(Top photo: Screen shot from the video for Rihanna's "You Da One" via YouTube / The Island Def Jam Music Group)
This article first appeared in VICE UK.
My go-to masturbatory thoughts tend to change fairly regularly, once I've exhausted them. Just as the sexual excitement drains from a new relationship, the stimuli that your brain can provide dulls, and you have to find something else to get you going.
No matter if it's the most vanilla series of thoughts ever, if you try and explain it to someone it's unlikely that conversation is going to go well. Usually, mine features someone I definitely don't fancy in real life – in fact, it helps if I have a physical, guttural aversion to them – as an extra in some mash-up of Spike's song in the Buffy the Vampire Slayer musical episode where he's ripping his shirt off and jumping off coffins, calling himself Sarah Michelle Gellar's willing slave.
But who are you to judge? You're here, reading this article, so obviously you want to read about what's in other people's wank banks.
The Great Lip Bite of 2016
On the rainiest days, when there is nothing to draw on but my own experience, I think, misty-eyed, of the Great Lip Bite of Late 2016. At the end of last year, I was sleeping with a very attractive man who, to my surprise, also seemed to find me very attractive. One time when we were about to have sex he took off my underwear and I opened my legs. But instead of doing anything, he just knelt there looking at my vagina as if it were the gates of heaven itself, or, like, a really cold beer. And he bit his lip.
The sight of his teeth grazing his bottom lip was like this wordless communication of primal longing, and nothing has ever made me feel more desired. I am convinced that there and then, in that moment, as I watched him watch my pussy, I experienced nirvana. That, friends, is what gets me to sleep on my lonelier evenings. Thank you for listening and please do not DM me on Twitter.
A MIXED BAG
Discussing wank banks is a dangerous game. Personally, mine is a mixed bag. Sometimes I think back to random girls I've had one night stands with, doing the wildest shit that my sexually mild tastes will allow for. A pert bum here, a boob or two there, and why not! This is my own private sexy brain time, and like that little angelic child sang in Baz Luhrmann's version of Romeo & Juliet, everybody's free, everybody's free, everybody's free, to feel good, to feel good.
But sometimes my brain takes me back to some of the more heavy-hitting sexual encounters in my life – the exes who are rooted of my subconscious – and my mind conjures up the sex that was more like a deep, loving, binding dance. Bad wanks, those. Those wanks are more like being forced to eat the most delicious steak you've ever tasted while sitting in the middle of an abattoir. Half of my brain is saying "dang", and the other half is screaming: "GET OUT, TOM; THERE IS EMOTIONAL DEATH LITERALLY EVERYWHERE YOU LOOK, HOW CAN YOU WANK IN A SITUATION LIKE THIS???"
So, as I said, a mixed bag all told.
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PERPETUAL WANKING MACHINE
My wank bank goes through phases. Sometimes I might be on a service-sex roll, where all my fantasies involve different combinations of men sitting round a table eating dinner, and it's my job to suck them off between courses. Other times a "sharing" theme, where most fantasies involve my partner proudly offering me to other dudes so they can test out the feeling of fucking me in the middle of the living room while the rest of them watch and critique.
Right now my primary fantasy involves men having incredibly vigorous and creative wanks. I watch TV, spy a guy who has just the right combination of external shyness with the hint of filthy secrets bubbling beneath, and I picture him sitting alone at a desk, hunched eagerly over his phone or tablet, aggressively beating one out. Screwed-up-face, trousers round his knees, grunting and sweating and all. Lovely.
The beauty of this fantasy is that it can realistically be applied to anyone – men I know, celebrities, demi-celebrities, or even just random guys I happen to catch a glimpse of in the pub. If they're wearing a tight T-shirt or smiling in that lopsidedly sarcastic way that says "I almost certainly own a butt plug and I use it once a week for a dedicated, nose-to-the-grindstone uber-wank" then all the better. It's also deliciously recursive. There will be guys who read this and crack one out while thinking about women frigging themselves off while thinking about them going for it and... you see what I mean? It's like a perpetual motion machine, but with wanking.
A FULL TURNAROUND
Desire has always been something outside of myself that I've had to refract. There were no truly sexualised men easily viewable when I was growing up. Boy bands were squeakily asexual, even their bare chests as smooth and un-troubling as a doll's. Although I am largely straight, I only ever sexualised women. I merely romanticised the men. When you watch porn, especially when you are young, and especially when you don't really have a clue what it is you might be looking for, you are looking through a man's eyes.
