My son who is 12 tells me about what happened at school and how Alistair is the coolest biology teacher ever. So, Alistair asks the class “What’s the meaning of life?” And while the kids are debating between Xbox or Wii or long holidays or as my kid probably was, food…Alistair walks up to the board and writes: SEX. Alistair got a lot of free brownie points for using the S word in class, making it legitimate.
Even though human civilization has been around for a while and the only way to procreate is sex – it’s still as titillating and taboo as it ever was. We are not bored with it yet, we love the innuendo of it and we want it over and over again. Case and point: 70 million copies of Fifty Shades of Gray sold (source: The Guardian.co.uk).
But fiction is fiction and in real life, sex happens under the sheets with scented candles to mask the odors and in society we like to have a clean image of sex because the rest is porn. And porn is perverse.
Sex is also something that happens between two people who love each other or two married people which everyone knows is not necessarily the same thing. And if you have sex outside of marriage once you’re married someone might boil your bunny (Fatal Attraction) or your husband may kill your lover (Unfaithful) or you may have to kill yourself (Anna Karenina).
People might have devoured all the S&M in Fifty Shades of Gray they can handle, but if during a dinner party I talked about the time when my husband pulled out the handcuffs and gave me a good whipping, “It was just such a blast. Do you prefer spanking or whipping?” I don’t think it will go down that well.
Or imagine someone saying openly, “Yes, I have a lot of sex and I like it.” Yes, I’m thinking about Samantha from Sex and the City too – but Samantha was the one who got cancer, got old(er) and couldn’t find a partner or have a baby or any of that. I think even Sex and the City was sending a subliminal message that if you’re going to screw around – you won’t get family happiness.
I grew up in India – where we didn’t talk about sex. It was not just taboo – it was something that happened between a man and his wife – and it wasn’t fun…at all. It was what you did. Period.
“You do it with your husband because if you don’t he’ll go do it with someone else.”
Then they were the people who talked about sex as being something to do with love. Saccharine sweet, I love you, you hang up first, no you hang up first, love – but I was in India, and this meant you still had to be married.
My mother would say, “In the heat of the moment you’ll do something stupid.” The stupid thing being having sex.
And then I come to Memphis, Tennessee and there I hear all sorts of strange things about sex. Apparently, you don’t get pregnant the first time you do it. You only should do it after you’re married. Abstinence is the way to go.
And the classic: “You’ll meet someone you love very much so you’ll marry them and then you’ll express your love with your body and that’s making love.”
But I think there’s plenty of anecdotal evidence out there that tells us that sex between strangers or people who don’t love each other can be pretty good too – maybe not proper, but excellent nevertheless.
If you haven’t seen Eddie Murphy’s classic standup act from the eighties where he wears purple leather and talks about life, love and McDonalds – you just have to watch Raw. And Eddie says:
When you get into bed, would you rather have somebody say: “Oh, make love to me.” Or grab the back of your head and say, “Fuck the shit out of me.”
Let’s stop talking about sex, please.
Sex is still very private and because it’s so private it’s exciting. And this is why when it rears its ugly head in the open, a la Weiner Junior, we as a society go into a tizzy and call Mr. Weiner a deviant and his wife worse because she’s staying with a pervert. Maybe their sex life is spiced with sexy pictures Weiner sends to other women. Maybe they don’t buy into monogamy and are okay with a little action on the side. Why should we care?
Recently, I got hooked to the television show Lost Girl – and if you don’t know the show it’s about a bisexual succubus. No, I’m not kidding you. This show makes sex – just sex – nothing to write home about. Threesome, a little S&M, a little nibble here and there. It’s just a good time – it’s not some emotional sacred experience that’s going to make you whole or whatever it’s supposed to do when you do it when you’re in love.
After having sex for thousands of years, maybe it’s time for humans to bring sex out of the closet. It’s private, yes, but it shouldn’t be taboo and definitely shouldn’t be front page news, after all I have a 12-year old who now thinks that SEX is the meaning of life – let’s not let him take it too seriously.