COVID-69 is an ongoing series. Please pitch us your coronavirus/quarantine-themed porn at firstname.lastname@example.org
Patrick is in his best position—tied up, pinned down, pillows elevating his head and chest—and yearning to breathe quietly, inaudibly, the softest, slightest sighs. But his heaves are graceless, his lungs are stressed, one nostril’s plugged up by mucus. Finally he gives up. Breathes through his mouth.
Must he be always so aware of his breathing? Asthma makes it hitch, prickly, in his lungs. Allergies keep his sinuses clogged or flowing, sometimes both, in divergent areas of his nose. What he wouldn’t give to breathe easy, silently, clear: to smoke a bowl without incurring a panic attack; to sleep without the obliterative roar of a white noise machine (it covers his wheezes and whistles); to enjoy the great pleasure of Xandra sitting on his face without fear of suffocation. That last activity is, in fact, what just happened, minus fearlessness. Sucking her clit desperately, noisily, beween gulps he managed to get her off. Now he is, as we say, catching his breath.
Xandra’s face looms over his. She pulls in a full, shapely inhale through her nose, exhales forcefully. Outstanding breathing is one of Xandra’s many talents. Steady and reliable, confident and controlled, her breathing promises to lead him to new sensory experiences, promises to sustain him. Patrick covets Xandra’s breathing. He imagines his lungs filling happily, floating up like bright balloons, pink and glistening. Free of these mortal confines. It seems Patrick is always trying to free himself from himself. And Xandra is always helping him.
Poor Patrick. He will not be lifting off anytime soon, with his wrists and ankles strapped loosely to the bed frame, Xandra’s sure thighs locking him in place.
It’s time. Whenever Xandra introduces him to a new sensory experience, she always shows him new things about himself. That’s why she’s a fantastic top.
He knows what’s coming. A burst, he expects. Of genius. Xandra is working her jaw, sucking her tongue, salivating. Xandra accumulates. She pats him on the chin. Open up, she says with her eyes, one side of her mouth pulled into a smirk. He wets his lips, parts them tentatively. She wrenches open his jaw and spits.
“Stick out your tongue this time. He does. She gathers more mouth fluids, then lowers her face and takes aim. A warm splat bright on his tongue. Spit drizzles from her lips as she closes his mouth.”
When I receive the email inviting me to write a coronavirus-related porn story, I’m elated. At last, I think: a way I can participate in the public discourse around the virus, a way that plays to my strengths. I know how to write porn. I’ve even published some. I create a new file. I start spitballing.
First I try a scene involving two characters rubbing their genitals on a glass barrier. You get that side and I get this side. Then I think: phone sex. Video sex. Latex. A touchless fuck, a spitless kiss, your breath is hot on my cock. Your hazmat suit and my hazmat suit gliding towards each other: we’re cosmonauts (I have been listening to the new Fiona Apple). I imagine a scene in which one character dangles spit over another character who has taken off their plastic face guard to incur risk. Hot or not? I put the shield back on. The shiny comet of drool shivers as it dangles. The character slurps it up and down like a yoyo. When the drool ball drops, it splatters, spreads over the screen, lumpy with bubbles. All these holes.
The end. Ptooey. I go for a walk to think about it. Spit. Vehicle of contagion. Object of fear. I’m almost to Nostrand, condensation from my mask fogging up my glasses, when some dude on the street flips his mask down to hock a loogie. I lurch away.
Spit brings back middle school memories. My spitty seventh-grade science teacher, the class shrinking back from her spray. Kids in the cafeteria, failed spitballs falling off their straws. Trombonists draining spit valves onto the thin gray carpet. The starchy smell of the spit rag as I streamed it through my oboe. My spitty retainer then, my spitty Invisalign trays now: tiny air bubbles sliding slimy over the plastic.
Am I rewriting “Slug,” my first story, written in slime? In “Slug,” a cis straight woman named Patty returns home from a disappointing date and jerks off to a quick succession of improbable erotic fantasies. As she sleeps, a giant slug enters her room and glides on top of her. Patty wakes up; wants it. Slug fucks Patty, coating her in slime, a kind of spit. Slug licks Patty all over, and Patty gets turned. She becomes a giant slug herself.
