I look at my body in the mirror and I think that I like it. I’m also a white twink who mostly accords to the beauty standards of our age. I think that maybe my love for my body is a coincidence. That I was born into a world that has stratified the beauty of a body in ways such as race, weight, and height, and that I, through very little effort of my own, embody these present values. When someone compliments my body, to whom do they owe the pleasure of its visage? That my body is “better” than another is only the articulation of our current society, I can take no provenance, and I can only glimmer like a fake-diamond.
I do not believe in the argument of sex as a simple biological urge. That as one of the four F’s of survival, sex holds this perception as an eternal truth, unimpacted by social-perspectives, that we fuck whoever is “evolutionarily-appealing”. Perhaps this thought-process has had some sway with the sex-positive movement as a necessary shift from puritanical attitudes towards sex. But the sexual connotations of my body, the body, are not some antediluvian figure, but more akin to a fast-food burger. There is no unmodulated desire. Our diets have become heavily reliant on, and overtly impacted by, what is advertised to us — how can the same not be true of sex and ourselves? We take it for certain that our carnal appetites are our own, that the features we crave are static, that we have a single “type”, immutable and unreflective of ourselves. That although our dietary appetites can be swayed by an ad on the back of a bus, our sexual appetites somehow remain infallible.
I remember an ex who, though only a few years older, would comment on our age-gap (as did I). Did my body reprieve him from fears of age and undesirability? Did he wear my youth as a perfume? The presence of his attraction to me, influenced in part by his insecurity of ageing, indicates the changing nature of our own affections, that what we want reflects what we don’t have.
And so what do I like about sex? About myself? What pleasure is exchanged as I hold him in my palm like a gun? I hand over my pound of flesh and receive my glamour. Glamour, which to John Berger is the act of being envied, sustains me. And we switch places and he presents his pound of flesh and I glamour him. To me his name is his name, I don’t know anything else really. Maybe his job, what his bedroom looks like, his friend’s names if he’s mentioned them, sometimes more if it’s been a date or two, sometimes there is no date. And I watch him, his strong aquiline nose shivering against me, and I wish that it were my nose, that I had his shoulders. Maybe he rears up for a second, places his hand on my belly, and wishes it were his. It’s almost as though by having sex we’re grafting each other’s features onto each other. It never lasts. Soon we’ll separate, I’ll go to the mirror, and my shoulders are exactly as they were.
After a while of this I wonder if I’m only one of those “piece[s] of meat… swinging from stinking hooks” from David Wojnarowicz’s From the Diaries of a Wolf Boy, and this guy’s just staring at me spin in his sex-starved eyes.
And so when I’ve got him, and he’s got me, and we’re holding each other like knives, I never think about it in the moment but really we’re splitting each other and ourselves apart. I’m cleaving wholeness from myself, I’m giving my body to be received, and acceptance feels good.
I give, he gives, and neither of us say anything about it. All that we can have is that feeling, that moment of connection Aldous Huxley describes as lovers who “try to fuse their insulated ecstasies into a single self-transcendence; in vain… Sensations, feelings, insights, fancies – all these are private and, except through symbols and at second hand, incommunicable.’’ My body is not mine, your body is not yours, we are just vehicles of meaning, the message of our nakedness quivers beyond our outline like flies on a carcass, trembling like the finger about to pull the trigger. I can only meet you in whatever lack has brought us together.
And when we meet it’s what R. D. Laing says “Experience is invisible to the other.” I wonder what you’re looking at when we become rolling heat, your eyes closing, drifting between seeing and feeling as I move up and down. “I cannot experience your experience. You cannot experience my experience. We are both invisible men.” So instead I experience you experiencing me, you experience me experiencing you, eternally, and then I wrap myself around you, close my eyes, and everything goes black.