remembering where I am.

Because of this, I find myself stumbling over a more pertinent question: how does one bridge the dissonance of messaging sex workers in your family living room, and being a virgin in every sense of the word?

I have never held hands with a man, let alone considered having the sex™ with one. It’s not for a lack of desire. In high school, much like my siblings, I wasn’t allowed to date so I could focus on my studies. I had very little social life regardless, and I was essentially the only out queer person at my school for at least four years.

My coming out story is relatively innocuous. I was in my first year of high school, found myself endlessly fascinated with a certain senior soccer player, and after a string of late nights in which I scoured Facebook, old yearbooks, and my high school social pages for any glimpse of this mysterious man, I realised this interest was much more than “he seems cool.”

But there’s this little niggle of a memory which complicates that story.

I was home alone in year five or six, and because I don’t have my own phone, I grabbed my dad’s iPad and googled “naked man.” The first picture was of a tall, thin, young guy leaning on a bike in a field. He was facing the camera, very flaccid. Considering the internet, it was quite an artsy photo. I stared, entranced, then quickly put the iPad away.

I can’t place the memory — it almost exists in a void. I thought my first brushes with queerness and porn were at the end of year seven, yet there’s this memory of me in primary school starting to explore both. What happened in between? Did I just… not look at porn? Did I not consider my queerness? Did I repress these memories because the transition from primary to high school hit me like a tonne of bricks and I had other things to worry about? Or has my life become so intertwined with my experiences of pornography that these once distinct memories of a naïve kid watching naked people for the first time blurred with every other time I’ve seen it?

There’s a double-edged sword here — porn was a very direct way for me to realise “oh yeah, I am definitely attracted to men.” Queerness has been historically marginalised to adult communities, so pornography is a vital and fruitful resource for queer representation. Yet, it’s undeniable that being exposed to such heavy adult content fucked me up a little.

It’s not just a question of healthy sexual development. I’ve been a fierce feminist since I understood what that meant and could grapple with the complex ethics of both making and consuming pornography. I knew porn wasn’t realistic. There’s just something fundamentally sad about a child only seeing themself represented in porn. I wasn’t seeing queer people on my television. I didn’t have many queer people I knew in real life. There weren’t a lot of queer role models around me, let alone depictions of queer intimacy that was healthy and not hypersexualised.

There must be a route towards queerness which doesn’t inherently involve pornography.

At this point, my queerness was bound up in my access to porn, and I can’t find the point of delineation anymore. But it’s a paradox, thinking that because I’m aware porn isn’t realistic, my experience of it isn’t real either.

I’m inherently watching the bodies of those I’m attracted to, but also my own body on screen. I am subject and object. I’ve learned to see the beauty in bodies which exist outside of the white-cis-masculine-muscular-able-bodied norm which is instilled in all of us, especially in young queer men, but I haven’t been able to extend that grace to myself. I’m not masculine, I’m not muscular, I’m not a twink or a hunk or a twunk, I’m a blob. I know that life isn’t linear, but I feel so behind the rest of my peers because I’m a virgin and so woefully unfuckable (and therefore unlovable).

So what do I do now? I try to construct my queerness outside of porn and my virginity. My queerness is more than my attraction: it is a holistic embodiment of my life experiences, of the way I view the world, and the way the world sees me. I try to look for more diverse porn. I take a step back and I think “am I doing this out of pleasure, or out of habit?” Consciously, I make the effort to love me. I look at my little body in a little mirror and say in a little voice “I am enough,” and slowly it worms its way into my subconscious. Some days are easier than others.

One day, someone will see me in that deep, romantic, sexual way that no one else does. I am so loved by my family and friends, and I’m still young. I can build my life around everything except romance, until it comes knocking at my door. I can treasure all the love I have around me and know that eventually I will be able to experience the things I so deeply wish for. I’m a romantic at heart — I want to be swept off my feet, I want to have my firsts with someone who I know cares for me, and after asking out a few people and being rejected, it’d be nice if someone propositioned me. Saw me. Loved me.

If you think you know who I am, ask for a “music request”. But just remember there’s a reason I’m remaining anonymous.