This new story will be a sibling to “Slug,” I decide—a followup, a sequel. I start writing it as Patty, for continuity, then think: no. Patty is not Patty anymore. Patty is Patrick. Look how far Patrick has come.
He flinches, a delayed response. Xandra’s spit is flung through the short distance between them, frothy, a spray. A shower turned on between mouths. Patrick swallows, and it goes down his drain.
Peals of laughter from Xandra. You look like you’ve been hit.
Hit with your spit!
What do you think? Did you like it?
Patrick tabs his tongue out to gather the spit from his lips. He’s not sure. He likes her laughter, these maniacal giggles bubbling out of her. Yes, he decides. Do it again.
Aka spit. For a while, since that infamous scene in Disobedience, Rachel Weisz spitting into Rachel McAdams’ mouth (she reportedly used lychee-flavored lube), spit play seemed like all anyone wanted to do with him. Does he just have a spit-at-able face? Patrick’s been disinclined, not super into it. Those partners seemed showy, like they made up kinks to stay on trend.
Not like Xandra, who is older and old school, more real, a dream. He wants to be her best bottom. No, no—he knows: it’s not a competition. It’s just…Xandra! She inspires him. He wants to show her what he can do. He sighs now, thinking of her, though she’s right here before him, he can feel her breath on his chin. It’s not enough. He wants to be immersed in her, engulfed. Held by her winds, kept in her heart. Protected.
We need to work on your autonomy, she has said to him more than once. He understands. He tries to blink the stars from his eyes when he looks at her but he can’t. She sparkles.
Stick out your tongue this time. He does. She gathers more mouth fluids, then lowers her face and takes aim. A warm splat bright on his tongue. Spit drizzles from her lips as she closes his mouth.
Better. Her spit slides down his throat as Xandra plants her lips on his. His eyes exult in the thin thread of saliva connecting them. It breaks when she smiles.
RC invites me to participate in an evening of “queerotica” readings on Google Hangouts. A perfect opportunity, I think, to try out my coronavirus-related porn story. The day rolls up, and I have nothing but notes towards scenes, incomprehensible. So (I’m first) I read from Dodie Bellamy’s Cunt Norton: …I take the tape off your mouth, no dance, and there is only the dance, and we tongue huge globs of spit.
The next person reads Cyd Nova’s “How to Fuck” from Nerve Endings: The New Trans Erotic. It’s a long steamy story and our reader reads the whole thing. As the epic basement scene unfolds—involving yogurt, eggs, a steak knife—I try to determine from the audience’s flat expressions who might be getting turned on. I don’t know who can see me. People’s boxes keep shuffling in my display.
The big response this story gets makes me regret my own choice, which offered grotesque wordsex without sexiness. I wasn’t trying to be sexy, I remind myself, so I can’t have failed. Anyway Dodie’s cunt-ups operate beyond mere sexiness. They roar with absurdism; are fantastic, freewheeling, monstrous, intense; at once they are literary and anti-literary, erotic and not. They are their own erotic. Dodie wins everything; by this logic I’ve carried the night. The last person reads from Charles Darwin’s “The Formation of Vegetable Mould Through the Action of Worms: with Observations on Their Habits.” The worms top us all.
I could have read “Slug,” I guess. When I met Dodie in San Francisco last year, we chatted about “Slug,” which she frequently teaches. She was amused to learn I wrote it prior to ever having sex. That’s why it’s so marvelous, I said, it was pure imagination. She smiled. You hadn’t been disappointed yet.
When I search COVID-19 on Pornhub I’m disappointed by the offerings: mostly couples fucking with masks on. No spit. The curve of a hard mask on a clit. It’s early April and I’m having a hard time getting off; a harder time getting off screen. Vivian and I have been talking about biking to Dead Horse Bay, where we might fuck, which would be good for both of our projects. I could write an autofictional story about public sex in pandemic times. She could write about fucking among abject objects. (The beach at Dead Horse Bay is strewn with broken glass and other detritus.) So far we haven’t found a good day for the trip. The sky keeps…spitting.
