sex is fun, but it's complicated. it's a great social construct built atop a simple biological function. really, i don't think i've known a more contradictory facet of our existence as a species... i mean, i know that dolphins are one of the only other species on the planet that can consciously have sex for fun, but obviously there's no other species that covets it and thinks about it as heavily as we do, or obsesses their being/culture around it in so many ways.
yes, so, sex is basically for reproduction. continuation of us. keep humanity going. this much is obvious. even though it's a common myth that this is really the driving force behind everything we do, and why macho guys get more ladies, i see it rather as the greatest measure of self-defeating nonsense that plagues our lives. it's a distinct color among the palette of human conflict. penis envy is a contributing factor to all war policy, correct? but having said that -- that we make far too much of a big deal out of sex -- i do not mean that i would want it to become no thing. it's a deal, just not a big deal. (all of humanity's pursuits should be the reducing of big deals into things to merely deal with.)
but sex is so basic and elemental. it is literally the propagation of the species (when done correctly). what an immense primal-psychological weight to bear. it seems like such a big deal. how fascinating it is to see how we deal with it. look at the last few thousand years and how we've oppressed women because of sex! look at how some parts of the world still brutally oppress women! it's mind-boggling, it bears noting and knowing, though it is unproductive for all men to feel inherent shame for this. (it only makes sense to me that woman is actually the sexually dominant one; the last 2000 years only prove that man has simply been compensating for the fact that he's not.) i mean, look at the chinese telling people whether they can have children or not. it's serious business.
apparently sex has changed -- or has it? some would say not. there's certainly been lots of sexual promiscuitity at different parts of our human history. the roman empire, victorian era, etc. but could the claim be made that a woman truly owned herself sexually as she does now in the 21st century? i've read a lot about how we've finally entered an age of true, perhaps sustainable sexual maturity for both sexes. (with a few old people who are still very sexist -- again, we have to wait for them to die before we can all be better.)
so let's assume, for the sake of this writing, that we are entering a stage of sexual maturity as a culture. let's ignore the continued objectification and unrealistic expectations put on women by mainstream culture, because that's an essay in itself. (and some feminists believe that it is granting more power to women than taking it away. our hypersexualized culture is only demonstrating feminine sexual dominance. i would partially agree.)
i've been to high school and college. i had those times. i've made a few observations, and i've talked about it a bit, and i've read some people's thoughts. sex has three primary meanings to me... three forms it has taken as i've observed it in contemporary youth culture.
the first is the obvious - the one we cling on to most in our dream-culture. (the culture that serves to exemplify what is Proper, Divine, commonly encapsulated in oscar bait movies.) this is sex as expression. sex as a union of souls. sex as the representation of something deeper, something abstract. not just penis into vagina. making love. that bullshit. there is a moment between reels in which she leans in to kiss the protagonist, and his lips part in a subtle breath, eagerly anticipating the taste of her lips -- a visual description of a very romantic moment captured on film. and we breathe with him, feel anxiety for that joining touch, but we're really watching sex. (all romance is the abstraction of sex.) rarely do we need to actually see them fuck. we know it's happening between scenes. yet this sex (the lack of sex, the implication of sex) informs us sexually. that's on the one hand -- our expectations of sex, the romaticizing of sex, the purely emotional part.
that's the sex of our parents, or so we always think. it usually leads to babies. that's the kind of sex that conceived you and me, right? (you may have parents who are willing to demystify it more than that, which is always hilarious.) but that's not our sex, really. if you're under 30, that's not what you do. I mean, yes sometimes maybe, but it's typically reserved for your fantasies. our real sex is much dirtier, much stupider, much more visceral. (if anyone remembers the MTV series undressed, it sort of acted as a bridge between our new sex and the old romanticisms. it's strange that it's available online for free.)
i've read and seen a lot of that new sex. that real sex. sex being used as a tool, sex as utility, sex as just a piece of the social fabric. i like to think of it simply being sex as punctuation. we treat it like grammar, not a part of our language but rather a concept which can manipulate it. this is what's known as "hook up" culture. go to a party, meet a cute guy, have sex with him, whatever. something to do at the end of the night. something to talk about the next day, on the same relative scale as drinking heavily or watching a new movie. i've heard conversations about having sex with a stranger that sound like the girl just started reading a book they're not really enjoying but don't feel like giving it up yet. in it just to do it, to pass the time. (for the lulz?)
