The Great Probe Into the Meaning of Sex
THE SQUISHING and sliding of soft things in and out, yin and yang, black and white, figure and ground, existence and non-existence- this, yes this, is sex as we all know it. Sex is an act of realizing yourself. In order to know consciousness, you have to experience lack of consciousness; happiness needs misery; sex wants non-sex; to feel that you're in you must come out. Sex teaches us that it's all in the being-there and then not-being-there, that life is an act of becoming. We can never find out what we want to know. We can only know, and not know, and then know, and not know, and know, and not know....
We, of course, don't really know. Sex here is spending the night, and embarrassments, and pills, and pregnancies, and diets, and new kinds of honesty, and being, like Kesey told us to be, out front as much as possible. And honesty, we learn as we slip in and out of our regular lives around here, is a relative value.
I saw a movie yesterday, when I was alone. "Why?" asked one character to the boy. "We make love to compensate for death, to prove that we exist." Which reminds me of this girl named Lauren who will not go to bed with anyone except her husband (should she have one). Lauren is pretty, Lauren has long legs, Lauren has blue eyes, does she exist?
She does not know spending the night, and embarrassments and pills and pregnancies and diets and new kinds of honesty and being out front as much as possible. She does know about Shakespeare and Dryden and Milton and Hardy. So what does she know?
But sex, it is intuitively obvious to the most casual observer, is better in the abstract than in the specific. Adolescents substitute fantasies for reality; we all substitute real experiences for our fantasies. Sexual desire and longing are deeply implanted in the depths of our consciousness, and what we do with our bodies never quite fits the bill. Suggested solution: Don't worry about the future and what's in your head- that equals death. As you make love, tell yourself that your coming will be your death. No more. That's it.
"No more. That's it," she said on the first date. The second time I saw her we went further though. And on the third date I knew, as we put it in the freshman year, I would get to home base. I primed her with talk, not with talk of love or the unmatchable experience of sex; but about the honesty of sex and the important need to fulfill oneself. I tried to be honest and she accepted what I said. But she had a moment of hesitation and I soothed her fears by talking about our next date, about our future together. I wanted to be honest with her, but I also wanted her. In the morning when I woke up she was crying. I got mad. "Fuck," I said, "why are you crying."
Sex is where you find out if you're alive or dying; sex is struggling against your own selfishness and through the pain of your own thinking to find the other struggler and struggle with him. Sometimes hating the one you're fucking is the best way to love him- anyway it's violent, athletic, rhythmic, musical, and takes supe-rintellectual coordination. The final emotion is great impersonal happiness as if you had jumped off a subway run up the satires hopped onto the waiting bus which immediately leaves for the airport where the last seat is empty which you slide into just as the engines are fired....
But sometimes you jump off the subway, in the Dover Street Station say, and you're waiting to change onto another train and so is this other guy. Just you and the other guy, waiting, and he's starting to look at you, and you just know he's watching.
You have read about homosexuals, perhaps you've even been one, so now you start to worry as this guy comes over and starts handling you. But you're a progressive thinker, and, Jesus, this guy's just had a different background, and now he has different tastes, and it's a free country after all. He doesn't mean any harm; he's putting his fingers through your hair because he likes you. What's wrong with that. So it comes as no surprise when you find yourself in the restroom enjoying it.
BUT WHAT does one do, for example, when one's female beagle is blissfully in heat, and one leaves his house to take a walk, and suddenly 47 assorted dogs, wild with lust, begin making messy love to your calf muscles. It is true, as they say in Dorchester, that "It's not the face you fuck," but the coiner of the phrase never took into account that bitch musk clings to one's clothes, and that male hounds are so blindly in love that they mistake corduroy for canine flesh.
I once knew a boy who dated our President's daughter. There's nothing from that I can put into this story.
In the Weatherman communes, a girl walks up to a boy and says, "I'd like to sleep with you." They sometimes make love in the same room with other people standing around doing stuff. In PL, the movement people band together, as it were, to "fortify each other for the struggles." In some of the Boston Women's Lib communities they have been discussing what to do about this problem of sex. Some think they should get into lesbianism because not only does it avoid the repression of males, but a girl can be much more highly aroused by another chick.
A chick I knew in Berkeley in the summer was due to have a baby by just about now. When she found out she was pregnant, her friends got her these appointments with doctors that she never kept. When they finally got it arranged with one who was going to set up her abortion, she split to Oregon for four weeks. And when she showed up again in San Francisco. it was like, too late to get it done because she was about three months into it. She says she'll keep the kid and just carry it on her back when she goes out. She lives over Telegraph Avenue in this place whose hallway everybody uses to shoot up in. There's a little blood on the walls and always people hanging around and passed out there. It's a pretty far out place to grow up in.
