It would be another decade until I would lose my virginity to a charitable young lady with suspect taste, but in the mean time, I had Penthouse Forum letters to supplement any proper experience or education. High school Sex Ed shied away from the details by zooming into the clinical aspect of tubes leading to and fro the testes and ovaries. The penial cut-away illustrations seemed castrated, at which I crossed my legs; the female versions were indeed more interesting, but hardly arousing. My parents remained coyly reticent about blowing loads, perhaps mutually embarrassed by how such abandon caused my very birth, from which they were still recovering.
I related to The Stranger and Catcher in the Rye, and whatever PG-13 rated books my prudish English teachers had me read, but what really moved me was the fervent uncompromising literature of those depraved sex letters, all narrated by eloquent sluts with a knack for detail. Experimental literature meets social realism I guess. I was dumb. Thought a blowjob was doggie style, like “blowing a woman away” from behind. A woman’s body had yet to be surveyed, I the explorer with binoculars from afar. One night, in bed with my ‘lil stiffy pitching a tent inside tighty whities, I read a passage which blew my 13-year-old mind. “He removed his cock,” the narrator said. This, obviously, is rather prosaic, something a man does a handful of times in the course of a spirited love making session, changing positions, etc.
He removed his cock? What the hell is going on? I imagined (see Figure 1) this greased up stud taking his erection in hand and easefully removing it — not necessarily ripping it off, but simply, somehow, bloodlessly unlatching it — and placing it on, say, the bedside table to let it rest. Indeed, I misinterpreted the word “remove” in the hypnotic sex-drenched state I was in. Instead of reconsidering the sentence, I committed myself further down this logic hole. Oh my God, I thought, he removed his cock. What is wrong with me? I looked down at my own stubbornly intact woody and gave it a few earnest tugs. Nope, it wasn’t coming off. I was broken.
For the next few days, until my best friend — in disbelief of my naïveté — informed me that no one could detach their penis, I angrily tugged at the thing half-a-dozen or so more times, inspecting the base for some secret latch, some internal trigger or button. I eventually resigned to having a deformed non-detachable penis. I was an incomplete man; or rather, a boy who would never grow into one. This crushed my budding confidence. At school, I averted my gaze from the pretty girls who seemed to be looking past me anyways. I blasted loud obnoxious music into my ears with cheap headphones, the occasional ghost ringing of damaged ear drums off in the distance like some siren forever retreating from my approach.
Over the years, I’ve gotten to know myself rather well, and I don’t mean emotionally. There’s only one thing I’ve held on to longer than the remote control, and this one doesn’t change the channel. No secret latches or imminent growth spurt, no magic ruler which makes the numbers seem bigger, just me, myself, and two asymmetrical avocado pits forced into camaraderie under one dark bumpy skin. The guacamole — because you’re dealing with this analogy — is not the green creamy mixture of progeny and ecstasy, but some mashed up childish adult-feeling inside me, of misguided lust not spent and unrequited love not had. Sex, it turns out, is just trying to not be alone. Still, there’s hope. Somewhere out there is a woman who deserves this little part of me. I could hand it off to her, and call her in the morning.
Buy Penis, A collection of essays here.