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YOU SMELL LIKE BREAD, ALCOHOL AND FLOWER NECTAR. The smell originates in your collarbone and chest hair. Your underarms transmit it. I like you but I'm afraid of you. Because I fear, I can let you in completely. I already have. My ass is filled with something like half a liter of cum. I've gotten tight again. I don't understand the contradiction of physical sensation with fleshly response. I knew you were fucking me too deep. Yet, I felt something different. Only later, when I saw blood dripping out of my ass mixed with your globular gunk, did I sense you as an intruder. Ploughed. I don't understand why these things happen when they do and why thought keeps getting in the way of feeling. I thought, after the compulsive low of sexual addiction just a month ago, that a purity of feeling would arise through a temporary abstinence from sexual encounters. I guess it's not a contradiction to want something big, hard and deep in your ass and at the same time, your soul melts to the smell of sweat and the texture of plump, wet, open lips, gelatinously innerlich. I kept confusing the two, schizoid interruptions of categorizing thought, psychotic urges towards a non-sensual rationalization. I had no more sense for my projections of self, my fantasies of the other, my other fantasies. The thought was that a break would let these conflicting thoughts calm down and allow my body to feel again, to take things in on its own terms and according to its own desires.

Tonight with you, I felt betrayed again. I had become tight – not my body, but me, I am my body. My skin was pulled taught like a cheap plastic bag. Exposed to the risk of puncture. Earlier in the evening I had felt the tightening in my belly, the lower left side of my stomach, right above the pelvic bone jutting out from the side of my abdomen. The pain was near my appendix. It felt like an index-finger length fold within a fold, a rolled up tube, a tension to move, something stuck. It could have been a somatic premonition of the clotted blood folded into semen, now gathering inside my punctured anus. I let you in. Afterwards I thought, “why do you do this to me?” The question is, rather, “why do I want you to do this to me?” Before you came, the depth and intensity of our fucking made me feel as if a water bottle had spilled inside my abdomen. Tears came to my eyes, an out-of-stomach-gasp that left me feeling as though I had a hole within a hole.

The problem I have isn't with sex: there's nothing to know. When the desire is there, it is there to satisfy a need, to respond with a particular form of encounter. The terms upon which this encounter is pursued, the stimulation that necessitates this response, has at its root a compulsion. Thus, it cannot be controlled. Any regulation simply reroutes the compulsion towards a different exit point. The problem lies in the neurosis of exposure, the confusion of intimacy with an invasion of privacy. The problem is technological: it needs external mediation and extension, a push, prod or poke. I want to get shoved, something called a Stoß. The fear of contamination is a wimpy one, a dandelion puffball in the wind. Deep in the bones, my body wants to be dug into, scraped out, filled up. I want to lower my immunity. Is that a problem? I may think it is, but I don't feel it is. A temporary solution to this potential problem would be to pursue resilience: that ability to bounce back, to re-stabilize, to plateau onto an immunologically neutralized plane. Is standing on two feet the condition for negotiating contamination with gravity? Or do our feet contaminate the ground? Pulling-down-power, earth-heaviness. We must fall.


I lay in bed half-naked, breathing deeply, salty sweat dried on my skin. I was having a chemical flash. An emotional breakdown. I was crashing. All those locks and valves keeping disappointments and dashed expectations neatly tucked away were to unlock. I started to cry, inaudibly. No boo-hoo sniffles, no deep gasps for air, no dramatic wailing. The kind of crying when your body begins to shake uncontrollably, when the tears flow from your scrunched up eyes, your face puckered painfully as if you just bit into a lime, your breath on the verge of hyperventilation. I was convulsing, trembling on top of white sheets, emitting a gentle flow of teardrops. I could hear him in the other room, his feet scuffling smoothly across the linoleum floor. He couldn’t hear me; I didn’t want him to hear. My mind was focusing on the void inside me, on that feeling I have had time and time again after a party finishes: emptiness. What for? For what? To go home? To sleep it off, to sleep walk for the rest of the week, to recover.