What aroused me was the idea of what they wanted to do to me – not what I might want to do myself. The easiest way for me to get off has always been picturing the restriction of my movement – tied up, a hand secured around my throat, or hair wound tightly in someone's fist. Incapable of full reciprocal participation, basically.
My inner sexual life as an adult is a battle to redress this. I have to painstakingly attempt to stop viewing myself as porn views me, as men view me. To stop constantly regarding myself when I fantasise; to try to look outside of myself and identify what I might actually desire; to find what I want to do, rather than what I want to have done to me. The camera in my head wants to looks down at my face with the eyes turned upward and a dick in my mouth. For a long time I was happy to let it, but I'm trying to shut it off now.
When I was in the second year of uni I stumbled across a news story about one of my old teachers from back home. Short version: they'd been made to take some time off work because of sex and porn addiction. The story was interesting because it revealed that said person had "over 10,000 images of adult pornography" in their spank bank. Intrigued that over 10,000 images quantified as having a pornography addiction, I thought to run a diagnostic check on my on spank bank.
I hit "properties" on a folder dubbed "Matrix Revolutions" (because no self respecting sad nerd would want to click on that folder and watch the disappointing third Matrix film again) and my computer searched and searched and searched and searched for the best part of five minutes as I realised that going to a boys' school that never taught me sex education left me dangerously warped.
The final figure? Over 30,000 images of Hollyoaks screenshots, lads mags scans, adult cosplay photoshoots and more were hiding in that folder. I had a period of deep depression in sixth form where I only found porn bloopers funny, so there were a lot of scenes where people were banging on tables only for the table to break on them. I had three times the sex vault of a person who had to take time off work because porn was all they thought about. I joined the Faptronauts "No Fap" community on Reddit soon after, while one of my close friends has detailed instructions on how to destroy that computer in the case I die suddenly.
ALIEN CREATURE PENETRATION
I've done a lot of private philosophising about why I often imagine I'm being probed and penetrated by alien creatures when I make myself cum. The inspiration pretty obviously comes from Japanese hentai anime and manga – something I've always been intrigued by, and drawn to aesthetically. There's a strong element of submission: the idea of being made to surrender to the magical manipulations of a made-up monster turns me on like a night light in a scaredy cat's bedroom. But I reckon the biggest attraction for me is an escapist one: when I'm fantasising about something so deeply surreal, so utterly divorced from everyday life, the normal rules of relationships and sex don't apply. I don't have to think about whether this bizarre being truly loves me or just thinks I'm a one-night novelty. There's no need to wonder whether they're secretly judging my cellulite. In the universe of mythical Martians, centaurs and deviant deep sea demons, I can convincingly believe that I am considered a goddess.
That sounds rather sad, I know. I'm not completely devoid of self-esteem. I have noticed that my wank bank visions have ventured more into the outer realms of outer-space weirdness since I was badly treated in my last relationship, though; the arms/suckers of a thrusting, throbbing intergalactic colossus are a safe place to retreat while I rebuild my ego. I've tried fantasising about celebrities, but reality intrudes on my enjoyment; before I can orgasm picturing myself being pounded by Jason Momoa, I have to invent a backstory as to why he's not with Lisa Bonet any more and reassure my psyche that she's happy. I have to make sure I'm not shitting on the sisterhood even in my waking wet dreams.
I frequently frig off standing up, and I love to imagine a lover – human or hellion – approaching me from behind. Yesterday I thought about a guy I know v-e-r-y slowly undoing the zip of my dress, and focused on how his fingers would feel tracing down my spine, and beyond, while he whispered dirt and love in my ear. It was intensely, head-spinningly sensuous, and it made me melt like a Gremlin in a microwave. I crave some of that in my real world soon.
– Alix Fox
FILTHY LITTLE MEN
Look, I don't know what happened in my life to break my brain and make this the case, but the only thing that brings me any kind of joy (sexual or otherwise) is very short men. As a result my wank bank is not filled with conventionally attractive dudes or wonderful vivid memories of sex in times gone by, but with men under 5'10" who have an actual layer of dirt on them. I'm disgusting, they're disgusting and I'm sorry.
Here is just one of many potential examples: someone who has pride of place in my eternal wank bank is Charlie from It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia. Not the actor, Charlie Day, mind; he is clean and reasonably handsome and seems quite grown up. He has a wife and kids and a life, and that is extremely off-putting to me. No. What does it for me is Charlie Kelly, the illiterate, grimy, cat food-eating, literally stinky character. He is a roughly 5'6" goblin in filthy hole-ridden long johns, and for some reason, that's the only sort of thing that can quite do it for me.
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