Essay: On Sex

wbSex for two

By Dave Hood

What is sex? Sex means different things to different people. Hunter Thompson said, “Sex without love is as hollow and ridiculous as love without sex.” Mae West said, “Sex is an emotion in motion.” Woody Allen said, “Sex is the most fun you can have without laughing.”  Some believe  in sex to “get off,” sex to express love, sex to experience pleasure, and sex to make a baby. Most of people are aware they have a sex drive–a desire to become aroused and experience sexual release.  And so, sex is a basic human need. When I think of sex, sexual intercourse comes to mind. I think of the manual “The Joy of Sex.” I recall humorous jokes by stand-up comics. I have memories of people who become embarrassed when the word “sex” is mentioned.  I think of my own sexual encounters.

***

A few facts about sex:

  • According to Kinsey, the average size of a penis is 6 to 8 inches with a circumference of four inches or more.
  • The latex condom will protect a man from catching a sexually transmitted disease. And yet, most men don’t like the feel of sex when wearing a condom, and so they don’t wear them.
  • In the 60’s, the birth of the “Pill” changed the rules of sex. Woman no longer had to worry about accidentally becoming pregnant, and so they could have sex with the same ferocity as men.
  • According to Kinsey, most women don’t achieve orgasm by penetration. They require stimulation by other means.
  • Women enjoy sex as much as men.

***

How are men and women hard wired for sex? The sex drive is part of our genetic code. Lots of man can have sex to “get off,” without an emotional connection. Men are sexually aroused by the sense of sight, as well as touch. Sex is a release from tension. Sex is pleasurable. Men prefer younger, attractive women.

Most women are attracted to a particular type of man, such as tall, dark, handsome. Some women are aroused by how the man makes them feel. Others are sexually enticed by wealth, power, and status. Most desire sex for love and  climax. If a woman desires to have a baby, she desires  sex to become pregnant.

How does a woman know that a man is sexually attracted to her? He’ll purchase her drinks, wine and dine her, give her gifts. If a man diplomatically tells a woman she’s “attractive,” what he is really saying is that “he is sexually attracted” to her. In other words, “she turns him on.”

How does a man know a woman might be interested in him sexually? She’ll gaze into his eyes, smile, stand close to him, allow the man to touch her affectionately, pay attention, talk to him at length, laugh at his humor. If a woman refuses a request for a dance, it means she is not “sexually attracted to you.”

Wealth, power, status, are also an aphrodisiac for many women.

***

How do people learn about sex? Teenagers learn by trial and error, or experimentation. Now that porn is free on the Web, many young people learn about sex by watching pornography.  Many people read books, like “The Joy of Sex.” Some people visit a sex therapist. The easiest way way to learn is to ask your partner what he or she enjoys. Like anything else, men and women learn  from hands on experience.

***

Young people embrace sex with great gusto. They are now “sexting” with their smartphones, sending sexually explicit messages and provocative photos to each other.Many young people aren’t dating any more. They are “hooking up” just for sex. Once the sex is finished, they depart. I read that mouth and throat cancer has increased in both men and women. The health experts are suggesting that “oral sex” is the cause. On the Internet porn sites, you see young, muscular men thrusting young, sensual woman, as if having a workout. There ‘s no kissing or foreplay. Nobody is smiling.

When I was a teenager in the 70’s, I regularly had sex with my girlfriend in an vintage Volkswagen. The stick shift made sex awkward, but we were determined. During the winter, the windows would fog up, because the heater didn’t work. I wonder if young people still have sex in cars.

As a teenager, the guys would always discuss their sexual conquests, bragging as if Casanova.

***

Why do people have sex? There are many reasons—Because they feel attracted to another person.  For pleasure. To express love or affection. To please a partner. To make a baby. To experience an orgasm. For adventure…

***

Where do people learn the morality of sex? Men and women are genetically programmed to have sex with anyone they are physically attracted to. It is fear of disease, a sense of guilt, and socialization that prevents them from responding to their sexual impulses.

The fear of becoming pregnant also prevents women from having unprotected sex, or sex at all.

Fear of getting an unsavory reputation will prevent some people from having sex. Joan Rivers said,“A man can sleep around, no questions asked, but if a woman makes nineteen or twenty mistakes she’s a tramp.”

Marriage does not prevent men and women from cheating. I know of eight people whose marriages ended because one of the partner’s cheated. Often the sex drive and ego rule the conscience, not the morality of faith.

We learn from the legal system that buying sex is illegal, that pimping is illegal, that keeping a common bawdy house is illegal, that sexual assault is illegal, that sex with minor is illegal.

Sometimes we learn from our parents the morality of sex.

If we are religious, our faith  teaches us when and how and why to have sex.

In recent years, young people have learned from the Internet about the morality of sex.

