Post Socratic Dialogues-Sex Positivity: 5
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.
The Battle Between Love and Hate
“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
At this point in the conversation, Davis is beginning to feel like she’s having many much needed epiphanies about her life. This is one of the reasons she loves finally reconnecting with Lena.
Lena, on the other hand, is no longer taking the conversation seriously. She thinks there isn’t any point. Instead, she’s just having fun and being mischievous. Lena is surprised at how much she enjoys this. For the last 15 years or so, Lena has worked incredibly hard to come across as someone serious, competent, and highly responsible. This is the first time since high school that she’s allowed herself to just be totally frivolous and silly.
Being silly feels good. Liberating, in fact.
Lena: (smiling mischievously) So tell me about the retarded nature of the incest taboo. I’m sure I’m gonna love this.
Davis: (excited about her new epiphany) It’s fucking retarded because… it’s not really about incest!
Lena: What do you mean?
Davis: It doesn’t just say don’t fuck your kids, Lena. It says don’t do anything that could ever turn them on!
Lena: Ah…so like… don’t give hubby a sexy lap dance in front of little Johnny?
Davis: (enthusiastically) Yes! That’s it! It’s fucking ridiculous, isn’t it?
Lena: (sarcastically) It sounds absolutely ridiculous, Davis. Totally horrible. You might even call it ….evil.
Davis: (shaking head) Most definitely. I mean, my god…just thinking about it…
Lena: (smiling to herself) What are you thinking, Davis?
Davis: (passionately) I just can’t get over how…fucking sex-negative it all is!
Lena: (sarcastically) Yes, the incest taboo is very sex negative. Imagine that!
Davis: This is so so crazy Lena. I never in my life thought about it this way before, but it’s… just incredibly puritanical. I mean, it’s disempowering to women.
Lena: (sarcastically). Yes, unbelievably disempowering.
Davis: In fact, you could go further than that. Maybe it’s actually… anti-feminist. That would be a good description of it, right? It’s fucking patriarchal.
Lena: (sarcastically) Patriarchal in the extreme! I mean, why on earth should mom stop her lap dance just because the kids are watching?
Davis: I know, it’s fucking crazy, right? Think about the implications of it!
Lena: (smiling mischievously) I have thought about them, Davis.
Davis: I’m so glad, because more people need to examine this stuff. If the incest taboo is right, that means any mom who wears a sexy dress is abusing her kid! Any mom showing a bit of leg, or being flirty on Facebook, or using words like “pussy.”
Lena: (mocking Davis) That’s hard to disagree with, when you put it so eloquently.
Davis: (proud of herself) And yet, we all take this reactionary shit for granted. Even I took it for granted, before I actually thought about it for two seconds!
Lena: (sarcastically) Even the bravest female role models can succumb to misogyny.
Davis: I know, Lena! My God, that’s how powerful this culture is. Even I can’t get away from internalising sex-negative attitudes. They’re everywhere. Women hating is fucking insidious! It creeps up on you!
Lena: Maybe, but if that’s how you feel, I don’t see how you can still be sex-positive.
Davis: (confused) Why?
Lena: If I’m not mistaken, sex-positivity says that sex is good, provided it’s consensual. Is that not what it says?
Davis: Yeah, but what’s wrong with consent?
Lena: Well, think about that outfit you’re wearing right now.
Davis: What does my outfit have to do with consent?
Lena: Think about the 3 British guys you insulted. The ones that were hitting on you earlier.
Davis: What about ‘em? What do they have to do with consent?
Lena: Davis, how do you think your outfit made those men feel? How do you think they felt when they looked at you?
Davis: (giggling) I probably gave them a hard on. That’s what happens to most men when they look at me.
Lena: And did you get their consent before you gave them a hard on?
Davis: (incredulous) Why the fuck should I get their consent for that?
Lena: Well, someone…not me, but someone… might say it’s because their boners aren’t really under their control.
Davis: Yeah, but who cares?
Lena: Well Davis, it’s not like those guys could say to themselves, “This woman over here, she looks like an interesting and intelligent person I could have an amazing conversation with. She could be my soul mate, so I might as well get a hard on for her.” Male bodies don’t work that way.
Davis: So what?
Lena: Well by wearing an outfit like the one you’re wearing now, you’re creating feelings in men they haven’t chosen, feelings that don’t express how they would ideally choose to feel. They get a hard on, because an attractive woman like you does something sexy to give men hard ons. That’s it.
Davis: But isn’t that one of the best things about being a woman?
Lena: Well, it would be nice, if it weren’t so sad.
Davis: Why do you think it’s sad?
Lena: I guess it’s just sad that…. who you are doesn’t matter. Your personality doesn’t matter. What men actually like in a woman’s mind doesn’t matter. What they’d even prefer to get hard over doesn’t matter. Their dicks just don’t care about any of that.
Davis: But they don’t need to. Sex is fucking animal passion. It’s not about being a good person. You don’t fuck hot guys because they have good character. If they’re nice, it’s just a bonus.
Lena: But a hot guy’s dick might like you, even if that guy actually hates you. Have you thought about that?
Davis: (confused) Yeah, but isn’t that just like….human nature?
Lena: Well, rape is part of human nature. Should we be alright with rape because it’s part of human nature?
Davis: No, I get what you’re saying. Just cuz something’s normal…that don’t make it good.
Lena: Right. That’s what all new the consent campaigns are about.
Davis: I’ve really been noticing that, Lena. People write to me about this. They say we all need to have a conversation about consent cuz men need to take more responsibility for other men who rape women.
Lena: (giggling) That’s hilarious.
Davis: It’s not. So many fucking porn stars tell me they feel like men just aren’t doing a good enough job of stopping rape.
Lena: Well, that doesn’t surprise me. You can’t go to college today without taking at least some consent classes. I’ve had to sit in on a few.
Davis: People are obsessed with consent, with men subordinating women, with rape culture…and no one notices the obvious.
Lena: They never do.
Davis: If everyone gets obsessed with consent, society will become like, totally repressive to women. Women won’t be able to give men hard ons…
Lena: …without first getting their permission.
Davis: (incredulous) Fuck.
Lena: It’s a strange world we live in, isn’t it?
Davis: (having another epiphany) Jesus…this means…sex positive people are actually sex-negative. That is so fucking crazy, Lena. Sex positive people are the real fucking prudes!
Lena: (smiling mischievously) Well, you said it. Not I.
Davis: See, this is why I need to have conversations with you. You help me understand things I’d never be able to make sense of on my own. It’s like I’ve got this foggy curtain in front of me that you pull to one side. After spending time with you, it’s like I can see the world again. The dots get connected.
Lena: (sarcastically) Well, think of me as your dot connector. Your brown dot connector.
Davis: (with enthusiasm) Lena, you mean…so fucking much to me, I can’t even tell you how grateful I am to just be sitting here with you right now.
Lena: So am I correct in assuming you’re not actually sex-positive?
Davis: Nah, I’m all about sex-positivity. I’ll always be about that. It’s part of my nature.
Lena: So …consent is still important to you?
Davis: (confused) …I’m not sure.
Lena: What aren’t you sure about?
Davis: (thinking for a few seconds)… I guess I’m only sure of one thing: It’s the consent fascists who are sex-negative. That’s who I feel strongly about right now.
Lena: (smiling) You should read Spiked Magazine. Have you ever heard of Luke Gittos?
Davis: (with purposeful zeal) I don’t need to. I know who our enemy is. I’ve figured it out.
Lena: (trying hard not to laugh) So now we have an enemy?
Davis: Yes, we do. It’s the consent fascists.
Lena: (sarcastically) Well, I guess that’s better than fascists.
Davis: (with passion) Lena, consent fascists are the people we need to rebel against right now. These are the people who think you have to ask men if it’s ok to give ‘em a boner.
Lena: You’ve encountered people like this?
Davis: Hell yeah! These are the new puritans, Lena. It’s not the Christians anymore.
Davis: Ok, so let’s be clear about this. You think a woman shouldn’t have to ask a man whether or not she can give him a hard on?
Davis: Of course I don’t.
Lena: (with a raised eyebrow) What about making him cum? Should a woman ask if she can give him an orgasm?
Davis: If he cums, that’s his problem, not hers. And 99% of the time, it’s never a problem, is it?
Lena: Well, it depends on how you define “problem.”
Davis: Cumming is a special treat for guys, and it’s empowering for women to be able to give them that treat.
Lena: Why do you think it’s empowering, Davis?
Davis: It gives the woman more power in the relationship, power society tries to take away from her.
Lena: So what about teenage boys? Should a woman have to get their consent?
Davis: For sex, yes. Orgasms, no.
Lena: Why not for orgasms?
Davis: Cuz if women had to get consent for that, porn would be illegal. Stripping would be illegal. Filming strippers would be illegal. Lingerie adverts would be illegal.
Lena: You think so?
Davis: Sex scenes in rated R movies would be illegal. Girl/Girl kisses would be illegal. We’d have to live in the fucking 50s.
Lena: Davis, I think lingerie adverts were actually legal in the 50s.
Davis: (rolling eyes) That’s not the point, Lena. If women had to get the consent of teenage boys to make them cum, you wouldn’t even see women on the beach. Bikinis would be outlawed. So would most bathing suits.
Lena: Well, why do you think that is?
Davis: (smiling) It’s cuz any beautiful woman, just by wearing shorts, is gonna make some kid make a mess in his jeans.
