Post Socratic Dialogues: Sex-Positivity: 4
By Greg Scorzo –
Post-Socratic Dialogues are moving thought experiments. They portray elaborate, unfolding situations which, at every turn, force the reader to examine his or her philosophical intuitions about a range of topics. These dialogues are called “Post-Socratic” because there is no Socrates figure, telling the reader which arguments (if any) are the best ones. The reader decides that on their own.
“Without deviation from the norm, progress is not possible.” – Frank Zappa
“And in the end, the love you take is equal to the love you make.” – The Beatles
Lena goes to buy the bottled water, her second cappucino, her croissant, and two chocolate cookies. As Lena is waiting patiently in an unusually long line, three middle-aged, bookish men hit on Davis. They all have British accents. Lena loves listening to them speak. The way they hit on Davis is unusually charming and polite. They seem to know a lot about politics, history, and literature. Lena is impressed. She thinks of how much she’d enjoy spending her afternoon with these guys, instead of Davis.
One of them has a cool looking vaporizer in his hand, next to an old-fashioned chain watch which dangles out of his pocket. The second bookish man asks Davis if she likes Alice Munroe, because Lena’s books are now on the table where Davis is waiting for her. This man is wearing a 1940s raincoat and has a wax mustache. When Davis responds that she loves Alice Munroe, a third bookish man says things which suggest he’s read most of Alice Munroe’s works. He’s the wittiest of the three. And he’s wearing a cool pin stripe jacket that looks like it’s from the early 60s. It looks good on him, despite the fact that unlike his other bookish friends, he’s not skinny.
Lena loves the fact that these are the sort of people you can randomly bump into in a place like Pasadena.
Davis just looks annoyed by these men. After a few minutes, she asks them why they decided to talk to her. The not-so skinny one says (with some irony) that he noticed what Davis was reading, and thought she’d be an interesting conversationalist. Davis responds, “What a relief! Cuz you know, in case you were wondering, I don’t fuck old men with bad breath. Especially not fat dudes with sausage fingers.”
Davis smiles at the trio sarcastically.
Lena rolls her eyes in absolute disgust.
She can’t believe how much she hates Davis in this moment. The bookish men leave the café with offended looks on their faces. Lena then brings her tray with the water, the cappucino, the croissant, and the two cookies back to the table where Davis is waiting for her.
Davis is once again, completely unaware of how Lena is feeling.
Both women resume their conversation.
Davis: (annoyed) I hate assholes like that!
Lena: They weren’t assholes, Davis. They were just British.
Davis: But they were interrupting our conversation! They can’t fucking do that without getting permission. This is America!
Lena: Well, from what I could see, it looked like they wanted to talk to you about Alice Munroe. They sounded like kindred spirits, to be honest.
Davis: (rolling eyes) They were trying to fuck me, Lena. Hello?
Lena: Well, maybe. But maybe they also wanted to have an interesting conversation. The two aren’t mutually exclusive.
Davis: If you have good game with chicks, you don’t make it look like you’re trying to fuck them. That’s just creepy. Guys like that would never have a chance with me, anyway.
Lena: I didn’t get a creepy vibe from them, and I heard everything they said to you. All it sounded like was they wanted to talk about books and politics, and maybe the European Union. It seemed like they thought you might be, I don’t know…an interesting person. That’s all I saw and heard. It was three nice, smart men who were looking to start a conversation with an attractive woman because she had some cool books beside her.
Davis: If that’s true, they shouldn’t have tried to start a conversation with me.
Lena: But why? Since when did men talking to women they find attractive become this horribly rude thing?
Davis: If a man wants to talk to a woman, he’s gotta make sure she likes him first. That’s how it is.
Lena: And how’s he supposed to know whether or not you like him?
Davis: He’s gotta be hot and wait for me to stare at him. If you noticed, I didn’t do that with those dicks. I wasn’t staring at them. At all.
Lena: (sighing) …I did notice that, Davis.
Davis: I don’t have to give gaga eyes to creepy fucking old dudes. I have standards.
Lena: But aren’t WE allowed to talk to the guys that we like? We’re not supposed to wait for them to make gaga eyes at us before we can speak to them, are we?
Davis: Of course not. Men and women are different.
Lena: You mean there’s a different etiquette for men and women.
Davis: It doesn’t matter whether or not it’s etiquette. You don’t talk to women before they talk to you. With women, you speak when spoken to. Those guys broke the fucking rules.
Lena: Maybe. But they did seem like nice people though. They didn’t seem aggressive or anything.
Davis: (smiling affectionately) Well, they weren’t as nice as you. Maybe that’s what I’m trying to say.
