Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Sex is beautiful, sex is a gift, sex is good

Talk about stuff. Import liberalization, objectivist epistemology, cultural imperialism – faulty heating, broken windshields, missing buttons— Daisuke Matsuzaka, Sanjaya Malakar, Don Imus. Talk about stuff—there’s always a lot of stuff to talk about. It’s all stuff, nothing big deal. Life, you know... We just have to talk, speak our minds out.
Talk about sex. Cool stuff to talk about, right?
Sex is a subject that is unfailing as Buffalo NY’s blizzard, unmistakable as krispy kreme cholesterol, and undeniable as sin. Sex is something that we can’t argue, rationalize, intellectualize, idealize, trivialize—although we all try to. We all go back from where we started from. Nobody says, “No, I don’t do sex...” and feel proud of it. Or, “I don’t like sex, it sucks!” Why would you say such a thing?
Sex is beautiful, sex is a gift, sex is good. So let’s talk about it.
I don’t, however, intend to question or validate or debate the where and wherefore of sex. Whether we live up in a West Central Park penthouse or in a trailer park in Murphy, NC – whether we consume precious time musing over capital management at a Wall Street board room or laze around at the backwoods of Bristol, Tennessee, impersonating William Shatner... sex is something that we all share equal right to, equal passion to, equal ruin to. Nobody says “corporate sex” is different from “proletariat sex,” or “sex at The Hamptons” is better than “sex at a Camden, NJ `hood,” or “sex in Amsterdam” is a lot better than “sex in Bangkok.”
Sex is some subject that can be nonsensical and preposterous, frivolous and significant – yet it’s some subject that we can’t refuse or ignore.

ACCORDING to a recent study by the National Survey of Family Growth, men aged 30 to 44 have had a median of six to eight sexual partners in their lifetimes; the women’s median was about four. Surveyed were 12,571 men and women aged 15 to 44, as contracted by the University of Michigan’s Institute for Social Research.
That’s nothing to crow about, I reckon. My friend, simply called Rainbow—who used to be Christine Green, Brown, Black, White, Jones, Smith and Robinson—was married and divorced seven times. I mean, she’s talking about marriages-that-failed – not just sexual partners. “You’re asking me how many men I slept with?” her heavily-shaded pair of virulent eyes speared at me. “You are silly! I am 42 years old, Christsakes!” What my good friend was trying to say, I guess, was that—in case, she married all the men that she slept with since age 15, she must’ve had 517.5 divorces by now.
Nothing to crow about. Sex is part of life and living – whether you are single, divorced, or whatever. And it is also beautiful—sex is a gift, sex is good.
Few weeks ago, I chanced upon this news from Fox TV. Two pairs of high school students engaged in sex during class hours while their teachers were in a meeting. Their classmates stood as lookouts. For these “kids,” sex is good albeit “forbidden.” But high schoolers can also have sex (if they can’t help it), as long as they do it beyond school premises. Besides that, the school system provides for steady supply of condoms.
My friend Rita K barred her 14-year-old daughter, Kristi The Krispi, from venturing downtown because “it’s dangerous there, shady guys and all.” But she generously allowed her “baby’s” 15-year-old boyfriend stay over at night, anytime... “What are you having in there?” she questions them. “No beers, no weed, OK? I don’t allow you kids to even think about them. You are both minors!”
Kristi responds, “We are just having sex, Mom!” Mom was so relieved, “Oh, okay, don’t forget the condom... otherwise just do oral sex.”
The National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS) 2005 findings indicated that oral sex is very much part of the teenage sexual repertoire. According to the survey, more than half of all teenagers aged 15 to 19 have engaged in oral sex - including nearly a quarter of those who have never had intercourse.
Whatever the case, although most “teen-aged” youths don’t consider oral sex as “sex really,” sex (“really” or “not really”) is still good, sex is something that need not be argued or debated. Sex is beautiful.
Meantime, the religious has also “mellowed down” in regards its revered outlook on sexual intimacy. Well, at least for a 41-year-old Florida pastor, Matt Keller, who’s most prominent preaching subject is sex. “Sex is beautiful, my brethren, go and have sex tonight... over and over again! Jesus wants us to have plenty of sex!” Membership to Keller’s flock has grown 30 percent since he started sermonizing on the carnal topic. A website, www.mycrappysexlife.com, serves the purpose.
Nothing to crow about, I guess.

SEXUAL adventurism or sexual ambivalence (I’m at a loss for words here) is also very much a part of the current humanity. Active sexuality among homosexuals and bisexuals—especially between females—has also been an important facet of the same NCHS research. Fourteen percent of women aged 18 to 29 reported at least one sexual experience with another woman, more than twice the proportion of young men who reported having had sex with another man.
Almost 3 percent of men between 15 and 44 and 4 percent of women reported having a sexual experience with a member of the same sex within the past year, and over their lifetimes, 6 percent of men and 11 percent of women reported having such experiences. About 1 percent of men and 3 percent of women said they had had both male and female sexual partners within 12 months.
Nearly 6 percent of all men between 15 and 44 reported having oral sex with another man at some time in their lives, and nearly 4 percent reported having anal sex with another man.
Again, whatever the case, sex is good. Sex is beautiful. Oral sex, anal sex, gay sex, straight sex, whatever sex.
Needless to say, sex is amply marketed in America—a lot more passionately and enthusiastically pitched than political happenings or health concerns.
Popular Hollywood movies like “American Pie” plus a slew of low-grade teen-age films, and multi-awarded TV fares like “Desperate Housewives” and “Sex in the City” articulate the “importance” of sex in human bonding and day-to-day living. Sex isn’t just fun—sex is needed. Magazines and publications from Christian-lifestyles to fashion subjects to sports world to music/recording industry to health readings – dovetail marketing trends and variables on sex.
More sex between spouses mean a deeply spiritually-committed marriage; flimsy, strawberry-scented lingerie lures the hubby off Sunday football in favor of more sex; trimmer abs and bustier bosoms mean stronger sexual charm... Fergie’s cleavage and Christina Aguilera’s nude shots sell more Rolling Stone Magazine ad space, and Sports Illustrated’s Swimsuit Edition tops ‘em all... Paris Hilton, J-Lo, The Bachelor, “Who is the father of Anna Nicole Smith’s baby.” It’s all linked to sex, sexuality, sexual intrigue, sexual fascination.
Nothing to crow about. Indeed, sex sells!—especially in the Western world.

