Toronto
3 min

Finding the right kind of guy porn

Aaron and I tooka strange field trip to Queen St West last week. One of the selected straight boys I love in this world, he was the only one I could call on for something like this.

The mission was to pick out porn mags for the sperm donor for me and my partner, and I didn’t think I could do it alone. After all, what do you get for the boy who gives everything?

For the first time in my life the idea of a man jerking off in my bathroom actually made sense, and picking out the material he’d jerk off to every month somehow seemed like a good way to be included in that part of the process. My partner offered to do it, but seeing as it was a much greater challenge for me than for her I jumped at the opportunity to expand my horizons.

“No problem,” I said, like I’d done it before. “I’ll just grab something on my lunch break.” I tried to play it cool, having no idea where to go or what to grab, and knowing it would consume the better part of my workday. Andrea smirked and said nothing, except to remind me pointedly that I was shopping for a boy.

Being an artist, a queer woman and a child of two countries, my tastes for sexual print material are pretty specific. I get turned on by beautiful pictures, pictures that look like they took a lot of care to produce. Pictures with diversity. I like sexy anime and erotic photography. (But I also got turned on in the middle of The Noonday Demon: An Atlas Of Depression by Andrew Solomon because I was so relieved to feel like someone finally understood what I was going through.) I get turned on by erotic stories, especially ones that wax poetic and don’t use words like “twat,” “slit,” “whore,” “titties” or “panties.” So, care is sexy, connection is sexy and words are sexy when they don’t make a woman’s body sound like a used, battered car.

But Andrea assured me — and Aaron concurred — these are not the qualities a straight man looks for in his porn. Having such limited experience with the species, I had to trust them. The brightly lit, perfect body world of straight conventional porn looks more like an anatomy lesson than sex to me, not to mention the degradation, the persistence of rape “fantasy,” the eroticizing of queer women’s sexuality, the college dorm settings, the racist language, the “barely legal” profiles, the absence of context and the myriad of other most unsexy things that you typically find in straight porn.

At Come As You Are We we met a woman I scooped cookie dough with at a bakery on King St more than five years ago. She was pregnant while I knew her. The girl ate McChicken every single day, dipped fries in her milkshakes and gave birth to the most beautiful baby I’ve ever seen. That probably isn’t something I should advertise. Anyway, seeing her seemed like a positive sign, and put me more at ease with the usual dynamic between patrons and salespeople at sex shops. At Come As You Are this dynamic makes you feel like you’re the first one at a party and you don’t know where to stand so you look around and say, “What a lovely home!”

Aaron and I were Babes In Bubbles versus The Bad Girl Hotel at every stop. Everything we both liked was too pretty, and too expensive to be spread on a bathroom counter for five minutes beside a specimen cup. So we ended up playing with the vagina-shaped Fleshlight, sharing embarrassing stories and talking to the parrot at Miss Behav’N. Finally he picked up some cheap shrink-wrapped magazine for our donor and I brought home a hardcover of sexy photographs for us. The distinction seemed pretty clear at the time.

“So, how was the porn?” I asked the next night. Our donor shrugged his shoulders, laughed with me. “It was okay,” he said, “but I need more, you know? I need more story, more mystery, more than just pussy after pussy.”

This is why we chose him of course, and why maybe I should have gone for the anime after all. So I have to admit that I finally flipped through his mags last week and felt all the things I expected to feel; yucky and offended and a little bit sad. Halfway through it really did feel like “pussy after pussy.” It got boring. But I still found myself masturbating 20 minutes later, fighting to swallow the bitter taste of disrespect that accompanied my arousal. I got up feeling wholly unsatisfied, and that feeling stuck with me all day long. I couldn’t stop thinking about the women in the pictures, or the men outside them.

It embarrasses me to think that just the sight of pussy, regardless of context, or actually despite some horrible context, still has the power to turn my body on. And it pleases me to realize there are men who feel that way, too.

I wonder if this stuff will ever come up on the swings one day when I am asked to explain where she came from, how we made him or why we chose this route to parenthood.