From PARASITES, curated by caner teker
Published by Dirty Debüt on 14th August, 2020
Female Copulatory Vocalisation was assembled by Lou Drago from fragments of intentional conversations with Camilla, Heather, Zoe, Pedro, Fred, Samir and Nici.
When you go there it seems very simple, but it isn’t, it’s very complex. One must first start by equating or understanding what is a darkroom experience…
There are these situations where you feel like there’s some kind of truth being spoken, and that is really exciting. You know? It’s where things get really fun. I think at the beginning it took me ages to figure out how on earth are we supposed to navigate these spaces that are usually like, totally occupied by gay men. I didnt know how to be part of the space or how to figure it out, so i spent a lot of time finding people outside the darkroom to bring in as a group.
Yeah, we were in the after-party and i said like, “i think we should do more performative acts in the darkroom” and he was like “you. are. wrong… it should really be about improvisation and participation” and yes … that is true, but the thing is, that in the darkroom, it becomes like this boy-junior-high-club-like looking thing you know? That is also a performance. I also think like whether it is a performance per-say, or whether it is just like going into a performative way of being something for instance. Sometimes you can access your personal perversion better from that because you are signifying it and by somehow seeing it yourself, the person you’re doing something with also sees it, and through there you can actually do something that goes beyond performativity…
There is also great joy to be had in experimenting and finding things out, and playing dress-up and basically doing some kind of intimate theatre for one another where one takes on different roles. Not to eradicate an identity, but to see that it’s constructed.
I mean performative actions, and it’s like a way of inserting a focal point and it’s something that happens all of the time. I think without these focal points you’re lost. Focal points are there to orient yourself, not just to each other but also to yourself. It’s also an aligning and can give a certain safety or enable a fantasy or thought, by somehow being together.
It was kinda like a bit theatre-y or like a different style of using the darkroom. There was this amazing maze darkroom and it’s like, totally pitch black and you literally couldn’t see anything. It was like a lot of stumbling around…and going to the darkroom in little groups and having like, little orgies in corners… and then stumbling around again and then somehow climbing out.
I do think it is something that can be helpful in order to establish new structures for what kind of activities can make the darkroom a place where one actually explores deep kink, or personal preference …
Your soft performance, the spanking one, is actually just setting a performative frame that can facilitate an improvisation. Because what ends up happening is spontaneous. In a sense it’s a performance, but in a sense it’s very real somehow…
When that works, it can open… well it can also be a service. Like you can actually give somebody something, but it can also be watched, it has different outsides… There’s also all these stories of like, AFAB people, coming into the darkroom with their strap-ons and being like “hey!” and they have to announce themselves, because there’s not an assumption of what they can do or what they want. Or also maybe they might just not be able to get what they want just from touch. But they say, like, “i want all these people to come fuck me” or like “i want to fuck all of you… little gay asses in this place” and they can do it.
I brought my strap-on to the dildo party, but i don’t think i used it. .. i think i lent it to somebody…? Ahhh yeah i lent it to M so they could fuck you at the afterparty!
(laughs) Oh yeah! That’s why i had the association of you and dildo
There was — which was a nice thing and a not nice things about it — there was the L scene but also the people that go to F all the time. So there i did definitely have had a few experiences, of like people grabbing me or jumping on me in ways that were kinda stressful. It was a mix of two worlds, like i wouldn’t say that people were being aggressive, it was more like this gay sex scene and then our scene came and like clashed a bit.
I agree, it’s just that i feel, sometimes, in my experience, a lot of gay men don’t see themselves as the ones who occupy the space, and to open up the space for others.
Yeah it’s also quite a common thing, there are some people who just don’t have any sense of … other people. (laughs) Yeah, but it’s also a masculine, or male socialisation at least, na? And also, this sense of entitlement. Feeling entitled to be here. Also if you have a long history of claiming a space like this and then there’s a new reality.. not like a mainstream that tries and gets it back, but like, a whole culture, that is creatingnew nuances in that space, you know? Then it should be fine… or it should be important to invite this and share.
But i think by the time we got to U, i think there i only had really positive experiences from the gay men. We had an afterparty once, it was at S’s, and i was like doing my thing, and W was sitting by and smoking, and she said in the middle “Oh my god, F is being a good girl!” (laughs) and i think it’s not so much that they’re women, but that they’re people that i know, who i haven’t had sex with, because we’re not sexually into each other, and them suddenly seeing what i do…
and how, how was that for you?
Well, it turned me on a little bit, it made me a little insecure, you know and that was kind of…(laughs) the drugs helped.
Sorry… by not-queer did you mean gay or like, straight? Ahh maybe i mean, not sex-positive…
Not sexually-woke… Not sexually-woke. Not going to a party and maybe have sex. For me, i only go to queer parties and / or sex-positive parties, so for me its like, very weird to not see someone having sex at a party, it’s like, why are you not having sex? Like what’s the deal? You know?
Like it’s kind of a measure of how good the party is…? For me it is, yeah.
