Greetings, all. This is my debut column, so it might be appropriate for me to tell you something about myself here. However, I pride myself on my originality, so I'm not going to bother. Instead, I'm going to leap right into ranting and raving. That's the warning -- this is only going to be a personal column in the sense that it is written by a person. I wrote this after checking out some of the columns in the April issue of Oasis and becoming very incensed, so this in answer to Brian (and, to a lesser extent, Robert Hines) (hi, guys!):
I like sex. I'll say that right up front. Sex is fun. But there are some serious campaigns going on here in the U.S. that are trying to demonize sex. The Centers for Disease Control or some such agency, is sponsoring these ads trying to keep teenagers from doing the nasty, basically saying that it's a bad thing. Let me tell you: fuck that noise!
Now, I'm not a slut. I don't support random sexual encounters with everyone you meet (not even for teenagers. sorry). But still, I think sex is good thing. It's wonderful - sex is the body's built-in capacity for joy.* It wouldn't be pleasurable if we weren't meant to enjoy it. But I have to throw in here that sex can be way, way better when you're in love. (* this line blatantly stolen from the play _Jeffrey_.)
The older queers had their bars and back rooms and opposed any attempts to shut down the baths as an assault on gay rights. They argued that gay people are defined be the act of having sex with another person of the same gender, and any attempt to stop same-sex sexual activity was an attack on the very existence of gay people. This, of course, is utter bullshit. Gay men are defined by their _desires_, not their activity. so I'm not defending sex on those grounds. I don't mind warning people to be careful who they have sex with and to wait until they're emotionally ready to handle it, but I have a real problem when sex gets labelled IMMORAL. Once you place moral restiction on sex, you've walked right into the hands of the religious types. If sex without love gets defined as "bad" or "evil", then it's a quick step to saying that "deviant sexuality" is even worse. Then everyone who is openly sexual (such as openly gay people or single mothers) gets ostracized, and before you know it we're stuck back in the fifties.
I just want to point out that it's a pretty slippery slope back to Victorian morality (and Victorian hypocrisy). At the same time, I have to warn you that people get very weird about sex, even without moral prohibitions. One of the best ways to ruin a close friendship is to have sex. Really. Afterwards one person usually feels vulnerable, like something's been taken from them. And you almost always get possessive about the people you've slept with. That's why "friends who can fuck" almost never works. One person starts to feel territorial and wants a commitment. It's almost impossible to keep having sex with the same person and not start feeling a connection with them. If you can do this, then you're the kind of callous bastard I really wouldn't want to have any relationship with.
I don't have any problems with making out. Hugging, kissing, snuggling...all that I love - I'm an extremely tactile person anyway. And I've gone out to a party and wound up in a corner with my arms around someone I've met there (this doesn't happen often, but hey, it was fun). But once you cross the line into actual sex, you've gone into dangerous territory. Why is sex so dangerous? Aside from the whole issue of disease, it's _emotionally risky_. It's an almost complete giving of yourself to another person, and you can't surrender like that without some kind of consequences. If you're in love with the other person, that kind of trust and giving can be wonderful. If you're not, you can wind up feeling used. I'm not saying it won't be fun at the time, but watch out the next morning.
I don't have all the answers - well, okay, I do, but they're just _my_ answers - I'm no Oracle. If you want to go to bed with someone you like, I think you should go ahead. And some people are totally cool with that. My warning, though, is that most people I know who sleep with people they don't care about tend to have serious problems once they hit an actual relationship. They get emotionally screwed up.
And for God's sake, don't have sex for the wrong reasons. Do it because you want to, do it because he's gorgeous, do it because it's fun. But not because you're bored, or angry with someone else - you'll just wind up bitter. [like me! :) ] The classic bad reason comes from my ex-boyfriend, who once slept with a woman to prove to himself that he wasn't gay. It didn't work and he wound up not being able to stand the girl he'd been with. And don't sleep with straight boys. Really - in the long run, it's just not a good policy.
So, basically what I'm saying is: go get some booty. But make sure it's quality booty. Dance, smooch, date, snuggle if you want. And when you do get laid, make sure it's because you want to and that you're ready to handle the consequences. Personally, I don't fuck anyone that I don't love (which is different from being "in love" - not quite so restrictive). And when you love, the sex is always really, really good. Quality, not quantity, hey?
Check out this space next month for my next column (already in the works): "Why I Hate Straight Men" or "Bill gets bitter"
There's a slightly more artistic version of the sentiments expressed here in the Poetry Section. the poem works better if it's being howled into a microphone by an angry young man, but check it out.
Feel free to e-mail comments to firstname.lastname@example.org Flames will be gleefully responded to and mocked mercilessly.