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March 22, 2022
Stuck with Damon Young
Stuck on “One Minute Man”

In This Episode

Damon is joined by Saida Grundy and Jason Reynolds to deconstruct all the weird, awkward and terrifying intraracial anxieties we have about cis-hetero sex.

Transcript:

Sensitive content: This episode contains adult themes and language. 

 

Damon Young: So a few of my college teammates and I were at this bar, right, and we’re standing in some corner, drinking cranberry juice or ginger ale or whatever, and this girl approaches me and asks if I wanted to dance. 

 

So we’re dancing, and after about three or four songs she asked if I wanted to leave. And I’m like, for what? And then she looks at me like, “Motherfucker, I’m trying to take you home and have sex with you right now. Do not ask me for what?” I’m like, oh, like, I don’t think I said, oh, but a light bulb just went off in my head. And then so we left.  

 

And so we get to the house–and its this huge Victorian–and all the lights are off. And so now I’m already a little like wary about her…motivations, and now I’m thinking she’s either about to rob me or I’m about to be an accessory to a robbery. But then she kissed me. And we made our way upstairs, and…

 

My most vivid memory of that experience was her clock. It was a rectangular digital clock on her nightstand. Black with bright red lights. Like one of them nuclear clocks you see above giant maps and movies about hijacked Russian submarines. A Tom Clancy ass clock.  

 

What made the clock so prominent then was anxiety. It was my first time. But I didn’t want her to know that. I felt like I was supposed to be and expected to be Wilt Chamberlain when I was actually AC Green. 

 

So I convinced myself that the best way to conceal my virginity was just to be really, really good at sex. And at that time, I thought that “being really good” meant to go as long as possible. I’d hear girls talk shit about “one minute men”–shit, Missy Elliot even made a song–so I thought, since a one minute man is the worst thing to be, why not be the…opposite of that.  

 

And so there we were, locked in missionary. And a minute stretched into five. Five to ten, 10 to 20, 20 to 35, 45, 50, 52, 65, 72, 99…

 

[Music Transition]

 

So this is stuck with Damon Young, a show exploring, deconstructing, laughing at, and finding community in the tension between who we are, who we’re expected to be, and who we want to be. On today’s episode we’re talking about sex–specificially all the weird and awkward and terrifying intraracial anxieties we have about hetero sex, where they come from, and how they impact our behavior. 

 

Saida Grundy: I mean, I’ve been fortunate that, you know, the men that I’ve really, you know, been with, for the most part, have been decent partners… or at least prided themselves on being decent partners.

 

Damon: That’s Saida Grundy, Assistant Professor of Sociology, African American Studies, and Women’s and Gender Studies at Boston University. And I wanted to reach out to her because I knew she could provide some context for some of these anxieties we have about sex. Also she’s the homie and I knew she’d have some funny shit to say.

 

Damon: I’m presuming you remember the first time you had sex. 

 

Saida: Yes I do, it was at nerd camp tell you that?

 

Damon: What anxieties did you have going into the act and what anxieties did you have, if any, during the act?

 

Saida: That’s an interesting question, I’m trying to remember if I was. First of all, I was 20 years old, 19 or 20, I’m going to say I was 20, so it was after my sophomore year of college. 

 

Damon: Did you feel like did you feel like you were old?

 

Saida: I’m a country mouse. You know, I come from Kentucky and going down to Spelman was the first time I was really around these urban slash suburban Black kids who seemed like they had just experience things way ahead of me, right? And I think part of that really is the structure of living a suburban lifestyle. You’re much more liberated at 14, 15, 16, you’re in far more activities. They had, you know, far more chances to not only meet Black kids, but they also went to high schools with lots of Black kids, including Black boys. In my high school, it just wasn’t, I mean, there were plenty of kids in my high school, fucking. It was just like a thing you did if you were a girl who wore a nose ring, right? It was not a thing you did, maybe if you are the Black girl in the AP classes. So I definitely, when I got to college, met all these different types of Black kids for whom losing your virginity in high school seemed to be standard. 

 

So, yeah, I definitely I felt like in many ways I was underdeveloped compared to my friends. I wasn’t particularly stigmatized by that. So my experience, I don’t remember being anxious actually, probably the only anxiety I really did have if I was being conscious about it, which I probably wasn’t, is I just didn’t want to get involved with a dude who would try to sour my reputation or like, make me regret it.

