He’s Got Spunk: How I fell in love with the guy who choked me

One night last semester I popped some melatonin, cranked the air conditioning, and loaded up my essential oil diffuser with a hefty amount of lavender, when suddenly my phone buzzed to life from across the room. It displayed the text, “wyd,” which, when sent at one in the morning, is the more cordial way of saying, “Have sex with me.”

The text came from a Harvard guy I had been playing phone tag with for the past two weeks. I sighed, but being in my early twenties, I knew better than to turn down sex. So, I leapt off my bed, reminded myself that melatonin is 90 percent placebo, and quickly washed my butthole—I believe Amy Schumer called this method “the Tinder swipe” in a Saturday Night Live skit. I then hopped on the Red Line, and in about fifteen minutes—or about three spins of Tori Amos’ “Cornflake Girl”—I arrived at Harvard Square.

After meeting at the train station, the guy quickly led me into his dorm room. He asked me how my day was, I did the same, and suddenly he was on top of me. As we passionately dry-humped, I felt his hand slowly drift up towards my face until he stopped and loosely wrapped it around my neck. Now, I’m not much of a BDSM geek, but my mom did teach me never to half-ass anything, so I thought, If you’re going to choke me you better choke me—hence why I grabbed his arm and pushed it harder down on my neck.

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 I woke up the next morning in a daze until I saw him. He told me I did amazing and said he didn’t mind that I spent the night. Before I could thank him, he asked if I wanted any coffee and offered me half of a S’mores Pop Tart—freshly toasted.

Needless to say, I was smitten. I thought about him on the T ride home. I thought about spending time with him, fully clothed, and outside of his bedroom. I started to think this could be the beginning of something. Anytime I wanted to hook up with someone I texted him, and if he didn’t respond, I didn’t text anyone else. I mean, if I could have good sex with this guy, why should I go seek it out with someone else?

Wrong. Unbeknownst to me, I had just fallen victim to one of the most pernicious phenomena on the planet: I had been dickmatized. According to Urban Dictionary, being dickmatized is “when you think you’ve fallen in love with the guy, when you’ve actually just fallen in love with the dick.” Somehow, through the sheer power of this guy’s penis—and his hand and his mouth—he had convinced me that he was the one. How could I have been so foolish? How could this have happened to me?    

As RuPaul once said, “We, as gay people, get to choose our families.” Growing up I was constantly bombarded with messages that I was not normal and that whatever society deemed normal—marriage, children, a used Honda Odyssey—was not attainable for me. So, I spent most of my young life seeking out other outcasts. Sometimes this resulted in lifelong friendships, and other times it pushed me into relationships too quickly. Psychologist Lauren Costine calls this the “urge to merge,” and it stems from the 1950s and 60s when queer people primarily existed in secrecy. If you found your chosen family, you kept them by your side. 

There’s also a fair bit of science behind why people get feelings of love and lust confused with each other. Psychologist Loretta Breuning explains that when two people have sex, oxytocin is released in the brain. Oxytocin is not only released during sex but also childbirth, and when someone first thinks that they’re falling in love. The moments right after sex—or as Breuning refers to it, “lovemaking”—are when oxytocin is highest in the bloodstream, so it’s incredibly easy to mistake these feelings of post-coital bliss for true love. By Breuning’s logic, it’s only natural that I would accidentally fall madly in love with someone who choked me like I was Bart Simpson.

I know that I’ve made it seem like all queer people are doomed to fall in love with everyone they shag, but have no fear—I have a simple solution to getting dickmatized: have sex. With anyone else. Open Grindr, or for my ladies, Her. Get that person out of your head and remind yourself that you are not only desirable to them but to many other people. If you meet someone whom you connect with sexually, great! Don’t get me wrong, sex is incredible, but when we start to confuse lust for love, it becomes unhealthy. It’s a crutch, like coffee, Cool Ranch Doritos, or the sweet succulent taste of a mint Juul pod—it’s a joke, Mom. 

In addition to going out and getting laid, you should spend time with your friends, call your mom, see a movie. Surround yourself with people who care about you—and yes, that includes yourself. Never forget that there are people out there who already love you. It’s wonderful to go out and meet someone, sexually or romantically, but don’t lose sight of all the love you already have around you.

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