guys brag about it. it's conquering. it's getting lucky. striking home. whatever. with guys, it's more ugly; with girls, it's more passe. these guys have been contextualized to think this way, though (not that it excuses the behavior), having been taught about the abuse of women by their feminist mothers and teachers, and then, in retaliation, determine themselves the conquerers of these girl-oppressors. hence they cat-call and they hit-on, as if acting consciously in spite of their mothers. jersey shore type shit. (let's go freudian on this: when you hear a man hit on a woman, imagine he's talking to his mom. it makes sense to me most of the time.) to be hit on is to be called out, to be publicly defied. the man attempting to break down the barriers of a woman, not because she has barriers but because he was lead to believe that she does.
but some guys are just as level-headed about it as girls. (not many.) "promiscuous" used to be negative. you were a slut. that doesn't exist anymore. (kids don't know the word "promiscuous" anymore.) it seems there were more groups of girls surfing chatroulette and stickam than there were guys jerking off in front of their webcams. what does this show us? sex becomes group-based, collaborative, contextual, and controlled. (thankfully kids are getting smarter and it's pretty easy to get on the pill and get some condoms.) is this a good thing? a bad thing? do we want groups of 13-year-old girls partaking in this?
again, many have said that the sexualization of girls is a double-edged sword. while you expose them to sex earlier in life, which opens their eyes, they are more prone to making mistakes, and they learn lessons sooner. (sex education is great and necessary but you don't really learn until later, if you didn't know already.) and now, the worst mistake they may make early on is seeing some guy masturbate on stickam. dispells the whole myth of penises for them pretty quickly. the internet is great for that. but has it made having a fuckbuddy more socially acceptable? i think it has, for better or worse. (weren't there two movies (can't remember the other) that just came out which are purely about having a fuckbuddy?)
but what kind of women do they grow up into? the kind that are very much in control sexually? do they view sex as just an enjoyable form of exercise? i don't meet many college girls who are seriously holding onto their virginity. that christian-conservatism has fallen apart. (a girl keeps her virginity for her own damn reasons if she does at all.) those hardcore feminists would be proud: "own your sexuality; know it and use it." good, great, whatever. i'm all for that, i guess. awareness is beneficial.
this kind of bleeds into the third way i see sex... and that is sex as vocabulary. you know, the 60s, when everybody was fuckin' and nobody cared. and that's the key difference between then and now: nobody cared. you smoked pot, you fucked, and nobody cared. there wasn't AIDS, the pill was new and cheap, and everything as groovy. sex was what came between "hello" and "goodbye". it wasn't a concept, it was an act, and it was the act that meant nothing. the sex of today does mean something: it means something shallow and offputting, something misused and unguided, a childish response to an adult culture. (everyone over 40 is producing culture for everyone under 30.) sex of our promiscuous history (roman times, victorian era, the 60s) was just an orgy of sex-action without consequence, social or otherwise. there was no social convention to obey something -- whereas now we only have social convention, rigidly defined. our children may reject sexuality as an integral part of their lives the same way they may reject technology. this would not be the worst thing to happen. someday the generations will oscillate into a more perfect culture, won't they?
care to share a diary moment to conclude these ideas? sex for me, personally, is more reserved for the romantic encounter. i'm a bit old school like that, and i'm not sure if i'm proud of it. i can't bring myself to just have sex with a stranger, or some random person at a party, even if they're someone i know. i used to hold it against those who did, as if they were giving a way a part of themselves irresponsibly. now i know that they simply don't have that part to give away, and i'm not sure if they are better or worse for it. i have rescinded my judgement. (and it is all of our places to judge these matters -- that's how social itself can be changed.) i am emotionally/mentally unable to just fuck, no matter how drunk i get, and i am unfazed by that inability. (moral protip: gauge oneself by action and inaction alike.) maybe it's this primal-psychological weight to continue the species. maybe i think too much about it, as i've clearly demonstrated. fuck. it's all just such a big deal to me.
(i wrote this at the behest of a girl named laura. she asked me to write this, and i'm happy to.)