 

Damon: So your anxiety was more about, I guess, what could possibly come after? Like in terms of the hit to your reputation, but not the act, not the act itself.

 

Saida: The act itself, I was not anxious about. It was the anxiety about like, you know, this is a place where boys really love, you know, doing that game of showing, you know, the kill, showing the antlers of their kill and that anxiety, I think continued for me throughout college. 

 

Damon: Oh, it’s funny that, you know, because I’m thinking about my first time and my anxieties. But I wasn’t concerned about my reputation being sullied in terms of, Oh, you know, this nigga had sex and now he’s ruined. It’s more about, you know, this nigga was trash. That was my concern, and also being trash and it getting out there. Yeah, you know, and people talking about it and whatnot. And so, you know, 20 years has passed since then, do you have any anxieties now? In terms of like when you first, when you’re first with somebody?

 

Saida: So this is interesting to me. I think my pre-clearance is so, like I am the Department of Justice when it comes to goddamn pre-clearance. So by the time that I’m really comfortable with you, sort of emotionally, physically, for me, that is show time is nothing.

 

Damon: OK, so you’re vetting process is so intense that we get to the actual act, at that point, it’s gravy. But the actual act itself isn’t something that causes you any sort of deep anxiety and it’s interesting because, you know, for me, younger and even today, you know, it’s a mix of both. Like today, it’s, you know, obviously I’m married. But when I was single, I wasn’t as concerned about, you know, shit getting out there because I also did the vet. I also made sure that people that I was with were going to be not the type of people who would want to go run off and tell everybody and do not. So it was more about performance. I subscribe to the whole 50-Cent thing, Magic Stick, you know, if you’re good at it, once you hit once, you can hit twice. And that was like my goal was like, you know what? I just want to make sure she invites me back.

 

Saida: For some reason, so many cismen have convinced themselves that sex is something you do to someone versus sex is something had with someone. I’ve had literally men who immediately after the act wanted me to give them like a letter grade, like it was something they were recording for themselves. Like, like, was that your best ever? And I’m like, no, a one time with someone is never, if not for me. 

 

Damon: The first time with somebody if you care about them. And I’m speaking again from a from a cisgender male perspective man who has sex with women. Yeah, the first time, if you care about somebody is not going to be your best time because you’re going to have all, all this shit happening, all these anxieties in your head about, OK, does she like this? Is he OK with this? Am I acceptable? Is my equipment up to par?

 

Saida: Yeah, right, right, right.

 

Damon: All of that and all those things that have to be determined that first time. And so, it’s that second time, third time that you know, that those anxieties become somewhat alleviated and the comfort comes in and then, yeah, when it starts getting, you know, getting better sometimes. Like the first time, you know, I mean, the first time shouldn’t be awful, shouldn’t be terrible, but I feel like, it should get better once you get more comfortable.

 

Saida: I completely agree, and I think that is again, I think that cismen think of themselves as like, oh, I’m a marquee player, and my stats are about maintaining my stats on every court, and I’m like, no, you’re playing with the team, son. Not everybody has chemistry with the team. It’s like you can put Jordan on the Rockets. He wouldn’t have the same stats, like it’s about the chemistry with the team.  

 

Damon: Well, when did you realize that men had anxiety? That males, men, whatever had anxiety about this? About that?

 

Saida: Oh, probably. You know what? I think I realized men had anxiety before I realized men had sexual anxiety. So, right. So it’s like, I think understanding, I think particularly in college because college was the time I was around the most Black male peers.

 

Damon: So you picked up on that in college? This sexual anxiety. Was that a conversation that you had with a partner or with friends?