***

What types of sex is normal? Anything is acceptable, providing both partners consent, providing no one is hurt, providing no one is degraded. Women who are attracted to men prefer the missionary position or other standard positions. Women who prefer women enjoy sex by other means, especially foreplay and kissing. Some people are titillated by bondage. Other people become sexually excited by fetish, role playing, dirty talk. Men who prefer men enjoy anal sex. Women who enjoy women like to use vibrators. Some couple like three ways. A few trek to the swingers clubs.

I don’t consider prostitution immoral, providing the man is not married or a partner in a relationship. In fact, I believe prostitution should be legalized. The government ought to sell licences to woman who wish to prostitute themselves and require them to have health checkups every year.

***

Where do people engage in sex? Anywhere you can image— on a mattress, on the floor, in the shower, in the swimming pool, in the lake or ocean,  in an elevator, on the sofa, in a car, in the washroom of an airplane, in an office. Many people who feel passion will have sex anywhere, so long as they won’t be seen or caught.

***

Sex permeates our Western popular culture. Millions of men and women, from all over the world, visit Web Porn sites, such as Porn Hub and You Porn every day.Every Friday night, on cable television, you can watch young, attractive men and women engaged in sex. Visit a comedy club, and the stand-up comic will share a few jokes about sex.

Visit a sex shop, and you will see countless sex toys, such as vibrators and blow up dolls.

A few weeks ago, I was awakened by the sound of moaning. Opening my eyes, lying in bed, I noticed a man and a woman, stark naked, having sex on the television. Next to me, my partner slept.

You can download hookup apps for your smartphone. `The GPS-enabled gay-hookup app Grindr is the object of desire for gay men.The advertisement for the Ashley Madison site reads: “Life is short. Have an affair.”

Read Vogue or any other fashion magazine, and you notice the sexy women wearing the new styles of fashion.

The recent cover of The New York magazine—July 29th-August 5th edition reads:
“A Double Issue: Sex”

  • And the Ex
  • And the Roots of Fetish
  • In Public
  • In the Office
  • On Wedding Nights
  • In Texts”

From the New York magazine (July 29-Aug 5, 2013): The One Paragraph Memoir: Sexting. A woman writes: “After I slept with an older man, he sexted me, `I want to stick my hard rod into your wet pond! `That was the end of that.”

***

Private citizens and companies sell sex. Steve Martin said, “I believe that sex is one of the most beautiful, natural, wholesome things that money can buy.”  In most cities, a man can visit a strip club, where he can watch women taking off their clothes, grinding and girating. Read the back pages of Now magazine in Toronto, a free publication, and you’ll see photographs of young, sensual women, simply attired, with suggestive descriptions of the services they offer to men.  The firms who sell condoms tell you how much pleasure a man will feel by wearing a particular style of condom.  According to Kinsey, more than 15% of men have paid for the services of a hooker. I’ve never been to a prostitute, though some of my friends from my past have. My big fear is catching a sexually transmitted disease, like HIV. Furthermore, I’m not interested in paying for sex. As well, my partner would be disgusted and leave me. Frankly, I’d feel the same of her.
***

Yet, sex is still a taboo subject of conversation for many. Mention the word “sex” on a social dating site, and most women will delete you, or won’t respond. Yet, if you get to know a woman, she’ll freely discuss the details of sex, her likes and dislikes. Most people don’t want to discuss sex with their kids. In fact, kids are learning more abut sex from porno sites than their parents or sex education instructors at school.

Some women aren’t afraid to write about sex, and the honest and courageous women will. Debra Spencer writes about sex in a poem called `The Discover of Sex.` Here`s the first stanza:

We try to be discreet standing in the dark
hallway by the front door. He gets his hands
up inside the front of my shirt and I put mine
down inside the back of his jeans. We are crazy
for skin, each other`s skin, warm silky skin.
Our tongues are in each other`s mouths,
where they belong, home at last…..

Women tend to dislike dirty jokes. Growing up, I wouldn’t dare tell a salacious joke to my mother. But to Dad, it was acceptable. In fact, it’s been my experience that men often laugh at a raunchy joke about sex.

Why is sex a private matter? Many people have strong views on sex. Watch a Hollywood film prior to the 70’s, and you will never see a man and woman sleeping in the same bed. In fact, they sleep in different beds. I know a few people who believe that it is in “poor taste” to discuss sex, like discussing the details of a bowel movement. When I attended high school in the 70’s, the health teacher never discussed the details of “procreation.” Certain religious groups believe that sex outside of marriage is a sin, and so the pleasure of sex isn’t discussed. Only a few years ago, women were taught “good girls don’t.” Some people believe you are a voyeur if you desire to know the details of someone’s sex life. Many don’t talk about sex because they are embarrassed.

***

Why do people desire sex and sometimes risk so much? The orgasm is the quintessential pleasure. And if a person is unable to derive pleasure from sex, he or she is more likely to avoid it.

About Dave Hood

Lover of poetry, fiction, creative nonfiction. Professional photographer and writer. Without the arts, life would be rather mundane, like a walk down the same old path on a dull day.
This entry was posted in Collage Essay, Creative Nonfiction, Personal Essay, Segmented Essay, Sex and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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