Lena: But why is it so important to you that women have the freedom to cause that mess?
Davis: (giggling) Cuz guys don’t get a say in whether or not we make their dicks hard, Lena. Hello?
Lena: Well, this is interesting. It sounds like you’re saying male teens should have no say over… how and when grown women make them hard?
Davis: That’s exactly what I’m saying. If 14 year olds had any say over female sexuality, women would have to wear fucking Burkas. That’s what the Islamic world is like.
Lena: And if that’s true, no 14 year old boy should ever ask his mom not to do a lap dance in front of him. That’s your position, right?
Davis: I guess, so. Yeah.
Lena: Well, if that’s how you feel, what are you gonna do about Max?
Davis: What do you mean?
Lena: Do you still think it’s your job to hide your sexuality from him?
Davis: Well, it’s illegal not to.
Lena: Well, homosexuality is still illegal in many countries.
Davis: I know that, Lena.
Lena: Laws don’t necessarily dictate the kinds of love that are good for people. Laws are social constructions.
Davis: I know that too.
Lena: And there are lots of gay people in the world. They fall in love and they don’t do anything about it because they’re afraid of the authorities. But then there are other gay people, gays that are more brave and radical. Those are the ones that actually change hearts and minds.
Davis: I know all of that, but I’m not sure this is relevant to me and Max.
Lena: I didn’t say it was. I just think it’s tragic when people don’t take chances for love. Don’t you think it’s tragic?
Davis: Lena, I’m not doing anything sexual with my kid.
Lena: (abruptly) I didn’t say you should do anything sexual with Max!
Davis: (confused) Then what are you saying?
Lena: I’m saying that… you should understand the relationship you’ve created with him.
Davis: I’m trying my best, Lena.
Lena: Look at it objectively. This relationship you have with your son….is a lot like an incestuous relationship. It’s way more like that than what most kids have with their mothers.
Davis: (curious) You really think so?
Lena: Well, it’s not technically incestuous, but it has many of the features of an incestuous relationship.
Davis: What features?
Lena: I think you know what features.
Davis: Are you talking about my porn?
Lena: That’s part of it.
Davis: So…you think my relationship with my son is like an incestuous relationship. I’ll try not to take offence at this.
Lena: Yes, and before you take offence at what someone thinks, ask yourself why they think it. Ask yourself if you actually agree.
Davis: Is this cuz I make porn that would get Max hard, if he saw it?
Lena: Mmm….among other things.
Davis: Yeah, but come on, Lena, it doesn’t matter if I stop making porn at this point. I’m all over the fucking internet now. There’s probably 50 hours of footage floating around different websites.
Lena: Well, leaving the world of porn is one of your options. But it’s not a particularly effective option, if the goal is stop Max from living in a world where people jack off to you.
Davis: I get that. It would be pretty silly to stop doing porn, at this point.
Lena: I agree, Davis. I think it would be much better to do..something like what Max did for you. Before he got all distant. Before he became a teenager.
Davis: So should I just… talk to him and keep him company? Look after him, and tell him he’s wonderful and amazing?
Lena: Well, sort of. I was actually thinking you could try and anticipate some of the things he wants and give them to him, before he asks you to give them to him. Isn’t that what Max used to do for you?
Davis: All the fucking time, Lena. It was incredible.
Lena: Yeah, so surprise him with something that lets him know just how much you love him. Maybe that’s what he’s lacking right now. That could be why he’s not connecting with you.
Davis: But I wouldn’t know how to do that, Lena.
Lena: Well, that’s not good if you want Max to be proud of you.
Davis: You know, you’re right. Sometimes I wonder if he’d actually be proud of me if I quit porn and started writing again. That could be the cold hard truth.
Lena: Well Davis, you shouldn’t have to quit porn to make your son proud of you. There are thousands of pornstars in the world, with plenty of handsome hunky sons that are all very proud of mom. Some of those sons are pornstars themselves.
Davis: That’s so true, Lena. Tiffany Mynx has a son who did porn.
Lena: So ask yourself this: How could you stay in porn and have Max be proud of his sexy mother?
Davis: (thinking hard) Maybe act more like …being sexy is…. totally normal for a mom?
Lena: Go back into his perspective again. If you were Max and your sexy mom was a porn star, what would make it easiest for you to be proud of her?
Davis: Like I keep saying, I really don’t know how to answer that. It’s hard for me to get in the head space of a teenage boy. Or any man, for that matter.
Lena: Davis, your mom wrote children’s stories. You were proud of her for that, weren’t you? You were proud of her when you were a kid? Don’t you remember?
Davis: I haven’t thought about that for years, Lena.
Lena: When she first published that book of stories about the games you used to play, how did that make you feel?
Davis: (remembering with sadness)… I thought….I guess maybe….Yeah, I was proud of her, Lena.
Lena: She never hid those stories from you, Davis. I remember you reading them aloud to me, when you were only 9. We used to read them together.
Davis: (smiling and remembering this for the first time in years) I used to love reading with you, Lena.
Lena: And it was easy for you to be proud of those stories. It wasn’t because she was a good writer.
Davis: (giggling) No, she was a terrible writer. Some of the worst children’s literature I’ve ever seen. But, it still made me proud. Even though it was awful. Crazy, huh?
Lena: You were proud because this was something your mother shared with you. Something she did she could show you, a way she could inspire you.
Davis: (suddenly feeling ambivalent about hating her mother) Maybe. I don’t know.
Lena: Well, it would have been a lot harder to be proud of your mom, if she told you she was making something that would completely fuck you up. Imagine that Davis. Imagine she made something you should never see, no matter how old you were. You’d have hated that.
Davis: (sighing) I know.
Lena: For all her faults Davis, your mother never wrote anything you were forbidden from seeing. She never had to protect you from anything about her that would be disturbing to a kid or an adult. She never had any dark secrets. She was easy to love. I remember how easy it was for you to love her.
Davis: (looking very sad) I’m not easy to love, am I? I know that’s what you’re trying to tell me. I’m not stupid, Lena.
Lena: (patiently) Davis, I’m trying to tell you how lovable you actually are.
Davis: But I’m making something that’s bad for Max. Isn’t that what this is all about?
Lena: No. It’s about the fact that you’re making something pretty awesome. And it’s something you want him to be proud of you for making.
Davis: (with desperation in her eyes) I just need him to enjoy being around me again. I need that.
Lena: I know you do.
Davis: I need us to be friends. It’s not enough that he’s my son. I need companionship in my home. I can’t function without it. I really can’t. I’ll lose Ben if I don’t have Max back on my side. If I lose Ben, Max won’t be living with a mother and a father.
Lena: Well, that’s understandable. And it’s not an unrealistic goal. I don’t see why you and Max can’t be friends again.
Davis: Maybe I should write again. I think about that sometimes.
Lena: It’s best not to live in the past, Davis.
Davis: But Max loved my poems, Lena. And maybe it doesn’t matter if he’s the only person who loves them.
Lena: But Davis, come on. Think about ways of spending your time that are actually productive. It’s not productive to write for an audience of one.
Davis: But in my case, that would be productive.
Lena: Davis, was your writing really that good? Do you really think you had any talent?
Davis: I don’t know but, my writing was a way I really connected with my son. We had such a strong bond over that stuff. Maybe too strong a bond.
Lena: Well, you can write again if you want. But I honestly don’t think you need to write shitty poems in order for Max to be proud of you.
Davis: Then how do I do it? How do I make him proud of me again?
Lena: Well, I can’t tell you what you should or shouldn’t do. All I can say is, if I were you, I’d get closer to him, talk to him, be someone who he finds fascinating. And in doing that, I wouldn’t change anything about myself. I’d have integrity.
Davis: But how do I do that when he’s so distant from me?
Lena: Maybe you should stop pushing him away
Davis: But how am I pushing him away? I don’t even understand that.
Lena: What don’t you understand?
Davis: (thinking hard)… It doesn’t feel like I’m pushing him away. At all. It feels like he’s the one whose pushing me away.
Lena: Davis, I’ll say this as many times as I need to until you open up and actually listen. You’re pushing Max away from all the things you want him to be proud of.
Davis: ….Like porn?
Lena: Yes. You’re definitely pushing him away from porn. You’re not as innocent as you think you are.
Davis: (confused) But that’s what I’m supposed to do. I’m his mother.
Lena: (giggling) Since when do you give a shit about what you’re “supposed” to do?
Davis: Well, I don’t normally, but this is different.
Lena: How is this different?
Davis: (thinking hard)….You know, I don’t know anymore. I’m so fucking confused, now.
Lena: Davis, there’s nothing to be confused about. You’re a porn star. You’re good at it. People say you shouldn’t be a pornstar, and you defy them. You do it anyway. That’s all Max has to be proud of!
Davis: I guess if there’s one thing I want to teach Max, it’s that he doesn’t need to cave into peer pressure.
Lena: Absolutely. You’re setting a great example.
Davis: …I really hope I am.
Lena: You want him to know he doesn’t have to be like everybody else.
Davis: Definitely. He’s too cool to be like everybody else.
Lena: He’s amazingly cool.
Davis: I’ve never met anyone so cool. And so smart.
Lena: Yes, and you put those things in him, Davis. Max is brilliant and funny and mature in so many ways, and it’s all because of you.
Davis: Well, some of it’s because of him.