 

Saida: No, but it was extremely palpable that men had sort of pecking order anxieties amongst each other. It was extremely palpable. They were working out their anxieties on women and sometimes other men. You know that to me, it’s like to me, that wasn’t about disaggregating the sexual stuff from general male insecurity. I mean, I think I peeped, before I had the language for it. I peeped that this thing called patriarchy was also about the relationship of men to each other. And that, you know, I mean, again, you know, observing Morehouse, which has become, you know, my, you know, research, you know, expertize observing male interactions, there was really key for me because you then understand like, Oh, this thing I think men are doing to women is as much about their relationships with each other and finding as pecking order with each other and impressing each other and living up to each other’s standards. And that, to me, to know that they had sexual anxiety still wasn’t necessarily about impressing women. It was about making sure other men knew how they were with women. Right. I don’t I still don’t think that sexual anxiety is just about the relationship of, you know, cis, you know, straight men to anyone else or any kind of man to anyone else. I absolutely believe that there’s a level of just finding your pecking order among your group and that which made sex different for men than it was for, you know, for cis women. Because I didn’t feel a pecking order with my female peers around sex, there might have been a little bit of that around dating, right, who you were associated with in terms of dating. And there, I think there was some of that around desirability. What men desire you, how many you know, men desire you, and that this was just like, this was just, you know, sort of straight girl stuff that we worked out in college. But there wasn’t the same sort of exigency, that same sort of urgency in finding your pecking order amongst, you know, women that I absolutely found palpable in men.

 

Damon: Yeah, it definitely exists. And it’s definitely a part of, I guess, how we think of ourselves as sexual people. Yeah. You know, from, you know, the number of partners you’re able to get, how many orgasms you know, you get. And it’s not like we have like a running ledger. Yeah. Like it’s not like, you know, we’re doing compare, you know, compare contrast analogies or and analyzing shit, you know, on like a data sheet like, you know what I made her come four times. 

 

Saida: Yeah, yeah

 

Damon: But I guess that hierarchy is false, you know, for many reasons. But it’s also dependent on. OK, well, we think that this guy, you know, has a certain level of prowess because he’s associated with this woman and that woman. And so if he’s associated with all these women, then they obviously must be talking among each other.

 

Saida: Yeah, yeah, yeah.

 

Damon: If they’re talking among each other and he’s still able to date and sleep with all these other women, that must mean that he is doing his thing. Yeah, I think, you know, I mean, and so that’s how the hierarchy is like, yeah, there’s not necessarily like a locker room sort of like match because you don’t know.

 

Saida: Yeah. Absolutely.

 

Damon: You don’t know what other people are, other men are packing or whatever unless you watch porn. And that is not a good…

 

Saida: Right, not a good, not a realistic assessment. 

 

But I would even add to that, and maybe this was again more in our sort of immature younger days. I don’t think men gave a damn about actually the pleasure women experience with them. It was about the disposability of women, right? It was about, you know, and it was not only about the disposability women, it was about the ability to organize women into a hierarchy. Who was desirable, as you know, girlfriend material. Who was, you know, who could you run through? Could you, you know, get women to be jealous of each other over you? Could you get women who were desirable to other men? And that’s what’s so funny for all of the energy spent on that. I don’t think there was actually much energy around the the activity of sex. It was just the acquisition of sex.

 

Damon: See, I disagree slightly because and again, the interest and pleasure could be performative. Yeah, right. Where you know you’re only models of sex. Is watching pornography. And when women experience pleasure in pornography, they are very loud. They call you certain things. They call out your name, daddy this, or whatever, they may, you know, actually ejaculate, you know, squirting or whatever. And so being able to do that and all the things that you witness, that does make a difference, but again, it’s not necessarily always about her pleasure, it’s about being able to do that. Being able to induce that sort of pleasure in somebody and the ego boost. 

 

Saida: Which is again, about affirming masculinity. Yeah, it’s again about I got such diamond dick that she was screaming, I actually, you know, because I teach, you know, courses related to this because, you know, I, you know, teach, you know, I’ve taught sexuality before, I teach race, class and gender, etcetera. And you know, we talk about, you know, the racial constructions of pornography. There’s a really good book called The Black Body and Ecstasy by a scholar named Jennifer Nash, which deals pretty much all about how Black women in pornography had differing levels of agency and also different levels of pleasure. It’s really sort of a politics of pleasure and what is clearly an industry. And, you know, it’s very interesting. So, you know, I’ve had because I teach, you know, mixed gender courses, I have nonbinary students, I have everything. And I’ve always had students, particularly males, who will say things like, you know, there was a time in my life I thought, like, if she wasn’t screaming, she was enjoying it. Now, screaming is not typically something that bodies do when they’re experiencing pleasure. Screaming is actually the pornographic construction that women are supposed to experience a certain level of violence in sex, right? And their reaction to it is to scream because good male sexual performance is a violent sexual performance, right? Like, we used to talk about this in college, how you know so many, and this was like Atlanta and the, you know, 80s, 90s and 2000s. How many of the slang words about sex were just violent words. Hit it, slash, slay. 

