Most of us are familiar with triggers and trigger warnings at this point. Mental health Twitter and IG infographics and, God, even Fascibook have pretty much provided 200-level courses on this kind of stuff. The politics of everything. I’m sure all of us have posted something a little too spicy on the timeline, only to have someone show up in the comments and say, “Maybe a trigger warning would have been nice here.” Or a “CW”—for content warning, perhaps a better term that shifts the focus away from the body-response and strips it of some power. After all, ironically, trigger warnings can be—well, triggering.
Overall, however, trigger warnings are a necessary, inclusive, and valuable tool. Triggers are often lampooned as millennial snowflake nonsense, but triggers are an extremely real and necessary part of a lot of people’s lives. Staggering numbers of people, especially in our community experience sexual trauma and violence, as well as PTSD. For those people, trigger warnings can be a gateway into a normal way of interacting with the rest of the world. They’re a safety net for people who are experiencing a very serious illness.
For others, and maybe some of the same people, triggers can also be something else.
If you’re like me, and have a crossover of pornographers, alt accounts, and mental health professionals on your timeline (NYC, baby!), people posting screenshot threads aren’t the only ones talking about “triggers.” It’s horny people, too!
And maybe the crossover is more direct than not. We’ve touched a bit here on bators and the online jerk off community before, but a lot of people fetishize their sexual triggers and compulsive behavior on the web. Maybe it’s a word, like “penis,” “faggot,” or “weak.” Maybe it’s a situation, or a sight – being triggered by the sight of an asshole. Triggered by the straight boy taking his sock off. Triggered by being spat on (wait til the vaccine hits, please?).
I’m not sure what to make of people fetishizing a mental health kind of…. buzzword. Or fetishizing one’s own mental illness, if that’s what the deal is. My impulse is to not kink shame, leave it alone, let people do what they’re doing as long as it’s safe, consensual, and isn’t maladaptive. That’s for you and your therapist and your God to work out. I’m just a pornographer.
Some people are really in tormented chaotic patterns of pornography consumption or masturbation, and for them, the reality of a trigger is a world of hurt and pain. For others, it can be a really exciting and horny way to speak from a maximalist and “hyper” sex drive. Or even a way to process and push through shame about a compulsive behavior. What’s the old expression? You’re only having too much sex if you’re having more sex than your therapist? Again, that’s none of my business.
It’s fascinating how, online, through collective consumption of pornography, we can build a language together of horny talk we’ve seen online. We’ve all seen a lot of the same porno. It’s just floating around out there. Everybody knows what you mean when you say, “I’m just a hole, sir.” See? Were you triggered? My cashapp is in the bio, y’all.
But along with the sort-of script that’s being provided for us online of horny words we all recognize, we can also create a collective way of talking about this stuff. Regardless of whether or not this makes you horny, or if you’re a camboy looking to improve business, it can be good to discuss triggers with a partner: the good and the bad!
It can feel awkward, but just be the first penguin and take that leap. Be the one to communicate and ask questions. Do they like their hair pulled? Is the “f-bomb” OK? Anywhere you shouldn’t touch? If we’re doing role play, how dark? Any situations that make you uncomfortable? Whats your good trigger? What’s your bad trigger? What should I do or say when you’re ready to cum? It might feel wonky at first, but with some practice, it could lead to some really exciting stuff. Give it a shot.