Personal Essays

Something to Cry About

The first time I cried during orgasm was with a casual fling I had in the wake of a horrible breakup from a super toxic relationship. In hindsight, maybe I shouldn’t have been having sex with anyone, but I was desperate to hold on to any sort of normalcy, even if it meant acting like the breakup was something I could just easily get over by fucking a casual acquaintance. The rush of the emotion when I came was overwhelming and I couldn’t stop the tears. I was incredibly embarrassed and tried to hide the reaction by squeezing my eyes shut and burying my face in a pillow, attempting to make noises to distract from the crying.

This incident was followed by a 4 month long fallow period where I did not have sex or masturbate at all. This was out of character for me since I had been masturbating for as long as I can remember. Even if it was just a short little wank before bed, in my 33 years I had never gone for so long a period without pleasuring myself. In reality, my sexual shift was more gradual than I experienced it to be– but since I had spent the last 6 months of my last relationship completely dissociating from my body due to combined pressures of body-shaming and kink-shaming from my partner in addition to a very scary healthcare crisis centered around my reproductive organs, I didn’t have a good grasp on what was actually going on for me emotionally. When I orgasmed during the casual encounter that night, with someone who I had no vested interest in trying to care-take in the moment, I suddenly had my emotional life and physical body slam together in a re-connecting moment. I hated it.

When I decided I was ready to practice being sexual again, I set aside 2 afternoons a week to try to masturbate. Sometimes I touched myself, sometimes it was too difficult to be with myself in that way. I did breathing exercises and worked in my altar practices. I wasn’t just finding my sexuality again, I was finding my whole self. My self that had been hiding out in the deepest darkest places as I pushed it further and further down while I tried to fit in. My self that I neglected because I was taught to put myself last. I was starting from square one and needed to know who I even was in the world, let alone in the bedroom.

Previous to this break down I worked in the sex industry and had been actively pursuing my own sex education for over a decade. I had a wall of sex toys I wondered if I would ever use again. I had technical skills and emotional intelligence. People came to me for advice on their sex live. And now I couldn’t even think about masturbating without having a melt down. So much of my identity and self-confidence was wrapped up in my sexual being. I had to accept that even if I was done living my sexual life (I was not) I would still be a worthwhile human in the world.

Spending time with my body and touching myself gently was excruciating at first. I cried when I tried to masturbate and would stop before I could physically feel anything because I disliked so much what was coming up emotionally. But I sat with the sad and scared feelings and kept trying to masturbate and eventually was able to add some vibration in a way that felt pleasurable instead of overwhelming. I used the Doxy Don as my first penetrative toy vaginally because of the low frequency vibrations and the large thumb-like insertable piece. It was small, but just big enough for me to feel something inside of me without going too deep. I liked it and I came; the first time in many months. And then I cried. Only this time the crying felt cathartic instead of a whirl of frustration. I lay there hugging myself, feeling the after-effects of the orgasm running thru my body, and I just cried. And it was great.

The feelings had been trapped for so long. I pushed them down to make myself more palatable for the people around me who told me I was too much. But now there was no one I needed to make myself presentable for. I would just exist as a mess of body mass and feelings and cum and tears and it was so freeing.

I cry more often in my life in general these days. I still don’t really like to cry in front of people, but I am getting more comfortable crying in front of close friends and lovers. I try to give myself a chunk of time to masturbate each week where I won’t feel rushed and can cry in bed afterwards if I need to. Allowing myself space to feel whatever needs to be released is an act of preservation and self-love, mess and all.

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