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Brandeis University's Community Newspaper — Waltham, Mass.

Sexiled: Oral dysfunction: My performance anxiety

Published: October 24, 2008
Section: Opinions

So I’m sitting here, trying to write the “perfect” sex article to return from my hiatus. That’s not to assume that it’s been a hiatus from sex. I could’ve been too busy having sex to write. But I haven’t been. Having sex, that is.

I am the antithesis of what a writer is “supposed” to be. I don’t drink my coffee black while snapping my fingers at the conclusion of a poetry reading; in fact, I don’t drink coffee at all because it tastes like pee. Not like I’d know what pee tastes like. I don’t have Kurt Cobain and Mozart rubbing elbows on my playlist; I am listening to country even as I write this. I don’t curl up with cats or take my inspiration from Nabokov; I think cats should be killed and Nabokov should’ve written shorter sentences. I don’t sit in a dark room for days by myself creating anti-heroes; I write sex columns whenever I have the, uh, inspiration to do so.

As it stands, though, I haven’t had said inspiration for a while. So what am I supposed to talk about? Relationships? Gee, don’t we all love the relationship conversation. What are we, exactly? Sound familiar?

I did have that conversation recently. But I have O.D.: Oral Dysfunction. I’ve tried to bring it up a few times since then but because I’m awkward, that topic hasn’t gone much farther than my lips on his, stopping myself from talking. I keep dropping not-so-hidden hints that I want whatever we have to be more definite, but can’t actually bring myself to say anything because what if that’s not what he wants?

The way I see it, we’re effectively hooking up, in a friends-with-not-that-many-extracurricular-benefits-right-now sort of way. So I try to slide something in there about how “we’re toget- I mean, sorry, I know we’re not really together…” and then trail off hoping he’ll correct me that we are, in fact, more than, well, I guess, nothing. But he never does and I pretend like it doesn’t bother me. See, mom, I do have a future in acting! (I really hope my mom doesn’t read this column…just as a side note.)

But since that topic has taken up residence in my head, the rest of my mind has been relatively blank recently. I am Homer Simpson when they show his thought bubbles. My thought bubbles would have the same monkey playing the cymbals. Which makes it all that much more difficult to convince him that he does, in fact, want to be with me.

As soon as the ball starts rolling (I hope you’re imagining something inappropriate right now) with a guy, I’ve noticed that they stop participating in conversations. They no longer have to feign interest in my past or my day…it’s now up to me to carry the conversation. But I’m always nervous that I won’t be interesting so my mind flatlines and I say nothing, nothing at all – especially nothing remarkable.

I don’t want to be the girl who talks incessantly about herself because that’s what friends are for. He is supposed to find me original, intelligent. It shouldn’t be this hard to talk. But what I have to talk about is my emotional baggage, which I’m trying not to take on this ride.

Before this whole non-relationship relationship began, neither of us could shut up. We’d cut each other off, laughing. Now, I’m like a faucet of annoying. I just spew ridiculous, unimportant information so that we don’t sit in silence, staring at each other, and him thinking, “How do I get out of this?” and me thinking, “Say something. SAY SOMETHING. Be funny. Come on Rachael. You can do it. Just…just be clever.”

Usually what follows is another stream of stupidity.

These interactions scare me. I don’t mind silence. His, that is. I mind my own because I feel like I need to be just as cute and funny or whatever I was that attracted him in the first place.

I remember one time I was dating this guy in high school and he told me the same stories on the phone every night, verbatim. And I loved it. Because I wasn’t responsible for being constantly entertaining or wonderful. I could do my homework while he talked. It was perfect. You know, until I got bored and broke up with him. But the point is that it took the stress off my inability to perform under pressure.

Right now, though, I’m scared that he is getting bored with me. Sort of the way I got bored with What’s His Name in high school. That my allure, or whatever you want to call it, was mostly sex appeal and now that he’s seen me at what I hope is my worst that idea he had of me is gone. And since I can’t think of anything to say he is basically counting down the days until I leave. Or he leaves me.

Either way, I’m going to have to start making lists of things to talk about. Jot down tidbits about my day. About the world. Maybe I’ll read the newspaper.

Or I’m going to have to work on my attack-kiss strategy so it doesn’t look as desperate next time. Maybe salvage a little sexiness. Maybe let the silence linger.

And if that doesn’t work, I know one sure-fire thing that does. That’s why I write this column.