Me, I grew up in the good old stable middle class like the rest of you; where the emphasis was on proving your manhood, getting laid, fucked, balled. But of course that was in the early sixties: that's when I went through puberty. (Now that it's 1970, we can stop all that maudlin reminiscing about the fifties and start talking about the sixties.) Remember "eat it raw," "bite the bird." and "What a piece of ass!" Not to ignore the classic "She's a great kid, not much on looks, but a wonderful personality, lots of lofts." At least pornographers, who finally achieved legitimacy in the sixties, never let us down: "Do it, do it,' she cried, as I rammed the old avenger home." Of course, the reality, once you lost your virginity, was hardly that simple.
First time, you probably had problems keeping it up, and then you probably came the second you got inside. You might have even hurt her in your fumbling embarrassment. And then? The thing that pornography always left out was what happened afterwards: the horrible revelation that. when sleeping with a total stranger, the pleasure content of the whole things drops suddenly to near zero, right after orgasm. You might as well have been beating off; it was almost as pleasurable and not nearly as much hassle. What pornographers forgot about- or never knew- was that it's a lot more fun to make love with somebody you care about than with a more or less total stranger. I still like pornography still read it, still use it as a masturbatory and- but I have come to accept its total lack of relation to real life.
This was forgotten during the struggle for sexual liberation. Once sex became permissible, it increasingly came to be measured by quantitative standards: "How much are you getting sport?" This paternally enough, becomes an ego game, which, reinforced by natural horniness. fights a never ending battle against laziness and guile with little hope of resolution. Can there be no release? Few men realize that many of the complaints of the Women's Liberation movement relate directly to the things that they themselves have always been annoyed at: the passivity of women, their lack of intellectual daring, the forced scenario of roles in sexual relations.
You see, all through history one civilization after another has been desperately unhappy, muddled, or at least, perverse because they haven't been able to put themselves at ease about sex. It took man until Freud to figure out that it was sex that he wanted. I say "all through history" meaning of course, history as we know it. History-as-we-know-it doesn't have anything to do with real history. The history we know is the big thoughts, battles, and discoveries of a few kings, generals, religion-founders, writers, and painters. What the 99 per cent of the people who ever lived did with their lives we'll never know. Maybe some of them avoided social conventions, taboos, and perversity to find true freedom and naturalness in their sex. But we know that the people we read about never did.)
WHAT we want to do is make it so sex isn't a problem. Sex isn't a problem. Just ask Richard Brautigan. Ask Tony Conigliaro. Ask Charlie Manson, and Laura Nyro. It's our society that is the problem. (How many times have we heard that before .... Our society, the idea of it is a nothing.) All I know is that it isn't in man's nature as an animal to be so upset and un-relaxed about sex. He isn't afraid to talk about his acting. Somewhere back when the Church rose to incredible power, during the Dark Ages, those who were in charge of things began sending at down that masturbating grew warts on your hands. wanting to make love was "impure," and a whole lot of other stuff, quite a bit of which made its way to our ears through the mouths of our parents and their peers.
So we can try. But our generation will never be able to escape the craziness of the way it was before us. We are what we have been. On the other hand such people as Dr. Graham Blaine of the University Health Services not withstanding maybe we can realize that there is more to get out of a love relationship than just security.
In fact, trying to milk security out of love is a pretty sure way to kill it off, the love, that is. The counselors and the manuals have a lot to say about the two of you "building something together" and never anything about taking it as it comes. I don't know why- maybe all those experts, who have so much to say. found in middle life that all that building they did has turned out to be a bore, crashing down on them. terrifying them with its waste, making them jealous of all those bursting pubescence who haven't missed the boat yet and who, if left to their own devices, might find their way through to something for themselves that's a lot better than that fucking building.
Imagine getting to be 55 and having the unbearable sensation that, after all, you have nothing, because you've been preparing all your life, nurturing your fugitive vision of security, one finger always in the dike, somewhere a decorous pinky floating over your inexorably cooling cup of tea, and you didn't feel your viscera, sagging with disuse and un-excitement, sighing into atrophy. You lost your sense of where love was and might have been, inside your insides. The beast in the jungle, at last. You don't even love yourself, so you have to prove that it was inevitable, that yours is the human condition. by making sure that it happens to the kid too.
"Security" is just an illusion anyway- this is the void, baby, that we're all in free fall whether we like it or not, so why not? Just relax and enjoy it like the Southern girls do.