Lena: You know, when I first met Max when he was ten, it was literally like meeting an adult. It was one of the strangest experiences I’ve ever had.
Davis: That’s because he’s not really a kid, Lena. His body’s 14 but mentally…I think he’s actually older than me.
Lena: You think Max is an adult? Like a genuine adult trapped in a kid’s body?
Davis: (like she’s amazed at what she’s telling Lena) Yeah.. if I’m honest, I think that’s actually what I’m dealing with. I’m raising someone who doesn’t need it. I don’t know how you’re supposed to parent a grown up.
Lena: I can’t even imagine what that’s like.
Davis: Most of the time, it’s not even like being a mother. It’s like hanging out with my best friend. That’s how it was until last year. And now it’s like my best friend doesn’t like me anymore.
Lena: Well, what does that feel like?
Davis: (tearing up) It feels like I’m just his mom.
Lena: What’s wrong with being his mom?
Davis: (sighing)..It was fine in the beginning…but not once he turned into Max.
Lena: What happened then?
Davis: I couldn’t handle being a normal mother. It was too painful. We were way closer than that.
Lena: But why did you let your relationship with Max evolve like that?
Davis: I don’t know, Lena. It was instinctive for both of us.
Lena: But you’re the parent, Davis. That’s your job.
Davis: I really didn’t choose this. I wouldn’t have chosen this. It just happened… and it stayed like that until last year. When I went into porn, everything changed.
Lena: Of course it did. That was your way of trying to regain your boundaries, as a parent.
Davis: (shaking her head) You know, I’m such a stupid bitch sometimes. I make myself so angry. I sabotage the best things I’ve got going for me. I always do that.
Lena: Well self-loathing isn’t healthy, Davis. It’s always better to forgive yourself.
Davis: But it’s so hard to forgive myself, sometimes. When I can really see what I’m actually doing with my life, it can be so fucking painful.
Lena: Well, why are you in pain? What do you think you’ve been doing?
Davis: I’ve been giving Max double messages.
Lena: Well yeah, double messages tend to push people away.
Davis: I know they do. They’re horrible.
Lena: You lose intimacy when you push kids away. And what you want more than anything from Max is intimacy, right?
Davis: (looking very sad) I hope that’s not selfish of me. I know I’m supposed to be happy being “mom”…but …I just can’t do it, Lena…
Lena: But why? Why is it so hard to do what every mother can do?
Davis: (with tears in her eyes) He’s not just my son.
Lena: He’s your best friend? Maybe you’re only friend?
Davis: (sighing) …Yeah. It’s stupid and sad but..he’s the love of my life. I love him like…I don’t know how to describe it except to say that it’s not motherly. That’s all I can say.
Lena: Well, you know, if somebody loved me like that, I’d need to know it.
Davis: What do you mean?
Lena: I’d want to know it in a clear and unambiguous way.
Davis: I don’t know how much I’m allowed to express that. He knows I’m his mother. He knows I love him more than anyone. But that’s it.
Lena: So he doesn’t know that you have love for him that’s more than just motherly love?
Davis: No, he doesn’t. I hold that in for him.
Lena: Maybe you don’t.
Davis: What do you mean?
Lena: Maybe you have a sexual outlet for those feelings. Maybe that’s what Inside Davis is really about. It’s a way to process the feelings you have for Max, while keeping him at a safe distance from you.
Davis: I so hope that’s not true.
Davis: Cuz Inside Davis …just feels absolutely right. Being filmed having sex is like saying all the things I can’t say in words. All the things that would hurt people.
Lena: But is that really fair?
Davis: (sighing) I don’t fucking know…life isn’t fair.
Lena: I mean, you get to have this huge sexual outlet for all your feelings you can’t express in words. But what do Ben and Max have?
Davis: I don’t give a fuck about Ben’s dick, Lena. He can fuck whoever the hell he wants. It’s Ben who limits Ben.
Lena: And what about Max?
Davis: I can’t help him fuck girls. He has to do that on his own. I can make sure he wears a condom, but apart from that, I don’t talk to him about what turns him on.
Davis: Once he said he likes girls who look like younger versions of me. That was the only time he every told me anything about his sexuality. I find porn on his computer all the time. That’s how I know he’s straight.
Lena: What kind of porn is it?
Davis: It’s Milf porn. Older women. But nobody I’ve done scenes with.
Lena: Do the actresses look kind of like you?
Davis: Less pretty, but yeah. Same build. Same hair.
Lena: Well again, it sounds like the porn that would get him off the most is the porn you don’t want him to watch. The porn you’re making.
Davis: (looking sad and scared) You could be right about that. I don’t know what….or how I should…
Lena: (interrupting abruptly) Davis, this really isn’t as complicated as you’re making it out to be.
Davis: What’s so simple about it?
Lena: Remember the imagination exercise we did?
Lena: If you were a 14 year old kid with hormones going crazy from sexual frustration, it would be confusing to be told that the very porn that got you off the hardest was also the porn that would damage and hurt you. That’s a total head fuck.
Davis: (shaking her head) That is a terrible head fuck.
Lena: And that’s the head fuck that comes with having you as a mother.
Davis: I don’t want to do this to Max anymore. It needs to stop. I can see that now.
Lena: Well why isn’t Max chasing other girls his age?
Davis: I think he’s shy and embarrassed around girls his age. He’s not socially confident.
Lena: And what are your thoughts on that?
Davis: I wish I could help him.
Lena: Well, then why don’t you?
Davis: Confidence isn’t really something you can teach. It just happens. It happened to me when I was about 16.
Lena: Davis, I was there. You don’t have to remind me you turned into the town slut. Your mom wasn’t wrong about you (giggling).
Davis: (smiling) Yeah….it hurts to admit that.
Lena: Well, are you expecting Max to turn into the campus stud in a year or two?
Davis: I don’t know. I want Max to do what’s right for Max. I want him to take whatever opportunities he gets from the opposite sex, but I don’t want him to be pressured into anything he doesn’t feel comfortable with.
Lena: Well, I wouldn’t worry about that, honestly. He’s 14. Right now, Max shouldn’t really have any sexual “opportunities.” 14 is too early to have sex. It’s a better time to practice making out, and holding hands with pretty girls.
Davis: Yeah, but this is Max we’re talking about. I know for a fact he’d have uber game if he wasn’t so fucking shy. If he started becoming more of an extravert, girls would BE ALL OVER HIM, Lena.
Lena: I don’t doubt that, Davis.
Davis: I know this is awful but if Max wasn’t my son…if we weren’t related and I met Max when I was a teenager..
Lena: (interrupting and giggling) You wouldn’t be dating Ben. You’d be dating Max!
Davis: Isn’t that just wrong?
Lena: No. It’s kind of sweet.
Davis: It’s reality. If me and Ben and Max were all kids meeting each other for the first time, Ben wouldn’t stand a chance.
Lena: (smiling sadly) And that’s why I wish you didn’t take Ben away from me.
Davis: (looking sad) …I’m so sorry, Lena. I still feel terrible about all of that. I never wanted to ruin your life. That was the least thing I wanted.
Lena: You didn’t ruin my life, but I always knew Ben wasn’t right for you. You made me doubt that for many years, but now I understand what should have happened.
Davis: What should have happened?
Lena: You should have let me have Ben. If you let me have Ben, you could have been with someone like Max, instead of becoming his fucking teen mom (laughing gently).
Davis: (sighing with great sadness) …My whole life…everything…it would all be totally different.
Lena: It would.
Davis: You’d be with Ben, and I’d be happy. I’d be living in Pasadena writing books, or making movies. Who knows?
Lena: Well, there’s no point in wallowing in regret. I have to find somebody else to love me. And whether you stay with Ben or not, you have to be your son’s mom.
Davis: (tearing up again) I love Max so much Lena. It scares the shit out of me… how much I love him. Sometimes I think he’d do better …being raised by someone else…I’m too fucked up…
Lena holds Davis’s hand, looking deeply into her eyes.
Lena: Davis, you’re no more fucked up than me. The difference is, you’re also a wonderful mother to the most amazing kid I’ve ever known. He’s proof of that wonderfulness.
Davis: (tears streaming down her face) But, I’m not, Lena. …That’s why I’m a porn star.
Lena: What do you mean?
Davis: (crying) I think I did it to gross him out…. We were getting too close…
Lena: What do you mean you were getting too close?
Davis: (quietly sobbing) I had to make him disgusted with me. ..I had to push him away from me, or else we would have done something…something bad…
Lena hugs Davis and whispers in her ear.
Lena: That’s why it’s important not to push him away now. He needs you.
Davis: (crying on Lena’s shoulder) And I need him… I need him more than I need sex….
Lena wipes Davis’s tears with her napkin.
Lena: (in soothing voice) Then Max… needs to know… there’s nothing wrong with him and your porn.
Davis: (sniffing) Yeah.
Lena: Don’t use your career as an excuse to abandon him, Davis.
Davis: (sighing)…Porn isn’t something that should push us apart, is it?
Lena: (smiling) It should bring you together.
Davis: It needs to.
Lena: I mean, what is Inside Davis? It’s you. It’s Max’s mother, his best friend, the woman who loves him more than anyone.
Davis: It is. It’s me. That’s all it is.
Lena: It’s recreation. It’s fun. It’s natural, like his own sexuality.
Davis: I know that. But like you said, sometimes it’s hard feeling what you know is true.