When I meet my Gender Studies students on Zoom for their presentations, Mattie shares her research on U.S. sex education. She tells us about a spit cup activity that’s used to encourage monogamy: a plastic cup of water gets passed down a row of students, usually boys in sex-segregated classrooms. One by one each boy takes a sip, sloshes it around, and spits back into the cup. After it’s good and murky, particles suspended like fish food, the instructor compares it with a cup of clean water. The dirty water is a dirty girl, the instructor implies. The boys should want to marry the clean cup.
I receive an email from a former play partner, Johanna, asking how New York is. She’s sequestered alone in her Vancouver apartment. I really just don’t see people, she writes. I go days at a time without leaving my place. For many reasons I’m grateful to be in a harmonious monogamish relationship with Vivian in these COVID times. Still I bristle at the ways in which social distancing shores up monogamy and the notion that home means family, the typical hierarchies of intimacy reimposed under the rubric of public health. I haven’t seen Johanna in a year. If we were still seeing each other, we wouldn’t be seeing each other, our relationship having been deemed nonessential. She posts a selfie with the words Remember Intimacy? blinking in one corner; it disappears before I can heart it.
Let’s do more, Patrick says, stretching. His right calf’s asleep. He shakes it and waits for the burn. Show me the drool stuff you do for your clients.
We have a much different dynamic.
Please? He’s reluctant to lose the lightbeam of Xandra’s attention.
Okay. Just remember you asked for it. She gives him a slurpy kiss on the cheek, blowing a raspberry into the soft slope. She glugs from her glass of water, then resettles around his hips. Placing three fingers in her mouth, she works them in and out and in circles. Soon her chin is wet with drool. She pulls out a thin ribbon, examines the sticky spangle. Slurps it in, pulls it out. Keeps producing.
Patrick watches in awe, his breath catching. Xandra’s drool is life force. It’s magic. A gift. Cover my face in it, Patrick suggests.
That’s not really the point of drool play, Xandra says around her fingers. It’s more like…related to fellatio. Patrick is embarrassed, his ignorance about drool play exposed.
She takes pity on him. But we can try it. People do all kinds of things.
Xandra extracts her ream of drool and shakes her fingers over Patrick’s face. The drool doesn’t want to detach. She slides her hand slimy over Patrick’s face.
Mmmm, he says, giving a performative shudder. That’s nice. He feels slicked down and smaller. Keep going, he says. He wants to be coated in it, saturated in Xandra, made new, made small, like her.
Xandra sips from her glass without swallowing, puffing her cheeks to churn the drool and water together. She does the thing with her fingers again, stretching the drool out like bubble gum. Patrick, captivated, can’t look away. When Xandra’s drool is too much for her mouth, she tilts her face over Patrick’s, frothy bubbles leaking from her lips. Slowly she lets the drool tumble out of her.
Patrick clenches his eyes and mouth, wrenches away. Bad bottom. Xandra’s drool hits the plane of Patrick’s cheek and creeps down his jawline toward the lobe of his ear. He shudders. It’s so cool. A cool, sticky feeling, like being born, or birth in reverse. The sensation is new and nonthreatening. Eager to redeem himself, he rolls his face up, greedy now, wanting it. A column of drool folds onto his nose and down into the seam of his mouth. Xandra mumbles something. She sounds vaguely alarmed.
“I bike home with my mask down and feel free, open, joyously porous and permeable. When I glide past the nursing home where eight bodies were left decomposing I try not to breathe.”
When I wrote “Slug” in 2008, I was trying to woo a crush who had agreed to a writing exchange. I gave it my all. I showed her how weird and how hot I could be. It worked. In her comments, she wrote Patty should be having sex with ME!
I suspect this new porn story will not have that effect. Though my goal was to write something fun, an entertainment, a shot of hot levity in a weighty time, I find I’m weighted too. I’m reminded of the erotic romance series that L. and I pitched several years ago. I’d been responsible for writing the POV sections following our female protagonist, a neuroscientist virgin. When the editor passed on our proposal, she said our heroine was too alienating, not fun enough. Sorry, L.
