taking the passive out of passive-aggressive

Sunday, September 26, 2004

It seems like people are having sex less than they used to. I have at least two friends--okay, maybe more--who aren't mating with their mates, and I wonder why. After all, isn't sex everywhere? Aren't we faced with nubile cuties on grocery store magazine racks, in music videos, on billboards? Shouldn't we be all sexed up, all the time? Okay.... maybe the teenagers are having sex, but the adults certainly aren't, and in a culture that's increasingly saturated with porn, it's kind of hard to understand.

As usual, I have a theory about this.

In general, we adults lack sexual stimulation. I know this seems hard to reconcile, at first, with the televised naked abdomens of so many teenage girls, but in fact it makes perfect sense. In the workplace, in our neighborhoods, among our friends, we are increasingly tamped down by a kind of Moral Majority puritanism that infects every interaction. We are not allowed to look, to think, to consider, or to flirt. It would be unbecoming, untoward, impolite.

At the same time, the commodity of sex has become more glossy, and more targeted. As the marketers become better and better at using sex to sell, sex becomes more an more boring and product-oriented. What was the Woody Allen line.... his shrink says "Do you think sex is dirty?" And he says "Only if you're doing it right."

As a culture, we are SO not doing it right. Sex is magazine-clean, shaved, waxed, douched, manicured, and perfumed. I'm sorry, but that's just not that exciting. Where's the adventure in all of that?

This might actually be a side effect of political correctness and feminism, though I hate to admit it. Women's movements have always tended towards the abstentious, from prohibition on. Or maybe it's just unbridled late capitalism. You might have terrific curtains and no sex, or a very civil 50-50 relationship and no sex, but either way, you're not having any sex. Is it worth it?


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