Lena: Well, does Max know it?
Davis: I don’t know but one thing’s for sure: I can’t just assume he knows it, anymore.
Lena: I think you may be right.
Davis: I’m the one who needs to make sure he actually knows my porn is good for our family. Max needs to know this, backwards and forwards. I can’t rely on Ben for that. I have to communicate.
Lena: Sex shouldn’t be associated with shame. Any kind of shame.
Davis: Absolutely. No woman’s sexuality is ever a threat to Max. Not even mine.
Lena: And Max should never be scared of his feelings. Especially his sexual feelings, whatever they might be.
Davis: Yep. He needs to know any sexual feelings he has are absolutely ok.
Lena: Well, then are you ok with him having sexual feelings for you? Are you ok with him watching your porn?
Davis: I’m very much ok with it now. I’d prefer he watched me, to be honest.
Lena: (smiling) I’m starting to wish I had a mom like you!
Davis: Well, I’m not perfect. I need to do more around the house, now. I get it. Max shouldn’t be doing all this shit for me, when it’s my job to make sure he’s ok. I think I’ll get a cookbook on amazon this weekend. We’ll do a shop and see what happens in the kitchen. I’ll try and cook something.
Lena: That’s a good idea. I would also suggest talking to Max about his feelings. Especially about Inside Davis.
Lena: Talk to him about porn, and what turns him on. I mean, he’s a grown up, so that would actually be an age appropriate conversation.
Davis: Yeah, we need to be more open about these things.
Lena: Max has to know that even though he’s unconfident, his mother knows him well enough to give him what he needs. Especially the stuff he doesn’t have the confidence to ask for.
Davis: I’m gonna work so fucking hard at that, Lena. I know I’m not naturally good at reading people, but he deserves good communication from me. He deserves the best mom I can be for him.
Lena: Well, you have to read him, then. That’s not optional.
Davis: (sighing) I know…I know…I’ll learn it…I have to….
Lena: I mean, how on earth can you make him feel happy if you can’t read him?
Davis: (determined) I need to make him feel good. I don’t want him disgusted with me anymore. That’s not good for our relationship.
Lena: He needs his mom to make him feel good, doesn’t he?
Davis: (shaking her head) It’s so confusing….knowing what to do…
Lena: (speaking softly) You don’t have to feel confused if you can make him feel good.
Davis: What do you mean?
Lena: Well, when Max was a baby, he was always in your arms. You were always holding him, kissing him. The bond between you guys was …tactile.
Davis: It was.
Lena: And now you’ve lost that bond, and guess what? You can’t even be friends anymore.
Davis: I should never have lost that bond with him.
Lena: Maybe that’s why he doesn’t watch your porn.
Davis: I’ve been totally irresponsible with Max, Lena. But I can fix that now.
Lena: So what steps are you going to take to repair this relationship with him? What are you gonna do, for instance, when you go home tonight?
Davis: I’m gonna talk to him about what turns him on. I’m gonna tell him jacking off to me is absolutely ok. And that I want us to be close again. He’ll know I’m not a boring, horrible mom. I’ll prove it to him.
Lena: But you don’t have to prove anything, Davis. It’s already been documented in every bit of footage you’ve ever had sex in.
Davis: What do you mean?
Lena looks into Davis’s eyes and strokes her hair with her right hand, just like a good mother.
Lena: (smiling tenderly) Davis, if Max ever watches anything you’ve done, he’ll see… that he’s got the most exciting, brave, wonderful, and inspiring mother-a mom whose not afraid to be courageous and daring, a woman who doesn’t cave into peer pressure-a friend who can touch his heart like no one else in his life, and a parent so unbelievably beautiful, and confident, and sensuous…
Lena kisses Davis on the lips in a way that a mother would not kiss a daughter.
Davis: (tearing up again) Oh, Lena. You don’t know how much I needed to hear that right now.
Lena: (smiling tenderly) That’s why I said it to you, girl.
Davis: (tears streaming down face) I love you so much, Lena….Thank you so much for staying here with me today…I needed you.
Lena: I know you did.
Davis: (sniffing) I needed a reality check…I needed somebody to hear everything… and tell me… I’m not a piece of shit.
Lena: Davis, you are nothing but lovely and caring as a friend, as a mom, and as a 21st century media sensation. Yes, I’ll be honest. You’re a little weird, but more than a little wonderful too (smiling).
Davis: (wiping away her tears) Maybe. Maybe I’m like a good book.
Lena: (smiling) Maybe a good collection of erotic stories.
Davis: You know Lena, even the hottest sex I’ve ever had, it’s never been as good as my nights with Max.
Lena: That doesn’t surprise me, Davis.
Davis: We used to have these movie nights together. He’d cook me stir fry and we’d talk and he’d make me laugh. Then we’d normally watch Dead Ringers while Ben worked on his computer.
Lena: (smiling) Sounds like my kinda movie night.
Davis: No sex has ever been as good as that, Lena. Not with Ben, or Licky Linda, or anybody.
Lena: (smiling) The best sex is always sex with someone you love.
Davis: (looking for sad) Don’t remind me.
Lena: When you can talk to someone for hours, without noticing the time, that’s how you know you’re gonna have great sex. Fucking is just like an extension of the conversation.
Davis: I never had that with Ben. Not even when we I thought I loved him.
Lena: Have you ever had that with anybody else you’ve had sex with?
Davis: No. Most of the porn stars I work with are beautiful and they move well. But sex is their only real talent, you know? I can’t really chat to them afterwards. All they do is talk about the business. Or skin scream. After they make me cum, I’m fucking bored after 10 minutes.
Lena: Do you ever get bored during conversations with Max?
Davis: Never, Lena. He always surprises me. He’s always interesting.
Lena: Do you think you surprise him?
Davis: I used to. But I think I’ve become too…I don’t know..
Lena: You mean, predictable like an annoying, and embarrassing mom from Downey?
Davis: Yeah. It sucks but there’s probably a grain of truth in that.
Lena: Well, is that how you want Max to feel about you?
Davis: Not at all! That’s the opposite of what I want him to feel.
Lena: Well, Davis. Look at what you’ve done with your website. Like at how popular and ground breaking Inside Davis is. That’s all because of how good you are at getting people excited.
Davis: I guess it is.
Lena: If you put that same effort into getting Max excited by you, things might be different. More like how they used to be.
Davis: (passionately) I need to be cool and interesting, Lena. I don’t want to ever be normal. I don’t want Max to ever see me the way his friends see their mothers.
Lena: (looking very serious) Then excite him and make him feel wonderful, Davis. Show him you’re not like all those other moms! Be the coolest mom he could ever imagine.
Davis: (with a sense of resolve) I think I can do it now. I’m not scared, anymore.
Lena: Are you brave enough to be the mom you want to be?
Davis: (with determination) There’s nobody who can give him what I can, Lena.
Lena takes takes Davis’s head in her hands and looks deeply into her eyes.
Lena: (seriously) Then give it to him! Give Max the mother he deserves. Give it to him, for your own peace of mind.
Davis: Do you think I can really do it? Can I be cooler than his friends?
Lena: Of course you can! I believe in you Davis. I’ve always believed in you. You can do absolutely anything you put your mind to. Anything at all…
Davis: (tears welling up again) When you believe in me, I feel like I can do anything, Lena.
Lena: (smiling tenderly) Well, I’m glad. I want you to do anything you want. You’re more than just a good friend to me. I’ve known you for almost 30 years. I fucking love you.
Davis: (crying) I love you too…
Lena: Can you show me how much you love me? Can you change your life?
Davis: (crying) I will.
Lena: Can you connect with your son? I mean, really connect with him, in a way that feels physical. Can you trust yourself to do that?
Davis: (sniffing)….Yes…..I have to now…
Lena: You don’t have to do anything you don’t want to. All you have to be is yourself.
Davis: (smiling at Lena) That’s so true, isn’t it?
Lena: Of course it is. I love that person looking back at me right now. You know that I love you, and Ben, and Max. And I want nothing but the best things for all three of you.
Davis: (wiping away tears) We all love you too, Lena. You’re such a wonderful person. And you are beautiful….in your own way.
Lena: Thank you Davis.
Davis: (smiling) I bet you love it when people tell you that you’re beautiful.
Lena: (looking at Davis, seductively) I bet you love it when a woman wants to be with you and it’s not because you hired her.
Davis: It’s never happened before.
Lena: Well that’s just a complete mystery to me. Especially if you’re as good as you say you are.
Davis: No one’s as good as me at cunnilingus, Lena. No one! That’s what every girl says when it’s over.
Lena: (flirtatiously) I think I’m better than you.
Davis: (smiling) Well… I doubt that. But still… I’d love to find out.
Lena: I know you would.
Davis: You know Lena.. if we ever get to have sex, for me, it won’t just be sex.
Lena: What else will it be?
Davis: It’ll be… making a life long dream of mine come true…
Lena: To have sex with me?
Davis: That’s part of it.
Lena: And what’s the other part?
Davis: (speaking hesitently)…I’ve never had sex with someone I love.
Lena: I feel so sad for you. That’s fucking pathetic.
Davis: (looking very sad) I’m sad too. I feel like my heart is broken. I always feel… broken, inside.
Lena: I wish I could fix you.
Davis: No one can fix me, at this point.
Lena: Maybe, but I can grant one of your wishes.
