The Pleasure Scale

On a scale of 1–10, with ten being highest, where would you rate your pleasure?

Eaton Hamilton
Gay Mag
Published in
19 min readJun 4, 2019


Illustrations by Jessica Poundstone

(Trigger Warning: graphic sex)


When I can’t run. When I can’t walk. When I can’t heave myself out of bed to get to the bathroom, when I have to crawl on hands and knees, my heart 180 beats a minute, barely able to breathe. When I am partway there, wriggling on the floor like a lizard, leaking pee.


I am vapor. I am the puff of guilt-smoke in your able-bodied air: blue and floating. There, gone: poof.


My life is constricted, the width of a very thin windpipe.

I am an atheist, so I don’t look for meaning, but I do look to squeeze pleasure into my life like juice from a lemon.


My grandchild, who is two, has learned to play hide-and-seek not by secreting her face, but by screwing her eyes shut. She is a little perplexed by the magic of this, but proud of her cleverness, and she laughs a lot. At first I wanted to call the children by gender neutral pronouns, not wanting to restrict them to assigned femalehood, but their mother nixed this, wanting them to find pride in their gender.

At every opportunity, we tell them they are smart, strong, invincible, but nevertheless, they absorb pink restrictions at every turn: on tv, in stores, at daycare.

I didn’t expect to find delight in grandparenthood, despite its glowing advertisements, and when I did, I was touched enough to consider moving closer to them.

I call myself Granky. They call me Nana.


Pleasure is the horse I ride through spilled-sugar night skies. Pleasure is my crank, my oxy.

Think of what you ask when you ask the poor to remain unhappy and the disabled to stay unpleasured as a prerequisite for sympathy or assistance.

What is ungrateful? When have we gone over the line and behaved too much like enfranchised human beings to qualify for handouts?

Humor? A full-bellied laugh? A bowl of tulips on the table? Dessert? A cum cry?




Eaton Hamilton
Gay Mag

Eaton Hamilton is the queer, non-binary, disabled author of 10 books of cnf, memoir, fiction and poetry, incl. 2016 novel WEEKEND. NY Times, LARB, Guernica.