Recognizing Your Ex-Girlfriend in Porn

By Miles K


Photo by Blair Hopkins

According to Cosmopolitan magazine, watching porn together can be a great way to spice up your sex life. I've found watching pornography with girls to be a mixed experience, at best. Even when it's her idea it's still an emotional minefield. I find it's better to let her pick the video because I know that when it's my turn to find a two minute internet clip I will be judged based on my selection. First and foremost, the featured performer should not be of a different ethnicity or have larger breasts or different colored hair than my lady friend. In fact, it seems that it should look exactly like her. Really, it ought to just be a video of somebody else having sex with her. Otherwise I run the risk of provoking, "Oh so that's what you really want to see? Some Asian girl with big tits?" which, of course, is exactly what I wanted to see.

Not very long ago, I was involved with a woman who happens to earn her living having sex. I wasn't paying her, though I have paid for sex before, not with money and never in advance but oh I've paid. My relationship with Jolene was short, fairly casual and emotionally intense. We first met for drinks at a worn down, gay bar in Oakland, California. We'd found each other on OKCupid. I knew what Jolene did for a living before we met in person, since she'd written on her profile, "I'm a sex worker aka prostitute." We talked and drank for several hours and eventually found ourselves making out in her car, which is a pretty typical ending for an OKCupid date.

Jolene is not what you would typically have in mind when you picture an escort. That is to say, she is not a blonde, co-ed with breast implants and a blank expression. She is a striking, intelligent, six-foot, redhead, full-figured with the kind of transgressive haircut you see on artists and professional agitators. You could just as easily picture her getting handcuffed by the police for protesting globalization as you could picture her getting handcuffed to a bed frame.

We hung out seven times and usually spent five or more hours together, mostly talking, drinking and smoking. There are, of course, anxieties about sleeping with a sex worker. No matter how lacking in moral judgment one may be there are certain statistical facts about the prevalence of STDs amongst people who make their living in that industry. Then you put on a condom, have sex and nothing terrible happens (at least in our case).

I suspect I would have a hard time being a prostitute myself, for a few reasons, one of which is that I believe it entails having to sleep with a lot of unattractive clients and I told Jolene as much. "You just have to find one thing about them that's appealing and focus on that. Sometimes it's really hard to find something physical you like about them." She said that many of her clients were awkward and had trouble relating with women and often wanted someone to laugh at their jokes as much as suck their dicks. "I, more than a lot of the girls I know, provide a girlfriend experience," which is perhaps one of the most heartbreakingly humane depictions I've heard of what a call girl offers.


Porn is better when you're jacking it to someone you don't know.

Jolene is loosely associated with San Francisco's experimental, avant-porn scene and has appeared in several titles. At one point, she suggested that it would be fun to watch one of her XXX videos, which I thought was a brilliant idea. There was no way she was going to get jealous and everything she’d done was a lesbian scene so I wouldn't just watch her getting railed by some other guy, but when the proposal was made I was walking out the door on other business.

A couple of days later, I became curious and went looking for Jolene's porn on my own, which I thought was maybe a little creepy but I didn't dwell on it for too long since looking at porn always feels kind of creepy. I tracked down a teaser clip fairly quickly and discovered, much to my surprise, that her scene partner was an ex-girlfriend of mine. This particular ex, Zoey, had left me emotionally wrecked about five years previous and my reaction upon seeing the video was complicated. Here is an incomplete list of parsed emotions: shock, jealousy, arousal and guilt, the end result of which was an overwhelming sensation of nausea.

Sex is arguably the most intimate physical act. Seeing a woman I once loved plunge her hands inside another woman inverted that intimacy, making it alienating and public. When having sex with someone I have the sense that I know something about them that no one else does, even if it’s just the way she cries out or the look on her face while she’s getting fucked. Once the act of sex is streamed online that shared secret evaporates.

Furthermore, seeing my ex engaged in sapphic sex summoned up feelings of inadequacy regarding my own gender and her apparent preference e.g., "Well I guess what really satisfies her is to slap another woman’s ass until it turns pink and then powerfuck that young lady with a dildo." I also felt unwelcome as a viewer, knowing that this particular porn was not made for the male gaze. I should mention that I never actually stalked Zoey after our breakup but my thoughts did run toward the obsessive, perpetually keeping an eye out for her around town and holding imaginary, unresolved arguments between the two of us. Seeing this video of them together made me feel like I'd hid out in Jolene’s closet to peep on her sex life, only to discover she was going to screw my personal walking trauma.


Portrait of the author, post-break-up.

I felt no sense of betrayal or resentment towards Jolene. Those feelings would have been unfair, but one's reactions are not entirely voluntary, fairness aside. The next time we were together she again suggested watching one of her videos and I responded, "Yeah, I actually got kind of curious and I found a clip of your stuff on my own.” "Oh, did you?" she said in a sultry tone.

"Yeah, and in the one I found where you were partnered up with my ex."

"Oh!"

"It's fine. It was just sort of unsettling."

"Who was it?"

"Her porn name is Zoey."

"Oh yeah, I don't really know her that well. She seemed cool though."

"Yeah, she's cool. I just don't want to watch you guys have sex."

That pretty much spelled the end of my ambitions to watch porn with a woman. My initial complaint was that they get jealous and insecure about what I might "truly want." I thought I'd found the magic loophole through that knot only to discover that the loophole only tied the knot ever tighter and it was somehow wrapped around my balls. Jolene and I eventually went our separate ways and I haven't talked to Zoey in over five years. I still look at porn on occasion, although I'm trying to wean myself off that the same way I have with most of my other addictions and obsessions. It's hard to kick completely because having a laptop basically means I carry around the world's largest porn collection in my backpack.

@NotMilesK

For more naughty sex talk:

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Tips for Celebrating International Masturbation Month

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