Men, enter my body through my ear.
The first time a man puts his tongue in my ear, I am 19. I don’t like it. He thinks it turns me on. Thinks he is hot to me. Thinks he is a sexual beast. And I keep trying to turn my face toward him, preferring his lips to an ear full of wet fleshy muscle. It isn’t the last time a man fails to tune his body to mine.
More than what happens to my body during sex, I get off on the sounds. I am 20 and having sex for the first time. I remember the music that is playing. I remember every noise he makes. The sound of his lips leaving my neck. His tongue on my teeth. The way he inhales when he goes down on me. That faintest of sounds when the tiny foil condom wrapper touches the dorm room floor. The bed squeaking as he puts more of his weight on it. The sound of being penetrated and the exhalations from both of us. And I heard myself thinking flatly, “So this is what it took me 20 years to experience. Hum.”
When I am in love, and I have no trouble being in love; the moments when I most feel like fucking are when I know that we are communicating through a fight. I’ve cried and said horrible things to beautiful men who have cried and said horrible things to me. And in the middle of the hurt and the rage, there is a moment. It occurs when he’s speaking my language and we understand each other. I don’t always know when it is going to come and it doesn’t always come, but when I hear it, I start to get hard. I turn flush. I feel understood and I atone or forgive so we can fuck. No. Not so we can fuck, but because the pleasure of hearing leads to the pleasure of fucking.
I tune my ears to hear what it sounds like to be recognized. I listen for how men acknowledge me and my body responds accordingly. Stupid sounds like a soft dick and my footsteps. “I love opera, too; I’ve seen Phantom! Does that count?” sounds like grinding teeth. Witty and charming sounds like a pounding heart. “I understand why you would feel that way and it’s okay” sounds like my voice saying “I want you to fuck me right now.”
I take pleasure in the pleasures of the ear and have learned that what stimulates my ear is connected to the pleasures of my body. I am turned off by silence of lovers. Turned off by the refusal to make noise to shout to yell to fight with each other or with the world. Turned off by men who refuse to search out the pleasures of the ear, the sensuality of the sounds of recognition. Turned off by men who hear my shouts as the rantings of an aggressive or frightening person.
So I listen for the ways men might recognize me, my body, those around them. I tune my ear to how he tunes his ear. I wait to give my body. I wait, listening for how he hears.
Timothy is a teacher of writing He is an occasional Twitter user and obsessive FaceBook checker. When he grows up he wants to be Barney Frank during the 1980s or Rachel Maddow at any point in her life.