I Tried To Hate-Masturbate To Mike Pence & Here's What Happened
Like many liberals, I have often felt hopeless and helpless over the course of this election season. I've donated cash, and I'll donate my time to campaign for Hillary Clinton in the fall. I am working hard to cultivate the inner spiritual tranquility needed not argue on social media with people whose bios say "BUILD THE WALL!!!!!!!!" But these external actions can only do so much, because it's not just rational fear of what might happen if Donald Trump wins this fall; election anxiety has colonized my brain, too.
More than once, I have woken up at 3 a.m., somehow already mid-thought about polls that show Clinton and Trump fairly neck-and-neck. Even the activities that once brought me the greatest peace — like watching Seinfeld reruns or pooping with the door open when no one else is home — have become tainted with spasms of political anxiety. I block people on Twitter, I read the articles about how it's too soon to trust the polls, I take "cleansing breaths." But none of it soothes me when I wake up in the middle of the night and imagine a generation of school children, raised in an environment of extreme racist, sexist, and homophobic oppression, made to say the Pledge of Allegiance every day in front of a picture of a bigoted reality TV star and former stuffed crust pizza pitchman.
On a recent sleepless night, I was utilizing my favored non-prescription sleep aid (vigorous masturbation to aging British rock stars), when I wondered: was this low-key madness my fate until November? Or was there a way to get these hated right-wing men and their right-wing ideas out of my brain? Could I do something to exorcise them, so that I would stop feeling powerless before them every time I had a moment alone?
I took my hand out of my pants, and kept thinking. What if I could do something so extreme that it would short-circuit my brain, potentially rewiring the deep grooves I had worn into it obsessing over my perceived helplessness — a kind of rogue cognitive behavioral therapy? The only thing that seemed to bring me any calm these days was masturbating...so what if I turned it against them? If I hate-masturbated to Mike Pence, would I get my life back?
Why hate-masturbating? I admit this is one of the kookier ideas I've ever had, and as someone who owns a crystal dildo, that is truly saying something. But my thinking went a bit like this: pretty much every moment I wasn't masturbating these days, terror and a sense of powerlessness about the Republican platform and its potential implications overtook me. So if I hate-masturbated to one of my political enemies, dreaming up a scenario where I was absolutely in charge, wouldn't it show my brain that they weren't in charge of me, that I wasn't just some sad piece of ocean debris being washed wherever their political tide decided to take me? Wouldn't it help me remember that my primary identity in life wasn't a passive little doll, waiting in terror to find out what a bunch of dudes in suits with boners for discrimination thought should happen to me?
Was this actually a plan so crazy that it could work? Through the power of jerkin' it, could I successfully turn Pence from my feared potential overlord into simply a D.I.L.H.M.T (Dad I'd Like to Hate-Masturbate To?)
But why Pence? Well, as Robert Draper's New York Times piece on Trump's vice presidential pick noted, Trump's potential VP would be "in charge of domestic and foreign policy" and "the most powerful vice president in history." Pence is the man with the ideas in this campaign — ideas that I am opposed to. His policies — opposition to reproductive rights and equality for LGBTQ people — were the real architecture of my nightmares. If the political is personal, then yeah, I may hate Mike Pence more than almost anyone else on earth right now.
Plus, though he's not my type per se, Pence has a "disciplinarian high school football coach" vibe that my vagina could theoretically get into. Trump, meanwhile, looks to me like a costume slapped together by aliens who want to walk our streets but are only 90 percent clear on how humans look and act. I was sure that even attempting to polish my bannister to Trump would cause my vulva to curl up into my body, like a terrified housepet.
There was one small problem, though: I wasn't totally sure exactly how to hate-masturbate. I was always flummoxed by the many liberals I knew who gleefully professed an attraction to Paul Ryan — sure, he's in great shape for a politician, and yes, I can appreciate the dedication needed to get abs like that on an artistic level. But isn't Hollywood crawling with men with bods exactly like that, who have the added bonus of never having been Mitt Romney's running mate?
But I knew that for some of my liberal friends, the lust they felt for various Republicans' bods, paired with their hatred for their politics, created sexual combustion— something way more interesting, than, say, jerking it to a spare Hemsworth brother. So I went to the hate-masturbation experts. First, I read Mandy Stadtmiller's account of a time when she could not "stop hate-masturbating to Paul Ryan." She wrote: "[M]aybe there's a do-gooding subtext where I convince him —through the power of hate-vagina — to drop out or give all of his cash to Planned Parenthood or global warming prevention or preservation of Medicare or something."
