Tuesday, July 21, 2009

"I don't always feel anything. Sometimes I feel, like, numb, or something."

"Maybe you just haven't found the right person yet."

"I've tried every type of person. No big deal. You don't have to look all worried or anything."

I was reminded of this My So-Called Life clip during a conversation I had today. I was speaking with a gentleman who had recently discovered that most female sex workers in San Francisco view their professions as strictly business transactions, not as remotely enjoyable experiences. After learning this, he no longer has any latent desire to engage in this industry.

I found this to be both sad and amusing. Amusing because I figured most people, regardless of their industries, approached their jobs as work, not fun. As if baristas at Starbucks get a thrill from serving Frappuccinos for eight hours a day.

Sad because I responded, "that is also true in many relationships. Pretending to enjoy yourself for the benefit of the other person." What is worse is that clearly many spectators honestly believe the fantasy. The fantasy that women who act sexy for the benefit of the male are always enjoying themselves. Even worse is that many women define what makes them feel sexy by how attractive they are to men, not by how they inherently, naturally feel about themselves.

This also reminds me of a discussion that I had two years ago on a comment thread on a site which shall not be named, for reasons previously explained. The discussion was about Maggie Gyllenhaal's decision to be the new face of Agent Provocateur lingerie. I was against it, while other commenters were for it.

The core of my argument remains the same as my feelings today: it is disappointing that so much of women's sexuality is defined by what is appealing to the (white American heterosexual) male gaze, and that so many women and men eagerly consume and believe these unnatural ideas and ideals.

Back to Rayanne. If you are not enjoying yourself with someone, then you should not be having sex with them. Men have sex to have orgasms. Women should do the same. If you are having sex for other reasons, like you want to stay warm, then buy a blanket. It's cheaper, it will be there in the morning, and you won't catch crabs from it.


1 comment:

SnowdropExplodes said...

"Men have sex to have orgasms. Women should do the same."

Gotta disagree with you on that one. The first sentence seems wrong to me because men can have orgasms without sex easily enough (as the joke goes, "98% of men masturbate - and the other 2% are liars"). So there's got to be something else about sex with another person that provides the "draw", no?

The second sentence seems wrong on two counts: firstly, it assumes that, even if statement 1 is true, then statement 1 is also a statement of the right way for things to be. I do not believe that sex should be about a quest for orgasm. As the saying might have gone, "it is better to travel hopefully than to come". Sex in itself shouldn't be about the big O, but about having a good time.

Finally, I take issue with "should" and "shouldn't" when we talk about reasons to have sex. I think all reasons can be healthy or unhealthy depending on what part they play in a person's wider social and spiritual/emotional life; everything from mercy-fuck to grudge-fuck, from pure profit-motive to pure love, can be positive or negative depending on what it means in the broader picture, and it is impossible for an outsider to say which without spending a good amount of time with the individual who is making the decision.