Discover more from The Sex is Great by Ashley Kelsch
I was in my office at Teddies for Bettys one afternoon with a lingerie rep previewing the next season's collections of bras and panties when she asked me, have you seen the video of Colin Farrell and his girlfriend, Nicole Narin having sex?
What are you talking about? Colin Farrell is doing porn? I said flatly while feeling the cup of the bra meet the wire.
No, she said. It’s a home video of them having sex.
Stop… How’d that happen? I asked.
It’s 2016 Ashley. It got leaked! You have to see it. See him…
I put the bra down and swiveled my chair towards the computer. Up until this point in my life I wasn’t much into Porn. The few times in my adult life it had been suggested or turned on I found myself immediately turned off. The intensity of pounding and close ups. Sex centric. Loud. No water on the bathroom mirror or socks on the floor to identify with.
I hit play and watched on as Nicole (if it’s okay I’m going to call them by their first names) is standing there naked, trying to find something to play on tv. A white cat saunters through, arches its back and begins rubbing against her leg. Nicole squats down to flick through the channels. Colin belligerently compliments her while he lays on the couch, stroking himself and filming it all.
If I recall, I was no longer intrigued but consumed. I couldn’t stop watching. I felt… pacified
By the time she walks over and sits on his dick, I was turned on. Not unlike the cat, I could feel the sex in that room.
I must have watched this video seventeen times. (Not once did I think about bleaching my asshole.)
I’ll admit, knowing what I know today, I’m not proud that I played a part, however very miniscule- teeny tiny- only seventeen very shortened clips times in watching what was the non-consensual sharing of their intimate experience.
But then? That day? That day I felt not just turned on after watching it, but a sense of nostalgia came over me; it took me back to the 80’s and 90’s when sex for me was not just unknown and unseen, but associated with getting in trouble and being ‘bad’.
As a child, I was forbade from watching movies like Dirty Dancing. I’ll never forget the summer following second grade, all the parents were at work and one of the older kids put it on. I pretended to be asleep on the floor, but in all actuality, I was squinting my eyes trying to watch as much as I could. The plot, specifically the abortion part, confused me as much as the sensations that were surging through my body. The remainder of the summer, I lived in absolute fear that I would be found out and get in trouble. A feeling that followed me and appeared when I saw scenes from movies like Jennifer Conley riding a mechanical bull… or the dust-buster scene in Ruthless People.
In these instances, and others like it, I experienced a ‘I’m not supposed to be watching this’ guilt surging through my body, with a heightened sensation throbbing in my pelvic region that felt so right and wrong at the same time. A sensation I had zero understanding of and didn’t know what to do with.
It wasn’t until I was fifteen or sixteen that it all came together.
I was over at my friend Kim's house after school. Kim, a self proclaimed nympho, took a lot of pride in how many people she had had sex with and who would be next.
There was a lot I didn’t know at the time that Kim taught me. For example, I had never heard the word ‘clit’ until she called me one in front of everyone at school. This was provoked because I wouldn’t let her borrow my virgin t-shirt.
Which seemed a ridiculous ask of her at the time because I was a ‘virgin’ and, well she really wasn’t. What seemed equally as ridiculous in the moment was asking Kim, or one of the 20 people that heard her scream ‘Ashley, you’re such a clit’ across the courtyard, what a clit was.
It wasn’t until later that night while having dinner with my mom, when I decided to ask her what a clit was, that I came to understand what true ridiculousness was. I’m basing this on her fork hitting the plate and her jaw dropping after the question left my mouth.
I knew well enough that Kim and I wouldn’t be doing homework that afternoon because I didn’t do homework, but I was a bit surprised when she grabbed my arm and ushered me into her parents bedroom. Have you ever seen one of these? she asked and raised up what I now know to be the Hitachi Wand.
What is that, I asked.
It’s a massager. Come on. She grabbed my arm and led me into the living room to the couch. Here, she said and dropped the wand on the couch. Kim quickly moved to the front door and didn’t just lock the deadbolt, but put the chain in place.
Plug it in, she said as she reached for the TV remote and started changing channels. I plugged the wand in and sat on the couch and waited.