Lena: (looking down, with a look of confusion) I don’t think I’m being very nice today.
Lena: I’m feeling things I don’t normally feel.
Davis: Like what….?
Lena: (softly) I’m normally nicer than this. I don’t normally feel hate.
Davis: (smiling) What are you talking about? You don’t hate anybody.
Lena: You’re making me feel…I don’t know..
Davis: (confused)..What is it? Tell me what you’re feeling, sweetie.
Lena: (confused) I’m feeling impulsive.
Lena: Yeah, like I’m not in control. It’s weird.
Davis: Is that why you got two cookies and a croissant?
Lena: (smiling) Maybe.
Davis: (smiling seductively) Well, let me tell you something Lena. I love making you feel impulsive. In fact, I wish I could make you more impulsive.
Lena: It’s not just that. It’s like I’m changing.
Davis: Change is good, Lena. I love change.
Lena: (smiling affectionately to Davis) I know you do.
Davis: You are such a control freak, though. You’ve been like that way ever since we were kids. Every time we played a game, you had to make sure we were always sticking to the rules. I’m surprised I played with you as much as I did.
Lena: You were always breaking my rules.
Davis: (flirtaciously) Oh, I still am, Lena. I intend to break all your rules.
Lena: I think you already have.
Davis: Good cuz I’m just so happy we ran into each other today. I never expected this to happen, today of all days. It’s like a little miracle.
Lena: I’m happy you’re happy.
Davis: I needed you to be here today. Subconsciously, I think I brought you to me.
Lena: What does that mean?
Davis: The universe always takes care of me.
Lena: (sarcastically) Yeah, it took you out of poetry and straight into porn.
Davis: I know this is weird, but my thoughts can get so crazy sometimes and there’s no one in my life to help me understand them. There’s nobody who can do that like you can. Ben can’t do it. And I can’t burden Max with it with anymore, now that he’s a grumpy fucking teenager.
Lena: It’s probably best not to burden him with it.
Davis: But you…you just get me. And when I lose that for years, it feels like in some way, I’m losing myself. Even when things are going really well.
Lena: Well, thank you sweetie. I appreciate that.
Davis: I’ve missed you so much, Lena. You know, there’s so many fucking times I think about sending you an IM on Facebook.
Lena: Well then why don’t you?
Davis: I guess I’m just too nervous you might be busy. I don’t want to bother you. I’m always afraid I’d be wasting your time.
Lena: You don’t waste my time, Davis. I’ve known you since you were five.
Davis: I just feel sometimes like….I’m not interesting enough to talk to you. You read way more than me. You know so much more than me about a million fucking things. You’re like a professor now. In fact, that’s not even true. YOU ARE a professor.
Lena: What does that have to do with anything?
Davis: You’re so …articulate and smart and successful. You do everything so well. You’ve got this like, encyclopedic knowledge of so many books I wanna read and will never have the time to finish. You have a great new apartment, a great career, and all these cool people you get to chat with all the time.
Lena: But why does that mean I can’t talk to you?
Davis: It just feels like…you have everything in your life. It’s like, compared to you, I’m really fucking boring. I still live in Downey.
Lena: Well, I would never describe you as boring, Davis. You may be many things, but boring isn’t one of them.
Davis: I hope not because I need you, Lena. I need you at the moment.
Lena: Why do you feel you need me?
Davis: My life just doesn’t feel right. It doesn’t feel right when you’re not in it. I can’t say it any clearer than that.
Lena: I don’t really know what to say to that, Davis.
Davis moves her chair so that she’s now sitting right next to Lena. She grabs Lena’s hand underneath the table. While holding her hand, Davis looks at Lena with a lost, desperate look in her eyes. Lena doesn’t really know how she should react to this.
Davis: There’s no one I can talk to about Max. Ben doesn’t get Max like you do. You’ve only met him once but you totally understand him as a person. On Facebook, when you write on his threads, I read everything you say to him. And it’s like you just know who you’re dealing with. You get Max and Ben. I can always tell when someone else can do that. I look at both of their threads, every night. I’m always watching their Facebook shit, even though I rarely post anything.
Lena: (slightly worried) You know, I hadn’t thought of that.
Davis: I see what you write on both of their timelines and it just floors me, how good you are at talking to two such different people.
Lena: Well, Ben’s a meat and potatoes guy. Max is complicated. That’s who they are. That’s how I navigate the two of them.
Davis: You know, I wish it was the other way around.
Lena: What do you mean?
Davis: I would find my life so easy if I had a simple son and a complicated, cerebral husband. That’s what I always wanted. That’s what I always thought would happen, when we were in high school.
