We have a confession to make. We have sex. A lot of it. * hangs head in shame *
Oh, wait, we forgot, we’re not actually ashamed of this. You see, sex is a biological imperative of nearly every species on the planet. It’s how we survive. Also, let’s not kid ourselves, if done well it’s f&*#$ing amazing, am I right?
Unless you’re this living rock. In which case, you sex yourself for survival and what not. Which doesn’t really sound nearly as fun.
Now, we’ve heard the saying that even bad sex is good. Well, no, that’s not true. At least not for women. A hot bath and a good book are better than bad sex (and most things in life, to be honest.) So, given that this is something we are going to do no matter what (unless you’re a nun or a priest or the kid still living in your mother’s basement, but even then, you’ve probably had some action at some point), we should know about it, right? And we should learn to do it well.
And we certainly shouldn’t be ashamed of it. That would just be silly. As silly as getting all crazy about a woman breastfeeding her child or banning a state representative from speaking on the House floor for using the totally appropriate medical word, vagina, when talking about women’s health.
Turns out, we in the U.S. of A. live in a culture that is simultaneously fascinated and shamed by the act of sex, and the body parts that go along with it. ESPECIALLY for the women.
Sex is dirty, naughty, bad. A girl who does it and enjoys it is a slut, or a bad girl. A whore. Or worse. It’s okay to do it if you’re married and you don’t really enjoy it, but the moment you actually take the power of your sexual pleasure into your own hands, watch out! The Madonna/Whore complex comes out in full tilt.
Society likes women to be in boxes. You can be the whore–fully empowered in your sexuality and not afraid to use it, or you can be the Madonna–good, kind, motherly and the kind of girl guys can bring home to mom.
You can’t be both.
Sex is used as a weapon, as a threat against women (particularly by asshole men on the internet who like to threaten rape against any woman who has a brain or expresses an opinion contrary to them. Or wins a tennis match against who they think is the prettier, sexier girl. Or wants a different person on a bank note. Or whatever.)
But it’s SEX. It’s what we all do, or will do, or have done, at one point in our lives (or many points.) It’s meant to be enjoyable. It’s not JUST a form of procreation, but a form of pleasure. And yet we are still so freaking terrified of the power it gives us, gives women, that it’s still shamed even as scantily clad women are used to sell everything from clothing (because nothing sells clothing like not wearing any) to hamburgers (because, well, I don’t even know. Certainly those models don’t actually eat that food.)
This week we watched the first three episodes of a new show on Showtime called “Masters of Sex” based loosely on the true story of a doctor in the 50s who conducted human studies of what happens to the body during sex.
The study, and the results, were scandalous! And the show is brilliant! This doctor argues that the very beginning of life, the most enjoyable act we can do together, is left in the shadows, in secret, in taboo, where few understand it. Why not study it? Give it to science to sort out and label? Learn what really happens when that incredible orgasm hits and our bodies cease to be ours to control and instead become primal, gripped in the uncontrollable plunge into ecstasy.
We’re fascinated by this show, and by the still prevailing attitudes about sex, body parts and pleasure.
In our Seduced series, one of the criticisms it’s received is that Rose is too sweet and innocent to be that bold in the bedroom. Ironically, this is our very best selling series, and we think this is part of it. Rose is a smart, inexperienced young woman who’s lived a sheltered life because of a dark power that makes her dangerous to others. But she’s not naïve. She reads, she watches shows, she dreams. She knows what she wants, she’s just never been able to have it.
When she finally gets her chance, she doesn’t waste it. She goes after that shared bliss lustfully and playfully and confidently. And the doors stay open the whole time.
Perhaps this is also why 50 Shades is such a hit. It’s received numerous criticism for bad writing, bad plotting, bad characterization, bad representation of the BDSM lifestyle, bad everything. But it opens the doors to intelligent everyday people who get very naughty in bed. It gives us permission to wonder, to explore, to fantasize and try new things.
And why not? If it’s between consenting adults and everyone is having fun, then why not? Why must we labor under this delusion that we should feel shame about something that keeps our species going and gives us such pleasure?
What do you think? Sound off below. Should sex be hush hush and left behind closed doors? Or is it time to strip the taboos and labels off of this very natural act and start talking openly about it?
For your entertainment, here is a brilliant response from Amanda Palmer on how the Daily Mail focused on a nipple slip during one of her shows, instead of, you know, focusing on the art of her work. (Caution, there is nudity in this. FEMALE nudity!)