Is the ejaculating dildo the revolution to cum?

“Actioni contrariam semper & æqualem esse reactionem: sive corporum duorum actiones in se mutuo semper esse æquales & in partes contrarias dirigi”

I.

Classical physics demands a correlation between actions and reactions. Applying a force to a body has a corresponding reaction as result. This mechanics is usually almost automatically translated to the structure and functioning of bodies. To each stimulus corresponds a precise reaction. Pleasure is a force that acts according to this principles. If there is a pleasurable stimulation, our bodies manifest their presence, in the same way in which they react to other kinds of stimulus, like pain.

Penises ejaculation is one of the bodily reactions commonly associated to displays of pleasure. Here we want to reflect on the forms of significance of ejaculation. Is ejaculation a “natural” act? Is it a reaction exclusive to penises? Does its link to sexual pleasure is an unequivocal one?

It is true that bodily reactions take place when our bodies are confronted with pleasurable stimulus. We also need to point out that not all reactions are perceived in the same way, and not all of them are signified in the same manner. Nevertheless we think that the critical landscape is restricted when we assume that every reaction is completely determined by the social interpretation attached to it. We do not deny that this is true, that bodily reactions are socially signified. We know, for example, that pornographic mainstream culture establishes a canon of gestures that correspond to an orgasmic body, producing in this way a parameter of “proper reactions”, which are consumed by the public of its millions of daily streamings and downloads.

But we think that making an hermeneutical interpretation of visual culture, and its production processes of images of desiring bodies it’s not enough if we are to think critically about pleasure. It’s undeniable that social contexts determine actions and reactions of bodies, what is considered pleasurable and what is not, but among this determinations there are always folds, detours and leaks. Here we want to think of bodily reactions in relation to the mechanics of bodies. What bodies are reacting to which actions? Who is the agent of such an action? How do we assign reactions to causes? Which causes correspond to which reactions? We want to examine the causality regulating the mechanics of the body.  

II.

Let’s focus now on one of the reactions assigned to this mechanics of pleasure: the ejaculation of penises. Let us think of ejaculation as that process during which a liquid -which can vary in thickness, color and pressure- is expelled through orifices located in genitals. What kind of reaction would be this form of ejaculation, according to the causal logic which is supposed to be reflected in bodily actions? Ejaculating penises appear as the natural result of an erotic stimulation process. The ejaculations of bodies with vulva are not signified in the same way by that logic of causes and results, they do not seem to naturally fit into this logic according to which an orgasm is necessarily equal to the ejection of liquid as a squirt, which is the problem we are outlining in this text.   

This logic asserts that penises ejaculation is a culminating reaction. According to this structure, ejaculation is the natural, authentic and necessary result of the concentration of forces that takes place during sexual processes. Ejaculation is the par excellence corresponding reaction to the mechanic of erotics. We’ll call this idea: Newton’s ejaculation.  

We should not lose sight of the fact that the ejaculation of bodies with a penis is attached in an almost indistinguishable way to the biopolitics of reproduction. Some traces of this relationship, and its normative function, are the wide restrictions and stigmas which have been exercised on non reproductive ejaculatory processes: masturbation, anal penetration, non heterosexual relations. Ejaculatory practices and discourses are related to the reproduction dispositive of human beings. This creates a link between the pleasure of bodies with a penis and the sacred mission of perpetuating the species, which operates in our everyday lives as one of the more powerful and unquestionable discourses around human sexuality: the ejaculation is the expression of a natural instinct, it is one of the effects of the inescapable call of nature. Ejaculating is always a desire to fecundate. Ejaculation is a universal law.

 

III.

In 2012 the POPDildo, originally named Semenette, appeared in the sex toys market. It’s a dildo with an ejaculation function. It is not the first one in this category, but it seems to be the most popular in the branch. Although on the POPDildo’s official website their recreational, medical and therapeutical uses are outlined, it shouldn’t be forgotten that it also appears as a reproduction tool. It is the emergence of other uses leads to a change of the name of this dildo, which originally had a direct reference to semen, to one without anatomic references. This change on the name was essential to the process of its popularization.

POPDildo is a strap-on dildo made out of silicone, it has the shape of a penis and an orifice that goes from the base to its end. It comes with a manual pump and a hose, both of them can be dismantled and they serve the purpose of carrying every kind of liquid that its users decide to ejaculate through it. The dildo comes in different colors, from skin like tones to shiny pink or cobalt blue. Among some of the advantages listed in its official website are the similarity of its ejacualtion with the one coming from organic penises, that it is easy to clean up, and that it gives the users the possibility to choose from a wide range of substances to expel through it.

 

IV.

In what follows, we will not refer directly to all of the uses attributed to this dildo nowadays, but rather we will analyze some of the consequences/reactions that take place with its emergence. This consequences/reactions are three, each of them corresponds to different aspects related to the existence of the ejaculating dildo and they are parallel to each other.

The first consequence is related to the genesis of the dildo. Thinking about this dildo requires first to contextualize it in the frame of its appearance, which means to situate it as a reproduction tool. This aspect, as we already pointed out, should be considered when talking about ejaculation. As we previously said, ejaculatory discourses and practices are intertwined with the biopolitics of human reproduction. The ejaculating dildo emerges in relation to this politics of the body; nevertheless it is presented to the public within a discourse of emancipation, because it enables a disarticulation of the formula according to which heterosexual couples are the only ones entitled to whatever the benefits of sexual reproduction might be. With the emergence of the ejaculating dildo a certain form of the biopolitics of bodies, which so far was exclusive to bodies with organic penises, opens to all bodies: every body is able to fecundate.

Here is where we notice the first consequence of the existence of this dispositive: (1) A break on the link between the signification of reproductive functions and its anatomic referent, corresponding to the anatomy of penises and vulvas-uterus. This break is, at the same time, a proliferation of bodies as reproductive machines.  