Lena: But that’s not what actually happened.
Davis: (looking very sad) I know it’s not.
Lena: It may be a cliché, but you never know what you want until you take it.
Davis: That’s probably true.
Lena: It’s pretty silly to try and predict what kinda romantic partner you’ll spend the rest of your life with. The partner you fall for almost NEVER turns out to be what you dream about, when you’re fantasizing. Your biggest crushes never want you back.
Davis: Yeah…I guess they don’t, do they?
Lena: In the end, you just fall for the person who falls for you. The person you’d never in a million years predict would be “the one.” It’s always a huge surprise. If you could predict the love of your life, there’d be no point in meeting that person.
Davis: That’s sooo true. Nobody ever winds up with their “type.” They always wind up with someone you think they’d hate.
Lena: Is that why you hate Ben?
Davis: No, I don’t hate him. I’d love him ….if he were my son. He’s like a nice, dutiful son I could be proud of. But I don’t want a fucking son in my bed, I want a lover. I want to be with someone like…
Lena: Like, who?
Davis: Like you, Lena.
Lena: (surprised) Me?
Davis: Yeah, I guess should come out and just say it. I wish I was in a relationship with someone like you. You are so my type, it’s not even funny.
Lena: But I thought you said I wasn’t pretty enough to be in porn.
Davis: I’m not attracted to you because you’re pretty. I cum thinking about who you are. On the few occasions I still masterbate, I almost always think of you.
Lena: (shocked) You get off thinking about me?
Davis: I have for twenty years. On and off.
Lena: (shocked and surprised) Jesus…..I had no idea. Really, I mean..
Davis: (interrupting) Your mind amazes me, Lena. It’s so deep and complex and mysterious. I could live inside your mind, and let me tell you, that is SO fucking sexy.
Lena: (flattered) Really?
Davis: I could love you like nobody could ever love you.
Lena: (smiling) Well, you have a son who is a lot like me. You can love him, but that’ll have to do.
Davis: What do you mean?
Lena: Unfortunately my dear, I’m straight as an arrow.
Davis: (smiling) You’re not straight.
Lena: No Davis, I am straight. Very very straight.
Davis: (smiling) You’re not straight, Lena. Not by a long shot. But you’ll have to trust me about that.
Lena: (annoyed) How would you know whether or not I’m straight?
Davis: (smiling flirtaciously) Let me break it down for you, honey. A straight woman is just a chick who hasn’t had the good fortune of having my tongue twirl around in her.
Lena: (sarcastically) Isn’t there a name for this? Straight-erasure? Or is it heterophobia?
Davis: I’ve met so many chicks who THINK they aren’t curious.
Lena: (rolling eyes) Of course you have.
Davis: Look at my tongue Lena.
Davis sticks out her long tongue for Lena to admire.
Lena: Yes, you have a long and pointy tongue. Big deal. It’s kinda like….that old guy from Kiss. Gene Simmons, or whatever his name is.
Davis: (smiling) I told you I wasn’t a normal woman.
Lena: You certainly aren’t normal! You’re fucking crazy.
Davis: (smiling) I’ve always been crazy for you.
Lena: I think you’re just crazy.
Davis: (looking into Lena’s eyes) Then tell me you’ve never thought about having sex with me, Lena. I dare you.
Lena: (smiling flirtaciously) I’ve never thought about having sex with you.
Davis starts to stroke Lena’s arm. Lena doesn’t pull away.
Davis: (giggling) Well, fortunately for you, I’ll never believe that. I’ll never believe that cuz I know you bitch. I know you way more than you think I do.
Lena: And what do you think you know about me?
Davis: I know what you’re thinking. I can see it in your eyes.
Lena: (rolling eyes) And what can you see me thinking about?
Davis: (bringing her face close to Lena) I’ve seen you thinking about my mouth.
Lena: (with a raised eyebrow) Thinking about your mouth?
Davis: (smiling) Thinking…about…my mouth…doing this…
Davis slowly moves forward likes she’s about to kiss Lena. When Lena moves forward, Davis pulls away and laughs at her. Lena is slightly embarrassed.
Davis: (giggling) I told you!
Lena: That doesn’t prove anything.
Davis: It proves you’ve been thinking about my mouth, wondering about my legs, dreaming about my finger tips. It’s in your body language. I can see it in you, right now. It’s written all over you.
Lena: You are so fucking weird.
Davis: (flirtaciously) I know what you’d like me to do to you. I can tell from the way you carry yourself, when you look at me.
Lena: (smiling) Dream on, Davis.
Davis: (softly and with an intense look in her eyes) And while I don’t like to brag, I’ve gotten so good at eating pussy, Lena. You wouldn’t believe how good I’ve become in the last year.
