The Problem with Love is People
Updated: Mar 12
It is February, the month better known for being the shortest, and also for containing the most romantic date of the year. There will be roses bought. Chocolates. And also, because that’s how the world goes, sexy underwear. Red, if possible, thank you very much.
Because you can’t detach romantic love from sexual love. I could go into the biology of it, and somebody will come out with that third cousin of their great-great-aunt who married a woman and never desired her in a physical manner.
There are exceptions to every rule, even in science.
But it’s a concept, however, that we struggle with. Is sex even romantic? Should we call it making love, then?
Call it whatever you want, it remains what it is. Caustically put, it’s two people getting their DNA together for their primary function, reproduction.
Of course, humans have evolved from a life of pure instinct into a more intellectual form of being. Our relationships don’t depend purely on reproduction, but rather on companionship and compatibility. But that doesn’t mean sex is out of the equation. A healthy sexual relationship will enhance a couple. Through physical contact we declare our trust to our partner, our willingness to show ourselves at our most vulnerable, at our most embracing. At our most joyful too.
And yet sex is still one of society’s greatest taboos.
Sex is an act, no matter if it’s a one person act or a three or a four, that fills us with excitement, joy and pleasure. It is also the single most important act for the continuity of our species as it is our way to make new life. How can we glorify (as we should) the birth of babies as the happiest of our lives (which it usually is), and yet vilify the act that made it possible?
Of course, it is not vilified in our homes. As individuals and couples and every other structure in existence, we open our arms to sex, in the privacy of our quarters. But discussing it in public? As a society, we feel more comfortable with watching violence than we do when watching sex. Home Alone, if you look at it impartially, is full of terribly cruel violence. And yet, we have all watched the movie with our kids (or as kids).
When the brand Lora DiCarlo presented her Osé Personnal massager at the 2019 Consumer Electronics Show, her design was considered so good and innovative that she was named and Innovations Awards Honoree in the Robotics and Drone category, only to be stripped of it by the CES organization, the Consumer Technology Association. Their argument was that ‘entries deemed by CTA in their sole discretion to be immoral, obscene, indecent, profane or not in keeping with CTA’s image will be disqualified.’
It’s worth pointing out that, for everything they might disagree with, but that doesn’t fall under the umbrellas of obscene, indecent or profane, they’ve added the ‘not in keeping with CTA’s image’ clause, just to make sure.
We could also discuss the gender bias in that decision, whether because it was a woman who designed it or whether it was a product for the pleasure of women. But then again, sex bias in built into sex. It is absolutely necessary for the male to orgasm to achieve intercourse’s main goal, but whether the female does reach climax or not is irrelevant. And let’s face it, more often than not, the woman doesn’t.
But there is more to sex than pleasure. Whether you are having a long-term relationship or a one off, during the time that sex lasts, you feel connected to that person. For better or for worse, you are sharing the most intimate thing you have with another human being.
There is isolation in sex, yet not loneliness. Nothing else matters and nothing else exists, when done well. In that bubble, only the people sharing the act exist. And that experience, that particular, specific experience, cannot be shared with anybody else. Whether the connection lingers after, or it disappears, that moment belongs to its participants and only them will ever know about it. How can that be obscene?
Of course, we could also explore the Judaeo-Christian origins of the perception of sex (and female sexuality in particular) as evil and profane, but that’s another subject all together.
The truth is, we have evolved, as a society, to see sex as ugly, as vilifying and corrupting. And sex can be those things. It can be violent and forceful and domineering. But more often than not, it’s a sign of compatibility, companionship and, if not always love, attraction.
As a society, and as women in particular, we need to claim sex as a healthy expression of our feelings and our physical needs. Only then there can be the sort of open, honest dialogue that can enhance everybody’s sexuality, making intercourse less one sided, and society safer for everybody.