Davis: (smiling again) Like a genie?
Lena: (in mock Mexican Genie voice) Yes Master. I hereby grant your wish to to experience sex with someone you love.
Davis: (flirtatiously) You have no idea what you’re getting yourself into, girl.
Lena: I know exactly what I’m doing, Davis. I’m loving my best friend.
Davis: (smiling with love in her eyes) I’m so happy it’s you.
Lena: I’m happy you’re happy.
Davis: I couldn’t have picked a more wonderful person to make love to.
Lena: There might be one person who…is better than me. Well, slightly better than me.
Lena: (sarcastically) Janet Waverly.
Davis: (laughing) I don’t even know her, Lena. She’s in England.
Lena: (rolling her eyes) Never mind.
While in rush hour traffic, Davis thinks hard about the many issues raised in this conversation, driving back to her spacious home in North Downey. It’s raining again.
For Davis, this encounter with Lena was not just important, but an emotionally cleansing experience. This cleansing was something Davis needed for many years. Like any long conversation with Lena, there were invaluable gifts in this exchange. There were pearls of wisdom to contemplate and mull over. Lena’s advice once again seemed like the perfect tool for helping Davis sort her life out, allowing Davis insights into the world that she could never comprehend on her own.
Yes, Lena did give Davis some harsh truths. But they were the kind of harsh truths that were pathways into possibilities, possibilities Davis was far more excited by than the awkward and tense family life she created for herself. As kids, Lena gave Davis many harsh truths. Though these harsh truths were painful to hear, they always made Davis feel like she knew all the best choices available to her. Davis nearly always felt this way as a teen, when Lena and her would walk and talk down the streets of Pasadena.
In the years after Lena drifted away from her, Davis felt uncertain and confused about most of her choices. But after her latest conversation with Lena, Davis suddenly felt the thrill of certainty, once again. This was the same certainly she felt when Lena goaded her into doing self-destructive and dangerous things, back when they were students at Warren High School.
Before she arrived at Vroman’s, Davis knew she needed a profound change in her life, a change that would make her marriage bearable, whilst making Max feel close to her again. Davis had wanted this change for years. But she never understood what such a change could realistically be. None of the available options ever seemed terribly desirable. But after chatting to her old friend, one option suddenly seemed ideal, like it would magically solve all of Davis’s problems. Lena never told Davis to take this option. But it seemed like everything Lena said suggested this was the best one.
This option had an additional appeal for Davis. Thinking about it aroused her like nothing else in quite some time. So much so, that on the drive back from Pasadena, Davis wet the car seat underneath her. She’d never had an experience like this, while driving. It was a little scary.
Eventually, Davis had to pull over, and walk into a McDonalds in the drab and grimy city of Pico Rivera. Pico Rivera existed somewhere between Downey and Pasadena.
While in McDonalds, Davis ordered a bag of fries, and after quickly finishing them, marched into the public restroom. She masterbated for a good fifteen minutes in one of the stalls, thinking of what she was going to do when she got back home. She came harder than she had cum in years, during what was one of the most intense orgasms of her life. Frigging herself off in the woman’s bathroom, her moans were loud and guttural. They were so loud that other women in the bathroom wondered if Davis was in pain. On her way out, one woman stopped Davis, to ask her if she was ok. Davis replied that it was just a stomach upset she always got after having fries.
Driving past Pico Rivera into Downey, Davis was breathing heavily and smiling. She couldn’t wait to get home. She especially couldn’t wait to see Max, and change both of their lives for the better. She was playing her iPhone, singing along loudly to “Sledgehammer,” a love song from the Reflection album by Fifth Harmony. Davis loved this album, often playing it over and over again, while she was driving. As she finally pulled into the driveway of her Downey home, she turned off the music and absorbed the sounds of suburban silence. For a minute, she thought about how one day, she was going to leave Southern California and bring Ben and Max to New York. She felt the Big Apple would suit the three of them, far more than Los Angeles ever did. But this thought was interrupted as Davis started thinking about sex, once more. In a way that was completely out of her control, her panties begin to dampen for a second time.
During the brief walk from the car to the front door, Davis was feeling very sex-positive. In fact, she’d never felt this sex-positive before. Her heart was racing and her palms were sweaty.
Two days later, Ben was filing divorce papers, while Max was absolutely and utterly devastated. Two nights earlier, there had been an “incident” between Davis and Max. During that incident, Davis said and did things Max always assumed his mother would never say or do, things Max assumed no mother would ever say or do to her child. Afterwards, Max was both shocked and terrified. Davis was shocked that Max was shocked and terrified. Davis was shocked both by how much she hurt him, and how quickly she destroyed their beautiful relationship. When Max told Ben what Davis had done, Ben also started crying and screaming. He screamed that Davis was disgusting, that he hated her, and that he wished she had cancer.
When Davis screamed back how sorry she was, Ben punched her hard in the face, knocking her to the floor. Davis blacked out before she hit the ground.
Luckily, she didn’t hit her head when she landed. If she had, given the force of the punch, Davis would have probably died. In her unconscious state, Ben didn’t check to see if his wife was ok. Instead, he screamed obscenities, repeatedly kicked her in the stomach, and spat on her. Max screamed for him to stop, trying his hardest to pull his raging Dad away from his unconscious mother. Ben was so angry he wound up also punching Max in the face. When Ben saw Max fall to the floor, he started shrieking and punching himself in the head.
Max got up and hugged him, as this was the only way to get him to stop. Ben wept and sobbed in his son’s arms, for a good 10 minutes. This was one of the few moments in his life where Max felt close to his father. It would also be the last.
After Davis awoke all alone, with blood on her lips, she knew she couldn’t press charges. She felt she deserved Ben’s violence. For the first time since she could remember, Davis felt like absolute and utter trash, like she didn’t deserve to breathe. Knowing the emotional pain she caused Max hurt her more than anything she had felt in her 34 years of life. In fact, it was far more devastating to Davis than it was to Max.
It hurt so hard she couldn’t even cry. She could barely move.
It was as if Davis had stabbed her own heart, and was forced to slowly bleed all over her internal organs. If she were stronger emotionally, Davis would have happily killed herself. That would be far nicer than the unbearable and agonising pain of knowing how much she hurt the love of her life. Davis had never known pain so bleak and visceral.
After Ben calmed down, he immediately wanted to call the police. He was even willing to be prosecuted for the beating he gave Davis, as long as she paid heavily for what she did to Max. But it was Max who convinced Ben not to go down this road. Max, more than anything, didn’t want to see his mother go to prison. So he told his Dad that having to live with what she had done as a free woman would be a far worse punishment.
This wasn’t true, but Ben was gullible enough to believe it. Ben’s gullibility was one of the reasons Max always felt like he could never really relate to his father. After the display of violence Max witnessed his father unleash upon his mother, Max went from feeling distant towards Ben, to actively disliking him. Watching Ben beat his unconscious mother, Max lost all respect for his Dad. The kindness Ben exhibited most of the time suddenly seemed like it was fake. From this point onwards, Max and Ben spoke to each other, only when they had to.
Lena was the second person to talk to Ben about what Davis had done. Unlike Max, Lena thought Davis should go to prison, but Ben was firm in siding with his son over anyone else, as Max was the true victim in all of this. But despite Ben’s disagreement with Lena, she was still sympathetic and understanding when Ben sobbed on the phone to her. Ben told Lena he was simply in shock over what Davis had done, as it seemed out of character for his sweet and loving wife. When Ben said Davis was no longer the woman he loved for 15 years, Lena corrected him and said Davis was actually expressing her true character. Lena insisted that Davis was always quite sick and twisted. When Ben protested, Lena responded that Ben was just in denial, like she been until she found out about Inside Davis.
Lena said that Davis’s career in porn should have a been a giant red flag for Ben. She said Ben was irresponsible for not having seen this red flag and divorcing Davis, immediately. Lena said that as soon as Inside Davis began, Ben should have been fighting hard in a custody battle for Max. Lena’s overall message was that Ben was basically an irresponsible parent who endangered the well being of his child. But she said all of this in such a nice way that Ben couldn’t really take offence.
Although Ben was a math wiz, Lena was far more more intelligent than him. That’s why he didn’t question any of the things she told him, especially the things that made him feel good, or simply a sense of relief, after everything his family had gone through. Lena’s take charge personality made Ben feel happy. Ben felt happiest when a woman took charge. He felt safest when he trusted a woman to give him orders. Ben trusted Lena to give him orders because she was brilliant, successful, and Ben knew she had both his and Max’s best interests at heart. Ben had also known Lena for fifteen years. And throughout those years, Ben had always wondered what it would be like to fuck her.
Lena was no raving beauty, but she did have a cute, bubbly brown ass. Ben had a thing for bubbly brown asses. He’d always wanted to stick his dick in one. Ever since he was Max’s age. You could say it was something like a life long dream. But it was like one of Davis’s life long dreams. Ben would only stick his dick in a bubbly brown ass, if it was attached to a woman who loved him.
That’s why Ben, without question, quickly changed many of his beliefs to get love from Lena. The two of them quickly re-started the courtship that ended in high school when Ben impregnated Davis. This time around, Lena was no longer the shy and unconfident senior Ben knew as a teenager. Now, Ben was getting painful erections whenever he talked to the successful grown up who was now an English professor at UCLA. These erections were a nice distraction from the family trauma Ben was enduring, on a daily basis.
