Monday, January 15, 2007

Let's talk about sex, let's talk about you and me, let's talk about all the good things and the bad things that can be..."

If you've grown up in the late eighties and early nineties, just like me, you probably know this song, it was both quite popular and quite controversial at that time. But the music of my youth is not the topic of this post...

It's really about sex ... or rather about our problems of talking about it. I don't mean 'men's talk' in a pub or what women might or might not tell each other when going to the toilet in a double-pack during dates (no, I'm not going to tell this secret). I mean that, apart from the girls of "Sex and the City", we don't really talk all that open about sex. We might - women as much as men - sometimes enjoy a little ambiguous joke, but that's very far from 'talking about sex'. This is not a problem of men or women alone and it doesn't matter whether you're talking about sex with people of the same gender or a mixed group. Whenever we talk about sex, we don't really seem to be at ease ... although we surely are more at ease with doing it theses days as we were before the pill.

Most other topics of our society can be discussed quite openly and usually we are at ease while talking about them. Sure, a discussion about politics might get a bit heated, depending on who is or is not involved in it. But 'a bit heated' isn't the way we talk about sex. It seems as if we can either talk about it in a cold, scientific kind of way ... discussing the pros and cons of specific positions or toys, for example ... or in a very dirty way ... talking about it very much as two actors in a porn movie might before they get down to the point (and what else than sex could be the point in a porn movie?). Because of those two possible ways, we tend not to talk about it at all.

I want to bring in a little anecdote at this point. I'm writing in certain forums regularly, as I've already pointed out before. They do block certain words (or rather combinations of letters) out at least at one forum (Gespensterweb). This has, because German does offer a lot of different words for having sex, some rather strange effects. For example I once found the word 'Nachttischlampe' as 'Nachtti********', because it contains the word 'Schlampe' (though with a low-case 's'), which is a very unfriendly word to use on a woman. The whole word, though, means 'night light' and has nothing dirty or sexual about it. The same way the word 'Vögeln' was once blocked from a post I had written, because it can mean 'having sex', although I meant it as a grammatical case of the word 'Vögel', meaning 'birds'.

Shows how much we still worry about certain words, even though admittedly most of those words probably get blocked because they're not necessary for a forum about ghosts and the supernatural and usually only used to insult others.

But back to talking about sex ... and our problem with it. What the group demanded in the song I cited at the beginning of this post, is to talk about having sex, to discuss the problems and the joys of it. And this is what we still have problems doing.

If, as a woman, you tell a man before first having sex with him "I like doing this and this and I don't do that on principles", you're a whore or at least a woman of questionable morals. If, as a man, you tell a woman "I like this and I don't get off on that", you're a macho who just wants to have fun in bed and is not thinking about the woman's pleasure. I personally think the sex would be much better if both first got down and talked about their preferences.

At the same time a woman who carries condoms with her is seen as a slut (again, as the fear of HIV has gone down), because obviously she's always ready. Most men are supposed to have a couple of condoms in their wallets, but they usually don't have any with them. And most men still just expect a woman who is ready to have sex with (I was sorely tempted to write 'fuck' instead, but somehow I don't think it would be appropriate here) them to take the pill regularly - ignoring the fact that even the pill isn't 100 percent safe. One out of one thousand might seem a small number, but there's millions of people on this globe and roughly half of them are women. If we all had sex at the same time, there'd be a lot of babies, even if we all took the pill regularly. And - listen well now, men - not all women can take the pill and stay healthy, the bodies of some just don't tolerate the hormones.

If we can't talk about sex, we can't say we're open-minded about it, at least that's my opinion. If I can talk about sex the same way I can talk about politics or religion or books, I can say "it's just natural" without lying. Talking dirty or scientific is not seeing the topic of conversation as something 'natural', even though sex actually is ... it's what we're all supposed to do, as far as Mother Nature is concerned.

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