Lena: Davis, this isn’t really the place to..
Davis: (interrupting) I’d make you feel fucking amazing things, Lena. I’ll make you forget who you are.
Lena: I prefer to remember.
Davis: (softly) Have you ever had a girl’s tongue on your pussy?
Lena: (giggling) I think you should lower your voice, Davis.
Davis: (giggling) You’re talking louder than I am!
Lena: (giggling)…Maybe I am.
Davis: (smiling flirtaciously) Should I be more quiet? Is that what you’d like from me, Lena?
Lena: (flirtaciously) Maybe. Maybe not.
Davis: Ok, here’s some very very quiet, very very reverse psychology.
Lena: You know about reverse psychology?
Davis: (whispering with fake seriousness) DO NOT COME TO THE BATHROOM WITH ME LENA.
Lena: (smiling mischievously) Why not?
Davis: (Davis leans over and whispers in Lena’s ear) If you come to the ladies room with me, you’ll make Davis very very angry. Then I’ll have to punish you. I’ll have to take you to a stall, pull down your panties, wiggle my big pointy tongue all over you, and force you to cum hard on my fucking face. Don’t do it, Lena. Whatever you do, please don’t come to the bathroom with me. Pleeeeease…
Lena: (smiling mischieviously) Ok, I won’t come to the bathroom with you.
Davis: (pouting like a child) It didn’t work!
Lena: So you think I should come with you to the bathroom then?
Davis: Yes. I think you should.
Lena: But why oh why, Davis?
Davis: (matter of factly) Because I’m amazing at sex.
Lena: You’ve mentioned that already.
Davis: (smiling) I’m amazing, you’re amazing …and I love you, Lena. But not just because I think we should have sex in a public place.
Lena: You love me?
Davis: My body needs to love you, I think. It’s like feeling broody.
Lena removes Davis’s hand from her arm
Lena: Are you feeling broody now?
Davis: No, I’ve only felt broody once when I was a teenager. That’s why I had Max.
Lena: That’s bizarre, Davis.
Davis: Yeah, it’s amazing I was able to find a guy who allowed me to have a child at that age. I think it’s terrible how girls are encouraged to wait until they’re 30, before they have kids.
Lena: Well, I’m not so sure I agree with you about that. But I will say this: Your son is certainly amazing. He’s one of the coolest kids I’ve ever met.
Davis: (with pride) He is amazing.
Lena: You know, I loved that essay he posted about Gabriel Garcia Marquez the other day. I read it twice. I couldn’t believe a 14 year old wrote that. It could get published and no one would know. It’s that fucking good.
Davis: (smiling) It’s such a weird experience having a kid like Max for a son. It makes me feel horribly inadequate, even though it’s also pretty magical.
Lena: You shouldn’t feel inadequate. You’ve influenced him a lot. That’s why he’s so cool. His mother knows a good book.
Davis: He’s influenced me!
Lena: (smiling) I bet.
Davis: It’s depressing though.
Davis: It sucks having a kid whose so much cooler than my husband.
Lena: Well, being cool isn’t as important as being good.
Davis: Yeah, but being in a happy relationship isn’t about being a good person. It’s about finding someone you click with.
Lena: But you did click with Ben. Very strongly. I saw it.
Davis: I don’t think we did, Lena. I think I was just attracted to him, and excited to be a mom. I think because of that, I projected this imaginary person onto him that turned out NOT to be the guy I wound up raising my kid with. Ben’s not that person. He’s a boring person.
Lena: Maybe, but you can still work through that together. What you’re describing is very common.
Davis: I don’t care if it’s common, Lena. Being normal that way is like a tragic story. It’s a Cora Sandel novel.
Lena: Well, like it or not, you didn’t choose to fall in love with somebody like Max. You fell in love with Ben, and you had a kid whose a lot like the kind of guy you wanted to fall in love with. You have to deal with that, Davis.
Davis: I know I do. It’s my life, whether I like it or not.
Lena: It is. It’s the life you created for yourself. If you wanted something different, something different would have happened.
Davis: At least I got Max out of all of this shit.
Lena: Yes you did. So there’s something you can be happy about.
Davis: Max is like…..someone we used to crush on. He looks so old for his age. And he’s so beautiful.
Lena: That’s not exactly true.
Davis: You don’t think he’s handsome?
Lena: No, I meant when we were teenagers, people like Max were the age we are now. We never met anybody like that who was also a teenager.
Davis: That’s part of why it’s so hard to be a good parent to him. It’s really fucking hard to know that a kid like Max actually thinks his mom is doing an ok job, you know?
