Saturday, October 23, 2010

Sex is horrible. ~ Liz Lemon, 30 Rock

Sex is confusing.

It complicates otherwise simple relationships.

In my experience, sex just invites an unwanted voice into my head that is perpetually asking “Why hasn’t he called. Should I call him, or does that make me seem desperate? What would I do if this person was just a friend? If he was just a friend, I would just pick up the phone and call. Or would I? I don’t call my friends all that often ….. maybe he’s found someone else. Maybe he’s not all that into me. But the sex was so great! Why hasn’t he called!?!”

Sex is confusing and, perhaps Liz Lemon is right, perhaps it’s horrible too.

Then there’s prostitution, which I really don’t understand. I mean, I’ve been poor and near homeless and I’ll admit the thought crossed my mind …. but it was quickly dismissed by a much more rational voice in my head with very angry instructions to never ever return again.

Really. Prostitution is so 19th century.

So says this feminist, who continues to be surprised at otherwise rational womens’ attempts to justify it. On the APTN news, a women celebrated the recent court decision to legalize it. Women who are being abused, she reasoned, could now call the police. Great. “Hi, 9/11? I’m busy objectifying myself and the guy doesn’t respect me for it.” And when the cop arrives to “rescue” her, she can get his badge number and do a quick interweb search to make sure he’s not one of those cops involved with covering up or ignoring the hundreds of missing women across Canada. And Robert Pickton’s farm.

I’m not saying anyone deserves to get beat up. I’m not saying prostitution should be illegal. Of course prostitution shouldn’t be illegal. Capitalism, and its “everything’s for sale” philosophy is what should be illegal.

Why in the world would anyone take five million years of human evolution and hand it over to capitalism? Why would anyone say “I have a right to take something so incredibly beautiful it’s inspired the world’s greatest poets and writers and artists, and put a monetary value on it, and hand it over to a stranger – not for love or babymaking, but just for the quick buck.” I know the answer …. hunger. Right? Everyone who’s ever traded their precious, magical, mysterious body for sex was hungry. Why else?

Wrong. My understanding is that, at least in Victoria, it’s impossible to be hungry. Anywhere in North America, I’m guessing there are friends, food banks, soup kitchens, and/or dumpsters full of the spoils of capitalism. Just get through another day, and maybe your luck will turn tomorrow. Hold on!!!

So if it’s not hunger driving the prostitution engine, then it must be need. Men NEED sex. It’s simple supply and demand theory. Women only sell themselves because men need sex. If it weren’t for the demand, there’d be no supply.

A prostitute once told me the reason she trades sex for money is because it allows her to feel some power in a relationship. She was giving it away, and then realized she could sell it, and that somehow equalized the power dynamic of the relationship. What kind of a sad and sorry relationship is that, I wondered.

So I go to the grocery story and look at the half naked women on the magazines as I’m waiting in line. Or I pick up a magazine, or watch television commercials where women are telling me I’m not as good as them, I’ll never be as good as them, but if only I’d think of myself as an object I might have a chance.

And the cycle continues. They insist that it’s okay to objectify themselves, that they have the right to take five million years of human evolution and hand it over to capitalism. That there’s absolutely nothing else they can possibly think of doing aside from turning their flesh into cash. That it’s not their fault, it’s the men’s fault who keep asking for it. The men who see those women on those magazine covers, on the internet, on the TV commercials, and then assume that all women are hot like that and if only they could get some their manliness would be forever revered.

If only someone would encourage critical thought.

When I think about it, I wonder about the nature of relationships generally. Traditional monogamous relationships are supposedly about devotion, dedication … and ownership. I am yours, you are mine. It’s so romantic! For a while. After a while it gets boring, and people stray. Cheat. Fall in love with somebody else. (Why do we “fall” in love?) If they don’t think they can get away with an affair, and they’re certain they need sex to fulfill themselves, they go buy a one night stand. Which is worse – getting caught in an affair, or getting caught buying (or selling) a piece of flesh created by five million years of evolution and then reducing what might be a magical experience to a momentary climax that’s ‘just business’?

Maybe monogamy is the problem. Maybe there ought to be alternatives, for those who aren’t comfortable there, for those who feel the need to wander and experiment. Some people try polyamoury, which is about realizing it’s possible to love more than one person … without having to pay for it. It’s certainly true that there’s no limit to love, it’s endlessly abundant, and perhaps it is possible to love more than one person equally.

I’m not sure I could do it. I could love equally, but I’d definitely want to the number one person receiving love. I’d be jealous, for sure.

I just never got the hang of sex and relationships and the attempt to find equality in an inherently unequal world, and so for the past twenty years I’ve been, basically, celibate … which the exception of a couple of relationship attempts. Feels like thirty years! I can’t tell you how clearly my mind works. I’m not consumed with that other voice in my head, asking me when we’re gonna get some more of that, and why hasn’t he called. It’s not that I didn’t have my share of fun in my younger years, it’s just that I finally accepted it’s really mostly confusing and controlling and, ultimately, not worth it. My mind didn’t work properly and my relationships, as much as I tried to break free from the traditional patterns of domesticity, inevitably fell into an unequal distribution of chores and maintenance.

So I’m a boring old maid – NOT! What a horrible thing to label single, independent women who are liberated from the societal expectation of being the perfect wife and mother.

I suppose this is one gift of age …. people, if they choose, can be released from the bonds of sexual status and the competition associated with it. Or, we can feel inadequate and take pills and fool ourselves by placing undue importance on something that’s really, ultimately, about procreation. From a planetary perspective, it’s about survival of the species. Now that there’s over six billion of us, I’m certain the evolutionary thing to do is birth control. Or be gay. Or abstain.

Really, think of it … five million years of human evolution were involved in creating this egg/sperm walking upright live birth thing. You can bang like there’s no tomorrow, and if you end up pregnant …. Voila. You’re one of the chosen ones. Virtuous. Respectable. A Mother.

A human body is a magical, precious thing. The opportunity to live a human life is a great honour. We live in a time where HIV/AIDS, and other sexually transmitted diseases, run rampant. Obviously, sexual proliferation is not a good idea for those who want to live in a healthy body.

Why do we still, in the 21st century, live in a society that has so few reasonable options for girls (and boys) who want to be independent, who want to earn a living in their own way, without having to wreck their dreams with an alarm every morning and then bust their asses doing some horrible and/or meaningless crap so some other assholes can get ultra wealthy and perpetuate this cycle of ownership and destruction of the earth?

Our ancestors died shortly after their procreative abilities had expired. Nowadays many of us have the luxury of living beyond it. And when we do we can look back on our silly, youthful, sexual exploits and hopefully chuckle and forgive ourselves our goofiness.

Sex is beautiful .... and confusing. I just can’t get excited about a patriarchal decision to make the buying and selling of it legal.