I remember one party where i was just walking around and i was just seeing like, sex happening everywhere. There were so many AFAB people doing it, everywhere, anywhere, and it was so thrilling. I remember just feeling like YESSSSSS, we did it! Cos it doesn’t really need to happen in the darkroom! The darkroom is kind of like a tool, it’s like a — at least for us — i think it was like a means to an end. It wasn’t ever the end. Or maybe it was at some point, but like, very quickly we realised it’s not actually the end that we’re going for.
I think a lot of people were like ‘it’s actually really nice when there’s like AFABs having sex in the darkroom cos you make way more noise, so it seems less serious, you know?’ A was like “whenever you’re in there you make so much noise that i can’t take myself seriously, it’s kinda nice.” I feel like — and this is the way A described it — he goes in by himself, in like this predator mode, and maybe that’s a more gay darkroom scenario. I feel like queer sex is a bit more giggly and noisy, there’s lots of sex noises as well.
Well i would say that i’m super noisy! If the darkroom is super packed you will hear the uurrrraaaagghh and the grunts, and the hurrraaa and all of that. There are also these people — who i will never understand — who are just quiet. I can understand quiet tops — or quieter tops — but what i can’t understand is bottoms who are completely silent. I feel like a lot of the not-noise-making has to do with performative masculinity and like, shame.
There’s like this term in zoology, female copulatory vocalisation, and of course there are exceptions en masse, but in general with like, umm what’s säugetiere? Whatever, with animals it’s usually the female that makes a lot of noise during sex, and it is believed it is to attract more mates to the site…
(laughs) and thats exactly what you’re doing… That is exactly what i’m doing. I’m doing female copulatory vocalisation (laughs)
It also gives other people permission to let go a little bit.
Totally, i think it’s something that when i go into the darkroom i do sort of feel obligated to make noise.
Do you feel like there’s a performative element to it?
Yeah, a little bit! For sure… it’s also like something that i personally like to do, there’s something about being exhibitionist, or like performing in this context, like where people are not necessarily watching, but they could watch. This is also a space that there’s voyeurism, that’s part of it. And there’s exhibitionism, that’s part of it. I think then it turns into a bit more of a kinky space rather than just a pure relieve-yourself space, than maybe it used to be.
But i’m more not a fan of random voyeurs, you know, oftentimes i don’t like the gaze, the gaze disturbs me, i get a bit of performance anxiety.
Situations that can involve giving someone a sort of treatment that includes both a receiver and a giver. And if that is desired or talked about, or like, in a place that it doesn’t even need to be talked about. It’s a given that some people will watch — and some people will like that.
One of the things i like about the darkrooms that i experience within our bubble, is that it’s kinda chatty, you know? Like i can remember having sex and listening to C talk about something in detail… like “ahh i’m getting high now, i’m getting really high,” and then like going back into some book he’s read, and then something else, while someone’s giving him a blowjob. The moral standards in Berlin are looser, you’re never the most perverted guy in the room, or perceive yourself as the most perverted, because there’s always somebody who’s getting something done, and you know, no judgement, but you loose the judgement of yourself. You’re never the messiest person, you’re never the biggest catastrophe!
In a way it’s more difficult for me personally to explore the kind of dirty, or kind of… you have to be brave and personal, and like breaking a boundary, or risking something in a certain place in a certain condition with certain people.
The fact that i’ve also changed how i perceive my body, certain security, my sexual identity or my sexual performance. I guess i become slowly more comfortable with my nudity in the club, in these semi-private / public spaces that are clubs. I mean… i came from a place where you couldn’t even take off your shirt.
In the UK you’re only naked when you have sex, so your body is really sexualised and i think it really fucks you up. But when you move to Germany you learn that it’s okay, bodies don’t always have to be sexualised, and i feel like the darkroom, like chatting in the darkroom became this thing, like, ah you can have sex with your friends and it doesn’t have to be this formal space where we’re all quiet and behave in like a sexy way. I like doing these things… and i’d like to do it more. You know i’ve also done these very funny things, like with S… well, it was crazy. I was wearing a lot of ketchup, and i like, filled their asshole with ketchup. And they were like, showing it to people and were like “can someone help me?” I was like, am i going over a border? Is this okay?
In a way i like to think that the openness towards a sexual practice should come from many different aspects… not just perfectionising a certain technique of how to perform your sexual aroused self. The emancipation kind of comes from many different kinds of topics… and maybe that’s where queer gets interesting, or freaky gets interesting because you’re kind of like hitting something with a surface and coming out of a surface, and seeing that as a symptom of something real. And that is coming out of all of the different kinds of topics. It has to do with love and friendships, it has to do with certain people being deeply engaged with politics, having people coming from different experiences and really sharing different types of backgrounds and managing to see different practices in the light of each other without having to identify with each other, without having to call it this or that — and having a sexual behaviour also being a result of that. I think that takes time to truly accept that we are just not liking the same things… and still daring to share it. That’s what i find interesting there, like it’s not “cool.” People are in there for the fucking pleasure of it. And that is extremely honest.