 

Damon: Hit it, beat it up, smath. 

 

Saida: Beat it up, exactly. And these were, you know, and that becomes, I think, for men a really thoroughly socialized inability to disaggregate sex from violence, and therefore to think that a woman in pleasure is a woman who can take the violence right? Who can take. But I mean, I look, look, this is me telling too much, but there’s a lot of positions that are not pleasurable. 

 

Damon: I’m gonna keep it a buck, which is some of those positions aren’t pleasurable for us either, but they are positions again that, you know, we get into the performance of sex, right? And how sex is supposed to look, how sex supposed to be. Particularly, if you are a Black man having sex, how you’re supposed to look, how you’re supposed to react, how you’re supposed to sound, what faces you’re supposed to make. And some of those positions, which again, you see you see these fuckin professionals…

 

Saida: Yeah, yeah.

 

Damon: Do on screen, they are professionals, what they are doing, in terms of their flexibility and the muscle groups that they regularly engage. And you think like, you know what? This is how it’s supposed to happen. This is, how it’s supposed to be done. 

 

Saida: This is what people expect from Black male partners.

 

Damon: But yeah it is fascinating just how much of an impact, you know, I guess race and I guess how we expect people to feel about ourselves, not just how we feel about ourselves, how we expect people to feel about ourselves is, you know, impacts the actual performance in the bedroom. 

 

Saida: Yeah. 

 

Damon: Now have you? When you’re teaching and not just teaching, but when you’re encountering, you know, women who were your age, you know, in your 20s or whatever, do you witness any changes, at least in terms of… All right, because there’s been, you know, very obvious different connotations with being sexually free as a Black woman, and being sexually free as a white woman. Right now, do you still witness that in terms of the difference in expectation and also consequence, or has that shifted since you were…

 

Saida: So this is only my guess because I’m not really into the social lives of 19 year olds. But my sort of presumption is that for white women and some other sort of non-black women, there really is for certain types of them, I won’t say for the sort of kind of traditional, you know, preppy type, maybe, but for certain types of them, there certainly is a more liberal attitude towards sex, particularly for girls and for cis women, etc.. There’s definitely a more liberal idea of how many partners a woman can have or that’s no measure of her desirability basically owning her own sexuality. I certainly think there is a more welcoming attitude towards the fluidity of sexuality among, you know, cis women, sometimes among cis men. The sense that I get from my students is that young women in particular, just more easily dismiss, you know, men’s judgment of their sex lives. It’s like, it’s just not something you can really lob against, particularly women who have other forms of power like race.

 

I don’t think that it hasn’t entirely disappeared for its ability to affect Black women, particularly Black women who are involved with Black partners, for this reason. 

 

Damon: And that’s actually like a great point to bring up. And, you know, we could even talk more about porn, but I think we went into that enough. But it basically is that having sex with Black men is is the quote unquote mark. Yeah. If you’re a white woman who’s had sex with Black men, then you, you know, there’s a judgment or whatever. If you’re Black woman who’s had sex with too many black men, then there is a… there also could be, you know. It is funny how it’ll come from other other niggas. It’s like, she slept with like five niggas, but you’re a nigga, right?

 

Why is this even a conversation or an anxiety that you have? You know, it’s basically, you’re saying that what you have, yeah, is inherently dirty. Because if she’s experienced this, you know, with multiple you’s, then there’s something wrong with her. And it’s like, well, is there something wrong with you? Is there something wrong with us?

 

Saida: I had a college friend and you know, I knew he was problematic then. As you know, we all had problematic friends in college. But his thing used to be a rule for girls, which, first of all, red flag. You got rules for girls. But his rule was she can’t have more partners than she’s had boyfriends. Then he would go on to date exactly that girl and not give it a title. So you actually ruined the track record that you said she had to have.

 

And you know, this goes, I think this is well explained, this is why I say hoes are amazing because ho Instagram, ho TikTok is just very liberating. 