I bike to Prospect Park for a socially distanced walk with A. We park ourselves under a tree and catch up. I ask him about his experiences with spit play and he describes his favorite scenes, pulling his mask off to give me a demo. For a moment I panic, terrified we’re going to get reprimanded, cited for dangling drool. Nothing happens, so I lean in for a better view. I bike home with my mask down and feel free, open, joyously porous and permeable. When I glide past the nursing home where eight bodies were left decomposing I try not to breathe.
Then it’s back to my desk, this screen. I read a news report of spit-related assaults. Bitch, now you have coronavirus, one man taunted after spitting on four NYPD officers from his holding cell. After she was coughed and spat upon by an unstable man, a London rail worker contracted coronavirus and died.
Patrick clicks open one eye to see Xandra’s drool streaming out of her mouth. She is swallowing behind her tongue and trying to press closed her jaws but the drool is too strong, a downpour. The mattress is saturated and Patrick is too. He coughs, suddenly panicking. Xandra’s drool is suffocating him. It’s in his nostrils and in his mouth. It drips down his throat and fills his lungs. Xandra’s drool fills his body.
And then the drool stops.
Xandra hangs her head down, chest heaving. With every exhale, she seems to grow larger. Wait. Whoa. Look, Xandra. Look what Patrick can do.
With every inhale, Patrick shrinks.
Soon his hands and feet have slid through their constraints and Xandra is sitting before him on the mattress, her legs stretched out on either side of him. She pokes him with a silver fingernail. Patrick? Her eye peering down at him is gargantuan; he’s never felt so seen.
In 2013 someone emailed me to ask why I had chosen to make Slug male. It seemed that the transformation would have been more complete and fulfilling if the slug had been referred to as a female although slugs are both male and female. She wanted it to be a lesbian story. I replied, saying: The story to me is about shifting, yes, from straight to queer sexuality but most of all, to a new queer embodiment. It’s not only the heteronormativity of the straight world that Patty is suffocating from but also/more importantly (perhaps) the confines of the body itself. Though I don’t use the word trans (I wasn’t trans yet) “Slug” is a trans story. Patty grows a new body, becomes something new, something big and slimy. Anyway he and she can mean anything.
After four years on T it’s sometimes not queer enough. I want to be more fluid, more free, more so than ever in these days of isolation, of being stuck behind screens, suffocated by my own space. My short walks in the neighborhood are like shallow breaths along the surface of the city. I no longer go inside, underground, in deep.
Patrick is no longer Patrick. Patrick is Patriculate. We’ll call him Patrick for short.
Xandra keeps breathing and Patrick keeps shrinking. Then something marvelous happens. Patrick catches Xandra’s breath. Xandra sucks him up and in. Her inhalation drags him into one dark, mysterious nostril. Now he’s falling through her moist, supple throat, then through some spacious cave to land in one fruity bulb. He’s in Xandra’s lungs, he realizes, her superior lungs. Xandra keeps giving him new sensations. Then he’s sinking, he’s stuck in the lining, he’s pulled through with a pop. Into the heart he floats, he’s made it: to her core, here to stay. Let him stay. But with a sickening lurch he’s launched outward, flung through the arteries and arterioles to the tissues lining her gut. As soon as he’s there he’s released, his molecules rearranged—what a delirious sensation, Xandra is truly amazing, and hot she’s so hot. Back into the bloodstream he travels, the flow leading him back to the heart, back to the lungs. A pause. He knows she is holding him inside her. Maybe she’s letting him stay—let me stay, he pleads—more likely she’s preparing him for the inevitable, the appalling, the cold shock of autonomy—whoosh, her lungs flatten, he’s forced up and—he scrabbles for something to latch onto but the throat is slimy and her exhalation too strong.
Patrick is expelled.
Floating away from Xandra’s nostril he catches the pulse of the ceiling fan, gets spun out towards the window screen, glides through and into the damp night, which is humid like a new set of lungs. Lorimer Street is dim, thick with dread. He’s roaming along it when a gust lifts him up and west, towards the river. Hanging over the water, he takes in the jagged, moody skyline. The pall. A fresh drift draws him up, up, the city pulling him near. He swoops into it, hovering. He spreads.