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Eros Rising

From out of the desert it came: a virtual world named Sin. For two millennia, the world was enthralled by the priesthoods of this demonizing world. But a new day has dawned with the reemergence of Eros, the Pagan God of Love. An eyeblink ago, when the Baby Boomers were young, the Age of Aquarius announced the dawn of this new day. But it had a little setback, as the church and its patriarchs struck back. Eros Rising is here to help freedom lovers everywhere reclaim their human rights.

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Tuesday, May 31, 2005

Sex Primers, Biblical Smiters & Other Mixed Signals

According to an article in the New York Times this Sunday, how-to sex guides have become all the rage in the publishing industry. One publisher explained the phenomenon as being fueled by "the need to seem relevant in an increasingly sexualized culture." One wonders whether all of this sex education is actually leading to more and better sex, or whether instead it's all publishing and no action, all commerce and no fun. A look a the titles in this article leads one to worry that here in this new millennium there are actually large numbers of people who don't know how to do it. And the fact that these books are selling best in the bible belt supports that idea. Dorian's Law: Wherever there is sexual repression there is sexual obsession. But again I ask: do people really need primers on how to have good sex? Or rather, do they simply need permission? I suspect the latter. If you see it on the cover of a book in Barnes and Noble then it must be alright. Right? Then, buying the book and skimming through it will offer even more of a sense of sexual entitlement, and that, after all, is what people really want. Sex rights. Not sex ed. Sex rights. But whatever works toward the furtherence of those rights, I applaud. Keep those books coming, publishers of America.

What's weird about all of this is the cultural backdrop. We just had a nasty election in which the "family values" people really kicked ass. The old patriarchal God that would have us cut babies in half, murder our sons, and smite nations to prove fealty and faith--that God seems to have staged a powerful comeback in America circa 2004. The threat of married "sodomites" got the culture so freaked out, in fact, tht it was better to vote for a war candidate whose war nobody believed in than for a candidate who might look kindly on sexual heresy.

Meanwhile, the pharmaceutical industry is providing solid backup for all those sex manuals with their erectile enhancement drugs, Viagra, Cialis, and Levitra. Strength when he wants it matches know-how when she wants it. Bookish women and their athletic men. The librarian and the jock. Don't you just love it! Strangely, nobody in the bible belt finds fault with any of this. As long as the fiction is maintained that all this know-how, backed up with all these drugs, is being put into the service of baby-making, then hey...it's A Okay. Is there not a thread of unreason that winds through all these mixed signals? Well, it's not really unreason. What it is, is conflict. We have huge conflict here in La La Land. And the side that want's us all to be good little boys and girls is the most conflicted of all. Meanwhile, the industries--publishing, pharmaceuticals, big media, and God knows which next (see previous post)--are cashing in. Because repression means obsession, and nothing fuels the economy like obsessions.

One sex guide, by the way, that is off the beaten path, is Jonathan Light's The Art of Porn. It is Light's thesis that sex is a human right, that video porn--born of the 70s sexual revolution-- is a revolutionary form of "virtual sex," and that the next wave of that revolution will usher in the development of adult entertainment as a true, aesthetically refined, performing art. For anyone "into sex" as a liberating experience, it's hard to imagine a more foreward looking book than this.

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