On the other hand, neither technically assisted reproductive practices appear with this dildo, nor is it only a reproductive ideal that is related to this sex toy. Its usage has shifted to practices which were not determined by its genesis. People use this dildo also as a tool for a mise-en-scène of an ejaculation coming out from bodies with no flesh-penis. This practices have no reproductive aim, they are a discovering process of other uses of the ejaculatory function.  

The dildo it’s sold without any liquids, so actually every material could be used to fill up its hoses. This opening to every possible liquid appears, of course, next to innumerable guides to artificial semen production and the explicit advice from the creators of this toy to not use sugar based liquids to produce artificial semen, and instead go for sticky and thick materials. The reception of non-seminal liquids is one of the factors leading to a non reproductive function of this dildo.

Among the variations in functions one can find a recreational one (people who uses it to get to know “how does ejaculation feels” and what does this act adds to their sexual processes), the orgasmic one (people who think that ejaculation is the result par excellence of every sexual process), the therapeutical function (directed mainly to persons who have a body with an organic penis but can’t have -satisfactory- ejaculations) and the affirmation of identity function (people who, having a body with no organic penis, think of ejaculation as a dispositive of meaning for the production of their identities).  

The PopDildo works not only as a prothesis for fecundating functions, but it establishes same dynamics as Newton’s ejaculation as an expression or reaction to pleasure. So, althought not every eyaculated liquid is necessarily semen, and not every eyaculation has a reproductive function, every eyaculation, even the one of a penis made out of plastic, is signified as pleasure.

This is the second consequence of the emergence and popularization of the ejaculating dildo: (2) Displacement of the context of appearance of ejaculation. This displacement takes place as a consequence of the separation of pleasure expressions from a classic topology, which situates the referent of pleasure in certain bodies. There is no ejaculatory exclusivity for flesh-penises. If the first consequence of the emergence of this dildo turn us into a multiplicity of reproductive bodies-machines, the second one multiplies our desiring machines.

The users of the POPDildo assert to be interested in experiencing the pleasurable squirt that is part of the features integrated in a penis, which in this case is made out of silicone. Buck Angel is one of this sex toy enthusiastic users and promoters, and declares: “There are many people who just want to experience that ‘cum shot’, and that includes me”. The ejaculating dildo proclaims to give a realistic touch to sexual interactions of bodies equipped with a plastic penis. Its users also say that they engage in a different connection with their bodies when they acquire the artificial ejaculation function of this device.

We ask ourselves: What does it means to ejaculate with a penis made out of silicone? Our we dealing with an imitation mechanism of a supposedly original ejaculation, for whom the sovereign would be the flesh-penis? What is that bodily experience that is reached by means of an artificial ejaculation? What is the link between that artificial ejaculation and that orgasmic realism put in flesh-penis pleasure? Is the autonomous semen production, and its transference from one body to another supported by a device, some kind of emancipatory practice? And specially: is the ejaculating dildo the revolution to come?

 

V.

Then let us think, what is the particularity of this dildo? The affirmation of identity, reproductive, therapeutic, orgasmic or recreative functions are not to be denied. What we want to ask is nevertheless, what are its effects beyond the individual’s particular usage of the device. From the semantical-operational consequences named above (1) break of the signification of reproductive functions according to an anatomical referent, and (2) displacement of the context of appearance of ejaculation, and its corresponding separation of pleasure from its classical topology, we arrive to a third implication of the existence of the ejaculating dildo. We call them semantical-operational consequences because we are not only making reference to a dislocation of the pleasurable sign that takes place within ejaculation, but also to its material intervention: there is in fact a plastic penis that ejaculates.

So, the last consequence we want to draw here would be (3) the production of a bodily realism in which pleasure opens up for other significations. Here it’s important to look back into the mechanics of the body where Newton’s ejaculation appeared. The staging of ejaculation produced by a plastic penis questions the classic mechanics of desire. The apparently unstoppable repetition of the association flesh-penis = ejaculation has made us think that bodies with a flesh-penis are the only ones that ejaculate. Ejaculating is not the culminating reaction of an erotized body. Ejaculation is a technique.

A plastic penis dislocates ejaculation from the logic according to which ejaculating is the proper reaction of bodies with a flesh-penis on which the force of desire acts upon. This dislocation appears in the affirmation of the POPDildo users, when they say that they acquire a more real connection with their bodies when they use this sex toy. It is described as an experience even more real that the one produced as part of the Newton’s ejaculation, because in the technical assisted ejaculation pleasure appears dissociated from a given logic of actions and reactions. When the experience of pleasure takes place with a silicone-made penis, the link between eyaculation-pleasure-body and flesh-penis is fractured.

We are not trying to say that classical physics is put into question by the existence of a dildo (on the other hand, the dildo itself works mechanically). But what is called into question is if this classic mechanics is the one that operates in the flux of pleasure and its action upon bodies. What is interrupted by the functions of this dildo is the mechanics that territorializes pleasure in the bodies with penises and naturalizes ejaculation as the result of certain kind of stimulus, the mechanics that establishes that every erotic interaction with a penis is followed by a determined series of reactions. The mechanics that organizes pleasure into a single semantic structure, through which the chain of actions and reactions of erotic processes is signified, is broken.

Ejaculating is first and foremost an action that do not belong to any particular anatomy, nor does it corresponds either to an absolute and culminating expression of erotic interactions. Ejaculating is a technically reproductible action, it has no origin, no cause, no final reference in a supposedly original materiality of bodies. All of this does not give us enough elements to answer the question about the emancipatory potential of an eyaculating dildo, but it does allow us to look at it as critical tool, as it opens up the question: what are the dynamics that take place among and inside our desiring bodies?

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