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Isn’t it time we were more open about sex?

In most (certainly not all) families, discussions around a few topics are frowned upon. Those topics are often:

  • Sex
  • Failure
  • Money
  • (less so) Religion
  • (less so) Politics

This all gets pretty fraught. Sex creates you and it’s a focal point of your life and future relationships, even if a bunch of the sheet-rolling you do is ultimately transactional. Failure basically is about your ability to bounce back from the bullshit — and believe me, life will sling you a lot of bullshit — but most of us don’t have great mechanisms for admitting failure and pushing past it. (See also: Trump, Donald.) Money determines the life you can have in a capitalism, but it’s gauche to discuss it, so we don’t. Then what happens? No one really understands how their salary is calculated, which gives most of the negotiating power back to the organization in any hiring situation.

Maybe it’s time we started being more open about some of this stuff. Let’s start with sex, for one.

Everybody Lies

While this is a true statement, it’s also the title of a new book which is essentially about how what we Google reveals the truth about us. Can you argue this is a flawed assumption? Sure. But if you argue that, you probably already have your head pretty far up your own tuckus, so good luck therein.

This interview with the author is predominantly about sex/porn. He makes the point up top: traditionally, we “researched sex” by talking to people. But sex is intimate/private to many, and there are beliefs we think we should have on it, so people lie like crazy. What if you went to Pornhub and asked them for their data? Is this as “professional” or “conventional” as a survey? No. But it’s quite likely better. If you’re married to a woman but keep watching gay porn, well, wouldn’t that say something about your real desires? I get that this is all a complex topic, but I’m heterosexual and have never once watched gay male porn, even when a female asked me to. It just doesn’t interest me. That said, I could tell you some other crap I’ve put into Pornhub that I wouldn’t talk about openly.

So we’ve all got this “stuff we look for/at” and “the way we try to present in the broader world.” And with that…

Here’s maybe the best/worst example of that

From the article:

Porn featuring overweight women is surprisingly common among men. But the data from dating sites tells us that just about all men try to date skinny women. Many people don’t try to date the people they’re most attracted to. They try to date the people they think would impress their friends.

This three-line anecdote just described probably 35% of what’s wrong with dating today/since the dawn of time.

As the author then notes:

It’s also inefficient. There are a lot of single men and single overweight women who would be sexually compatible. But they don’t date, while the man tries and fails to date a skinny woman even though he’s less attracted to her. And then there are women who practically starve themselves to remain skinny so their husbands won’t leave, even though their husbands would be more attracted to them if they weighed more. The desire to impress people causes all kinds of inefficiency.

Now again, is “what you Pornhub search” always exactly “what you want?” No. Sometimes people get on weird benders or want to see some different stuff. There are variables. But if you know you are more attracted to bigger girls and keep going for skinny girls via society’s supposed expectations, how is that helping anyone?

Some other dichotomies

Amazing: violence porn is about as common all over the world, even in societies with significantly more domestic abuse. And women watch it in droves too.

Women are 8-10x more likely to Google around whether their husband is gay (esp. in the American Deep South) than whether he’s an alcoholic or depressed. I could say a lot here because I’m pretty sure I know women who have thought I was 1 of the 3 (if not all 3), but let me leave it at this: if you think a guy is gay, look a bit more closely at the other two potential searches. It’s more likely that. Most studies show that 90-98% of “my husband is closeted gay” cases end up with the male being heterosexual and having a slew of other problems. I know the drill.

Anal sex is going to surpass vaginal sex as the norm in porn within three years per data modeling. Talk about “taboo” aspects of sexuality coming to the fore in the privacy of our laptop screens.

Personal one I’ve talked about with a few people: huge annoyance is the narrative that women are never horny. Sitcoms and movies perpetuate this often. “I can’t tonight honey, I have to make a pot roast and sew costumes for the kids.” That is a myth. Some women (and men) are like that, sure. Some women are horny as all hell often. Amy Schumer and others rail against this in comedy. Good for them. Putting people in boxes is dumb.

What does this all mean?

It will mean something different to everyone.

But clearly there’s a “Private Us” and a “Public Us,” specifically around sex and sexual mores.

Wouldn’t it make sense to bring those two closer together?

Couldn’t that be more functional in terms of discussions and actions?

Seems so.

That’s largely a pipe dream and obviously it varies quite drastically by culture (not violence porn though!), but why not try and outline the case?

What’s your take on this? Anything?

Ted Bauer

2 Comments

  1. Oh, man. I feel so many things about this that can get taken so incredibly wrong, based on what people have going on in their heads when they read it. Suffice (for now) to say that this country is too uptight about sex and nudity. The human body is an amazing thing, and I am in awe of it pretty regularly. And we all have the same hangups, no matter how prude we pretend to be. The most-true thing you said was that people decide who to date based on what other people will think, not based on what they feel to be true. I will extend this to include that they choose who to hang round based on that, too. Talk about starting any kind of relationship off on the wrong foot. Imagine if we were all just a little more honest with ourselves, and gave a little bit less of a shit what “they” thought. Imagine standing in our own power, and not shrinking from the light. This country, humanity, would be a much *nicer* place to be.

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