Guest Post: I’m Up Here (I Don’t Care What’s Down There)

The author is a pansexual female-ish human who first wrote and performed this monologue in 2008 for “The Queer Voices Project”, largely as a response to “vagina monologue” style reductionism of women’s sexuality. Until she gets ahold of more tequila, she prefers to remain anonymous.

I took sex ed for an entire year in my church. My Unitarian Universalist class was supposed to be thinking about our sex and gender orientation when most of our friends were thinking about confirmation. We watched slideshows of all different kinds of people having sex as, say, our equivalent to those creepy reenactions of Jesus’s death. I’ll always remember the one of the two ladies on a rock. I’ll always remember learning that the average woman is a size 13, not 6 or 8. But there’s no one class from which I recall more than the one on masturbation.

I had always thought of masturbation as something you wouldn’t do unless you were gross and pathetic–sex crazed but unable to get any.  But my teachers said it was normal–that most people did it. That it wasn’t just about genitals, but about the entire body. Even our head is a sexual organ. The woman teacher, I forget her name now, started stroking her arm, saying lots of people had routines, and different things that they did with different parts of their body. It could even start with something as simple as that. Arm stroking.

If I had thought masturbation was strange before, now I was convinced. I’m sorry, but the arm-stroking thing just didn’t do anything for me. Still doesn’t.

Another thing they said, and I’ve always been a bit unclear on this, is that there is actually a muscle that controls orgasm. The same woman, standing in front of our class, said that if she concentrated hard enough, she would be able to have an orgasm right then and there, just by contracting that magical orgasm muscle. No physical stimulation required. I think that perhaps I interpreted or remember this wrong, but the idea of an orgasm muscle has always haunted me. I think mine would be pretty atrophied.

I’ve just never been able to orgasm. And I certainly don’t see myself embodied in my vagina. More. . . in my mind, in my heart. If I had to choose a body part, I would say my arms, because my vital urge in relationships is that I want to protect people. To make them feel safe, and at home in my arms.  I don’t feel very at home in my vagina, personally. It’s a nice place to visit, but I wouldn’t want to live there.

The first time I decided to go spelunking in my little alien habitat was maybe a month or so after our masturbation class. I’d been thinking about it a lot since then, and I was curious to see what it felt like. Besides which, I had the house to myself, loads of condoms to play with, also from my church, time to kill before I filmed a French video with some friends later, and, well, some garden vegetables. Kidding. It’s embarrassing, but I did use a banana, a little bit, though. It got pretty bruised up, which I guess is only to be expected, because I tried all kinds of things, from stroking my arm (ineffective) to seeing if I could sodomize myself (ineffective and unpleasant, to boot).

When I went and filmed that French class video afterward, about Hansel and Gretel, with me as the evil stepmother, I went a little bit crazy. There’s still footage of me chasing my best friend, Kellie, down the street, clad in blue evening gown and one high-heeling shoe, waving the other, and laughing maniacally as I screamed to her to come back and love me. She was supposed to be my husband, Hansel and Gretel’s father, and I flirted ostentatiously, and laughed maniacally, for a good hour or so after we’d started. I may not have felt much, earlier, but I had touched a nerve. Even though these were my best friends I was with, I had done something which I could not tell them about. And it hadn’t even worked, really. While it was new, and novel, and scary, it had not been all that fun. I guess that sort of convinced me that masturbation wasn’t all that great. That really, I needed to wait for the real thing to come around to see what this was really all about. Sex. Coitus.

But that didn’t mean that I stopped masturbating. Oh no. It’s just that, instead of pleasure, it became centered around making sure I would be ready for sex. I stuck ever larger and larger things inside myself, so that it wouldn’t hurt, when the time came. So that I could, then, focus only on the pleasure. It would be perfect.

It seems funny in retrospect that even then, when I was already questioning my sexual orientation, that I was unconsciously acknowledging to myself that my first time would be with a boy. Well, it was, and maybe it was because of all that preparation that I barely felt anything, except for a forceful rocking motion, rocking my head up against the rock wall of the stone tower I had picked out for my perfect first time. Maybe neither of us felt anything. Neither of us said anything, and neither of us came. We were both too gun-shy to talk about it. Because we didn’t want the other to think they were inadequate, or to talk about our own inadequacies. It was supposed to be our perfect first time, after all. We never talked about a lot of things. We never talked about why he never came inside of me. We never talked about why, on those rare occasions he ventured cunnilingus, I would tolerate it for a couple of minutes, then gently lift his head up, too uncomfortable to let him carry on.

Sure, my vagina is sensitive, but in an awkward kind of way; sensitive like a funny bone, happiest left alone sometimes. I would leave my vagina out of my monologues all together, if I weren’t so sick and tired of hearing, “a woman’s being is in her vagina.” No. I am up here. And no-one’s gonna turn me on just by waving their tongue around. You’ve got to use it to speak to me, too. And while communication can happen, tongue buried in labia, caressing the clit, to me, that’s a tougher connection to make than standing, face to face, trying to see heart to heart. And women can do that, and men can do that. And I don’t care what’s down there, so long as you have a big heart.

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One response to “Guest Post: I’m Up Here (I Don’t Care What’s Down There)

  1. As a person who absolutely needs their genitals to be involved when it comes to sex, I thought this article was very interesting.

    Bi / pan / I don’t care / I like more than two genders / nsng folks often get stereotyped as sex machines, or “just doing it for the attention.”

    As a proud Total Slut who definitely likes attention on the dance floor from onlookers, I have often felt guilty about this, as though I am contributing to Teh Downfall of My Peeple ™ by being me.

    People who do not first and formost associate sex, or intimacy, or love, with their genitals, either a little bit or not at all, are often left out of discussions on bisexuality / pansexuality. I confess, I’ve read a lot of articles on AVEN (Asexual Visibility and Education Network), and never once thought about being asexual and bi/pan. I feel like most people assume that’s a contradiction in terms… and it might have to do with an internalized stereotype that All Us Bis Is Slutz (not that there’s anything wrong with sluthood!)

    I don’t want to put labels on you or words in your mouth, but that’s what this article made me think of.

    Thanks for sharing.

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