Sex is NOT normal

As you undoubtedly remember, reasons seven and eight in last week's “Top 10 Reasons NOT to Have Sex” were the following: Because you know the other person wants it really badly and because you’ve already kinda, sorta started to. Since last Sunday, I’ve been thinking even more about what it means to have consensual sex and about the nature of the sexual act in general. These are two very big things to think about. It’s a good thing I’m unemployed and have all the time in the world to go to the beach and think about them.

I feel as if I am caught between two ideas: normalizing sex and other physical needs/desires and celebrating my body (and the female body in general) as a special, unique, and beautiful present that must be worshiped and taken care of. So on the one hand, I want to be able to think of sex as just another thing that we human beings do, whether for procreation, to get off, or to show someone that you love them. Something normal, like cooking, waiting for the bus, sending a text message, or riding a bike. But on the other hand, I want my sexual partners to love and respect my body, no matter if it’s the first or the thousandth time we are fucking. And I don’t think most people love and respect a spatula, or the bus driver, or our cell phones, or our bikes like I would want my partner to love and respect my body. Therein lies the conundrum: how to normalize an act that also has the potential to do many powerful things, like produce life in some circumstances or destroy you (at least emotionally), in others.

…deep breath, here it goes: some (disjointed and fragile) thoughts on sex…

If sex is to become a normal thing then it should not bother me when dudes try to holler at me on the street. Why, it’s just like asking for directions, yes? If I can’t tell you which bus to catch to get to the stadium, I politely say, “sorry, I can’t help you.” If I don’t want your dick up my ass as you have offered to me every time I pass by you on the way to the train station, I should politely say, “thank you very kindly but I’d rather not” and get along with my very NORMAL day. (???) If sex is to become a normal thing than the following two conversations would end in a very similar way:

Conversation 1:
Boy: Hey, Raquel. I really want to ride bikes with you again. I think it'll be loads of fun. (The boy gets out his bike and starts to mount it.)
Me: Eh, I don't know. We rode for a long time yesterday and my knees kind of hurt. Let's just stay in and watch a movie. (I'm rubbing my knees.)
Boy: Aww come on, don't be such a wimp. We'll just take a couple turns around the block. Besides, I have all this pent up energy that only exercise can help me release. (The boy brings out my bicycle and nudges me towards it.)
Me: Nah, besides I don't have a helmet. I don't like to ride without one. (I step away from the boy and my bike.)
Boy: Come on Raquel. Only herbs use helmets. Besides it's just a quick trip around the block. Hey, tell you what, if you come with me, I'll buy you an ice cream cone afterward. (Takes me hand and pulls me closer to my bike.)
Conversation 2:
Damn, Raquel. Having sex with you is awesome. Let's do it again. (The boy whips out his penis and starts to stroke it.)
Me: No way. You fucked the shit out of me just a little while ago and my coochie needs to recuperate. (I'm occluding my vagina with my cupped hands.)
Boy: Aww come on, don't be like that girl. Just gimme a little taste that's all; just the tip, I promise. Besides, look I'm already hard and I have to release this energy somehow. (The boy grabs my waist, pulling me closer to him.)
Me: No! Besides, we don't have anymore condoms. We can't have sex without a condom. (I move away to the other side of the bed).
Boy: Come on, babygirl. We don't need a condom. It's just the tip, I promise. Come on, just the tip and I won't bother you anymore. Besides, you're just so wet. (He comes closer to me and puts the tip of his penis inside of me.)

At this point, in the bike conversation, I would playfully decline again and suggest the boy go on his own, promising to go with him tomorrow. Or maybe the ice cream offer would do the trick and I’d say, “fuck my knees, let’s ride bikes and eat ice cream.” There would be no awkward feelings, no pressure, no anger, and no regret, whether I decide to ride bikes with him or not.

