BY LEZA CANTORAL
In the dark no one can see you cry. Cumming and crying are very similar in that they both are the involuntary release of an energy buildup. Pain on one end and arousal on the other. Sometimes the line gets blurry.
Good sex for me is when I can forget myself. That moment when all I am is the pleasure that I am feeling. All my energy coalesces into one point of focus and explodes. I think this is what the Big Bang must have felt like on a monumental scale. Energy exploding. Infinite potential. The sense of multiplying expansion that will never end. But it always ends. The universe cannot keep being born and I cannot remain in a state of perpetual orgasmic ecstasy.
The orgasm delivers a mega high. It trumps cocaine, LSD, and heroin. It is the ultimate drug. Like cocaine, the big high is brief and intense. It hits your pleasure centers and lights them up like a pinball machine. Endorphins are released and you get that rush that you never want to stop and so you keep on doing lines, and so you keep on fucking until you can’t breathe.
Like every drug, you come down. When I come down I have an old friend waiting for me: depression.
My serotonin levels drop quickly and I find myself shambling around in a kind of sleepwalk. I can go a few days but I soon hit that wall and I feel all the color drain out of me. I say color in an emotional sense. Picture that feeling you get when you have just fallen in love, now picture the opposite of that.
I don’t know why I can’t just think positive. I don’t know why I crumble like that. All I know is that my depression first hit when I was about 13 and the only thing that got me out of it was having my first sexual encounters with my first boyfriend when I was 14. It was like a veil was lifted. I was suddenly connected to life and to my body. I was alive.
It’s like I was an inanimate piece of wood that got brought to life by his electric touch. That touch became a thing that I craved more than anything.
When that relationship ended I was heartbroken but I did not relapse into that gray feeling from before. I was angry and horny. I gave a lot of lucky high school boys blow jobs in the band room and the forest preserve that year.
From then on, sex was how I coped with feelings of emptiness. It always patches the hole but never fills it.
My existential craving for sex has driven me into the arms of many men and unhealthy or unsafe situations. The terror that drives me to them is greater than the fear of being hurt by someone else. There is a pattern of manic obsession to these escapades. I have cheated on boyfriends, I have fucked men I barely knew or liked for a moment of happiness, or the illusion of happiness. The more I did it the more a pattern of self-destruction began to emerge. I have hurt people I loved dearly. I have lost friends. I have covered up my old scars with newer and fresher scars.
I use men like cutters use razor blades. Cocks to numb the pain in my brain. The orgasm blots out my mind. I am an addict for that dopamine rush.
There is a part of me that feels dead inside. Maybe not dead but dying, always on the edge of wanting to live more intensely and wanting to just escape the pain of existence. Pain piles on pain. There is no cure for it. I try not to add to the pile anymore. I know my weaknesses. I am learning to function.
To me functioning means not letting my sexual hungers get in the way of my well-being and my life. Functioning means crying when I need to and cumming when I need to.
Tears can be as cathartic as orgasms if you mean them.
My dream is to have the kind of orgasm that breaks my soul apart and cracks open my pain like an egg—tears and sex juices gushing out of me all at once. In that blackout paradise I would find my peace. In that little death I could mourn myself and move on.
My fuck, my funeral, my release.
Leza Cantoral is the author of Planet Mermaid and editor of Walk Hand in Hand Into Extinction: Stories Inspired by True Detective. She writes a feminist column about noir film for Luna Luna Magazine called Shades of Noir and writes about pop culture for Clash Media. Her upcoming collection of short stories, Cartoons in the Suicide Forest, will be coming out later this year through Bizarro Pulp Press. You can find her short stories at lezacantoralblog.wordpress.com and tweet her at @lezacantoral.