Those ballot boxes get stuffed at the end of the night.
Those ballot boxes get stuffed at the end of the night. Tracey Cataldo

The first time I came was in my bedroom with all the lights on and a chair blocking the door to prevent my mom from walking in. I was 14. While touching myself never felt wrong or gross, something about watching people fuck seemed more off limits, something only boys did. But as I started flicking the bean more, I quickly got bored just imagining PG-13 situations in my head or focusing on the feeling. I wanted, no needed, to see some kind of penetration, fingers in pussies, dicks in mouths, to hear the whimpers, cries, “fuck yeah, like that,” flesh slapping flesh to get off.

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I started off reading “erotica” on Urban Dictionary definitions of words (lol) but quickly jumped into trolling Tumblr porn blogs for five-minute clips using the search words “trib,” “lesbian,” “3some,” “sex porn video,” and names of male pornstars who my teenage virginal self thought didn’t indiscriminately pound women but fucked, like actually fucked. This sort of cracked open in me this intense need to consume and learn as much as I could about sex, desire, and eroticism in general. But in the ongoing process of growing into my sexual self, sometimes I wonder how the intensely exploitative penis-centric sex and male-gaze-heavy porn industry affected everyone I had sex with, especially men, or even talked with sex about.

When I walked into the theater to go see The Stranger's HUMP! Film Fest, the short porn film festival curated by our very own Dan Savage and a team of porn enthusiasts, on Wednesday night, I was eager to see what type of other perverted miscreants would show up. Turns out a lot of middle-aged couples. The mood seemed to be decidedly giddy, bordering on flirtatious. As I settled into my seat, I thought I’d have hangups about watching a Boy Scout get come all over his face while my arm brushed my seatmate, but that wall fell away pretty quickly.

Internet porn was the first and most informative encounter a lot of young people have with fucking, setting a lot of unrealistic expectations about what the actual act is like. Do I really enjoy him choking me or do I just think I do because I’ve seen some pornstar enjoy it? Is he even enjoying it? (Obviously, I’m a lot of fun at parties.)

SPOILERS: The opening video, Paint Party, was so fun—dancing, fucking, body parts came streaking into view, illuminated solely by neon paint against a black background. The film was set to a thudding baseline and some Eurotrash-sounding DJ chanting, “Paint party.” The following short, Bloom, wove poetry and flower imagery as a couple fucked and ate each other out in the woods. Please navigated the dynamics of rough sex featuring a voiceover from both partners discussing the importance of communication and consent—being rough and responsible. I found it particularly interesting that instead of the normal “I’m fucking you” dirty talk, their communication hinged on her asking exactly what she wanted. It was hot.

One of my favorite shorts was Whatever Floats Your Goat, which starts off with a milkmaid milking actual goats—of course my mind immediately jumped to, “I’m going to watch someone fuck a goat.” But then, in crawls a human, tail buttplug and all, showing up to be milked. The milkmaid starts to finger the human-goat pretty sensually. Slowly the “baas” turn more ecstatic and even morph into “fuck yeah”s before they come everywhere, resulting in tons of milk gushing into the bucket.

Oh God, yes, there was Troughman that took place in a leather bar bathroom where a Fred Armisen lookalike sang a song about wanting a golden shower in his mouth. And how could I forget Home for Lunch which focused on the delicateness and vulnerability of a lover’s body, where a man lovingly cupped his boyfriend’s balls and lovingly licked his boyfriend’s asshole after lovingly waiting for him to come home from work. Or Luminous Lust when, after getting fisted by her girlfriend, a woman squirts super hard and the whole audience collectively gasped in shock, but mostly in awe. From queer spin-the-bottle orgies to googly eyes cute-ifying fucking genitals, literally all the films this year were thrilling to watch. I felt turned on, stimulated by sex in a way that I hadn’t ever really thought of before.

Turn out the ballot box... and that bussy.
Turn out the ballot box... and that bussy. Tracey Cataldo

Despite the cold, I decided to walk the 25 minutes back to my car. I was buzzing. In the time between last year’s HUMP! and this one, #MeToo really changed the way we, as a country, talk about sex and consent and call out those who abuse their position in society. Which is necessary. There need to be words and recourse to address the broad spectrum of sexual assault and the gray areas of consent. I think because of a lot of the national happenings concerning sex, I’d very much been in a headspace that focused on the ways I felt broken or apprehensive about sex, as opposed to focusing on what in me needs to be tended to, to be made whole again. The irreverence of it all, the possibility.

HUMP! reminded me that it’s equally important for us to enunciate and have words and models for pleasure that are fundamentally built on communication, consent, humor, respect, and everyone having a fucking good time. By the time I made it to my car, sweat had formed on my brow, under my pits, on that spot on the back of my neck. I quickly peeled off my coat, threw it passenger side, and rolled my windows down. Vibrating, on the drive back home, I thought: Yeah, I wanna be milked, too.

Tickets to HUMP! are selling out quickly! Don't miss watching and voting for your favorite ALL NEW sexy short films made by folks just like you! Get tickets and info here.