A UNIVERSITY of Chicago research, conducted last year, revealed that couples in Western countries are the most sexually satisfied, while countries in the East appear to be less satisfied. Only 49 percent of “foreign” men and 32 percent of women indicated that sex was extremely or very important to their overall life. Most of these are Asians.
Moreover, Asian countries all reported low levels of sexual satisfaction and moderate to low levels of satisfaction with their relationships and the importance of sex. Israeli women placed the highest value on the importance of sex — the lowest score came from women in Taiwan. Among men, Brazil scored the highest and Thailand the lowest. Overall, people in Austria are most satisfied with their sex lives, and Japanese are least satisfied.
However, I believe that not having a lot of sex doesn’t necessarily mean, “dissatisfaction.” The study was conducted coming from the standpoint that sex is needed, an exigency or very basic human want. That doesn’t entirely follow.
My sister Alicia’s husband of almost 15 years is an OFW or Overseas Filipino Worker. A few months following their marriage, Jose—an on-call carpenter who barely managed a high school education—flew to Riyadh, Saudi Arabia to work as hospital janitor. Since then, my bro-in-law has worked in Dubai, Saipan, Taiwan, and United Arab Emirates – visiting home for only one and a half months each year. Alicia and Jose have four kids.
I remember, during their early years of marriage, when they were still living in the ancestral house in Manila—they would lock themselves up in their room for days, coming out only to have dinner. I don’t think they were having Novena or saying the Rosary, either.
Alicia and Jose’s case is simply an example of how impoverished cultures view sex. Food on the table, basic education, simple housing, and gut-level health/medical needs occupy significant faculties of the human brain—no much time to discourse sex. Sex is good but sex isn’t really good if there’s no fish for dinner, or sturdy roofs come typhoon season.
In poorer countries where “basic human needs” doesn’t necessarily include assured orgasm or sex-3-times a week, sexual pleasure is numbed or downplayed by economics.

IN MY PERPETUALLY clueless American journey, I always get confused with relationships, friendships, sex and love. Until now—I don’t know what is “going out with,” “seeing someone,” “hanging out with,” “dating someone,” or “sleeping with.” I still don’t have the nerve to follow what I thought was the “real thing” (am I having a relationship or just having sex?)—for fear of being bitch-slapped or sued (for sexual harassment?) or misread as “gay.” Many times, I didn’t even know if I was dumped or I just dumped a girlfriend. “Breaking up” doesn’t necessarily mean that we aren’t hooking up or hanging out anymore—to make out or f—.
I also “slept” with some women friends because they said, it’s okay. So I “SLEPT” with them in their bed... One time, I got into trouble because I responded to a question on the affirmative, whether I “slept” or not with a lady friend that I traveled with in a Greyhound, alone, for 12 hours. I said, “Yes, I slept with her.” What I meant was, we slept side-by-side by our seat, that’s all.
Until now, I remain clueless about a number of American English “double-talk.” Why do we call sex at a swimming pool or backseat of a car for 15 minutes, “sleeping with”? We don’t sleep, you know... and that, why would I be misread for saying “I slept with her” on the same seat while traveling by bus for 12 hours?

AH, AMERICA! We consume excessively... sex is all over from high school to older age that it becomes a necessity. When it becomes too much, we try so hard to snuff it out altogether, that is why it becomes such an issue.
Take this example. Harvard University seniors Sarah Kinsella and Justin Murray decided to fight back against what they see as too much mindless sex at the Ivy League school. They founded a student group called “True Love Revolution” to promote abstinence on campus. The group, created earlier this school year, has more than 90 members on its Facebook.com page and drew about half that many to an ice cream social.
Harvard treats sex — or “hooking up” — so casually that “sometimes I wonder if sex is even a remotely serious thing,” said Kinsella, who is dating Murray.
“Sometimes that voice on campus is so overwhelming that students committed to abstinence almost feel compelled to abandon their convictions,” Murray said. He acknowledged he “slipped up” and had sex earlier in college but said he has returned to abstinence with Kinsella.
Nothing to crow about. Sex is good, sex is beautiful. But why abstain—why simply engage in (or consume?) small, reasonable doses? Sex isn’t sugar, caffeine, or nicotine—or is it for most?
Anyhow, while sex is generally viewed as imperative and a necessity, certain “thinking” patterns figure a lot in people’s decisions how to treat their sexual lives, as well.
Sexual behavior includes a lot more than sex, according to Helen Fisher, an anthropologist at Rutgers University. She argues that three primary brain systems have evolved to direct reproductive behavior. One is the sex drive that motivates people to seek partners. Second is a program for romantic attractions that makes people fixate on specific partners. Third is a mechanism for long-term attachment that induces people to stay together long enough to complete their parental duties.
Whatever the case, sex is still the end result... Sex is still a good subject to while away hours with – as I brainstorm what’d be my next heavy topic next issue. So what am I trying to say? Nothing really, I don’t intend to rant against the war or complain about my Charter phone/internet bill this time out. I just want to talk about sex, that’s all.
You have any problem with that?


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