I hope I can keep things going with The Pedant. I like the sex and I like watching cartoons and cuddling with him. He’s good at talking me down when I’m anxious and I’m good at helping him navigate interpersonal situations.
But it occurred to me that a big reason we’ve been getting along well is that he hasn’t done a couple of my pet peeves in a while: namely, spewed gender essentialist bullshit or bragged about his sexual prowess. And I doubted that those tendencies would just vanish. Probably it’s just a coincidental lapse.
The Pedant came over for the weekend and it was amazing – amazing – right up until it wasn’t.
On Day 2 of his visit, shortly before bed, he helped me freshen up my hairdo and while the electric razor was still out and had the half-inch attachment on it, I asked how The Pedant would feel about me trimming his (totally au naturel for as long as I’ve known him,easily three-inch-long) pubes. He asked why he should bother doing that and I said “so I can grab your cock without pulling your hair. So I can give you a hand job without any chance of pubes getting rolled into your foreskin. And I guess there’s the whole ‘duuuuuude it totally makes your dick look bigger!’ thing, although I don’t care about that.”
He said that he’s actually never done any manscaping, ever, and doesn’t want to because the trimmed hair would be prickly – not soft like it is now – and would probably irritate people’s skin. Fair enough. But then he added something like “Besides, I don’t think I have to worry about my cock size. The way women gasp when I shove it into them tells me they like it just fine. For that matter I always make sure they’re so aroused beforehand that they’re moaning and desperate and would probably let me shove anything inside them.”
Jesus. I’m poly and I think fairly level-headed and un-jealous, but it’s jarring as fuck to be naked and receiving loving attention from someone and have him suddenly drop a line like that. It’s also absolutely infuriating to hear him go on and on about his amazing sexual prowess when he’s failed so hard at sex with me. Like, either he’s lying/deluded with this shit or he has phenomenal bedroom skills that he’s inexplicably using on everyone but me (care to guess which is more likely? 😛 ).
Anyway I dismissively replied “Yes, yes. You’re a master of sex. I’ve heard all the stores. All the many, completely unsolicited stories.” I was checking out my haircut in the mirror at that point and didn’t see the look on his face. He stopped talking about women clamouring for his dick, though.
A few minutes later, Strike Two: somehow we got on the subject of sex again and he was like “See, this is why I’ve never deliberately had a one-night stand. I always figure, if the sex was fun, why not do it again?”
“That’s what I always say!” I said. “I don’t understand why so many guys don’t feel the same w- oh, wait, of course. It’s because sex is defined around guys’ orgasms. Most sex is gonna get the job done, for guys. For women it’s a lot more of a crap shoot.”
The Pedant said “That’s why my philosophy in sex is to make sure my partner gets off as many times as possible. I make sure she enjoys herself so she’ll keep coming back.”
Oh, is it, now? That’s his philosophy? To get women off and make sure they enjoy themselves? OMG I CAN’T EVEN WITH THIS.
Here’s the thing: I like my sex life with The Pedant right now. I’ve made some compromises and changes and gotten things to a point where I’m pretty happy. But what was making me unhappy before is that I would lavish sexual attention on him for hours and he happily soaked that right up while only rarely doing the same for me. And when he did try to get me off, he completely ignored my explicit instructions and usually just ended up making me too raw/numb/sore to come so we gave up on it.
I think I could have continued our relationship without any particular bitterness over past issues if he would ever learn to STFU. But hearing him rewrite history to cast himself as the world’s greatest lover? Fuck that.
Oh, and his gender essentialism habit came back, too – during that same conversation he said something about how men may not want to ask for direction in bed, but if you tell them what you want they’ll eagerly do it because they do want to get a woman off. Which, first off, apparently The Pedant is forgetting that I once tore him a new asshole via email for NOT LISTENING TO MY DIRECTIONS. Secondly, HAHAHAHAHA no. Guys – in general, as a group – are not eager to get their partner off and the only thing stopping them is not knowing how. I mean, some are, but it’s not like every woman having unsatisfying sex just needs to tell her partner how to get her off and everything would be fine. I told The Pedant that I have in fact been in established relationships where I gave my partner an orgasm and when I asked him to return the favour he outright told me “no.” The Pedant got the look of baffled stubbornness on his face that he always gets when I give him data that runs counter to his view of the world.
I further pointed out that he wasn’t very forthcoming with giving me orgasms. “You always make me come so hard I pass out!” he protested. “I can’t make you come after you’ve made me come.” And I was like yeah, fine, but he wasn’t exactly offering to pleasure me when he woke up the next morning, either. He was seriously lacking in initiative in that department to a point where I actually told him to up his game. Not that he remembers this, of course, because it contradicts his conviction that he cares about his partners’ orgasms.
