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You’ve seen the cum shot. That utmost gesture of excessive pleasure, briefly rapturous, loaded with shame—ecstasy upon release. Why do we fascinate over that sticky bravado, that embarrassing debasement, that sweet conquest? Cum Shots can be delivered to your inbox, or you can always visit here for Larissa Pham‘s weekly, sticky musings.

A girl is born. She discovers pleasure. It’s on the floor, cheek pressed against the carpet, feeling with her fingers, she’s begun to explore, seeking nothing but feeling the need to touch, to learn, until with a jolt she grazes her clit, discovers a sensation. She’s never felt that way before. She fingers it again, furtive, insistent, her pubic bone pressing hard into the palm of her hand, until a bright wash of pleasure overcomes her, shimmering over her skin. She is utterly, blissfully quiet. This is my first orgasm.

Sex is the thing that yields most when you touch it, which is why I touch myself all the time. It’s an act that hides all kind of meaning under its cloak—it’s love, it’s lust, it’s being lost. It’s coping. It’s healing. It’s I don’t know what I’m doing but you’re here. It’s easy, it’s not easy, it’s easy. There are a million and one ways to make a girl cum.

We’ve been fucking since the dawn of humanity, but our purpose and our motives have changed shape. Promiscuity abounds, and yet we have no models for what casual sex looks like, for what a woman’s sexuality looks like, in all its greed and joy and contradictions. It’s not free love anymore, nor is it love-or-money. It’s a swathe of experiences: raw, perfect, bloody, tame.

Here is a portrait. Here is what it looks like, how it feels. Here is the dirty, the gritty, the sad. The ecstatic. Here is how we become, how we learned, how I learned, how I became. When you want to describe the shape of a star, you have to look at it at indirectly, at angles, out of the corner of your eye. Otherwise there’s too much light. You can’t see the whole thing for its burning. You have to capture it in glances, in fragments, in parts that add up to a whole.

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