Of course, Lena knew this. This is why she was giving Ben those erections.
Through the last decade and a half, Lena had become a master at flirting, especially with people who were less intelligent than her. Because of these skills, Lena always knew exactly what to say to make sure Ben had a big boner throughout the day, no matter how many times he jerked it off. This helped Ben get over his habit of daily weeping.
Unlike Davis, Lena knew the secret to understanding Ben. In order to turn him on effectively and consistently, you had to compliment him. And when Ben was frequently turned on, you could get him to do whatever you wanted. During many conversations where Lena made Ben feel like a responsible and handsome father, she hinted that if he played his cards right, he could fuck her ass one day.
She knew Davis never liked anal sex. The prospect of anal thus became a massive incentive for Ben to believe whatever Lena had to say about sex and parenting. As it turns out, Lena never did let Ben fuck her ass. But with the possibility of anal sex dangling in front of Ben, he found it easier to believe things his mind naturally railed against. This meant Ben found it easier to accept Lena’s more socially conservative views.
Lena believed that when you’re a parent, you should do whatever you can to keep your sexuality away from your kids. Being both a sexual exhibitionist and a parent was morally wrong, because an exhibitionist is someone who doesn’t have a target audience for their sexuality. An exhibitionist tries to get the world off. Lena thought that, as a parent, you shouldn’t try to get the world off, because your kids are part of that world. So if you’re trying to get off the world, that means, at least indirectly, you’re also trying to get off your kids.
Lena felt this was why porn stars shouldn’t be allowed to raise children.
Raising a family with a working pornstar parent, according to Lena, was child abuse. After what happened with Max, Ben found it hard to disagree. But he didn’t feel guilty, in part, because Lena had convinced him that he had been manipulated by Davis. Lena told Ben that although he failed many of his duties as a father, this was understandable, given his circumstances. His circumstances were that Ben had impregnated a trashy and disgusting whore that was evil, a psychotic bitch who first raped Ben, and then her own son, before either boys had reached the age of consent.
Davis too felt like a trashy and disgusting whore that happened to be a psychotic rapist, not to mention an evil bitch. She suffered greatly because of these feelings, but didn’t want to blame anybody else for them. As it happened, she didn’t blame Ben for their divorce. Neither did she blame Ben and Max for wanting her to move out of their home. She didn’t even blame Max for not wanting to have any further contact with her, once she did move out. She expected all these things, and felt she deserved them. Davis felt like a horrible person, the most horrible person she had ever known. She felt unimiginaeably horrible, like a walking piece of shit.
But Davis also knew that her horribleness was because of the choices she made, choices that she and she alone had to take responsibility for.
So after Davis moved out of her family home in Downey, she rented a studio apartment in Whittier. She immediately stopped doing Inside Davis. And she began a long process of soul searching, trying to isolate what things in her life had influenced her to repeatedly make such terrible choices, again and again. She couldn’t come up with many answers. She expected not to, as Davis wasn’t particularly adept at self-introspection. However, she was slowly getting better at it, much to her own ignorance. The fact that she expected to be bad at self-introspection, was evidence of growing self-introspection.
With her brief career in porn, Davis had amassed enough money to live without working for at least two years. But during these years, she couldn’t find much to do that excited her. She couldn’t write, because her brain wouldn’t allow her to concentrate enough to do anything creative. On most days, Davis ordered pizza, cleaned her house for a few minutes, and then cried on her living room couch.
Every night at 7pm, she’d eat her pizza, while downing three or four glasses of coke. Before she movied to Whittier, she never used to eat like this. But after everything that had happened, Davis didn’t see any point in looking better than most women. She couldn’t be bothered to to pop any boners. For the first time in her life, she actually felt asexual.
Within six months of living in her Whittier apartment, Davis had gained 40 pounds. For the first time since high school, Davis was no longer a beautiful woman most men wanted to fuck, whenever she walked into a room. She suddenly had empathy for Ben and his weight issues. She finally understood how hard it was to eat healthily, when the person you love isn’t giving you what you need.
Shortly after Davis moved to Whittier, Lena moved into Ben and Max’s family home in Downey. The day after Lena moved in, Ben proposed to her. Ben didn’t know that Lena made him do this, by making Ben feel like he couldn’t cope as a father without Lena’s help. Unlike Davis, Ben found Max very hard to be around. Lena convinced Ben that if he were to raise Max as a single father, he would fail miserably, as his son was far too complex for him to comprehend. Lena also didn’t tell Ben that once they were married, she planned on having much more of an influence on Max than Ben ever could.
Max was the baby Lena had always wanted. Now she was going to finally parent Max the way he should be parented, the way she felt Max deserved to be parented. She had a vision, and she wanted Ben not as a partner, but as a facilitator of this vision. She also appreciated Ben’s accounting skills. It was nice to have a man who was good at looking after money. More intellectual men tended to be indifferent to money.
The day of Ben and Lena’s wedding, Lena had a useful epiphany, an epiphany she kept to herself. She finally understood something about herself that had always baffled her. There was a reason Lena never felt comfortable in relationships with intellectuals, men like the cardigan wearing preppies from Pasadena, the guys she crushed on so badly as a teen. Those men all wanted a relationship with a woman who saw them as her equal. Lena never wanted this kind of relationship, as it pushed her too far outside her comfort zone, a zone where she had an iron grip on her lovers.
Lena enjoyed having male and female friends she could spar with intellectually. She enjoyed gay men she could talk to about fashion, food, and the best clubs around town. But she never equated these things with feeling sexual. She felt sexual with straight men she knew would mostly do whatever she said, without question. She occasionally had sexual feelings for women, but only women she didn’t respect-women she thought were bimbos she could run circles around, intellectually. Lena had an uncanny talent for making beautiful women feel unexpected bursts of confusion and self-doubt.
She was a good actress.
When Lena flirted with straight men, she behaved like the most wild and kinky harlot. But inside, she only felt arousal at the prospect of their obedience. And the most obedient straight men, while very kind, were also typically boring and bland. Lena felt incredibly powerful, controlling and manipulating boring and bland men-men like her new husband, but not so much like her new step-son.
As both of them accepted Lena into their home, she found it easy to make strange demands without Ben giving her much resistance. Max was a different story. So whenever Max displayed any discomfort with these demands, Lena would threaten him with various things, most frequently the loss of his many priviliges. That kept Max compliant enough with whatever she wanted to do.
Lena also didn’t tell Ben or Max she was regularly texting Davis on her iPhone. Ben and Max were strangely forbidden from having any contact with Lena’s iPhone. It was part of the house rules. Max thought this was weird and it made him feel nervous, but Ben didn’t question it. Ben would never do anything to jeopardise the constant stream of compliments and orgasms his new wife gave him.
From Ben’s perspective, he was the luckiest man in the world. He had a woman who happily stroked both his cock and his ego. It was relaxing. It made him forget his troubles. Very few men seemed to have that these days. But because Ben felt so happy and content with Lena, he didn’t much care what Lena did when she wasn’t being the wife he had always wished Davis could be. Lena may not have been beautiful or white, but in every other way, she surpassed Davis. Because of Lena, Ben could have sex like a teenager again.
After the two of them fucked and Ben was snoring, Lena would have half hour text conversations with Davis. Lena would tell Davis there was nothing wrong with what she did to Max, and that society was too backward to appreciate the level of closeness Davis tried to create in her family. Davis disagreed with her, but was always hopeless at winning a debate with Lena. Lena also encouraged Davis to try and seduce Max again. She encouraged Davis to send Max clips of her masterbating, while she said his name into the camera, in her sexiest porn voice. Lena would text this repeatedly, as Davis repeatedly texted “No!”
One night, Davis told Lena she felt suicidal and hopeless. Davis expected Lena to give her a myriad of reasons why she should value her life. She expected Lena to tell her, with eloquence and passion, that killing herself was the worst choice Davis could ever make. But Lena surprised Davis. She said that everyone had a right to take their own life at the time of their choosing. Lena also said she’d never presume to know what was best for Davis, because only Davis could know that.
After that conversation, Davis decided Lena was not a good person to have in her life. She also deeply regretted that this woman was now raising her beloved son, a son who steadfastly refused to see or talk to his biological mother. Davis knew Lena probably had something to do with this.
Lena was now spending a lot of time with Max. From Lena’s perspective, she had thoroughly replaced both Davis and Ben as his one true parent. Lena also did everything she could to influence Max to hate his mother. But as much as Max felt he SHOULD hate Davis, he just couldn’t do it consistently. He could do it on most days. But not every day.
He wasn’t strong enough. However, that didn’t stop him from trying his hardest.
Max knew intellectually that he SHOULD love Lena, and hate Davis. He knew intellectually, that Lena deserved more of his love than Davis ever did. But in the reality of Max’s head, it felt much easier to love Davis and dislike his new step mother, a step mother he knew was (objectively) a much better parent for him. This was all incredibly confusing.
Max appreciated Lena for being a much more practical mom than Davis had ever been. Lena also made Max feel safer than Davis, like his life wasn’t always so unpredictable. With Lena, Max felt like he didn’t have to be his mother’s best friend, but instead could see her as someone who wanted to make sure he was always ok. These were all great qualities in a mother.