That made sense to me — it was like my masturbation fantasy where Colin Farrell tells me he really values me as a person. There is something sometimes sexy, and sometimes soothing, and sometimes empowering, about a masturbation scenario that's about not just your tingly sex-parts, but about the world as you wish it would be.
Though I felt like I probably should have attempted my hate-masturbation experiment somewhere with more accurate ambiance, like a dungeon, or a damp cave filled with skeletons, I had to settle for my bedroom.
Then, I sought out a close friend whom I knew to be both a hardcore liberal and someone who hate-masturbated to Ann Coulter frequently. For him, the heart of hate-masturbation was something like, "You know this person would be appalled by you and everything you stand for, but then they find your sexual chemistry so unstoppable that they just go with it, and then it's kind of a triumph for you." "But isn't it also a degradation for you?" I asked. "Oh, I'm already far too degraded for it to even register," he told me. Ah. Thanks.
Finally, I went to an actual expert — Bustle writer Kristen Sollee, who also teaches a course on sex, gender, feminism, and witches called "The Legacy of the Witch" at The New School. When I'd interviewed Sollee earlier in the year, she'd discussed the way that many magical practices incorporate the power of sexuality and orgasm. Using this logic, I wondered, was there a way that hate-masturbating to someone whose politics you loathed could actually be a way to dump positive, anti-them vibes into the universe? According to Sollee, I wasn't too off the mark:
Sex and magic both involve altered states of consciousness, which is why sex magic can be such a potent practice. In The Art of Sexual Magic, Margot Anand writes that “any vision or desire that you wish to manifest in your life needs to be charged with your orgasmic sexual power.” Although “hate masturbating” is not a common subject discussed amongst witches and sex magicians, I think hate masturbating to a Republican candidate can be both pleasurable and powerful if you direct your energy towards a specific goal while doing it.
Like, say Mike Pence gives you an itchy trigger finger. Before you go to town, envision a world where every women is guaranteed reproductive rights and bodily autonomy. As you orgasm, that desire can be sent into the world, and you can enjoy jerking off to Pence shame free. Or, you know, with slightly less shame. Because it’s still pretty gross (but, obviously, that’s why you like it!)
So was this actually a plan so crazy that it could work? Through the power of jerkin' it, could I successfully turn Pence from my feared potential overlord into simply a D.I.L.H.M.T (Dad I'd Like to Hate-Masturbate To?)
Though I felt like I probably should have attempted my hate-masturbation experiment somewhere with more accurate ambiance, like a dungeon, or a damp cave filled with skeletons, I had to settle for my bedroom. I tried to figure out how exactly to think something so loudly that the universe would hear it, and then thought: Donald Trump and Mike Pence will not be elected. I then laid down on my bed, and started masturbating.
My attempt to hate-masturbate to Pence started out a lot like most of my attempts to regular-masturbate to a celebrity — I fantasize that we cross paths at some gathering where the object of my "affection" is feeling disenchanted, eager to talk to (and bone) someone real. I tried to imagine Pence at some Republican fundraiser — alone, lonely, upset about something mean Trump said about his tie. He's ready to lash out at the people who got him where he is today — by hooking up with a woman who is, in his eyes, a Jezebelian nightmare liberal abortion-witch. Wait, what kind of dress am I wearing? I spent kind of a long time trying to decide what color my dress was, and fantasy Mike Pence seemed to become less interested in our potential rendez-vous. His body language said to me: "Why are you doing this? Are you wearing a wire?"
I tried to picture something that would maybe engage me in its sheer filth — a nude Pence polishing a strap-on harness, perhaps — but it still didn't quite connect. The video tube in my brain seemed to then mutiny, switching over to my masturbatory greatest hits reel (mostly Ewan McGregor in Velvet Goldmine , thanks for asking), while my mind started shooting out weird chants that were half witchy and half self-help: Mike Pence, you do not control me or my vagina. Mike Pence, I will not allow you to ruin my life. Mike Pence, leave me be. I eventually had an orgasm that was profoundly unrelated to the governor of Indiana and my desperately negative feelings towards him.
So, did it actually work? The answer is: kinda! But as with any psychological change, it was hard to tell the chicken from the egg — did trying to hate-masturbate to Mike Pence really symbolically liberate me from obsessing over him and the Republican ticket? Or did doing it just encourage me to do the things I knew I should have been doing the whole time, like avoid reading the vast majority of political op-eds, and the partisan comment wars they leave in their wake? I'm not sure. But either way, I'm pleased to report that when I woke up at 3 a.m. last night, I obsessed over my credit card interest rates, rather than the feeling that I'm defenseless in the face of America's political future. And for me, that's progress.