The Kind That Counts
by VICTORIA PURNELL
Hello, my name is Victoria Purnell and I’ve never had an orgasm.
Thanks for coming today Victoria. Tell me about yourself.
Well, actually, I'm lying. I’ve only had orgasms using a vibrator. Two times I’ve used my hand but that was years ago, in college. I remember it took a really long time and the orgasm wasn’t as strong. Afterwards I was very sweaty and tired. It took extreme concentration. But I’ve never had one during sex or with another person, and that’s the kind that counts.
When did you first use a vibrator Victoria?
It was right after high school. I wasn’t sure if I’d ever had an orgasm. My girlfriends and I were all new to sex and I was scared of my boyfriend’s penis. We kept asking one another if we’d had orgasms and no one knew. That was until Natalie really had one. Up to that point we thought an orgasm was when you got wet down there, but then Natalie came to us one day and said No. You scream, you cry, I was screaming, I was crying. It’s the most amazing thing in the world, she said. I wanted this to happen to me, so I stopped being scared of my boyfriend’s penis. I screamed the first time I saw it and then I had sex with him all the time. I don’t think it ever even almost happened. Then about a year later my sister and I were on a trip together and she told me about using a vibrator. The pocket rocket, she said, you must get one. I was shocked, I thought vibrators were for porn stars, but I ordered one. It took me a few tries to come. But then one day, after using it while imagining Trey Anastasio going down on me, I came. I knew it had happened.
What about oral sex Victoria, is that not pleasing to you?
Sure it is. More back when it was a novelty. With my high school boyfriend I even used to get aroused. That doesn’t happen anymore either. I’ve forgotten what that felt like. I remember it was a rush of blood to my vagina and then a throbbing sensation. Now it’s just surreal seeing them down there. They're so eager and alien.
Are you a lesbian Victoria?
I’ve fantasized about having a threesome, but I’m not a lesbian. I’m an attractive and sophisticated woman. I also give incredible blowjobs. I’ve only gone down on four men in my life but all four were blown away, almost traumatized I was so good. I don’t know why, it just comes naturally to me. I don’t understand how women don’t understand how to do it. They point is to make your mouth feel like a vagina. It’s a good trick to go down deep and gag a little. That brings up mucus, which helps lubricate. Men love that. It’s strange how well I know how to please men but I don’t know how to please myself. I’ve had sex with three men and all three have told me I have an incredibly beautiful vagina. That’s because the outer lips are full and the inner lips are small.
How does that make you feel?
It makes me feel bad about myself. It hyper-sexualizes me. I have no relationship to sex. I look at my vagina and don’t even know what it is. I resent it. I can’t believe it’s attached to my body. My ex-boyfriend drew me a really nice picture of my head being guillotined from my vagina. The point was to illustrate the disconnection. My high school boyfriend threw my vibrator against the wall once.
Did that make you angry Victoria?
What makes me angry is that I require a machine to have an orgasm. Women tell me sit on the penis this way or that, have him rub you. But that makes me laugh. I suppose I enjoy sex while it’s happening. It feels good when it’s hard. But the whole idea of it when I look back makes me uncomfortable. The expressions on the faces of the men. They get so much pleasure, they love it, they are so powerful. Where does that leave me? The men I’ve been with have been with a lot of women. They do it because they have penises and they can. They don’t want me to have sex with anyone else though. One of them told me it would be inappropriate. The other said I’d be a cheat. But they do it. It doesn’t matter anyway. I only have sex because I’m an attractive woman and that’s what I’m supposed to do.
Are you sure you’re not a lesbian Victoria?
Yes I’m quite sure. Why are these feelings always attributed to lesbians? Just because I hate being a woman doesn’t mean I’m gay. I would like to watch a man I love having sex with another woman. I wouldn’t want her to see me though. If sex with a man I love doesn’t make me happy I’d like to see it making another woman happy. Also, women are very mysterious to me. The faceless women who’ve had sex with the same men I’ve had sex with. Who are they? Are they my enemies? What are their vaginas like? What do they say? How do they feel about themselves?
What do you think you should do about it?
Am I complaining? I know, I’m vain. I saw an old friend the other day and he told me he’s sleeping with a women who goes ta-ta-ta-ta-ta-ta-ta when he touches her clit. Then after she comes she curls up in a ball and covers her face with her hands and cries with embarrassment. Another friend of mine has a girlfriend that goes pretty crazy and vandalizes his property. But she’s just scared. She’s acting out because she has no power. Except for her body. Sometimes that’s enough for him, sometimes it isn’t. Another friend of mine was dating this girl who got pretty wild at parties. She was always after the attention of men. He only took her out once or twice. I asked him if he slept with her and he said no, I just came on her chest.
I want you to think about you, Victoria, about your real self. What does it tell you to do?
My real self? I don’t know. My fake self tells me to pour gasoline on my pretty face and set it on fire. I have this femininity, but nothing to do with it. And it’s made worse by the fact that I’m attractive. Because it can only be channeled through a man. It needs validation despite my own indifference to it. My ex-boyfriend says I wouldn’t be indifferent to beauty if I was obese and had volcanic acne. Attractive people aren’t permitted unhappiness. Beautiful women are type cast. I’m single now. I haven’t been with anyone. My mom worries about me all the time.
But is that really true, that attractive people aren’t permitted happiness?
How do I know? The point is I’m sad. Every time I have sex with a man he takes something from me. And I’m not even sure what. What is it that I have that he wants? Whatever it is he’s happy to have it and it belongs to him. He takes and he takes and he takes. God, I sound like a feminist. I’m not a feminist.
We were talking about orgasms.
Yes, I’ve never had one.
Victoria Purnell is a contributor to This Recording. Photographs by Francesca Woodman.
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