Reread the archives, always.
Image Credit: Joshua Roberts
My friend confessed to me that she has never had sex because every time she gets near a dick, instead of getting horny, she gets a panic attack. If you Google phallophobia, you’ll find out that the term is used to describe a real physical and emotional impairment to get intimate with someone because the sight of a penis, and in extreme cases of phallic shapes, provokes panic. The term is also used to describe what-the-fuck-is-wrong with feminists that hate the penis and its symbolism in a patriarchal society.
Now my friend is physically and emotionally unable to have sex because when she was thirteen some dickhead thought it was funny to lock her in a garage and told her that the only way she had to get out was to suck his dick. What happened is that she started kissing him because she didn’t know what to do and she really wanted to get out of there. When the boy started to take his t-shirt off, she started to get very scared. Now the guy was not a total dickhead, because when she started shaking with fear he did his good action and let her go. Nothing happened. Yet my friend can’t have sex because every time she gets near a dick, instead of getting horny, she gets a panic attack.
I don’t like doing coke. It is probably due to mild symptoms of phallophobia. I don’t like doing coke because it is such a cocky drug and I don’t find a big ego sexy. To be honest, I don’t like doing coke because watching someone under the effect of cocaine is like watching them pulling their dick out in public to show that it is bigger than everyone else’s (metaphorically). David Bowie used to do it often (literally): he liked to snort cocaine, pull his dick out and show everyone how big it is, even if he was David Bowie and he didn’t have to demonstrate anything because he had such a big penis energy—whatever that means. Debbie Harry recounts witnessing such episode in her autobiography Face It, confirming that David Bowie had a remarkably big cock. Anyone would be flattered to see David Bowie’s penis, I guess.
I am very annoyed at my friend because, if I have to be honest, she was too ashamed to tell me the reason why she gets a panic attack every time she gets near a dick. To fill the gap, I had to tell something that happened to me as if it had happened to her, but I figured out that by doing so I could tell my story without feeling shame, or be anxious about my parents having to worry about it. I also don’t want the guy to read this and telling everyone that I’m exaggerating and/or a liar. Nevertheless, I am convinced that my friend can’t have sex because something similar to what happened to me, happened to her. Indeed, the more I grow up the more I realise that being forced to suck someone’s dick—unfortunately—is not an uncommon experience. When I was fourteen, the guy I liked invited me for dinner. I was very excited until, while I was still eating, the guy put his penis on my plate so that I could suck it and when I refused to do it, he kicked me out. Maybe being forced to suck someone’s dick is an uncommon experience, and it only occurred to me, twice. The guy was not on coke. I wasn’t flattered. He was not the same guy of the first story nor—obviously—David Bowie.
I recently wrote a review of an outstanding queer animation movie that portrays the main character having sex with a slug-sex-bot. Unknown fact: some people like to cover themselves in vaseline and pretend to be a slug. A man in the U.S. got arrested after he broke into different women’s houses, covered himself in vaseline, crawled on the floor like a slug and jerked off. We all try to find ways out of a boring reality and unfulfilling sexual life. Some use metaphors that visualise contemporary feminist theories. Some just sexually harass other people and get arrested, some try to force their dick into other people’s mouth without facing any consequences. Watching slugs having sex was for sure interesting and beautiful and made me wish I could have slug-sex with my partner. Metaphorically. Practically. Consensually.
I can’t stop thinking about that Joe Rogan interview with Chuck Palahniuk. In the interview, Palahniuk tells the story of this woman that hadn’t had an orgasm since she was seven years old. When this woman was seven years old, she discovered that the vibrating heating pad she was using to alleviate stomach ache could give her very intense pleasure if she’d put it in between her legs.
So, every time a friend came around the house to play, the woman, who at the time was only a child, would show the heating pad and how to hump it. All the kids loved it. She became the most popular girl in school and everyone wanted to go to her house to play with this magic tool. Until one day, her mom walked in on a bunch of seven year old girls having, what looked like, a sex party for children. Embarrassed and angry, the mother sent all the girls back to their parents, unplugged the heating pad and, and used the cable to beat the shit out of her daughter and called her a filthy whore, even if her daughter was only seven years old and really didn’t know what she was doing and now can’t have an orgasm anymore.
In the U.S.A., 19% to 27% of women and 6% to 8% of men experience sexual assault during their time at university; however, the American Rape Abuse and Incest National Network (RAINN) and the White House’s office on Violence Against Women Task Force to Protect Students from Sexual Assault stated that rape and sexual assault is perpetuated by a sub-population at fault, meaning that sexual violence is uncommon behavior. Such statement supports the same slut-shaming culture that made my friend too ashamed to tell me why every time she gets near a dick she gets a panic attack, or that pushed me to tell the garage story as if it had happened to someone else, or that allowed a mother to beat the shit out of her daughter with a heating pad because she caught her masturbating, or convinced a woman that she is filthy for having had an orgasm as a kid, or that made two boys think it was ok to try to force a girl to suck their cock. Such statement supports the idea that only acts of harassment like breaking into women’s houses to get naked, cover yourself in vaseline, and pretend you are a slug while jerking off are weird enough to be recognized as harassment and be punishable by law.
