March 15, 2008
A comment on "the best" sex EVER!
In “The ‘best’ is an enemy of the ‘good’” Dr. Charlie Glickman at the Good Vibrations blog writes what I’ve thought. We should strive for pleasure, not achievement.
It’s also important to remember that having good sex is not the same as a) looking “good” having sex, or b) looking like you’re having good sex. Said otherwise, what looks good isn’t always what is good.
I think a significant aspect of sexual displeasure is in the conjunction of 2 assumptions: that people in porn are having the best sex and that “I don’t have sex like that”. This is evident in the way we say “fu-k like a porn star” or the periodical Maxim article “How to date a porn star/stripper”. The assumption is the actors who are paid to “look like” (whatever that means) they are are having the best sex ever actually are. I’m sure they are sometimes and sometimes they’re probably planning the week’s dinner menu’s while they’re continuously and monotonously moaning. The other assumption comes from the first: if they look like they’re having the best sex and I don’t have sex like that then maybe I’m not having the “best” sex.
And lo and behold, we have magazines that tell us how, in stories recycled on a quarterly basis, to have this “best” sex. And the cycle of culture continues.
What the article doesn’t go into are the gender-variations on this theme in magazines. I have been meaning to do research on this by purchasing a year subscription to Maxim and Cosmopolitan (anyone want to fund me?!) and comparing the cover stories and analyzing the ads. Unfortunately, I really need to write my Master’s Thesis first. I don’t have the statistical proof, so we’ll leave it at my observation: women’s magazines articles around sex tend to focus on sex that “your man” wants, “your man’s” secret desires, how to please “your man”; men’s magazines tend to focus on how to get “your girl” (not woman!) to do —“, how to get a hottie to sleep with you, how to convince your girlfriend to let you go to strip clubs. Notice a trend? I’m not saying articles that focus on women’s own sexual pleasure don’t appear in Cosmo or that Maxim doesn’t ever have a story about pleasing your girlfriend, but these are significantly disproportionate to the ones that focus on pleasing men.
Of course, these articles are unproductive besides-they assume everyone’s sexual responses are the same and are articulated with heteronormative assumptions about sexual pleasure among heterosexual couples.