A Nerve Is A Nerve Is A Nerve
December 6, 2008 Leave a comment
Back to the original conversation, my last post was a bit of a detour, I think you are right about the strange lack of real sex on the Internet. I perused Figleaf’s website, and was charmed. This also led me to a resource called Scarleteen, which has an amazingly articulate stance on teens and sex education.
It seems that with other representations of healthy sexuality, they are all particularly fierce. Nerve.com, Dan Savage, the inquisitive ladies at Jezebel, all offer a sexuality that feels to me like a glossy version of the thing that I am supposed to want, much like reading makeup tips in Seventeen magazine, or perusing the Sephora catalogue. I want them, but eyebrow gel and foundation primer elixirs have very little place in my actual life.
I do marvel at how open sexuality is in certain ways–that dildos and vibrators are now quite unshocking. That sex stores are understood venues, always with an educated, helpful staff. That it is a fashionable expectation to spend $80 on sex accessories. Good Vibes and Babeland and Smitten Kitten all offer this idea of sex as very fun health, fully accessible through the heightened pleasure of accoutrement.
Before venturing into the the sex wilderness, I had a good long time of walking in the desert (its own famous wilderness). I went from zero to full throttle fairly quickly, and luckily at an age and mentality where that was exactly appropriate. But, going so long with so little experiential information did leave me with a giant heap of expectations. Every book I read since I was ten promised sex as THE MOMENT, the one time in life where things got as good as they would get as a human. Sex was shown to be better than drugs, better than getting an award, and definitely better than any dessert that had “better than sex” as part of its title. I really thought that when I finally had sex I would understand ecstasy and that I would see the capacity for joy in bodies. I was ready to participate in what seemed to be the big prize of being an adult human.
And then, like most drugs, it was shocking that I had the ability to imagine something so much more divine than the real thing. Pot makes my face itchy and I get slurry. Booze makes me talk a lot, and the general physical effect is one of hyper-relaxation. Cigarettes make me alert. With all of those things, each their own little forbidden city where I imagined grand things before rolling around in them, my main reaction was “oh? I thought this would be more fun.” The fun was there, it just wasn’t the fun I imagined before trying them. And the fun was complicated by very mundane things (nausea, the luck of who you were with, money) and the normal limits of good feeling. The same with sex (excusing nausea and money). It was so weird to realize that it did feel good, but it wasn’t good in any new earth shattering way. I hadn’t found a new strain of chemical in my brain. Different nerves were firing, sure, but they were making the same brew in my brain. There were no new colors of the universe revealed, no small death (and rebirth), and no uncontrolled tears (I honestly don’t understand the crying orgasm thing).
Which leads me to a scary part of writing about sex and not being ferociously sexual in the usually presented way–the worry that in revealing what I consider “real” and not postured, I am inviting a pity party from the sexually advanced and enlightened. That it’s me, not them, and that my poo-pooing of all the glamor and accounts of unadulterated vigor (machinated or not) is my dearth, not theirs.
Also, Scarleteen has an amazing checklist for teens to see if they are ready to have sex, and it had a particularly insightful note about expectations in sex: “the less we expect, the more we often receive.” This again made me think of the submissive/slave scenario you mentioned that was the most intense moment in the fella’s life, and the lieu of misery that many a hired/planned scenario might make. And Christmas.
So, you were a nurse?