I don’t want to read another line

about the cruel mating rituals of animals.

The fact cat and duck penises have evolved

to literally become weapons does not bode well

for the future of masculinity. I can’t even read about

black widows without the incels whining about misandry

into my ears. In the Title IX office, two women told me that

I wasn’t a victim because research shows that men secretly love

nonconsensual blowjobs. I don’t want this to become another poem

scolding us for the violent language we use for hookups—bumping uglies,

banging, hitting it, et cetera and whatever—instead let’s make this about needing

better language for our limb’s limbic lust and languor. Too many partners have cringed

at the idea of “making love.” Writers can’t be trusted. I once read a political thriller where

a couple tongues chicken meat back and forth from one mouth to another. You like 

chicken? she whispers as she licks his face. That’s a direct quote. Since 1993, The Literary Review has presented annual awards for Bad Sex in Fiction and this creep didn’t even 

make top ten. Sometimes it’s better just to keep your mouth shut, like people who talk too much during sex. Half the time I am writing about sex 

I am actually writing about loss. Today, I am mourning the loss of my trust in beauty, the way every sea otter is the child 

of rape. Those cute pictures you see of sea otters holding hands? They are all same-sex sea otters, Josè! Turns out birds that mate 

for life also got sidepieces. Even if I started taking estrogen, I wouldn’t become a male seahorse or papi penguin. All we have is this slow rhythm 

of eyes, the way trauma has made consent a step-by-step process. Before #metoo, I already knew too many survivors, nearly all my previous partners in fact. 

I’d whisper prayers of protection over their yawning muscles. Whenever a tall man stands next to you, I already start to worry. It’s one of the reasons I hate being on top. 

An undergrad feminist once told me there was no ethical way for men to have sex with women. I don’t believe that, but I think every man should live with that reality for at least

a moment. Even the sweat on our palms can harm certain desert plants and crystal formations in caves. I want to say that the fear is gone when I am with you, but rather, it is a thing we kiss back

and forth from one mouth to another, reassuring one another, yes, it’s okay, yes, that feels good. We’re not fragile, just too priceless for each minute to be anything except intensity and intention, touch and tremble.

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