(Recently found an old piece i wrote for an anthology book published by the late, lamented Vignette press. Enjoy).
We watch daytime television telling women how their orgasms should feel. We read books that inform men what angle their penis should hang at. We are inundated with movies that beat us down with the fact that the way we’re having sex is wrong and that what we think we want is actually embarrassingly erroneous.
So, what is OUR sex?
Where lay the dominion of our lust, the velvet wanting that we, the common people can lay claim to? Once, sex was an unconquered land, an untapped resource for the fearless and randy explorer. Now, that land has been turned into a shopping mall, all vacuous neon lights and signs that point you from one banal franchise to another. Gone is the thrill of discovery, the character building nuances of fumbling from one experience to the next. Lost is the thrill of exploration, curiosity dripping from our tongues as our quivering hands and organs feel out each new sensation like a monkey at a banana party.
Our sex has become their sex.
And they have left us with nothing.
I am of British extraction so ‘our’ sex consists of seventeen pints, a hot water bottle and a five minute fumble to warm up the bed sheets. If a male Brit had written the Kama Sutra it would involve thirty chapters on beer, five on pies and one on a very disappointed woman.
Yet, my first experience with having my own sexual wants and needs usurped came many years ago, whilst watching the movie, Nine And A Half Weeks. During its most famous scene, the erstwhile protagonists settled down in front of a fridge and proceeded to use its contents to drive each other into a culinary state of sexual fervour.
This was the moment of my undoing.
“Why don’t you ever do that with me?” My girlfriend at the time asked me in a disgruntled manner.
And there it was.
I was doomed.
For no matter what I did now, whether I took her to my local supermarket and used the entire deli section to satiate her every need, or whether I ordered half a ton of gelati and piled it on top of her, only one thing would be going through her mind; why didn’t he think of it first?
No matter what I did from that point on, I didn’t act like Mickey Rourke; I didn’t take the sexual bull by the horns, milk it dry and then dribble the milk all over her as if she were a bowl of sexual Cocoa Pops. I would forever be marked as sexually unadventurous because I didn’t think of doing something that I had no interest in. It was not my sex she wanted. My sex didn’t involve white goods.
It was their sex.
Besides, if she had seen the state of my fridge at the time she would have realised that any kind of sexual contact within its vicinity would have resulted in nothing but salmonella poisoning and a discolouration of the skin that would have lasted a lifetime.
Regardless, we broke up soon after.
Mickey Rourke had ruined my life.
For this is what celebrities do.
Everyone knows that. How can our meagre existence compete with the platinum plated realm of these demi-gods? How can our eyes not be averted to the ground in abject SHAME at our own paltry stations in life when confronted by their translucent images? Yet, not content to make us feel like a worm beneath the boot of man, they also want to tell us about their sex lives. In detail. In GREAT detail. For they seem to believe that they know more than we do.
But does that mean we really need to listen?
Meg Ryan does one sexed up role and considers herself to be an authority on the art of the horizontal mambo. Yet what really qualifies her for this? A failed marriage to Dennis Quaid? Joe Versus The Volcano? Sex with Russel Crowe, which I imagine would be very much like wrestling a drunken, badly shaved monkey?
What gives them the right?
Sure, Sting can have tantric sex for eight hours at a time but his songs are still rubbish. I think his wife keeps him going for so long in an attempt to keep him away from his guitar.
They’ll build statues to her one day in thanks.
And yet these celebrities, in their drunken states of hubris, want to be more than twenty four carat seraphim. They also want to be heroes.
For who is Justin Timberlake to bring sexy back?
How did he know it was missing in the first place? Did he leave it in his other trousers? Why weren’t we informed that such a thing had been misplaced? Where was the government in all of this?
I want to see a list.
I want to be sure that this kind of thing doesn’t happen again. We can’t afford to be losing sexy. What if we lose spunk next? A world without spunk is not a world I want to live in.
And where is God in all of this!?!
Okay, so, Gods sex involved little more than a lot of frolicking, the delicate placement of fig leaves and the naming of llamas. Yet without God we would not have had Eve and it was she that chose our sex.
It was Eve who ate of the fruit, choosing complexity over ignorance and knowledge over fear. If it had been left to Adam we would still be wildly masturbating up trees. But for Eve, tasting of the sacrilegious apple was choosing a life away from the scrutiny of those who feel they know better; in choosing a life cast out from the garden of earthly pleasures, she chose an existence of self governed satisfaction.
Eve is the living embodiment of our sex.
The matriarch of choice.
So how is it that we find ourselves in a situation where our most carnal and intimate of desires are again governed by others?
More importantly, perhaps, is where do we find the proverbial apple to free ourselves once more?
Science, in its eternal need to stand in opposition to religion, has decided to forego the act of sex altogether and focus on the far more intimate practise of cloning.
This, of course, removes the always difficult process of getting a date and of having to pay for dinner. A test tube never argues, doesn’t play hard to get and rarely mocks your capabilities with a Bunsen burner. In removing the need for there to be another person in the room while procreating, science has also removed the greatest thorn in mankind’s side; the need to be sexually proficient.
For we no longer know how to make sex intimate.
Proficiency is all we’re left with.
When we talk of sex, we talk of it as a trade, a craft that does not change when plied to one person or another. Now we have tricks and techniques; play and subterfuge and we rarely ever mention what a person wants or needs. We just go banging away, tallying up all the big fat orgasms we can muster from our ‘craft’ and notching them up on our bedposts so that the staff of Dolly magazine doesn’t come around and take our sex cards away.
But how many orgasms is that? How many people should you have had sex with? How many condoms should you have torn to shreds with your sexual prowess?
How many times should you be having sex a week?
In a day? In an hour?
According to experts it should be every single second that you’re not reading about it. You should, in actual fact, be having sex until abstinence becomes the new pleasure as it’ll be the only chance your genitals will have to recover.
So how many? How often? How much? How far? How long?
How can we possibly have our sex while labouring under such pressure?
Our sex should not be about questions. Our sex should be about simplicity. It is about sleeping with the person you want to sleep with and sharing what makes you both happy. It is about a closed door and an intimacy that only comes with knowing someone from the inside out, even if just in that moment. It is about pleasure, freedom, laughter, joy and the complete removal of thought and the absolute acceptance of impulse. It is about someone wanting you. It is about wanting in return.
For however long the moments last, in and of that time itself, it is about being alive in the truest way you know how. Not alone, not apart but wrapped up in each others experience so completely that there is no boundary to mark where you end and they begin.
That is our sex.