Lena: Well, it seems like you want more than just to do a good job. You want Max’s approval.
Davis: I’ll get it eventually. We’ll get close again. I’ll make it happen.
Lena: His friendship is really important to you, isn’t it?
Davis: Max is the only person I ALWAYS enjoy talking to, whenever I can get a conversation out of him. No one is more interesting. No one makes me laugh more. No one even looks after me the way he does, Lena. When I’m sick, he’s the one who brings me chicken soup and gets aspirin. He takes my temperature. He does this way before Ben even notices I’m sick.
Lena: Well, he likes protecting you. You’re his mom.
Davis: Max is the man in my house who used to tell me I was beautiful every day. It wasn’t Ben. It was my fucking kid.
Lena: Well, that’s not something boys typically do. Max is unique.
Davis: He could understand my poems. He could even understand why I think Ben is a shitty Dad. It’s like Max always knew why I was pissed off about anything. He instinctively understood just what to say to make me feel good. He even knew the right words to use. And he could do all of that before he hit puberty, Lena. He’s a fucking prodigy. It’s scary how mature he is.
Lena: But why is it so important that he’s proud of you? He’s your son. Parents are supposed to be proud of their kids. Not the other way around.
Davis: It’s hard to explain it. All I can say is… he’s the most incredible person I’ve ever met, and he’s my kid. That doesn’t happen to most people. Most people tolerate their kids, but not me. I’ve never liked anyone as much as I like Max. I don’t even feel like a mom. It feels more emotional than that. It feels deeper than anything I’ve ever felt about anyone.
Lena: Some people might say that’s not so healthy though, Davis
Davis: Do you know how most parents say they would die for their children?
Davis: I don’t feel that way. I feel like I live for Max.
Lena: So is your life, in a sense, his life?
Davis: Lena, I can admit who I am. I’m a difficult person. I know that. I’m creative but I’m also an attention whore. I’m bored and restless. I’m spiteful and vindictive a lot of the time. I don’t enjoy people, unless they’re useful to me in some way. Most of the time, people don’t like me either and I don’t fucking blame them. I’m the first to admit I’m not a good wife. I can’t stand my husband and aside from you, I don’t really have any friends.
Lena: I didn’t realise things were this bad.
Davis: So what am I good at? I’m good at fucking and making films that turn people on. I can run fast, I have a high tolerance for pain, and I’m a good business woman.
Lena: Is that all you think you’re good for?
Davis: Well, there’s a few other things. I’m good at getting people excited about shit. I’m good at co-ordinating events and being a hostess. I can do coding and sometimes design a decent website. Sometimes I’m funny, I’m really pretty, and my body always looks great. But that’s about it. I’m not even a good cook.
Lena: But Davis, you can always get better at anything you put your mind to. There’s always ways you can improve yourself. I’m always improving myself. I’m never satisfied with where I’m at in my life. Ever. That’s how I achieve things.
Davis: But I don’t need to change, Lena. You know why?
Davis: Because I’m a good mother. That’s the one thing I can give to another person. I can fail everybody else. But not Max. He’s the one person I can make proud of me.
Lena: Well…maybe the problem is you’re not making it easy for Max to be proud of you.
Davis: I’m doing the best I can, Lena. Like I said, he’ll come around eventually.
Lena: But how can he? Max isn’t allowed to interact in any way with your career. How on earth can he be proud of you for it?
Davis: Well, I can be proud of him for being a good husband in twenty years. I don’t have to marry him to be proud of him for that. He doesn’t have to watch my porn to be proud of me for doing it.
Lena: Yeah, but you’ll get to meet the Bride. You get to go to the wedding. You might get grandkids. You’ll get to have a relationship with the two of them.
Davis: So what?
Lena: Well, I was just thinking: You want your son to be proud of you for doing porn. Yet he can’t have sex with any of the women you have sex with. He can’t watch you have sex with any of those women. It doesn’t matter how beautiful they are. Or how beautiful you are. He can’t even watch you with guys.
Davis: But he’s my son.
Lena: And I was also thinking: If anyone talks to Max at school about you, it’s probably to goad him and piss him off. None of that’s very pleasant, when you’re 14 years old.
Davis: Well, if I had my way, things would be different. People would be more tolerant and accepting, more sex-positive. I hate the fact that society isn’t there yet, but like I always say, that’s not my responsibility.
Lena: Davis, let’s try something.
Lena: Let’s try an imagination exercise.
Lena: Imagine for a minute, that you were in the situation Max is in. Imagine you’re a precocious and intelligent 14 year old who looks about 20. Imagine your beautiful mother loves you very much.