 

Damon: There’s a ho TikTok?

 

Saida: I mean, yes.

 

Damon: Ho Tok? Ho Tik?

 

Saida:  There are lots of women who are not only openly talking about sex and their sexual agency and really putting, you know, putting niggas in into their place. So for example, you know, on that type thing of you know, men who have these criteria for women based on their number of partners. Ho TikTok would say, it’s just funny how you are so obsessed with another man’s dick. And what you’re really saying is, I don’t want to be compared to any number of men that wouldn’t have me on the Olympic podium, right? I don’t want her to have enough sexual experience to know that my dick is trash.

 

Damon: That ultimately that’s what it is. That’s what it comes down to, that is like, that’s the core like, have you seen Inside Out? 

 

Saida: No, I have not. 

 

Damon: The Pixar movie and they have like the core memories.

 

Saida: Oh wait, I did see that, yeah. 

 

Damon: And this is the core feeling. The anxiety of comparison.

 

Saida: The anxiety comparison is real. 

 

Damon: And if she has a limited amount of partners…

 

Saida: She don’t know no better.

 

Damon: And that means she has a limited amount of sex and if you are able to make her, you know, rock her world in like, holy shit and her role has been rocked.

 

Saida: And that is like such a little league mindset. That is like, I don’t want no chick who ever played in the majors because I can go to a little league baseball field and knock them out of the park.

 

[Music Transition]

 

TV host voice: And Welcome Back.

 

The depiction of full frontal male nudity is one of the last taboos of the small and big screen. Kinda like putting sugar on grits. Except flaccid dicks instead of grits. Of course, there are notable exceptions. Such as Harvey Kai-tell in The Piano, Kevin Bacon in Wild Things, Jason Sigel in Forgetting Sarah Marshall, and who can forget Dr. Manhattan’s three story wang in The Watchman movie? But what do each of these men have in common? They’re all white. (Or, in the case of Dr. Manhattan, a glowing and glistening atomic blue.)

 

It’s even rarer to see a black actor in a full frontal scene. But when it does happen, it’s usually a massive, porn-sized dick. The locker room scene in Any Given Sunday, the locker room scene in Hall Pass, and the…robot locker room scene in Westworld are just a few examples of Hollywood’s salacious reinforcement of that racist stereotype. But here’s a surprise: the Any Given Sunday dick, the Hall Pass dick, and the Westworld dick–they’re all the same dick! Just as there are Hollywood stuntmen, there are Hollywood stunt dick men. 

 

For 20 years, he’s been the gold standard for Hollywood stunt dicking. Everyone, please give a warm welcome to Leroy Whitlock. Leroy, how’d you get your start?

 

Leroy: So a nigga was in line at Arby’s one day, bout to fuck up a jamocha shake, and this weird white dude was like “You want to be in movies?” I was like “Sure, who don’t wanna be in moves.” And he told me when and where to show up at the set. So I get there and he’s like “Can we see it?” I thought he meant my resume, because you know, I need a job. I’m here to try to get a job. So I was like let me show him my resume. So I showed it to him. But then he was like “No…your other resume” and nodded to my zipper. And I ain’t shy, I ain’t ashamed, I’m good with mine. So I showed it to him, and he nodded and announced, very loudly, “It looks like we have our dick!” And the boom! A stunt dick star was born. 

 

TV host: Wait, so he didn’t even know you were packing? Why’d he even ask you?

 

Leroy: I think he just assumed. 

 

TV host: Why did he assume?

 

Leroy: Cause I’m a nig-

 

[Music Transition]

 

Jason Reynolds: The truth of the matter is, is that it doesn’t matter how many women you’re around, who debunk your stereotypes and all of the sort of trumped up nonsense that we’ve all been indoctrinated with. What oftentimes matters, just like in terms of racism, is who’s talking to who, like men talking to men is what needs to happen.

 

Damon: That’s Jason Reynolds, author of a billion bestselling books about young people, he’s also been The National Ambassador of Young People’s literature since 2020. And I wanted to talk to him because we’ve had similar experiences and anxieties about an act that people I think would expect us have no anxieties about.

