June 29, 2014

From Point A to Point O: Don't We Want the Longest Distance?

Sure, we'll go north. Eventually.
Sure, we’ll go north. Eventually.

By Alexa Day

I’ve seen a little more porn than usual in the news this week, and while I don’t write porn myself, I often find that porn professionals offer interesting perspectives on my own work. For instance, reading about a California measure that would require the use of condoms in porn made me think about my position on my characters’ use of condoms in my own work. (That measure, if you’re curious, is on its way to the California Senate appropriations committee. And if you’re curious, my characters use condoms where it makes sense to do so, which is all the time, for the headstrong women in my contemporaries.)

Yesterday, I read this article from former porn star Aurora Snow about what we’re willing to do for an orgasm, a moment of ecstasy that might last ten seconds if we’re lucky. Hugh Grant went to great risk for an orgasm, she writes. Charlie Sheen and Tiger Woods went to great expense for them, she says.

Well, my thought was this: Do people really have sex just for the orgasm? Certainly, sex with the climax is preferable to sex without, under most circumstances. But I suspect that even sex without climax is preferable to no sex at all.

As an erotica writer (I use this phrase so often that it’s turning into my version of “You see, Jimmy …”), writing up to the orgasm gives me far more pleasure (as a writer, you nasty person) than the orgasm itself. Lingering in foreplay is fun. Exploring the intercourse is fun, too. But the orgasm itself, as Aurora notes, doesn’t take up much space. I don’t know how much orgasm readers want to hear about, honestly. I think they want to know more about the things he says or what she’s thinking or what their respective motivations are or how all that must feel. The arrival of the orgasm says we’re almost finished with all that wonderful wickedness, doesn’t it?

I recognize and celebrate the fact that porn is a completely different art form from erotic fiction and erotic romance. I know that much of porn condenses the emotional buildup that precedes the money shot. But porn does include the sex acts leading to orgasm. I mean, somewhere out there I’m sure there exists a porno that’s wall-to-wall money shots, but it cannot be selling very well. And if porn isn’t driven by those ten seconds (if you’re lucky), then is it so unreasonable to think that the rest of us aren’t driven by the orgasm, either?

The reason this might not be true for Aurora is in the Salon story’s headline: “Performative sex is utterly different.” Porn sex is, after all, work sex. It’s part of the job. It’s not like whatever Hugh and Charlie and Tiger were doing, which I suspect had little to do with the orgasm. It’s not like what all of us, including porn stars, off set, off the clock, and on their personal beds, are doing, either. That also has little to do with the orgasm, most of the time.

It’s easy for me to say that my focus is on the journey and not the destination when I am only on the journey recreationally. Sure, I’m writing the sex professionally, but I’m not at all under the same type of performance pressure as a porn star. I can afford to take my time and not worry about the climax.

In the wide, wonderful world off the page and off the screen, I imagine there are folks out there whose only consensual sexual goal is the ten-second orgasm. I would never dream of telling those folks that they’re doing something wrong. But things can be sooooo much righter in the hours before arrival.

If you’re not following Lady Smut, now’s the time. We go on and on and on.

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  • Post authorMadeline Iva

    I’m going to skip the arm wrestling over porn (I know we respectfully disagree on all things porn) and go straight to the orgasm.

    I think when sex is hot and hard and furious it’s really F***ing, and then it’s all about maybe not getting to the orgasm, but the orgasming overtaking you both. Like riding horses fast, trying to beat the storm, but then it overtakes you.

    Lovemaking, you could say on the other hand, is all about process vs. outcome.

    Just throwing that thought out there. Talk amongst yourselves.

    Reply to Madeline Iva
    • Post authorAlexa Day

      There is a great deal to be said for just getting off, certainly. But I think the difference between just getting oneself off and just getting off with company is still process. There’s just not so much process as there might otherwise be. Or maybe it’s just different process. I think there might be a wider range of choreography available with just getting off.

      Still, the difference is a significant one. 🙂

      Reply to Alexa Day
  • Post authorElizabeth Shore

    All the incredible elements of the lovemaking – or f**king, if you prefer – are so mind-blowingly awesome that for me the big O is just one piece of the whole amazing pie. The caresses, the kisses, the build-up … I’d never give up the journey for the destination.

    Reply to Elizabeth Shore
    • Post authorAlexa Day

      Indeed. All is pie. And therefore, all is good. 🙂 Even that moment when your back hits the wall and the breath is forced out of you in a rush. That, too, is good.

      All this talk about pie is making me hungry.

      Reply to Alexa Day
  • Post authorNormandie Alleman (@NormandieA)

    I think Aurora has a point though. If there wasn’t an orgasm at the end I’m not sure some men would bother.

    At the same time I do think we, as erotic writers, are just as much writing performance sex for work the same as porn stars are having performance sex for work. Yes, we can take our time and edit but they can do multiple takes… Either way it’s a pretty fun job!

    Reply to Normandie Alleman (@NormandieA)
    • Post authorAlexa Day

      This is the most awesome job ever, isn’t it? Just like the proverb says: Find a job you love, and you’ll never work a day in your life. 🙂

      Reply to Alexa Day
  • Post authorAlexa Day

    Reblogged this on Alexa J. Day and commented:

    Do we really want this to be over quickly?

    Reply to Alexa Day

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