IT HAPPENED TO ME: I Dated a Pansexual Porn Star

I kept wondering, Do we really have to allocate funds to purchase a strap-on instead of an airline ticket for you to meet my family?

Jul 17, 2014 at 11:00am | Leave a comment

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Like all great romances, it began with several vodka sodas and a pseudo-intellectual conversation about YouTube. A man named Matt showed up to a party my roommates and I were throwing, and since our East Village apartment was roughly 1x1, it was hard to miss him. Matt was the kind of guy who radiated confidence, a sense of warmth and self-assuredness. So when he asked if he could get me a drink, despite the fact that all the drinks were in effect mine, I was intrigued. 
 
“So what do you do?” I asked.
 
“I’m a freelance filmmaker and photographer,” he said. 
 
“That’s impressive!” 
 
“I guess. I get hired to film a lot of bad YouTube series for comedians trying to become SNL stars. It’s a lot of fart jokes and Justin Bieber spoofs.”
 
So he wasn't exactly a Spielberg in-the-making. I was copywriting for flavored vodkas at the time, so who was I to judge? I was decidedly smitten. And having recently ended a four-year relationship dubbed “The Neverending Story” by my friends, I was willing to give Matt a chance. I invited him into my bedroom.
 
But before we even approached sex, something odd happened. He turned to me and said, “So, I was married by a shaman on a mountaintop in the Caribbean when I was 22. I’m not sure if the marriage counts in the States. Also, I’m a pansexual. And I used to do porn under the name Rococko Van Dickstein. And I have two belly buttons.” 
 
He mentioned this with a yawn and a run-of-the-mill air, the kind of tone that’s usually only reserved for reading off attendance lists or the ingredients in matzah. 
 
For some context: I was raised in a liberal town. I went to a liberal college, studied gender studies, support every LGBT rights event, and am close with someone who once made mixed media artwork out of feces. 
 
But I was still shocked when Matt said all that. 
 
When inundated with personal information, one may either immediately flee, develop acute anxiety, or pretend to be totally and completely unfazed. I chose unfazed because I had no idea what the hell I was doing.
 
“Oh, pansexual. That’s totally great. Like, all of that is super great and not a big deal.”
 
“Do you even know what a pansexual is?”
 
“Totally!” I said. I reeled back in time to my collegiate gender studies coursework, but nothing rang a bell. Pansexual. Sound it out. Pan. Sexual. Pan means bread in Spanish. Bread sexual. Carb fetishes. Pre-intercourse gluten addict. Maybe we had a lot in common, after all!
 
Before I could posit my theory, he spoke, “It means I’m attracted to the person, not the gender. So, a guy who’s only been with women could still be a pansexual, if he defines his sexuality in those terms.”
 
“Oh, have you only been with women?” I asked.
 
“Oh, no. I’ve been with men and women. I skew female, though.”
 
Potentially married? OK. Pansexual? Fine, now that I learned what it was, I supposed in a utopian society we should all be pansexual. But what about the porn? And really, what the f**k about the two belly buttons? 
 
“Would you ever do porn again?” I asked.
 
“I don’t know,” he grew pensive. “It’s annoying to cum on command.”
 
Fair enough. 
 
Like any normal girl, upon learning that my crush was also known as Rococko Van Dickstein in certain circles, I proceeded to ignore everything and immediately date him. I figured that his openness meant that he was trustworthy.
 
But as much as I wanted to be cool with it, and as much as he wanted to make holistic sense of his own life choices, we couldn't pretend the past hadn't happened. Soon, the nuances of sexual history became major issues. And by nuances, what I really mean is butt stuff.
 
“Would you ever consider doing me, instead of me always doing you?” Matt asked.
 
“I don’t know,” I said, taken aback. “I’ve never done that before.”
 
“Can’t you just get a strap-on and try it?”
 
It wasn’t quite the romance of Shakespeare, but then again, Shakespeare wasn’t living in a world where Amazon could deliver vibrating eggs to your door in 24-hours. 
 
I found myself, the liberal feminist, suddenly rendered a prude. And a pang struck me when I confided in my friends as they wondered aloud if he was using the term “pansexual” as a cover-up for being gay.
 
There’s a phrase: “Don’t knock it till you try it.” You can actually knock out many things without trying them, like murder and 7-11’s Dorito’s Loaded, for example. I was willing to test some things out for Matt because I cared about him. But I knew deep down that it really wouldn't turn me on to do Matt in the butt, no matter how many times a girl in Miami did Rococko Van Dickstein in the butt. And really, the truth was that our problems went beyond me sporting a giant plastic dick.
 
It seemed that as quickly as the relationship began, it fizzled. With the extreme openness came extreme intensity: him saying, “I love you” a few weeks after meeting, the two of us spending every single day together, and his sexual proclivities that seemed to grow by the day. It was a constant source of tension. Would I try more things? When would I try them? And I kept wondering, Do we really have to allocate funds to purchase a strap-on instead of an airline ticket for you to meet my family? 
 
It came to a front when he delivered the line: “If you really loved me, you would buy a strap-on and do me. I’m not waiting anymore for you.” And though on the outside it might have seemed like our issues were more of a punch line for parties rather than emotionally poignant contentions, all of our sexual bartering represented very real personal issues. We broke up soon thereafter. 
 
When friends heard about Matt’s background, a common reaction was to label him a freak. But I don’t attribute my relationship problems with Matt to his porn career or weird hippie marriage or pansexuality. This came down to two individuals. Me, grappling with my own liberal identity and defining my sexual limits, and him, dealing with an unusual background and a sexual appetite that was difficult to satisfy in monogamy. 
 
The surprising thing about dating a pansexual porn star with two belly buttons was that it was just like dating a heterosexual non-porn star with one belly button. He had issues. I had issues. In the end, our issues just weren't compatible.