monthly column from lifestyle author/activist
If It Feels Good...
One of the most attractive women I know, Nina Hartley, was the subject of an article titled The Smartest Woman in Porn which appeared recently in a leading men's magazine. When asked: "Have you ever blown someone you didn't want to?" her answer was perfectly clear and to the point. "Sure, but it's only a blow job." Personally, I think the country would be a lot better off if politicians were as concise and forthright. Of course, politicians can in no way be as concise and forthright as Ms. Hartley and still expect to be elected. In fact, in a bumper sticker sound bite age with more than 50% of the population defined as functionally illiterate, leaders have become little more than followers of public opinion. All one need do to head the nation is repeat the prevailing platitudes while being careful not to crack a smile. Remember Ronald Reagan? Obfuscate whilst ye fornicate and it does indeed become possible to placate most of the people most of the time and get elected to the highest office in the land. Worrying about whether or not a blow job constitutes sexual relations misses the point. Voters couldn't care less about the truth. What they really want is someone who perpetuates sexual myths in a believable fashion. The great betrayal lies, as Mr. Clinton learned, in losing that believability and thereby making it clear that a myth is, after all, just a myth. The repeated revelations exposing John F. Kennedy as a philanderer seem not to have completely tarnish his image. People still visit his grave and still weep for his passing. During his life, he managed to perpetuate sexual myths in a believable fashion he never got caught and many people still yearn for a return to Camelot.
Now, what is it about philandering that makes so many 20th century Americans go crazy? Well, it seems that humans are motivated by two very strong though mutually exclusive biological urges. There is the very powerful drive to seek long-term partners and then there is the equally powerful but opposite drive to seek sexual diversity. Think, for a moment, of all the physical pain and mental anguish Mother Nature laid on mere mortals with those two conflicting desires. How could she have possible gone so very, very wrong. Of course, Mother Nature did not go wrong. How could she have known that those mere mortals would get it in their silly little heads that the desire for long-term partners and the desire for sexual diversity should be seen as somehow mutually exclusive, opposite and conflicting?
This myth wasn't created until a few wise guys looking to gain power saw it as an outstanding opportunity to make all their less wise fellows feel guilty and, as a result, that much easier to lead around. It was necessary only to interpret the facts of life in such a way as to make it impossible for any normal, healthy individual not to get caught in a kind of moral Catch 22 simply behave as Mother Nature intended and - ZAP - you're a sinner! Do I enjoy my wife's cooking? Absolutely. Do I occasionally like a dinner out? Of course. And how about my Sheilah sexually? Personally, I think she's the greatest...but would I occasionally like to boff the lady next door? You bet!
Saying as much on any of those afternoon TV shows, the ones designed to titillate their sexually repressed audiences while at the same time encouraging them to feel superior to the "deviates" on stage, always elicits a similar response. Someone will ask how I would feel if my wife wanted to boff the guy next door?! Is it really so hard to understand that I truly love my wife and that I can in no way see how her fulfillment could possibly be a threat to my well being. In fact, quite the opposite. Telling a spouse thou shalt not is probably the best way to idealized their unfulfilled desire and, if they have even a modicum of spunk, eventually lose them. Why, after all, would someone want to stay paired with a mate who put their fears above their significant other's satisfaction? Paraphrasing Ms. Hartley: It's only a boff after all.
But because the masses have been Dr. Laura-ized into believing that sex must always equal love, someone will then ask: And what if my wife decides to move out after her roll in the hay? Since I'm not totally without a sense of self-worth, I doubt that would happen but what if? Well, I would certainly hate to lose my Honey but how could I not support her decision if she honestly felt that she would be happier with someone else? Frankly, I think people who try and turn normal desires for love and sex into some sort of life sentence have a screw loose. One-penis-one-vagina-50-years is not the ideal; it is, in fact, a perversion. The ideal is a long-term relationship with a loving partner and some satisfying, guilt-free sexual diversity too.
But don't take my word for it. Look at the statistics. More than 50% of marriages end in divorce and therapists say that more than 50% of the couples who stay together have a relationship that is significantly less than fulfilling. On top of that, more than 50% of spouses admit to having had one or more affairs. How can anyone look at those numbers and contend that humans are supposed to be monogamous? This reminds me the days of old, during the age of chivalry, when the ideal was a love affair never consummated. It remained perfect because it existed only in the mind; a fantasy forever unsullied by reality. How can anyone look at such parallels and contend that such denial in one's self is anything but masochistic and that encouraging the same in others is anything but sadistic.
The bottom line here, the reason that the one-penis-one-vagina-50-years myth persists is because pleasure is something that has come to be feared and what provides more bang for the buck pleasure-wise than sex? So sex must somehow cease to be as much fun and the quicker the better. I recently heard a minister say : "If it feels good, you know it must be hurting somebody." And then there is the old story about the couple who started putting a dollar in their piggy bank every time they had sex. They began the practice on their wedding night and then reversed the procedure - taking a dollar out of the bank whenever they had sex - on their second anniversary. Will it come as a surprise to learn that, over the remaining 48 years of their union, the bank was never emptied of dollars? I became sexually active at age 12.
If I waited until "THEY" officially sanctioned my actions, I would not have started learning to be knowledgeable of my body and comfortable with the bodies of others until I was married at age 25. Personally, I can see no upside to 13 years of abstinence. Indeed, I can see a very definite downside. I can imagine no better way of producing frustrated, fixated adults who go crazy at the mere thought of somebody else having fun the mere thought of somebody else philandering.
Dr. Mason may be reached with comments and column suggestions at: DrSBMason@aol.com