 

Jason: It’s healthy for men to air it out. And to say this is how I feel. And for somebody to have enough courage to say, bro, I’m scared or, yo, you know, I’m struggling. A prime example, my father, you know, my little brother is in a room, and so please don’t tell him I told you. I’m hoping he has his headphones on. 

 

But one time my father and I, we were hanging out and we were talking about women because I’m at that age where my father is telling me all of his stories, you know, and it’s honestly, it’s awesome to be able to see your father as like a regular person and to hear who he was at 20, 21, 22, 23. And some of that stuff is interesting. And it does create a bond. Right. But in the midst of it, he made a comment. He said, well, you know what they say J? And I’m sure some of you have heard this. And I know you’ve heard this Damon, is this crazy quote that older men say, where they’re like, If one key opens any lock its a master key. But if any key will open your lock? It’s a shitty lock. 

 

Right. And this is whole sort of idea about men and women and sex. It’s about quote unquote promiscuity and how a man who sleeps with a lot of women is an awesome man and a woman who sleeps with a lot of men is not an awesome woman. And so in this moment, I have an opportunity to let my father know that we ain’t on that no more. So I do, because he’s my pop and he can’t do nothing. Like what you about to do, disown me, right? And so I say, yo, man, I don’t I don’t agree with that. Like, that’s not where we are, we moved on. Like we ain’t on that no more. Women can do whatever they want to do with their bodies. They can have as many partners as they want and they are not to be judged for it or seen as less than specifically as it relates to men. 

 

And then because I said this to my father, he says, you know what? You’re absolutely right. And not only are you right, I agree. And not only do I agree, I’ve always felt that way. As a matter of fact, I used to date a sex worker before I met your mother. And I dated her for almost two years. And only really we broke up is because I had the older brother and I didn’t want anybody moving into the house. And he loved her. A working escort. They were in an emotionally monogamous relationship. And he understood her job, respected her, took care of her and loved her. And this would have been in the early 1980s. 

 

But he needed permission. He just needed a safe space, quote, unquote. And I know it’s such a buzz word now, but he needed his space to say I understand that. And that I can now stop performing. Right. I don’t have to perform because I now understand that, you know the script, so the performance is already botched.

 

Damon: And that’s the key. And if someone just kind of just breaks the ice and is like this some bullshit. We don’t have to do this.

 

Jason: I mean, shit, man. Even when we talk about me a while back, we’re talking about even sexually, right? Men don’t ever talk about anxiety, sexual anxiety, right? Like the idea of like that first time is a doozy. 

 

Damon: Oh, yeah, yeah, yeah. 

 

Jason: Your chest is beating and you feel like you going…like if this don’t go well, I might vomit all over this person. I’m about to puke on this girl. That’s real. 

 

Damon: And so I remember we did a thing, we did a panel at the Blackstar Film Fest in Philadelphia and before, the day before, or the morning of the panel, we just happened to run into each other at breakfast. And we were talking about this. And were with a woman. 

 

Jason: My homegirl.

 

Damon:  Yeah. And we were talking about just that anxiety that men face, particularly your first sexual interaction with a person and, and extra particularly a person that you care about, Okay. Because you want to knock it out the park, you don’t want her to tell her homegirls, you don’t want her to forget about you. You want to be able to continue. 

 

Jason: Yes. 

 

Damon: And for this not to be like, OK, well, this nigga was whack. 

 

Jason: Don’t get laughed at out here.

 

Damon: You don’t want to get laughed at. And so that definitely is, you know, induces a deep anxiety and neurosis and self-consciousness, where you’re just wondering, OK, I need to do this, I need to do this. And, you know, how our penises work where if we’re fucked up up here.

 

Jason: Aw man. 

 

Damon: Then that… 

 

Jason: Especially at this age. 

 

Damon: Yeah, especially if you get a little older. If you’re have your fucked up up top, then that definitely, has an effect on your performance down there. And so we were having that conversation and I remember her saying that was the first time she had heard… 

 

Jason: She was so surprised. 

 

Damon: Men express anxiety or nervousness about that. And that’s the thing that, you know, I know I niggas will act like they don’t do that, but I can’t go in everyone’s head, but I know that most of us do. 

