The perils of perversion

I’ve written before about perversion, about the ways I understand it as distinct from how it’s often, typically used. To refresh: I think of perversion not as “an unusual or non-normative sexual desire,” but rather, as an inability to tolerate difference.

I suffer from this latter form of perversion, if not so much from the former.

My perversion – as with all perversion – ultimately, inevitably, causes (me) suffering. I think, I imagine, that my sexual desires are simple to fulfill. I tell myself, I tell my partners, that all they have to do is precisely as I ask, and all will be well. I communicate well, clearly. I say precisely what I (think I) want. I tell my partners how to give me what I want. I excel at instruction.

Inevitably, though – sometimes immediately, sometimes in an hour, sometimes a week, and sometimes, a year or longer – inevitably, though, I come up against the reality that my partner… isn’t me. That she can’t perfectly anticipate my needs, that she can’t give me precisely what it is that I want.

Robert Stoller, who wrote a seminal text on the topic (Perversion: The Erotic Form of Hatred, available free online here), understands this in psychoanalytic terms: my longing to erase difference, he says, represents an eroticized hatred, a desire not just for pleasure from another, but for eradication of, extermination of, another. Surely, if this is true of me, it’s true on an unconscious level, for I love the women I (try to) use. But I’ve been at this shit long enough to know that, beneath the surface, all sorts of messy emotions lie.

Sometimes, it takes a long time for me to come to realize that a woman can’t be precisely what I need her to be. V, for example, fed me her beauty, her compliance, her cunt, for literally years before I even started to feel a hint of misalignment, of awareness that there was, occasionally, slight slippage between what I wanted and what she offered. It’s why I idealize her so: not, ultimately, because she was so “good” – although she was – but because her perversion so neatly lined up with mine. V craved one thing: to give me precisely what I wanted. This is a rare craving in a woman, but a delicious one to find.

Similarly, Sofia had a nearly infinite appetite – and ability – to please me. What I wanted seemed preternaturally aligned with what she wanted. I can’t recall a single instance, prior to the very end of our sexual relationship, when there was even the slightest miscue, the slightest hint that maybe, just maybe, she was looking for something different than what I was offering; that she wanted to give me something different from what I craved.

Often, though, it happens nearly instantly. A British woman I don’t believe I named here comes to mind. As I recall, I asked to see a picture – of her thighs? her ass? her breasts? I don’t remember. What I remember, though, was that what she sent did nothing for me. Not that her body wasn’t hot – it was. But the photo she sent somehow didn’t speak to me. The lighting was off, the composition poor, the angle, the distance, all wrong. I tried to coach her: don’t fill the frame with your body; leave some space around you on the sides. Turn off the flash. I kept feeding her tips, I wrote posts on this blog about what I liked. No matter what I said, the photos she sent were just… wrong. It felt, painfully, as if she simply refused to follow my directions – directions that felt, to me, crystal clear, simple, common sense. Maybe she was refusing; maybe I didn’t instruct her as well as I thought. In any event, we never did meet, that woman and I, because it became so clear so quickly that the connection wouldn’t happen. There was something she wanted to give me, and it wasn’t what I wanted. Not just in that, coincidentally, she didn’t happen to want to give me what I happened to want; in that, there was a specific thing she wanted to give me. And that, for me, almost always spells disaster.

When this happens – especially with an otherwise compelling woman – my masochism kicks into full swing. I become enamored of the idea that, if I can only communicate well enough, eventually, I’ll elicit what it is I want from a woman. And “enamored” doesn’t really do my emotional state justice: I become obsessed, sometimes desperate, even. I stop seeing clearly.

I crawl, parched, in a desert, toward a mirage….

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