Have you ever heard of the “baseball” model of sex? It goes something like this. According to the baseball model, each base represents a chronological “step,” or milestone, on the way to penetrative sex. First base is supposedly French kissing; second base is “feeling up”; third base is fingering or oral sex (cunnilingus or fellatio); and a home run is PIV (penis-in-vagina) sex, which is hailed as the ultimate sex act. The baseball model of sex is very popular among teens in the U.S. It’s pretty common to hear someone ask, “What base did you get to last night?” or, “Did you score?”
The baseball model of sex is a pretty inaccurate representation of what sex actually looks like. First of all, it promotes the idea that there are two opposing “teams,” or players, in sex — one of them is active and one of them is passive. (One pitches, the other catches; one bats, the other is on the field; one is offensive, the other is defensive). It also operates under the assumption that sex is about achieving some sort of goal, which can only be obtained in one way, through one progression of prescribed sex acts. The baseball metaphor assumes a linear model of sex, in which we are meant to accept that sex should be for one of two people in an interaction, whose goal is to get past a series of barriers in order to win, after which sex is over, and there is no point in continuing.
First of all, no. Just, no — wrong. And second of all, can you say hetero-cis-normative, misogynistic, consent-negative, ableist bullshit?
That’s why the SIC likes to follow an alternative model of sex: the pizza model. Think of it this way: there’s no one way to order a pizza, and there’s no linear progression of pizza-eating, leading up to one particular bite of pizza being the ultimate pleasurable pizza-eating act. Instead, ordering a pizza can go something like this:
The first question is: Do I/you/we even want pizza right now? If yes, then great! Let’s order a pizza. If not, then great! Let’s order something else, or nothing at all — or we can go our separate ways, and you can order a pizza on your own. Some people don’t like pizza at all, and that’s totally cool.
We discuss boundaries when ordering pizza. If I say, “I don’t want anchovies on my pizza because I will get an allergic reaction and die if I have anchovies,” then of course we will not order anchovies on the pizza. If you say, “I’ve never tried mushrooms, but I would maybe have a bite and see if I like them,” then maybe we could get mushrooms on half of the pizza. Either way, it’s totally normal to talk about what we like and don’t like when ordering pizza, because there are so many different ways to enjoy pizza.
If you end up having an allergic reaction to something on the pizza, or choking on a bit of pizza, it’s totally normal and OKAY to seek help!
Pizza can be enjoyed with any number of people at a time. I can have it alone, with one other person, or with a group of people.
Today I might like pepperoni and pineapple on my pizza, next week I might want plain pizza, the week after that I might want chicken and pesto, and next month I might want onions and spinach. Maybe the month after that I’m not in the mood for pizza at all. The point is, you don’t have to like the same kind of pizza every time you order it. There are so many options, and you can eat the toppings in any order or combination that feels right.
It’s okay if you only feel comfortable enjoying pizza with certain people, and not with others.
You can be eating pizza, and then stop eating midway through because you got full, or realized you just weren’t that hungry after all. Or maybe you realized you want to watch your favorite TV show instead. There’s no bad reason to stop eating pizza.
Pizza can be messy! It can help to prepare beforehand — for example, set out plates, napkins, and some water. And you might have to clean up afterwards! It’s totally normal to spill some tomato sauce on your lap, or have to pick up some crumbs from under the table.
There’s no one right way to start or stop eating a pizza, and the point of eating pizza is for all parties to enjoy themselves.
The same principles apply for sex. Sex can look and feel differently for everyone, and it’s totally okay to not want sex. Whether it’s smooching, rubbing, tribbing, rimming, oral stimulation, using sex toys, BDSM, roleplays, PIV, fingering, anal play, masturbation, reading erotica, watching porn, talking about fantasies, or whatever else floats your boat — it is important to remember that consent and communication are key, and people’s bodies are inherently valid. There’s no one right way to have sex, there’s no “normal” linear progression of sexual pleasure, and there’s certainly no “right” or “wrong” kinds of bodies that deserve to be respected, or to experience pleasure, more or less than others.
If you have questions about the pizza model of sex, let us know! Email the SIC at firstname.lastname@example.org.