He was cleaning up the cups and plates leftover from breakfast. He came into the room and saw me, a pile of flesh curled up into a ball, shaking. Without a word, he crawled into bed next to me and put his arm around me. I dug myself deeper into the mattress, the ground beneath my focused melancholy gave away, I started to fall. Fall into myself. He squeezed me. I heard him say: “I want to change your vibrations”. Ommmmmmmmmm, aaaaaaahhhhhhh, eeeeeeeehhhhhh, iiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiii – reciting vowels, chanting, a moan here and there, his arms squeezing me tighter. This was mental, I had to laugh. At such a point, there is no longer a difference between crying and laughing. He was serious. Continuing the chanting, each sound penetrated my body, shook me up, mixed with my laughter, changed the pitch, tone, rhythm and speed of my convulsions. I began to respond: he would moan a long “äääähhh”; I would return it with a raspy “ööööhhh”. We rolled around on the bed. My eyes were closed. I could feel his touch, smell his hair, hear his voice, sense the lingering echo of his insistence reverberate inside me. The pace quickened, the sounds accumulated, I lost breath, my mind melted: I had an orgasm. I didn’t come – I unfolded. The vibrations unraveled my heart, left me panting, shook me awake, sent sparks flying across my inner field of vision. When I told him, he didn’t doubt me for one second. There are more ways to have sex than you think; there are more ways a body can connect to another beyond looking, touching, talking or fucking. He changed my vibrations by suggesting to me his own. I took them in and responded, another game, a transmission, re-routed, frequency and harmony altered. We composed a body-song. Together, the waves of us.1

Text

  • Ashkan Sepahvand

Video

  • Jackie Chia-Hsun Lee

Ashkan Sepahvand is a writer, translator, and researcher. His interests trace associations from within the histories of somatics, the sensory, transformation, pedagogy, utopia, queerness, collectivity, ritual, performance, and the self. From 2012-2014, he was a research fellow for "The Anthropocene Project" at Haus der Kulturen der Welt. His work and writings have been presented at dOCUMENTA (13), Former West, Tanz im August, Sharjah Biennial X, Home Works 5, Jerusalem Show V, Qalandiya International, and Kunsthaus Bregenz. He lives and works in Berlin, where he co-organizes the technosexual reading circle.

— ARTICLE: Resonances and affects
— ARTICLE: Case #11: The Intermorphs
— PRODUCTION: Blackmarket for Useful Knowledge and Non-Knowledge No. 18
— EVENT: On becoming earthlings: dialogues and exercises in shrinking and expanding the human — EVENT: The Manufacturing of Rights
more information: …ment journal and Manifesta journal
) — INQUIRY: On becoming earthlings

designs digitally augmented objects with physiological sensing mechanisms that help people communicate via non-verbal ways.

— ARTICLE: Resonances and affects
More information: Personal page on MIT website

This text, originally titled After-Party, was part of a performance the author gave in a project by choreographer Ehud Darash, constructing resilience, as part of tanz im august in 2012.

Ashkan Sepahvand is a writer, translator, and researcher. His interests trace associations from within the histories of somatics, the sensory, transformation, pedagogy, utopia, queerness, collectivity, ritual, performance, and the self. From 2012-2014, he was a research fellow for "The Anthropocene Project" at Haus der Kulturen der Welt. His work and writings have been presented at dOCUMENTA (13), Former West, Tanz im August, Sharjah Biennial X, Home Works 5, Jerusalem Show V, Qalandiya International, and Kunsthaus Bregenz. He lives and works in Berlin, where he co-organizes the technosexual reading circle.

— ARTICLE: Resonances and affects
— ARTICLE: Case #11: The Intermorphs
— PRODUCTION: Blackmarket for Useful Knowledge and Non-Knowledge No. 18
— EVENT: On becoming earthlings: dialogues and exercises in shrinking and expanding the human — EVENT: The Manufacturing of Rights
more information: …ment journal and Manifesta journal
) — INQUIRY: On becoming earthlings

designs digitally augmented objects with physiological sensing mechanisms that help people communicate via non-verbal ways.

— ARTICLE: Resonances and affects
More information: Personal page on MIT website

1. A more technical approach of this topic is presented by Jackie Chia-Hsun Lee, from the Affective Computing MIT MEDIA LAB, in his lecture Resonance Toolkit (made for Wave & Sign conference) where he discusses how technology can help people to resonate and externalize their feeling. (7:53)
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