Sex Is The Most Important Thing To Write About
I was once on a hike with my parents when we came across a donkey. One of the grey ones, with a cross on his back. And so, naturally, I began to sing the Christmas Carol Little Donkey to him, which he appeared to enjoy because he got a huge hard-on. Leading to an awkward silence between my family and me, and all of us to scuttle off precipitously, very red-faced.
The point of this awkward anecdote is not to share my knowledge of how to seduce an equestrian (please do not use this fact for evil), but to illustrate the fact that Sex isn’t just a sacred and glamourous topic, that we shouldn’t discuss too much in order to preserve its mystique, but also an incredibly awkward subject that we really don’t know how to handle.
We are not very good at talking about sex, but we need to be. Maybe not with our parents or four-legged friends, but with our partners and amongst ourselves as a society, there are countless discussions to be had, because a lot of people aren’t having the best sex, and in many cases, sex reinforces social inequalities and is actually harmful where it should be pleasurable.
Will talking about it too much take the magic out of it? I’m not really worried about that, because there are no words to describe a proper orgasm, and sex will always have its mysteries.
But talking about still feels awkward and hard, a lot of the time. Writing about it is easier, and more effective because it reaches a wider audience.
We need to write about sex for its own sake. Because Sex today is messed up, and we need to make it better. We need to learn to treat our partners with more respect, to be more honest, not to trick them. We need to learn to value women’s pleasure and not just men’s in the bedroom. We need to learn to have open conversations about consent, and about our sexual preferences.
Sex is an important aspect of most adults’ lives and can have a big effect on mental health, in one way or the other.
Bad sex can be upsetting, or even traumatic. It can make you feel like your desire has no importance or like someone has disrespected your body.
Good sex can be a good way to connect with others, connect with one’s own body, find pleasure in a completely non-consumerist and healthy activity, and a place where mindfulness can be found by delving into the sensorial aspects of the experience. The warmth of another’s body. Kisses and closeness. The tingles and rollercoaster of orgasm.
In a time when capitalism is making the most of our inability to talk about sex and trying to sell us solutions to our suspended conversations and unanswered questions, writing about sex is important if we are to make sure that the changes that come are beneficial rather than harmful to people’s sex lives and wellbeing.
But the real reason why writing about sex is so important is because an article about sex is never really about sex. It is about human interaction, about the relationships we build our lives around, about gender issues, about social inequality. Sex is such a central part of human’s lives, that it underscores everything we do. So talking about sex can really be talking about anything else.
Obviously, gendered issues come up a lot when writing about heterosexual sex, because it remains a space of strict gender roles and scripts, which neglects women’s pleasure and puts the mental charge of “performing” onto men.
But sex is also about race and class, because stereotypes abound in our sexual fantasies, and are kept alive by pornography. From BBC to MILFs, plumbers to bosses, porno depicts cliched and harmful tropes, that reflect the dominations present in the world of today.
I’ll let Oscar Wilde summarise:
“Everything in the world is about sex except sex. Sex is about power.”
Since a lot of people like reading about sex, it can also be a good way into serious topics. I noticed that my articles about sex did a lot better than any of my other work here on Medium. Which makes me smile. I guess I’m not the only one who likes discussing doing the rumpy-pumpy. But through my articles on sex, I have discussed the male gaze, how harmful it can be for women of colour to be sexualised as “exotic creatures”, why we shouldn’t look down on one-night stands and should treat the people we sleep with better. Sex can be a doorway onto a lot of topics, and help make important things be more evocative to the reader.
I like the fact that humans are still so obsessed with bonking — it brings us back to our more natural, instinctive way of being. The evolutionary purpose of sex is reproduction, which makes it important to us as a species, but as individuals, non-reproductive sex, heterosexual or homosexual, with one partner or many, has equally important purposes. It is a way to connect with others and an incomparable source of pleasure.
Sex is central to our lives, and so deserves to be central to our writing.