Because they were great qualities, they were supposed to make Max feel good. Max told himself repeatedly that being parented like this should feel natural, as it was like the parenting most of his friends experienced. But for Max, it felt horrible. It felt like the opposite of the warm, affectionate, and fun relationship he had with Davis-the woman Max’s step mother, father, and extended family encouraged him to hate with a burning and continuous passion.
In this regard, everyone seemed to put an incredible amount of pressure on Max. It felt like he only got approval or help from his family, when he repeatedly told them how much he hated his mother. Max even found it useful to say mean things about Davis as a way of calming them down, when they had became enraged with him. After Lena came into the family, Ben and Lena were enraged at Max a lot. Max didn’t like this, and often tried to do something about it.
He tried hard to connect with Lena, even though she wasn’t a very fun person. He respected both her intelligence and her success as a writer. He tried to learn from her. He also tried his best to initiate deep and interesting converstions with Lena, in the hopes of impressing her with his creativity and inquisitive mind. But Lena showed little interest in connecting with him in a way that was cerebral or complicated. Max was now her son, and this meant Lena got her greatest joys from bossing him around. In fact, Max often felt like him and his Dad were simply Lena’s minions. She seemed to only tolerate brief conversations with both of them, inbetween the many physical tasks she asked them to do. Fun conversations were things she did with her friends. Not her family.
Max and Ben got Lena’s approval if they were quiet, and always willing to drop whatever they were doing to complete one of her laborious tasks. It was normally a manly task, a task that involved lugging around heavy furniture or cutting down trees. It was rare that Lena did anything Ben or Max asked her to do. She was rarely present on their birthdays. Her womanly tasks primarily involved screaming at Max in the afternoons, while making Ben scream like clockwork, every night at fifteen past 11.
Max knew that as long as Lena was having sex with his Dad, Ben had virtually no free will. Ben was like a slave to this woman. More of a slave than he had ever been to Davis. Max could never be anyone’s slave, even though he still did his best to create a warm relationship with his step-mother. But no matter how much he tried, it seemed nearly impossible.
Even when Max was doing what Lena wanted, she often made quite scathing and sarcastic remarks at him. On more than one occasion, Lena did an impression of Max’s clumsiness that really hurt his feelings. She also teased him affectionately, making fun of his inability to get along with kids his own age. Sometimes he laughed at the way she teased him, because he thought it might be Lena’s way of showing him love. Other times, her constant ribbing made Max want to cry, especially when it was about Max’s nervousness around girls. Lena never seemed to care about Max’s feelings, unless Max had feelings she approved of. Lena didn’t approve of Max being hurt by her caustic wit, so she didn’t care if Max was hurt by anything she found funny.
Here, we should be mindful that Lena would say that this characterisation of her was unfair. To be fair and balanced, we’d have to acknowledge that Lena wasn’t always unpleasant to Max. She was just unpleasant, most of the time.
As Max developed into a young man, Lena gave him what seemed like good advice about women-advice Max thought was much better than the advice Davis had given him. Lena told Max that he had a right to expect sexual monogamy in any woman, once he started dating her. She told Max anything else was incredibly selfish and cold, or at least a harbinger of terrible things to come. Lena also told Max that sex was something one had to be extraordinarily careful with, because even unwanted sexual advances could be traumatic for both women and men. Max agreed, as he had first hand experience of this with his mother.
Despite their many differences, Max noticed two things Lena and his mother had in common. The first was they were both self-identified feminists. The second was that both of them identified with the term “sex-positive.” But if you asked each what they meant by “sex-positive” they would have said radically different things. For Lena, being sex-positive meant having sex that was positive, and not having sex that wasn’t.
One thing Max grew to respect about Lena was how even handed she was in the way she looked at men and women. Unlike Davis, Lena never gave women sexual privileges she didn’t also give to men. Hence, she gave both men and women very few sexual privileges. She discouraged Max from having pre-marital sex, because of the risk of unwanted pregnancies and STDs. She encouraged Max to wait until he was at least in his late twenties, before settling down with a wife and family.
For Lena, there was nothing worse than being a single parent. She’d read several studies about how single parents were, on balance, more likely to have children who make less money than parents in stable nuclear families. Although Lena insisted she supported gay rights, she often claimed it was better that gay couples share their children with a parent of the opposite sex. Lena felt kids needed a mother and father, a man and a woman, a man and a woman who were married, had money, were monogamous, and would never ever make porn.
Whenever Max thought about sex, he thought about Lena’s numerous speeches to him about safe sex. He didn’t associate sex with his mother. He never thought about Inside Davis. He never even thought about porn anymore. He instead thought of all the risks associated with sex, risks Lena gave him almost daily reminders of. The way Lena spoke about sex, she made it seem cumbersome, complicated, and unusually dangerous. To Max, this meant sex wasn’t terribly appealing as a recreational past time. And certainly nothing he could relax enough to have fun doing. Sex seemed scary. You could accidentally wind up becoming a parent. Or a rapist. Or someone dead in a few years, if you caught the wrong STD.
Max’s love of films was much easier for him to deal with than sex. This is what he chose to major in, once he went to college. In college and then grad school, Max had close friendships with a few Caucasian women who all bore a striking resemblance to his mother. He preferred these relationships to be platonic, because he could get the benefits of friendship, without the risks of sex. His female friends were the ones who often felt short changed. Nearly all of them were waiting patiently for Max to finally cave in, and decide to be their studious and handsome boyfriend.
In truth, many women of all ages would have loved to be in a romantic relationship with Max. He was an intelligent, fascinating, if soft-spoken young man with beautiful and intense brown eyes. But like Lena at his age, he wasn’t terribly horny. He was more interested in his burgeoning academic career as a film studies scholar. Many people thought this was strange, given the ample opportunities he had with so many hot white girls. But Max didn’t cave into the peer pressure. He didn’t think anyone, white girls especially, had the right to tell him who he should fuck and when. In this respect, Max was quite influenced by things his mother told him.
He just didn’t realise it.
Between the day his mother moved to Whittier and the age of 27, Max had no contact with Davis. This was how he wanted things, and Davis certainly respected his wishes. This was because Max would always be her favourite person, the person she had loved more than anyone she had ever known. Davis could never tell whether her love for Max was good or evil, like love to cherish or love to suppress. But because of this love, Davis would always do whatever she could to be thought fondly of by Max-even if that meant following his orders never to contact him again.
All of Max’s friends tried to dissuade him from taking such a hard line stance towards his birth mother. In fact, they routinely encouraged him to resume contact with her.
They would say things like, “But she’s the reason you’re alive!”
Max would reply, “I don’t owe her my friendship just because I fell out of her.”
When his friends asked him to think about how much pain she might be in, Max would reply that this pain was her own fault.
Sometimes Max’s friends would say that Max should practice forgiveness, using such forgiveness to repair his relationship with Davis. He’d say he didn’t want to forgive her, or repair the relationship.
Still other times, people said that if Davis grew old and died without him ever being in her life, he would feel an unbearable amount of guilt, a painful regret he could never fully forgive himself for.
Max would reply that these feelings were unimportant. If he felt them, that just meant his job was to make himself not feel them. They were the wrong feelings to have.
At 27 years of age, Max was a single grad-student, doing a Phd on David Cronenberg’s late works. His Phd was at USC, but he mostly did his research and writing at home. He had video conferences with his picky, pedantic advisors, and went to campus quite minimally. He didn’t like most of the people at USC because they seemed competitive and snobbish, like his step-mother. He also couldn’t stand how they dressed, even though they looked quite stylish in ways he did not. This is partly why it was not a huge inconvenience that Max lived a long drive away from USC.
Max had a small apartment in Pasadena, near Colorado Blvd. He didn’t really like the people in Pasadena, anymore than the people at USC. But he liked the shops, restaurants, and bookstores. For all it’s faults, he still thought Pasadena was pretty, and the city reminded him of some of the happier days of his childhood. Like it or not, Pasadena had something going for it that most Los Angeles suburbs did not: It was interesting. Whether a child, or a 27 year old man, Max couldn’t help but obsess over things he found interesting.
As a bookish grad student, Max was quiet and controlled, saying very little unless you were either one of his friends, or someone he needed to impress. Max had a set of routines he rarely deviated from. He wasn’t hedonistic or someone who liked to party. He didn’t drink. He hadn’t even masterbated for four years. But every once in a while, he got restless and did something impulsive, something almost out of character. During one of these moments, he decided to visit InsideDavis.com. Max was suddenly curious about what his mother’s old porn looked like. To his surprise, Max found that Inside Davis was no longer a pornsite, but instead a fan community discussing his mother’s writings.
Perusing through the site, he found a few bits of information about his mother, particularly about what she had been up to in the intervening 13 years. He found some factoids and pics, but not as much as he would have liked. From what he could glean, Davis was now single and living in New York. She looked much the same as he remembered, but with a (slightly) more wrinkly face. She wore these wrinkles well, and was still an unusually attractive woman in her late 40s. From what Max could see, it didn’t look like Davis had anything to do with this website. It was run exclusively by her obsessive fans, fans who didn’t seem to get how ironic her writing could be.
Max recognised a lot of the older pieces, but was curious about the newer ones.
One thing he immediately noticed was the change in titles. The older poems and essays always had quite meloncholic and elaborate titles. The titles of the newer pieces were all very short and funny. A few of them made Max laugh out loud, which in turn, made him more curious to read them.
Max clicked on one essay entitled “Why I’d Never Want to Be a Nice Person.”