And that’s the thing about The Pedant. He thinks he’s a tremendously logical, rational person but he’s just not. He has these particular views of himself and of the world and he cherry-picks data that support those views and ignores everything else. Which I guess most people do; I do. But if you show me a bunch of things that run counter to my assumptions, I’m willing to entertain the notion that I was mistaken. I am aware that I’m fallible and biased. The Pedant appears to believe he is not fallible. He thinks he has all of human nature figured out – while in the next breath telling me that he thinks he’s on the autism spectrum or a high-functioning sociopath, that he doesn’t understand people, that he lacks empathy, that he doesn’t pick up on body language cues, etc. And he can’t see that this is a contradiction and he won’t process any information that runs counter to his belief system.
I tried to ignore the ball of fury building up inside me. As I said, I’ve been enjoying my time with The Pedant and hoping we would grow even closer and the relationship would blossom into something long(er) term. If I admit that he’s still kind of a delusional asshole, then I have to admit to myself that our relationship is probably doomed because he will eventually irritate me with his delusions and hypocrisy until I stab him.
But I couldn’t just let his stupidity go by without calling him on it.
I gave myself ten minutes or so to calm down and then told him “Hey, for future reference: I do not need to hear about how much other women enjoy sex with you.”
“Oh. Okay,” The Pedant said. Not sulkily or anything. Cheerfully/agreeably. Perhaps a bit surprised that it had bothered me.
But I found that this didn’t satisfy me; the crux of the issue isn’t that he makes overly graphic statements about his sex life with other people, it’s that these statements are goddamned delusional and he’s telling them to me of all people. And that he has this written-in-stone view of the world that just won’t change even in the face of overwhelming evidence that he is wrong.
So I broached the subject of his cherry-picking of information. Using his “I give every woman I sleep with all the orgasms!” bullshit as an example of his believing a thing when it is demonstrably not true.
Unfortunately the discussion quickly devolved back into the old “Look, I don’t see how you’d even know these women were enjoying themselves. You certainly can’t tell with me. Plus you’re constantly saying you don’t pick up on body language and social cues so forgive me if I don’t believe your grandiose claims about how awesome you are at pleasuring other women.” “It’s just you I can’t tell with! You and your subtle, hard-to-read orgasms! With them I totally for sure knew that they were orgasming! Lots!” argument loop.
Finally I was like “Well, okay, I know ‘subtle’ is subjective, but for the record, about forty other guys have had no trouble telling when I’ve come. And in fact the first time you said I was so ‘subtle’ I took a poll of a handful of partners and exes and asked if my orgasms were hard to distinguish and the unanimous answer was ‘HAHAHA NO.’ So, I mean…if you can’t tell with me then what the hell are you used to? In your experience, what are other women like when they come?”
He said “I’m accustomed to screaming. It’s a lot more theatrical.” NO SHIT HE ACTUALLY SAID THAT. HE SAID THAT HE IS ACCUSTOMED TO THEATRICAL SCREAMING. HE LITERALLY USED THE WORD “THEATRICAL.” WITHOUT IRONY.
And I was like “Ohhhh dude. Dude. I think you need to consider that these women – maybe not all of them, but several at least – were faking it.”
(Also, can we just notice for a moment that he’s only mentioning sounds here as his proof that someone’s orgasmed? Not breathing or body tension or a flushed face or Kegels pulsating or anything else? If I felt like being uncharitable here, I could suggest that The Pedant isn’t aware of any of these other signs of orgasm because he’s never seen any of them because his exes were all doing terrible, campy, fake porn-screams instead of actually ever orgasming. It would explain why his one and only concept of female orgasm is a woman yelling her fool head off. But he does say that he misses a lot of social cues etc. so I’m going to be nice and assume that he genuinely got at least some of his partners off and he simply never noticed that there are signs of climax that go beyond just making noise. Well, making noise and grabbing at stuff. He mentioned grabbing/clutching at stuff as a big sign of orgasm, too.)
And of course The Pedant’s reaction to this was to get even more baffled and stubborn-looking and to sputter for a while about how it could not possibly be true. “But if I didn’t get them off then they wouldn’t have invited me back,” he concluded, finally.
“You were terrible at getting me off and I kept asking you back,” I pointed out.
“Because there are two separate components to sex. With us, anyway. There’s the part where I do things to you, and the part where you do things to me. I really, really like how strongly you react when I do things to you. It seemed worth keeping you around for even though you were lax with the other part.”
“Well, but some of these women were long-term partners of mine! A person wouldn’t stay with someone who didn’t get them off! They wouldn’t fake it! They just wouldn’t date the guy!”