 

Jason: Everybody’s stomach is upset and everybody’s having a hard time. I mean, like, you don’t, there’s so many things that play right. There’s so much emphasis put on the penis, first of all, in general. I mean, this is across the board. Right. And the issue though with men is, men don’t know what the size of his penis, you know what I’m saying? Most of us ain’t got no clue in terms of in relationship to what you’ve had. Right. So it’s like I’m coming in the best I can, but I don’t know if you had big or smaller. And so I’m in a relationship and in context with that, it’s a very real thing. But because we don’t know going into it, you’re like, I’m just hoping whatever’s happening. I hope I’m good. Because you just don’t like that. It’s one of those weird things. 

Van Lathan, you know Van Lathan? You know, dopest thing I think he’s ever said, he was talking about his father, about this very issue. He said his father pulled him in a room one day and said, look, you 16 or whatever it is, you 16, so I know you’ve already measured the size of your dick. I know you know what I’m saying, you’ve taken out your ruler, you looked to see like where you stand. And he said, I don’t have to know what it is. I don’t want to know what it is. Just know that whatever size it is. you stuck with it. So if it’s too big, you’re gonna have to figure out how to be gentle and if it is too small, you gonna have to figure out how to work with it. Either way, the size, whatever it is, you can’t allow how you feel about it to ruin other people’s lives. 

That is it. Like in a nutshell, you can’t allow how you feel about it, good or bad or whatever, to ruin other people’s lives. And we do it all the time. 

 

Damon: All of the time, just all the efforts to mask that anxiety, that vulnerability, that self-consciousness. And yeah, you know, like you were saying, it is.  Talking to your homegirl and hearing her response to that just made me really think about just how little we actually talk about that, particularly just penises, and size. And not really knowing unless you watch porn, because that’s really the only time you’re going to see them. 

 

Jason: Because you’re just assuming that what’s on porn is like… 

 

Damon: The thing is, if you’re like 11, 12, 13 years old and that’s your first time seeing another penis, you’re like, holy shit. 

 

Jason: I’m losing out here. 

 

Damon: Yeah. I’m not Lexington Steele. 

 

Jason: I’m doomed. 

 

Damon: And then, you know, you get older and you realize that, oh yeah. That’s why they’re in that industry. 

 

Jason: You’ve also never known a woman before. 

 

Damon: I think that if we were to collectively to allow ourselves to be more vulnerable, to allow ourselves more space to breakdown those performances and articulate those performance as the bullshit that they are, then I think that you’ll see less of that. Less of us being expected to be a certain way.

 

Jason: That might be true.

 

Damon: That might be true. I don’t know. It could be wishful thinking.

 

[Music Transition]

 

Damon: A few days after we had sex, she called me. She wanted to know how I was doing. And wanted to know if anything was wrong…with her. 

 

She gave me an opening. I could’ve told her right then that it was my first time. And that I was terrified of disappointing her. And that that terror was all I could think about. I could’ve also realized that she had anxieties too. She had doubts too. She had fears too. She also wondered if she was inadequate. 

 

Of course I didn’t acknowledge any of that. I just said “Nah, everything’s cool.” And she let it go. 

 

The relationship continued for a couple months. We’d hook up on the weekend, and then we wouldn’t speak to or see each other again until the next weekend. I think it got better. 

 

But I wonder, still, how much better it could’ve been if I just told her the truth. I think she knew, anyway. But what if she heard it from me, and neither of us felt the need to perform anymore? Performance just takes up so much space that there’s no room for pleasure. I wonder how good I could have felt, how good she could have felt, how good we could have felt, if we could just be?

 

[Music Transition]

 

Damon: Stuck with Damon Young is a Spotify Original Podcast from Gimlet and Crooked Media. It’s hosted and written by me, Damon Young. 

 

Ruben Davis is our Executive Producer. Our producers are Ashley Velez, Morgan Moody, Carlton Gillespie, Priscilla Alabi, Stephen Hoffman, and Corinne Gilliard.

 

Mixing and Sound Design by Jesse Naus, Charlotte Landes, and Veronica Simonetti. 

Theme Music and Score by Open Mike Eagle.

 

From Crooked Media, our Executive Producers are Tanya Somanader, Sarah Geismer, and Katie Long. From Gimlet, our Executive Producers are Rosie Guerin, Krystal Hawes-Dressler, Collin Campbell, and Lydia Polgreen.