Julia Kristeva confronts us with the idea that “the epithet “virgin” applied to Mary was an error translation: for the Semitic word denoting the social-legal status of an unmarried girl the translator substituted the Greek parthenos, which denotes a physiological and psychological fact, virginity […] Be that as it may, remains true that Western Christendom orchestrated this “error of translation” by projecting its own fantasies on it, thereby producing one of the most potent imaginary constructs known to any civilization.” The butterfly effect is an extraordinary event. Someone changes a little word in a book and thousands of years later:
+ my friend can’t have sex because every time she gets near a dick, instead of getting horny, she gets a panic attack;
+ I am worried of what people will think of me if I tell them that two guys tried to make me suck their cock;
+ a little girl can’t masturbate, but David Bowie and a boy I liked and a man that likes to pretend to be a slug feel entitled to pull out their penises in public.
Imagine how everything could be different if only we knew before that the Virgin Mary was not a a virgin mother, but just an irresponsible teenager that got pregnant outside wedlock.
I can’t stop thinking about that Joe Rogan interview with Chuck Palahniuk. In the interview, Palahniuk reveals that Cheryl Strayed’s Wild, one of the most popular pieces of contemporary feminist narrative, was censured. Worse than hearing about a mother allowing her seven year old daughter to masturbate is reading about a mother allowing her seven years old daughter to masturbate an older man. And to kill birds. Worse than hearing about seven-year-old kids having a group wank is reading about a seven year old kid wanking her grandfather. And killing birds. In the original manuscript, Strayed told, in a little passage, how, when she was a child, her grandfather taught her how to masturbate him. She also explains how, one day, she found a bird that fell off the nest and knowing it would die, she got it in her hands and crushed it: the death spasms of the bird felt like her grandfather’s penis ejaculating in her little hands. This passage got censured by the editors: they wanted Wild to become big, and nobody wants to read about a seven year old wanking her grandfather. And killing birds.
I can’t stop thinking about that time that, while I was writing my dissertation on sexual trauma, I explained to my ex-boyfriend that in the U.S.A. 19% to 27% of women and 6% to 8% of men experience sexual assault during their time at university; however, RAINN and the White House’s office on Violence Against Women Task Force to Protect Students from Sexual Assault stated that rape and sexual assault is perpetuated by a sub-population at fault, meaning that sexual violence is uncommon behavior. I was outraged. My ex-boyfriend stopped me mid-sentence and told me that he didn’t want to know. You can’t force people to face an uncomfortable reality. I couldn’t force my ex-boyfriend to sit down and listen to rape statistics and Cheryl Strayd can’t force her public to listen to how, as a kid, she used to masturbate her grandfather and kill birds. Forcing someone to face such uncomfortable realities is like trapping someone somewhere and trying to make them swallow a big cock. It is a fair parallel.
This summer I travelled by my own so that I could stop thinking and I could learn something new. From the list of countries that I was allowed to travel to during this pandemic, I chose one that is cheap enough to make my £650 (my monthly rent for a room in London) last for a month or more, and that is considered exotic enough to bring in my path enlightened truths: I went to Portugal. There, I spent twenty days in the land of this hippie guy that lived in a yurt, cultivated his own food, didn’t have a car, walked barefoot, smoked weed and was a holocaust denier. For most of the day he would teach me about gardening, landscaping, recycling, living without material goods and the conspiracies of history; for example, I learnt that the Holocaust is only one of the many stories circulated by the Jewish community to distract the world—while everyone is too busy pitying them, Jewish people are gaining insane control and power. This hippie guy also taught me how to be a good and just citizen. He told me that talking about racism is racist, mentioning homophobia is homophobic, insisting on feminism makes me intolerant, living in the city makes me ignorant. He also said that the lacking of women and black people in his community is due to an insufficiency of sense of adventure in these specific individuals, that most women are only good at talking and that if his son turned out to be homosexual he wouldn’t accept it. He gave me a book on body language that he thought could bring in my path enlightened truths. While scrolling the pages, I learned that women like men with a firm arse because it is perfect to push the sperm up the uterus and ensure the insemination of the ovaries.
A group of three guys admitted they were pro-Brexit, pro-Boris and right extremists, before they decided to travel to a country that is considered exotic enough to bring in their path enlightened truths: they went to India. The journey was life changing, they came back crying out to the miracle: they had turned vegan, leftists, anti-Brexit (oops! too late), they quitted their office jobs to open a tempeh factory. What did not change was their belief in conspiracy theories. The other day they were discussing about the fact that Barack Obama is surely homosexual and Michelle Obama is indeed a man disguised as a woman. How could a woman be so powerful and clever otherwise?
My old flatmate yelled at me that I am a cynical bitch who hates men. She, twenty-three years old, was psychologically abused by a man, forty-three years old, but this is the kind of things that you imagine are happening around you if you hate men as much as I do. I tell her that it’s called phallophobia, this is the sophisticated term to describe what-the-fuck-is-wrong-with-feminists-that-hate-the-cock-as-much-as-I-do. My mom also used the term angry lesbian. The fact that I am a cynical bitch who hates men, didn’t stop this forty-three year old man from putting hair removal cream in her shampoo.
Virginia Ivaldi moved from Italy to the UK to study History of Art at Goldsmiths University. She writes
about controversial topics that aim to create dialogue and initiate change. She is passionate about raising
awareness on sexuality and mental health, subjects that she explores through the lens of art, art therapy, and
trauma. Virginia approaches writing as a tool of re-appropriation of personal and cultural identity. Within
writing, she navigates society through critical thinking and identification. She will start the Writing MA at the Royal College of Art this September.