In this essay, Davis described, in lurid detail, all the things she loved about sex. Much of the language was vulgar. Much of the imagery was titilating But what stood out to Max was the essay’s point of view. His mother loved sex for all the reasons he found it cumbersome. She loved that it was dangerous and risky. She loved that it had the power to frustrate and hurt people. She loved that it could be manipulative, a way to control people, tease them, and head fuck them into tears, heartache, violence, even anxiety and depression. She loved that sex wasn’t fair, that it was racist, that it wasn’t politically progressive, and that at base, sex was more exciting the less equal it was, the more it involved dominance, aggression, body shaming, and things Max had always associated with pain.
This was fascinating to Max, as it seemed Davis had now dropped the pretence of being a feminist. The last paragraph of this essay read:
Fuck gender equality. Men and women are different, and that’s why they’re so good at getting each other off. I understand this as a bisexual. For me, sex with a woman is only really sexy, when it’s like sex with a man. I despise lingerie, candles, and anything with the word ‘sensuality’ in it. I do not like it when even beautiful women are gentle with me. And as a bisexual, I am the first to admit that many beautiful women are boring. I should know. I’ve had sex with over 300 of them. And regardless of how interesting even the most beautiful woman is, there’s always that fucking smell. I can forgive that smell, because I have been forgiven for many many things. Much worse things.
As Max read his mother’s words, he began to remember things about her, memories from around the time he hit puberty. He remembered how attracted to her he was, and how ashamed this made him feel. But he also felt comfortable being ashamed of his feelings. Because of his shame, he could still say he was a good son, a loving son, a son who could be a good friend to even his crazy, sexy mother.
When his mother had sex with him at the age of 14, Max suddenly felt like a horrible person. He chose to reject her from his life, not because he hated her, but because he hated himself. Because he enjoyed sex with her so intensely, he felt he no longer deserved to have Davis in his life. Max felt like he had destroyed the one thing that made it ok for her to love him. So by rejecting Davis, Max wasn’t actually punishing Davis. He was punishing himself. Davis didn’t know this, of course. She thought Max was punishing her. In a way, Max didn’t know it either. He thought he was punishing her too.
13 years later, Max was still punishing himself. Even though he was nearing 30, he still felt like a terrible human being, despite his achievements, and despite his small circle of loving female friends. And he would have continued to feel like this for the rest of his life, had he not stumbled upon his mother’s essay on sex. Her words instantly brought to light something Max had blocked out from his memories of her:
Max really liked his mother.
Yes, he thought she was sexy. But more so than that, he thought she was funny and fun to be around. They had so much in common.
No, she wasn’t really a “good person.” But that was part of why Max liked her. She was fascinating. Liking her felt like getting away with something, something exciting and forbidden. And also, it was kind of an honor to watch someone so fucked up try so hard to be loving and nurturing to him. As a child, Max gave Davis the illusion she was looking after him. In truth, it was the opposite. Hence, Lena was far better at being a good mother than Davis could ever be. But being mothered by Lena was also far more unpleasant.
This, as it turns out, is the fundamental paradox of motherhood.
When you have a good mother, it never feels all that nice, growing up. It’s good for you, like bitter medicine is good for you. Davis was a bad mother because being her son felt far nicer than that.
When Max thought about this, he did something he hadn’t done since he was in his late teens. He took out a piece of paper and a pencil. He wrote down an argument. This was something Lena taught him to do, when he was feeling emotionally confused. She always encouraged him to write his feelings down, and assign a number to them. This way, he could better see if his feelings contained any contradictions.
On this piece of paper, Max wrote:
- It’s wrong to want to have sex with your mother
- If you want to have sex with your mother, you’re a bad person
- But you can still be a good person if you’re ashamed of the fact that you’d like to have sex with your mother.
Thinking about all the years of pain and self-loathing 1, 2, and 3 had caused in him, Max decided to do something very stupid. He decided to find his mother’s email address and send her a few paragraphs of text. He wept as he wrote these paragraphs.
He apologised profusely for rejecting her from his life. Then he beautifully described how much he enjoyed spending time with her as a kid. He thanked her for giving him the gift of life. He told her that he still loved her very much, that he completely forgave her for what she did to him, and that he wanted to see her again. He suggested next time she visited LA, they have coffee at Vroman’s bookstore. And he made these paragraphs sound profound, like something you might see in a book by Alice Munroe. Or Cora Sandel.
As Max’s paragraphs came to an end, he told his mother that her writings had inspired him, because of how much he related to what she was saying. After all these years, Max was realising that he too was tired of being a nice person. He explained to Davis that his temperament was naturally more like Lena’s, but this wasn’t something he felt proud of. He described Lena as a pretentious and controlling bitch, and Ben as a dumb and petty man servant. He told Davis he wished he could be more like his sexy mother, if just for the thrill of pissing off his other parents-the bland, nice, and unsexy ones. He knew this would make Davis laugh.
Here, Max was being slightly flirtatious. He was now regretting all the times he stopped himself from flirting with his mother. He wished he had impressed her with how well he could flirt, and not simply astonished her with how charming he could be. Max remembered the intimacy he felt with her, how much he loved making her laugh, perplexing her, understanding her, delighting her, and consoling her. Max knew that once they resumed contact, he could easily fall in love with Davis McFarlin. After all, he had never encountered another human being he found so easy to love.
This brough to light another paradox.
Davis was both Max’s first love and his first crush, as well as being the woman responsible for him being able to love and have crushes. Things weren’t supposed to work this way. That’s why Max, for so many years, tried so hard to banish Davis from his thoughts.
But in this moment, Max was being lazy. Dangerously lazy.
He was allowing himself to remember the experience of kissing her beautiful lips. As Max irresponsibly allowed this memory to creep into his field of awareness, he felt the first stirrings of an erection, his first erection in three years. His heart was racing and his palms were sweaty. He was feeling sexual again, and amazingly, he wasn’t feeling worried or guilty. Instead, he was deluding himself.
For the first time since he was an adolescent, Max felt exhilerated by possibilities, a future where he couldn’t predict what might happen, a relationship that might contain both sex and love, where Max wouldn’t have to shut off his feelings, be conventional, or be ashamed of the one woman who inspired them-the only woman who could now give him an erection. Max was thinking like a crazy person.
Fortunately, he soon came to his senses.
Max remembered he was supposed to hate his mother.
A minute later, he stepped into an uncomfortably icy shower, making his hard on go away. As it subsided, Max felt a momentary relief. But it soon stopped, being replaced by an awkward and confusing panic. The laziness wasn’t going way. Neither was the impulsiveness.
Max had to leave his apartment and take a walk, to calm himself down.
Arriving back home an hour later, Max decided to delete the letter he had written to Davis.
He told himself repeatedly that Davis was a bad person, a dangerous person to have in his, or anyone’s life. Writing her was a horrible idea, an action that could only lead to the collapse of all the things that gave Max’s life stability and purpose. Contacting Davis could even destroy his relationship with his parents. His real parents. The parents that raised him right. The parents who never abused him, and were paying for his expensive education.
Max tried his hardest to be strong and do the right thing. He couldn’t risk inviting either a psychotic rapist or an evil bitch into his life. Especially now, when things were going so well. Max had a life he needed to protect from his mother. It felt as if Max were being called to arms, like he suddenly had to fight hard for every achievement he brought to life in the last 13 years.
If he spoke to his mother, it could all get destroyed. And Max couldn’t allow that.
So Max had to find a way to hate his mother, and do it quickly.
It should have been easy. It was easy on most days, by this time in his life. But for some reason, today, Max was struggling. He was struggling badly.
In a frenzy, he was desperately trying to find the purest hate within himself, the sanctimonious outrage, the resentment, the hate he carried with him into every productive day of his grown up life.
He knew he could access this hatred, if he just calmed down and found a sense of inner peace. Clarity could be the pathway to peacefulness, if he could just clear his mind enough to create it. Max started to do the breathing exercises Lena taught him, when he told her he suffered from anxiety. Within five minutes, he started to feel more relaxed, believing that if he stayed calm and focused, the hate would be there, waiting for him to make use of.
Feeling somewhat stable and in control, Max sat in the chair beside his computer, getting ready to delete the few silly pages of text he had written to his crazy mother. Unfortunately, his hand slipped. Instead of pressing the Delete button, Max wound up pressing Send.
Davis instantly received Max’s letter, and sent him a text message, within sixty seconds. It had a number on it, next to the phrase:
When Max saw these words, he felt nausious. Evil was beckoning.
Despite his love of purity and goodness, Max gave into temptation, immediately pressing the wretched and dangerous number.
It was 8pm when his rapist mother said hello to him, for the first time in 13 years. Despite his better judgment, he didn’t hang up immediately. He didn’t hang up until 5am.
That evening, Max betrayed himself. He betrayed his family, his achievements in higher education, his morality, and even his sense of human decency. He did something unthinkable.
He did more than merely speak to the woman who traumatised him as a teenager. After six hours of mutual apologies, explanations, and shared tears, Max allowed his conversation with Davis to violate the biggest taboo of Western Civilisation. The talk became perverted, abusive, disturbing, a communication that should never have happened, an act of self-harm where Max was having mind blowing orgasms by the early hours of the morning.
During these orgasms, Max felt nothing but pure love for his mother, the deepest love a person can have for another human being. The deepest love imaginable.
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/