“I stuck around,” I pointed out (and actually I only just remembered this right now but I’m his longest relationship). “Also, dude. There are women who have been married for twenty years who faked it every time. It happens.”
“But why? Why would a woman fake an orgasm?”
“I was tempted to with you, once. Because you were ignoring my clearly stated instructions and doing things that actually hurt and I was thinking ‘all I have to do is fake it and all of this can be over.'”
“Oh god. Don’t ever fake orgasms with me.”
“I won’t. I didn’t. Because then I’d be actively teaching you that the awful things you were doing were good, and there’s no goddamned way I’m gonna do that. But the thing with you is, you couldn’t seem to comprehend the idea that you weren’t doing what I wanted. No amount of ‘ow not so hard’ or ‘up a little, please, and faster’ would sink in. Ever. If I said I couldn’t come because ‘oh, sorry, I seem to be having an off day,’ you would accept that and stop, but if I said I needed you to do something different…you’d just keep right on going like I hadn’t even spoken. The only way out of the situation was to either fake an orgasm or fake having an ‘off day’. So I guess I did the second thing. Other women might do the first thing. It’s an easy way of satisfying the guy’s pride and making him stop with whatever annoying thing he’s doing.”
“Well, [ex girlfriend] couldn’t lie to me if her life depended on it, so…” He was still trying to insist that nobody could possibly ever have faked it with him. I just shrugged.
What I wish I’d said was “Okay, well, with me you would ignore what I was asking you to do and do things that hurt or irritated me, instead. So are you saying you didn’t do that with any other partner? That with everyone else you did exactly what she asked for and therefore her orgasms must have been genuine? If that’s the case, then I have to ask why you chose just me to deliberately ignore.” To which, hopefully, he would have said that he didn’t ignore me on purpose/didn’t realize he was doing that/blah blah blah and I could have pointed out that if he didn’t know he was doing it with me, then isn’t there a pretty good chance he was doing the same shit to other people?
But it was late at night and he was going to leave the next morning and I just didn’t want to get into some whole huge thing and end the visit on a bad note. I let the discussion kinda trail off. At the time I even felt contrite for throwing all that old “you are not good in bed” shit back in his face when he’s trying to do better. And a little while later, when he casually caressed my head and I moaned and leaned on him and he got the hint to caress it a whole bunch more, I said “I don’t plan on dredging up shit from the past all the time, by the way. I want to put the bedroom issues behind us. But I suppose I still have a little bit of bitterness about it, and when I hear you bragging about how you’re soooooo great in bed that every woman is dying to fall on your dick…..”
He was like “Understood.” And that was that. We had sex and cuddlesleeps and in the morning he kissed me goodbye and everything is fine. Basically.
Does he understand, though? I mean a bunch of months ago I sent him that blistering email that flat-out said “YOU ARE TERRIBLE AT PLEASURING ME” – I’m not paraphrasing – and he’s still claiming to be awesome in bed. To me, the person who wrote that email.
And it’s frustrating, because it’s hard saying hurtful things like that to someone. Especially when you care about them. Took me like two years or something to get up the nerve to tell The Pedant how bad he sucked in bed. And to drop a bomb like that and have it be pretty much ignored is just…like, I feel so powerless. Because if you do the brave thing – if you stop hinting or sugarcoating or being nice and summon all your courage and flat-out use your words as bluntly and clearly as possible and the person still doesn’t acknowledge them…then what do you do? Which reminds me of a whole other thing I want to rant about (concerning someone else) but that’s another entry.
On a side note, The Pedant mentioned during our conversation last night that I’m the only woman he’s known who bursts into giggles (or sometimes tears) after an orgasm (apparently my giggles are the only way he can tell I’ve had one, sometimes – because moaning ecstatically and breathing hard while visible muscle contractions ripple up through my stomach and rhythmically pull my shoulders and hips off the mattress and my face and chest flush red doesn’t mean anything…). Which…I’ve heard a fair number of women say that they laugh or cry after a particularly intense climax, so I’m not saying that his never having seen this is definitely further evidence that The Pedant’s exes were all, or mostly, faking, butttttt…
Anyway I’m still angry about that exchange, and exasperated that The Pedant still probably thinks of himself as some big Casanova. Because on my end, where his sexual usefulness is concerned? My philosophy is, for real, “He can just do g-spot stuff for now while I get myself off. He’s okay at the g-spot stuff. Maybe one day, if he proves to me that he’s ready for big-boy responsibilities, I’ll let him actually hold the Hitachi. But not yet.” You guys, I don’t trust him to put a vibrator on me and wiggle it around because he might fuck it up. And he thinks of himself as someone who is amazing in bed and gives women all the (theatrical, screaming) orgasms.