Overweening Generalist

Monday, September 19, 2011

Free Sex, Free Love, Sex-Politics, and Neat Stuff Like That

I have this uhh...friend, see? And we got to talking about subjects that people who read my blog might be interested in. I said, well, obviously, books and ideas. I then remarked that, for reasons I'm not clear about, a blogpost/quasi-book review I had done on the subject of epigenetics, for which I gave a slightly sensationalistic title, "Epigenetics: The Revenge of Lamarck," had blown away all of my other blog posts as far as page views, and that I probably ought to think about writing about topics in science more often. Because I love science! She said, yea, maybe. "But the smart money is on sex." Hmmm. Yea, sex is good...Is this the same "friend" who suggested I write about drugs a couple of weeks ago? Yes. So what the fuck: sex.

Robert Anton Wilson, Wilhelm Reich, Anarchism, and the History of Free Love (Brief)
My colleague Tom Jackson over at RAWillumination.net has tracked down yet another "lost" article by Robert Anton Wilson, and he got a librarian from some remote location to photocopy it, and paid handsomely with his own dough, then put it in a file and got it into Google Docs as a public service. What a guy!

RAW writes with his formidable logical chops, defending free love and free sexuality as the basic stance of the libertarian/anarchist thinker. See HERE, and go to p.25 for the article, "Free Love, Sexism, and All That," published in his best friend Robert Shea's anarchist journal, No Governor, in 1975.

Wilson, in his 35-odd books and around 1000 published articles, often wrote about the heretical Freudian and Marxist-anarchist Wilhelm Reich. (For a very direct and artistic take from Wilson on Reich, see Wilson's play, Wilhelm Reich In Hell, which has a Shavian preface the Reader might find illuminating.)

The New Yorker recently ran an article about Reich that shed light on the history of free love, and how we always think we're the ones who have pioneered really hot, abandoned monkey-sex, or at least it was done near "our" generation. And this relates to why a lot of us have a tough time imagining mom and dad fucking each other's brains out. Oh, I'm sorry. Maybe that was an indelicate choice of words. How about mom and pop enjoying a loving "genital embrace"?

College Kids and Their "Hook-Ups"
A recent study shows that around 54% of college kids reported that they actually had a "hook-up" in the past year, while they think that 90% of their peers had had two or more hook-ups during the school year. (It's always everyone else who's getting more than us, right?) Why? Because there's so much talk of "hooking up" (sex outside of a relationship, no commitments). And the quality of talk and the belief that it's rampant - though it looks like it's not rampant - might tend to lead to riskier sexual behavior.

Social networks seemed to have a large influence on defining, perceiving, and participating in "hook-ups," which sound to me like a very intense and brief "meet and greet" to me. But how different is the "hook-up" from what college kids were doing in the 1980s, 70s, 60s..? The digital social networks, I'd imagine. I often read about the frequency of kids sending photos of their "junk" (a too-deflationary term, in my eyes) to each other via their gizmos. That was something we did not have when I was in college. I could not have imagined, and would not have believed, that in only a decade (or two, or so) <ahem>, one college kid would meet another for sex...having already seen their partner's genitals on a magical gadget that would fit in one's hip pocket. This is a scenario that eluded even such uncanny science fiction forecasters as H.G. Wells and Jules Verne. TV, nuclear-powered submarines, atomic weapons, yes. Wells and Verne saw those coming. Not the cell phone email photo of the genitals from that cutie in English 101.

Unless I missed it in Wells's The Shape of Things to Come. (Can I get a rimshot there?)

                  Brilliant, funny non-fiction writer Mary Roach, author of Bonk: the Curious Coupling of Science and Sex                 
Getting Into the Mile High Club, and National Security
Slate recently ran an article on how two people who disappeared into an airline bathroom for what seemed like too long...caused fighter jets to scramble, it being near the date of 9/11 and all. What a world!

I wonder how often these acts are "hook-ups" with previously unknown people? For some reason I'd like to think most of the members of the Mile High Club (Of which I admit it: I'm not a member. Yet) just met the person they're exchanging fluids with. Yep, they met not 45 minutes ago, and already they've worked out a cozy agreement and they're altering all kinds of neurochemicals, un- or re-balancing their hormonal profile, blood-flow is being diverted to where the heavy action is, they're rearranging the mess of that lovely phonebooth-sized room. Maybe it was in the jet they met, maybe before boarding, in the bar in the airport. (Why do I even care? Maybe I need to go "break one off" or "be my own best friend," or "audition a hand puppet" before I sully this blog too much?)

...Continuing in my reverie, the notion that in the 1960s and 70s, stewardesses merely laughed at passenger-sex, and greeted the glowing couple once they emerged from the bathroom with a cigarette and a glass of champagne??? That's almost too good. But I'm going to go ahead and believe that story for awhile, 'cuz it's fun and I ain't a-hurtin' no one. How times have changed! One day you're getting your rocks off with a honey you just met in coach in that cramped, icky bathroom, and are celebrated for it; a few years pass and you're going at it with a gorgeous stranger in the lavatory and it's a national security incident.

Anyway, airplane sex sorta gives another meaning to the phrase, "Fly United," doesn't it?

"How Sex Built the Internet"
Here's a gentle reminder that sex drives new technology. The Disinformation guys got this from NPR (follow the link). I thought it interesting that private chat was the thing that really got AOL going.

But home video was driven by sex too. People bought VCRs so they could watch porn at home. Yes, there was a time when you had to drive to that wonderfully seedy part of town, and watch porn in the dark with a bunch of gnarly strangers! O! Those rugged days...And when you got home from the theatre you had your clothes cleaned with steam. Or maybe you just burned them. Our ancestors from the mid-1970s had it rough!

The first book sellers made a big part of their profit by selling "erotica." Much ink has been spilled over this topic. Other fluids have been spilled too, and isn't that to be expected?

Sex and new media technologies: they go together like hand and...(_____________<----you go ahead and fill in that hole there, no one's lookin'.)
To end this blogspew, I'm reminded of Woody Allen being asked:

Q: Do you think sex is dirty?
Woody: It is if you're doing it right.

Woody Allen, the object of far more female erotic daydreams than you'd guess. I remember reading something long ago (a likely story!) about women who thought Woody Allen was sexy. Which gave me hope. But I have personally found a sense of humor has, at times, somewhat offset my lack of good looks. And I've stolen liberally from Woody, too. Just wait, you'll see how good I am in bed because I spend so much time practicing alone. You know, heterosexuality is fine and all, but bisexuality immediately doubles your chances for getting a date for Saturday night. That sex without love is an empty experience, but as empty experiences go, it's way up there. When you mention "masturbation" in a negative sense just know you're knocking one of my hobbies, and besides, what's so negative about masturbation? It's sex with someone I love, etc.

Feel free to use these lines from me and Woody Allen if you're trying to hookup with someone at the airport. And thanks again for reading!


ARW23 said...

A delightful essay: funny and sexy. I wonder if there is any way to insert this essay into Bible?

"Christianity gave Eros poison to drink: he did not die of it but degenerated - into vice." - Nietzsche, Beyond Good and Evil

michael said...

I'm reminded of the passage in Nietzsche in which he says something about putting on rubber surgical gloves before picking up the books of Gee Oh Dee.

ARW23 said...

For some reason your essay reminds me of Dusan Makavejev film "WR: Mysteries of the Organism".