Today was the first day of the new experiment, and I spent the 1.5 hours in the teacher's lounge at school. Leather recliners and soft lighting - it's a nice enough place. I read a bit of Death Masks (the Dresden Files book I'm on now - I care so little about the series and so much about it possibly being the key to my sexy optometrist's heart), and then noticed the January issue of Psychology Today sitting on one of the coffee tables.
Which, going into it I didn't exactly have high hopes. I've perused a few issues of PT, mostly in airport bookstores or while I was waiting for appointments with Therapy Lady. Which, it's sort of a clever ruse for therapists to have this magazine in their waiting rooms, as PT is about as reliable for dispensing actual psychological knowledge as Cosmo is for dispensing sex tips. P.S. for the latter - have you tried touching him? Like...on the dick?
Oh, also. Women have clits and stuff. There, I've just effectively condensed every issue of Cosmo into two sentences.
So, anyway, I wasn't expecting the "12 blunt truths" to be anything actually mind-blowing. What I definitely didn't expect was it to be a total and complete moralistic train wreck. Follow along, intrepid denizens! (Also, random note as I go through this, there was a part in the magazine article about how pornography is like the worst thing ever created. Not there in the online version. I guess if you really want to read about how RedTube is going to ruin your life, you have to buy the magazine. Sorry.)
It makes us want to do things that seem immoral or degrading, like slapping someone or being tied up.
We're not off to a particularly good start here. This is in the big text part of the article. You know, the part before the print gets all small and if you were just browsing this article you could have an interesting tidbit to share at the water cooler later.
We feel awkward asking the people we love for the sex acts we really want.
Oh wait, maybe you're winning me back, PT. Sometimes it does feel awkward to ask for specific sex acts from the people I love.
Despite being one of the most private activities, sex is nevertheless surrounded by a range of powerfully socially sanctioned ideas that codify how normal people are meant to feel about and deal with the matter. In truth, however, few of us are remotely normal sexually. We are almost all haunted by guilt and neuroses, by phobias and disruptive desires, by indifference and disgust. We are universally deviant—but only in relation to some highly distorted ideals of normality.
Cool, yeah. I'm still with this. Although it's a bit disconcerting with the whole bit about "immoral and degrading" above, which is sort of playing into the "socially sanctioned ideas that codify how normal people are meant to feel." PT, you're a goddamn nationally syndicated magazine. You've just socially influenced a bunch of people into thinking some fairly benign BDSM play is the "wrong" way to approach sex.
Men and women in love instinctively hold back from sharing more than a fraction of their desires out of a fear, usually accurate, of generating intolerable disgust in their partners.
Alright, hold the fucking phone. It's the "usually accurate" that gets me here. It implies that you're totally justified in hiding that disgusting sexual desire (you know, like wanting to be tied up or slapped), because the person you're with will of course think you're a disgusting person and want nothing to do with you. What fucking study did this guy do to gather the evidence needed for that "usually accurate?" It's also a subtle push that you should be somebody that you aren't, because that's the best way to find love. And you would have gotten away with it, too, if it hadn't been for those meddling kids.
Erections and lubrication simply cannot be effected by willpower and are therefore particularly true and honest indices of interest.
Hear that, rapists? You're good to go.
What is the lure of sex in the back of an airplane?
I'm skipping this part altogether. Something about uniforms and how it's "naughty" to have sex in places that you shouldn't. Because exhibitionism and a uniform fetish = awesome. Rope play and slapping = immoral. I don't get it. I'm not trying to get it.
Impotence is at base, then, a symptom of respect, a fear of causing displeasure through the imposition of our own desires or the inability to satisfy our partner's needs—a civilized worry that we will disappoint or upset others. It is an asset that should be valued as evidence of an achievement of the ethical imagination.
Because fuck you, Viagra. Give people with ED the goddamn Nobel Prize. Not that I'm advocating medication as the only treatment. I'm just saying that telling people, "oh, his dick couldn't get hard, that just means he respects you too much" is a total crock of shit. Especially when just a few paragraphs ago the article was telling us how it's physically impossible for a dude to be interested and not get hard.
We may in fact find it easier to put on a rubber mask or pretend to be a predatory, incestuous relative with someone we're not also going to have to eat breakfast with for the next three decades.
In the car ride home, this devolved into a discussion about how much Cheerios look like tiny butt holes, and me re-branding them "Butt-o's." (Because I am eternally stuck in the 3rd grade when it comes to humor.)
Why are hotels metaphysically important?
Blah, blah. Because the same reasons that airplane sex is awesome. Because as long as you're having the "right" kind of dirty sex, nobody can tell you what a disgusting whore you are (I mean, unless you like that, in which case you're firmly in the "wrong" type of dirty sex category again).
No one can be everything to another person.
Whoa, holy shit PT. Are we actually trying to bring it back to something remotely realistic for the end of the article?
It is impossible to sleep with someone outside of marriage and not spoil the things we care about inside it. There is no answer to the tensions of marriage.
Nevermind. Hear that, married people? You're essentially fucked (and neither in the "right" or the "wrong" way, just in that sort of hopeless "I hate my life" way). You can't expect to get everything from one other person, but there's also no other available answer. The fuck??