Davis: (thinking hard) Ok…I’m imagining this…I’m imagining having a dick. I’m imagining what it’s like to pee…
Lena: Good. Now imagine you have a dick that gets hard when you look at porn. Imagine it gets hard, whenever you see porn. It gets hard whether you want it to or not. ALL THE TIME.
Davis: (eyes closed, with her fingers on her temples, thinking hard) Ok, I’m imagining having a big dick that’s hard. I’ve gotta big dick that’s hard, and it feels good.
Lena: Now, imagine your mother’s a beautiful pornstar. She has sex with all the women who give you a hard on. All your friends can watch her and masterbate, when she does this. So can all your teachers. So can all your future girlfriends. And most of them wish they could fuck her. Especially the guys.
Lena: Now, you’re her son. That means you’re the one person who CAN’T fuck her. Not only that. You’re also not allowed to watch her having sex. You’re not even allowed to think about her having sex. If you ever even accidentally think about her in a sexual way, your job is to try your hardest to banish that thought from your mind.
Davis: I’m not allowed to watch mom. Got it.
Lena: Now imagine it’s really important to your beautiful mother that you’re proud of her. She wants you to be proud of her for being a pornstar.
Davis: Ok. I can see this all really clearly, Lena. She’s hot. She’s almost as sexy as me. She’s got great legs and a beautiful pussy. They’re almost as good as mine, and they don’t smell. Well, they do smell, but they smell like baby powder.
Lena: Ok…is it easy to be proud of her?
Lena: It’s easy to be proud of her, even though you’re not allowed to be turned on by her?
Davis: I think so. Yeah.
Lena: It’s easy to be proud of her, even though she’s making something that’s designed to turn you on?
Davis: I don’t have to watch it. That way, I don’t have to worry about her turning me on.
Lena: But how do you know she won’t turn you on? How do you know your beautiful pornstar mother will never make you hard?
Davis: Because she’s my mom. Sons don’t get hard thinking about their mothers.
Lena: Well, if that’s true, you should be able to watch her porn without it affecting you. If sons don’t get hard because of their mothers, even watching a porn film with mom in it won’t change that.
Davis: That’s true.
Lena: So in reality, the reason you can’t watch her porn is because if you did watch it, you’d get hard.
Lena: And that would be wrong, wouldn’t it?
Davis: I guess.
Lena: (speaking slowly) So… wouldn’t it be easier to be proud of your beautiful mother, if there wasn’t an expectation that you stay the fuck away from her porn?
Davis: I don’t know….
Lena: Think about it: How can you be proud of someone for doing something you’re supposed to completely stay away from?
Davis: I don’t know, Lena. I really really don’t know.
Lena: Well, that’s the position your son is in. That’s the position you put him in.
Davis: So you think I should let him see my porn?
Lena: I’m not saying that!
Davis: I can’t hurt him, Lena. I don’t want to be one of those moms who abuses their kids. That’s really important to me.
Lena: You think I don’t know that?
Davis: (sad and confused) I can’t fuck him up, he’s my son.
Lena: I’m not saying you should fuck him up!
Davis: I know. I know. It’s just that when I think of him being abused like I was, I don’t know how I could..
Lena: (interrupting) Oh, come on. What is abuse anyway? Have you ever even thought about abuse, as a concept?
Davis: Yes, I have. Abuse is when you do something to a kid that harms them, psychologically.
Lena: But isn’t everyone different? Aren’t we all harmed by different things?
Davis: I don’t know. Are we all that different?
Lena: Well, some people could say that parenting a 14 year old and doing porn is abusive.
Davis. And that would be fucking bullshit.
Lena: Well, not if you take the definition of abuse at it’s word. There’s no reason why having a pornstar for a mother couldn’t psychologically harm a teenage kid.
Davis: But it doesn’t have to harm them. If the mother protects them from it and has a good relationship with that kid, it won’t harm them.
Lena: How do you know?
Davis: What do you mean “How do I know?”
Lena: Well, you being in porn obviously doesn’t harm Max. But suppose you were the mother of a very different kind of teenage boy. A boy that was much more sensitive than your son. How do you know it wouldn’t harm THAT kid?
Davis: Because I’d create an environment where he would know his mother’s sexuality is natural. He’d know the freedom to express it how she wants is something he should celebrate. He’d know that deep down. No one could tell him otherwise.
Lena: Does that mean the environment a parent creates can change whether or not something psychologically harms a kid?
Davis: Yeah, I guess.
Lena: So that means you can socialise kids to cope with things they might otherwise find traumatic.
Lena: (interrupting) In a way, you’ve already done it.
