But here I lie in the dark, worried this power might be ebbing from me. Oh fuck! I think, I’ve lost the golden goose, I’ve dropped the Holy Grail and it’s shattered all over the floor.
Monday comes and I’m thinking about this a lot. I’m pacing up and down and thinking about all the times I was not only a mediocre shag but a bad one. There was the time I stopped halfway through, the time I fell asleep with my ex-boyfriend, the time he just turned around and was like, “Sorry, this just isn’t working for me.” I decide to ask my husband, and he tells me that I’m the best sex he’s ever had. Whatever. He took vows.
I message someone I’m seeing: You’re brilliant, he replies: Sure. He has to say that. I go on to a dating app and message someone I slept with a week ago, and he replies, “Had a great time, we should do it again.” I don’t really want to, so I reply and say, “Sure! Would be lovely!” knowing I’ll forget his name in a few weeks.
How can I know if I’m good at something? Can I be good at something all the time? Can I be anything all the time? I have a friend who is a devout vegan, but every now and then, when she gets super drunk, she will eat a bucket of chicken wings. When I first found out, I was quick to judge, even though I’m a carnivore. And she said that it’s better to be a vegan 98% of the time, surely.
She’s right. One simply can’t be 100% anything at all times—there is no surefire way to get a five-star rating on my performance during sex, just like I can’t on Uber, it seems. And that’s because both sex and riding in Ubers involve another person with their own context, their own standards, their own history, and their own consciousness. That is why sex is so exciting—it’s a collaboration, an equation. Not just a reflection.
The bad sex in my life has been exactly the latter. It’s been about the sublimation of one ego over another or the struggle between whose ego gets to be sublimated. The bad sex has been had in ignorance of my own desires, where I seek to please or modify or mutate myself around somebody else. I’m sure people have had that experience with me too and left sex that I thought was good feeling like it was awful—telling their friends they had the worst shag with someone who thought they were a shagger.