Not so in the sex conversation. At this point in the Conversation Two, I would feel a fiery amalgam of awkwardness, pressure, and hatred. Awkward because we’ve already had sex and the guy is kind of a nice guy (I thought) and it feels weird to be so forceful with someone you’ve already been so intimate with. Pressure because I really don’t want to have sex but I already have with this guy and he really wants to and he clearly doesn’t care about my wishes or my physical state but goddamit he won’t give up. Pressure because his penis is in my face. Pressure because he’s not listening to me. Pressure because I thought I said I didn’t want to but his penis is inside of me. Hatred because all I want to do is kick him so hard in the balls that they fall off. Hatred at me because I question whether I am asserting myself enough (I thought you were stronger than this…). At this point in the conversation, I would tell him more forcibly that I don’t want to have sex. I would get angry. But maybe it wouldn’t happen so easily. Maybe I would let him into me for a couple of unpleasant thrusts to shut him the fuck up before I fully realize that I am doing something that I really don’t want to be doing. Maybe all sorts of questions would float in and out of my brain as he groans on top of me and I look past his eyes and at the ceiling above me: is this okay, why am I making a big deal out of this, is this what I want, it doesn’t always have to be pleasurable right, why are there so many gray areas, or maybe there are no gray areas maybe everything is black and white and I’m trying to convince myself this isn’t totally fucked up.

If sex was normal, not wanting it would be like not wanting to ride my bike.
If sex was normal, it would never turn into a power play with the same people always winning and Others always feeling lost or conquered.
If sex was normal, I wouldn’t worry so much about whether or not I am doing the right thing.
If sex was normal, I wouldn’t think about how I’ll feel in the morning.
It would be just like making a decision between walking or biking to the library.
Sandals or sneakers today?
Beer or wine?
Sex or no sex? (But why do I feel a lump in my throat?)
However. I don’t think that we should treat sex as something sacrosanct, something only to be reserved for that “special someone.” Because what the fuck is a “special someone” anyway? Even the biggest assholes in this world can put on a “special someone” mask and fool me into inviting them between my legs. Or certainly, whom I defined as a special someone when I was seventeen is probably not going to be the same special someone I’d fuck now that I’m twenty-seven. Besides, I think defining sex as this sacred act can be rather dangerous. We risk falling down that slippery slope that eventually leads to abstinence-only education and pro-life demagoguery. It leads us to believe that sex can’t be random, spontaneous, and varied. In other words, this “special someone” idea takes all the juicy scandals out of our sexual experiences and leaves us with the “nice stories” of nice boys, nice girls, nice gender-queers.

Which isn’t to say that special someones don’t exist or that it isn’t spectacular to have sex with a special someone. I can count two special someones in the story of my sexual experiences. How wonderful is it to realize that you’re sharing your body with someone who sees you as more than just a series of holes to stick something in and out of. To feel comfortable in my skin, in my desires. To feel like a human being. I’m lucky to be able to experience this, to be able to smile with someone while making love to them. I love that. Who made that rule by the way? The rule that we have to look so serious when we’re fucking? If there is any rule that is meant to be broken, it’s that one. If I’m having a good time, I’m going to smile and if it weirds someone out that I smile during sex, they definitely don’t get to hit it again.

Somewhere in this blog post is a new understanding of sex. Maybe it’s not new to anyone else, but it certainly is to me (sorry if I’m saying obvious shit here). Somewhere in this blog post is the assertion that sex and confidence are at once the same thing and vastly different. The more confident I feel with a person, the easier it’s going to be to tell them that I have a problem with what we are doing. Yet when I feel confident in myself and in my partner, the less likely I am to have a problem in the first place. But sometimes sex has nothing to do with confidence and you just want to fuck. Sometimes you just need to get off and all you need is a random polvo to do the trick. Yet. It is not always easy to separate the two, sex and confidence. They give to and take from one another. Somewhere in this blog post is a demand of myself. Give me back my control, so I can take all the pleasure this life has to offer.


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