Davis: What do you mean?
Lena: Well, think about it. Most kids would find Inside Davis traumatic. It would make them feel confused and disgusted by their own sexuality. But Max isn’t like that. He’s only embarrassed because his friends wanna fuck you. He knows intellectually that there’s nothing wrong with porn. He at least knows you’re not hurting him by doing porn, right?
Davis: I think so. I mean…I hope so.
Lena: So you’ve conditioned him not to be harmed by what you do. You’ve helped Max cope with things more sensitive kids would struggle with. That’s another thing you can be proud of. Your son is a cool, smart, handsome, and charming little prodigy, but more importantly, he’s not threatened at all by what his mother does. He’s only embarrassed by it, right?
Davis: Well, he seems disappointed by it.
Lena: (condescendingly) He’s not disappointed by your porn, Davis. You’re so bad at reading people. You’re ridiculous sometimes.
Davis: But you said he was disapponted by it! You said that before you got your croissant!
Lena: Well, now that I’m getting more of the facts, things are starting to look a little differently.
Davis: Lena, if Max isn’t disappointed by my porn, why are we no longer friends? Why do I feel like I’m his annoying mom and not his friend anymore?
Lena: Well, part of that could be the fact that he’s 14 and teens naturally separate from their parents. Everything you’re describing is totally age appropriate.
Davis: I know, I know. I know that rationally. It’s just fucking hard emotionally.
Lena: Well, it’s only one possibility. The other is Max feels shut out from your life.
Davis: (abruptly) But I don’t shut him out! I talk to him every day. Anytime he wants, if I’m not working, we can watch the Wire together. Or Breaking Bad. Or Twin Peaks. The only thing I don’t do with him is play video games. That’s the one thing him and Ben have in common.
Lena: Davis, don’t kid yourself. You shut Max out of the main thing you want him to be proud of you for doing.
Davis: (passionately) But that’s because I’m his mom!
Lena: Then why are you doing it? Why are you doing porn?
Davis: (frustrated) You know why I’m doing it. I told you why. Why do you keep asking me this?
Lena: Because I’m curious. I’m curious why you’re doing something that has to be so separate from Max?. Why expect him to be proud of something he’s forbidden from ever enjoying?
Davis: Because I don’t want to hurt him, Lena.
Lena: But you don’t have to hurt him, Davis.
Davis: (passionately) I’m not hurting him!
Lena: I know you’re not! I’m just saying there are millions of career options you could have taken where it would be easy for him to be proud of you. When you used to write poetry, that was easy for him to be proud of, wasn’t it?
Davis: It was so easy, it was crazy. He understood those sonnets better than I ever did. And I wrote them.
Lena: And he was able to do that easily because he didn’t have to be hidden from them.
Davis: Well, looking at one of my poems wouldn’t hurt him.
Lena: Then why choose to make something that if Max saw it, it would hurt him?
Davis: Well, it won’t hurt him when he’s a grown up. He won’t want to see my porn, but it won’t hurt him when he’s 25. It’s just because he’s a kid. That’s why it wouldn’t be good for him to see my porn.
Lena: Davis, why do you think, at this moment in time, watching your porn would hurt him?
Davis: Because he’s 14.
Lena: So 14 year olds are traumatized by porn?
Davis: No, but I worry he’d be traumatized if he saw me in one.
Lena: But why? Are you afraid he’d be turned on by you?
Davis: You know, Lena…. I can’t answer that. All I can say is I don’t want to even think about it.
Lena: But why?
Davis: Because he’s not supposed to look at me that way. He’s not supposed to even want to see me fuck other people in the clips he jacks off to. That’s not right.
Lena: But you said you wanted him to respect women. You said he couldn’t be uncomfortable with your porn and still respect women.
Davis: I know that, Lena.
Lena: You said that in order for him to respect women, he can’t take his feelings for granted. If he’s got feelings about women that are disrespectful, you said he needs to change them. You said if he has feelings about women that are sexist or mysogynistic, those feelings don’t matter. Your job is to help him get rid of them.
Davis: I know I said all that.
Lena: Don’t you see the double standards?
Davis: So because I don’t want my son to be sexist, I should encourage him to watch my porn? Is that what you’re telling me?
Lena: (abruptly) Of course not!
Davis: (confused) Then what are you saying?
Lena: I’m just observing some things about your belief structure. Some things you could remove the contradictions from.
Davis: Like what?
Lena: Let’s think about two things you believe. Let’s call them A and B. A is something like this:
If Max feels uncomfortable because you’re a pornstar his friends would like to fuck, that feeling is bad. It’s bad because he doesn’t have a right to feel that way. It doesn’t matter how strong the feeling is, or how painful it is for him. Because it’s not good politically, Max should try and change that feeling.