Okay, this is as good as it’s gonna get, she said and flopped down on the couch next to me.
The screen was fuzzy with that static black and white thing happening, but had little hints here and there of bodies moving. The sound of people talking and moaning started to become clear. I slowly began to realize she had put sex on TV. I went to hand her the wand, assuming that she wanted it, but she said No. That's for you. Turn it on and put it between your legs.
Trust me… Here. The low setting, she said and pushed the button down. Put it between your legs and watch the TV.
So I did. I remember briefly looking over to see her hands in her pants and she was rubbing herself. She looked at me and then nodded back to the TV.
I’ll never forget the tingling sensation that started at the bottom of my feet before making its way through my entire core; this trembling, then rupture… and then her parents banging at the front door to get in. Before I knew what was happening, she grabbed the wand, told me to be cool and quickly ran it back under her parents bed. I sat on the couch frozen and drained, unsure what to do as she opened the front door.
Kim, what the hell are you doing? Why are the doors locked?!
Nothing, she screamed. We weren't doing anything. Just trying to find something to watch on TV.
Her parents walked around looking for clues. They went into their room and looked under the bed.
I knew she was in trouble. I also knew they knew what we were doing but this time, any feelings associated with getting in trouble or being ‘bad’, did not register.
Nor did the fact that I had just had my first orgasm.
I mine as well had had a shot of morphine. Nothing mattered and I didn’t care about anything. I was fucked dumb.
What also didn’t register until much later in life, was that she was masturbating to me masturbating. I didn’t figure this out on my own. I was on a date when the Wand came up and I mentioned my first time using it.
You know she was getting off to you, right?
What? No, we were watching Skinemax.
No, you were watching Skinemax. She was watching you.
I sat there for a moment thinking back on the scene and considered it from his perspective.
Oh my god, she WAS watching me!!
But why? Why would she watch me, someone who didn’t know how to have sex, had never even touched themselves, when she could watch ‘professionals’ on tv having it?
I didn’t get it.
But here I was, watching two people in their living room with a random cat meow-mixing around, practically wetting myself. Though professional actors, there was nothing ‘pro’ about it.
What resonated was genuine desire, authentic moving and moaning, the natural setting. This was a far cry from what I understood Porn to be.
A number of years later I was interviewing a therapist on my podcast about consent when Porn came up. I mentioned that I wasn’t really into it. Somehow this found its way into the ears of the marketing person over at Bellesa, a porn site for women. They wanted to see if I would partner with them and offered me all access to their site. I realized it was a bit unfair of me to rule out all Porn if I had never seen it from the female gaze. Something that wasn’t available until only recently.
At the time I was seeing someone. You can imagine his disbelief, errr excitement when I called and said, I have this work thing I’d like your help with.
What is it?
Test out a porn site to see if I’m into it.
Are you serious?
Are you in?
First of all, let me just say Bellesa is like Netflix with endless categories and selections. Secondly, it was not unlike a drug for me. I was shocked to watch my brain go from, look at that; to what’s that; to whoa go back to that. Rinse. Repeat.
After a week of deep, focused research I came to the conclusion (literally) that Porn, even from the female gaze and added storylines, made me think more than feel. I couldn’t get behind it.
Until one day, I was in bed and all in my head, unable to cum. Apprehensive, but desperate I went back to the aforementioned feminist porn site.
As I scrolled through, I noticed a video playing out on the screen as a preview. It showed a woman in the kitchen making a bowl of cereal with a little cotton tank and thong on.
I dress just like, I thought…
and I love cereal.
A man approaches her from behind and starts grabbing at her ass. He pulls her thong to the side and dives his face straight in. It was then I realized their faces were blurred out.
The entire video had me. He bent over the counter and started fucking her from behind.
It was sex but like sex that I would have.
Finally, they are in the laundry room banging it out and I’m screaming ‘I love laundry’.
When we finished, I clicked out of the video and saw the heading ‘Amateur Porn’ above the video.
Wait, what is that? It was exactly as it sounded; home videos of regular people getting off for regular people to enjoy.
I thought back again to Kim watching me on the couch. She knew then what took me 30 more years to discover.
I really am just an amateur.
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