I wanted to be like women in porn

Sex on Tuesday

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When I was younger, I would push my toothbrush back behind my molars every night. It started when I watched porn for the first time. After I saw a woman make an 8-inch dick disappear like a magic trick and heard the guy moan, I thought, “OK, I can do that.” I practiced because I thought that was the standard, that it was normal. Like I was behind in preparing for a math test everyone else had already taken.

I got pretty good at it, too. With my toothbrush, I mean.

I had no male prospects in sight, no one in particular I was trying to please. I just wanted to be able to do it. I really wanted to be able to do it. 

By the time I finally got my first boyfriend, I was a little out of practice. I hadn’t really been thinking about it. I’d been worrying about getting my driver’s license and taking the ACT. I’d been brushing my teeth as quickly as I could because I was so tired that I just wanted to go to bed. 

It didn’t go well my first time. It never does, does it? He was bigger than my toothbrush and much less minty. But more than that, I was bored. It took too long and my jaw got tired. I found myself singing along in my head to the music playing from my phone. It wasn’t horrible, but I was glad when it was over. 

I felt like something was wrong with me. The women in porn were always so enthusiastic. They looked up at the man they kneeled in front of like he was a priest about to place sacramental bread on their tongue. But for me, the floor hurt my knees. 

And yet, I still wanted to get better at giving head. Actually, I wanted to be the best at giving head. I wanted him to go out with his friends that night and rave about my technique. I wanted his friends to drop to their knees and beg God to send them someone like me. I wanted him to be a beacon of jealousy and hold a world of pleasure at the tip of something other than his fingers.

And yet, at the same time, I didn’t want him to tell anyone that it even happened. I wanted to remain pure and lovely, but experienced. I wanted to have the greatest head game ever seen, but I also wanted to have never given head at all. I wanted to fill all the expectations men had for me, however unfulfillable they were. 

The women in porn met those expectations. They were always pure like schoolgirls or nurses who healed the sick until a teacher or a doctor would come in and they’d suddenly be dirty and flexible. The six or seven minutes it lasted always seemed to be pure ecstasy. 

I never really thought about my own needs — why would I? A woman’s pleasure always seemed to be the secondary character in the porn I’d watched. If not that, then it was something so easily attained that no real effort needed to be allocated toward it. One flick and she’d moan, another thrust and she’d cum. 

It was another shoe I couldn’t fill.

My first boyfriend was attentive, which is more than I can say for most. He reciprocated and at least had the intention of finishing the job, but I always felt like I was taking too much time. I thought about how bored I would get when going down on him and cringed when I thought about him feeling the same way. 

I’d practiced with my toothbrush for some time, but like most young women, I’d practiced putting others’ needs in front of my own for my whole life. It didn’t feel sexy; it felt impolite. I was being a burden. I should just fake it and move on.

I wish I had known that the reason women in porn can cum so fast is that they never cum at all. I like to think knowing that would’ve helped my younger self, but maybe it wouldn’t have. A woman’s worth is all too often based on her ability to be a good mother, a good partner — it’s based on our ability to put others’ needs over our own. That’s not something you just shake. 

I still haven’t. I like to think that I have, but I haven’t. I may have overcome it in regards to sex, but I still worry that I’m talking too much in a group or not smiling enough in an interview. I worry that I’m in someone’s way, even if I’m just standing still. I worry that I’m laughing too loud with my friends or asking too many questions during discussion. In so many small ways, women think of themselves as a burden to the world, even if we don’t notice it. 

I really did want to be like the women in porn. They weren’t a burden — they were everything they needed to be. I worked so hard to please men that I’d almost gag just trying to practice. Now, I gag more at the thought of pleasing them at all.

Helen D’Orazio writes the Tuesday column on sex. Contact her at [email protected]