Davis: That’s just being progressive, Lena. I’m sex-positive.
Lena: But then you believe something else let’s call B. B says:
If Max watches your porn or even thinks about you in a sexual way, he’ll be harmed. He’ll be harmed, in part, because he has a right to be harmed by your porn. Because he has that right, his feeling of being harmed is ok, politically. It’s ok for him to feel harmed by your porn, even if to him, watching it feels very very nice.
Davis: But isn’t him being turned on by me bad, politically?
Lena: Why should it be?
Davis: Because it’s incestuous. It’s abuse. It fucks people up and ruins their lives.
Lena: Well, for most of human history, gay relationships would have done all of that too. Whenever any kind of human relationship is disapproved of, there are almost always pretty horrendous emotional consequences for the people in those relationships.
Davis: I know that.
Lena: Then can you think of a reason why, politically, it’s wrong for Max to be turned on by you? An objective reason? Not a social convention, but an objective moral reason?
Davis: I don’t know…..Maybe because parents are supposed to create an environment where.. a kid can develop their sexuality in a way that’s …totally separate from the sexuality of the parent.
Lena: (smiling like a teacher pleased by a pupil finally understanding something) You’re onto something, my dear.
Davis: I’m trying to get this..
Lena: You can get it, Davis. Just follow the reasoning and you’ll get it.
Lena: So tell me Davis, what happens to a kid’s sexuality if it’s not completely separate from the sexuality of it’s parents?
Davis: Well, people say the kid’s sexuality gets fucked up.
Lena: (smiling with an “I told you so” expression) You see?
Davis: (confused) Oh my God…
Lena: (laughing) If it’s wrong for Max to be turned on by you, then you’re one fucked up mother Davis.
Davis: Am I a fucked up mother?
Lena: I didn’t say that. Pay attention to what I’m telling you
Davis: I’m trying. This is just a lot to take in, Lena.
Lena: (irritated) Then concentrate! This is your son, we’re talking about. This is important.
Davis: (flustered) I’m trying to concentrate!
Lena: Then calm down and think this through. Just reason it out. Go on girl. You can do this.
Davis: Ok so …the whole incest taboo is based on the idea that kids need to be completely separated from the sexuality of their parents. Otherwise, they get fucked up in the head.
Davis: And I’m a pornstar.
Lena: Yes, you are.
Davis: And by being a pornstar…I’m only kind of seperating Max from my sexuality.
Lena: That’s right, Davis. Now tell me why.
Davis: It’s because…even though I’m not having sex with him, my sexuality is all around him. My porn’s getting off nearly everyone he knows. Or at least, it could.
Lena: And why shouldn’t Max watch your porn?
Davis: Because if he watched it, it would get him off too. If it was any good, he wouldn’t have a choice about that.
Lena: Right. Now tell me about all the other hot moms in the world. The ones who aren’t pornstars.
Davis: The other hot moms… are completely seperating their kids from their sexuality.
Lena: And how are they doing that?
Davis: By not getting off everyone in the neighborhood. By not showing everyone pictures of them having sex. By not making vids that could turn on their families.
Lena (smiling) Yep.
Davis: So that’s how I’m different to all the other hot moms?
Lena: You got it.
Davis: (having an epiphany) Wow…this is crazy.
Lena: You see…?
Davis: I get it now, Lena. I think I understand what’s actually going on.
Davis: The incest taboo is totally fucking retarded.
Lena bursts out laughing again.
Davis: What’s so funny?
Lena: There’s an old woman behind you with a funny hat. Look.
Davis looks behind her and there is indeed, an old woman with a funny hat wondering around the coffee shop. She orders a latte and sits down.
Davis doesn’t understand why her hat is THAT funny.
Note: An earlier version of this piece was written for “Philosophy in the Bedroom”, a 24 hour performance hosted by Sheree Rose, Rhiannon Aarons, and Martin O’brien. The performance is in commemoration of performance artist and phographer Sheree Rose’s 75h birthday. She is most noted for her documentation of BDSM and queer sub-cultures in Los Angeles. Rhiannon Aarons is an exhibiting artist, curatorial contributor, and author of children’s books, working in Los Angeles. Martin O’brien is a performance artist whose work considers existence with a severe chronic illness within our contemporary situation. His work has been commissioned and funded by the Live Art Development Agency, Arts Council England, Arts Catalyst, Midlands Art Centre, and the British Council.
All three of them, to my knowledge, are sex-positive.
For more info, see: https://www.facebook.com/events/261271440912028/
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