Saturday, March 24, 2007


Sex fascinates me. Not the actual act, which is pretty straightforward stuff, but the way people behave and react around the subject.

I know my own personal biases: Sex between Lori and I is a wondrous experience worthy of Hosannas and choirs. From there on out, it's a sliding scale of considerability.

Sex involving either my parents or my children is not to be considered, even in the abstract. Although I'm willing to vaguely admit that my parents did it at least four times in order to produce the four of us, I'm absolutely unwilling to consider the prospect that they did it recreationally.

My two elder children both live in sin with their Significant Others. Once again, I'm willing to concede in the abstract that there's probably more going on there than a common love of cats and compatible television habits...but I ain't going there.

Beyond my own family though, I can at least explore the possibility that other consenting adults are having...well...satisfying consensual sex. And while some of those people seem like sexual creatures and I can sort of comprehend how that must work, others are absolutely incomprehensible. Does my boss have sex? My elderly neighbors? The Christian fundamentalists down the road? Do they all get the feeling of post-coital chakra realignment that tells them that they are right with the universe?

We used to live next door to the most angry, hateful couple I've ever known. They scowled constantly, never had a kind word to say to or about anyone, and approached life with the kind of grim determination that other people reserve for de-skunking the dog. The idea that they would occasionally be locked in a passionate embrace was sort of a standing joke at our house. That they saved up all their joy and zest for life for the bedroom, and had none to spare for anything else.

But one summer day we were outside when their grown children pulled up the driveway with their toddler grandchildren, and those sour old people lit up with the brightest smiles I'd ever seen. That angry, bitter, shuffling old man walked his little grandson around the yard all afternoon, teaching him the word for things like garden and whirligig, and riding him around on the tractor.

I almost felt like a voyeur. Like I'd seen him naked...or at least emotionally naked. I could see that at least on some level, he had a passion for something.

We know a lesbian couple in which one partner is a sort of hulking gender-neutral humanoid, and the other is an attractive blond girl who wouldn't stand out in a group of average people. What's going on in their house? Is it an egalitarian exchange, or is there homage involved? Self-esteem issues? Is it Beauty and the Beast? Does the Beast have a secret reservoir of wonderfulness that can't be immediately recognized at face value?

Considering that sex is a universal need, it's difficult to wrap my mind around the fact that people all over the world do it for love and money. Every person I pass is a sexual being. The nebbishy guy buying the birthday cake in front of me in Kroger, the stalwart schoolteacher, the slate-faced administrator of my hospital...they all feel that desperate need, that swirling desire?



Anonymous said...

but isn't there something out of place when we can sense the sexuality of others? out of place as in being sexually attracted I mean. I see it as being like phermones--if you pick up the scent then you're in that mode of reception.

Kwach said...

Or, in Ev's case, it's sort of like being a research scientist. She's always curious about how other people feel about sex and sexuality. It's a subject that doesn't feel "off limits" or have a lot of negative emotional baggage attached to it.

I learned how to talk about sex without having the lights off with Ev. It's not a loaded subject. That's probably one reason why, at 52, I'm finding that sex is better now than it has been at any other point in my life.