Thursday, October 3, 2013

EVER READ A SEX MANUAL?

Picasso


Where and how did you get your sex education?

Did you hear about or read the "Kinsey Report?" In the forties and fifties it was considered quite a revelation. Maybe you browsed Masters and Johnson's "Human Sexual Response?" It was hot stuff in the sixties and seventies.

Or did you, or any of your friends, peruse the "Joys of Sex?" (Best seller in the early 80's and 2008, when it was revised). If you browsed the "Kama Sutra," did you find it fascinating or sort of shocking?  Did you read anything by Simone de Beauvoir -- wonder about her open marriage with Sartre? (Open marriages were "big" for quite awhile).

What about the lib guys -- Betty Freidan, Gloria Steinem, and hey -- Jill Johnston -- her 1970 manifesto put lesbian women at the forefront of the movement -- did any of this liberation stuff affect you and your friends?

The pretty-faced Virginia Johnson, who left the world this past  July, was one of the pioneers in the ever expanding field of what we're learning about sex. Though not a scientific type, Virginia she became William Master's assistant, researcher, right-hand, and finally became his wife. Together they studied sexual response with 694 male and female volunteers, wiring them up with every kind of medical sensor available and putting them through their sexual paces while the lab machinery measured and clicked.

Did their findings affect me? Well, reading excerpts and reviews about the book, gave me terms and ideas of what was more or less "normal."

When I was writing my novel,  "Somebody, Woman of the Century," I explored how my heroine, Cordelia, born in 1900, learned about sex. Since she was still a virgin, though married and the mother of twins, it was a challenge to plot, and then dramatize how Cordelia felt, years later, with a second husband, when she felt a first "tingle" and gradually learned what an orgasm was.

Hey, nowadays, how does one learn? How do we get a sense of the realities of sexuality? There are plenty of books, romances and sexually arousing fiction, non fiction, plays, great films, and B movies, prorno, TV shows, ads -- ads galore -- created by younger generation artists (newbie ad agency employees and their bosses.)

Older, wiser, famous creative artists sit side-by-side with the newbies, these days. Whoever they are, whatever age or cultural background -- they're keeping up with all the latest events in the news that have to do with famous people and their sex lives.

Yep, lovers, marriages, breakups, divorces, abuses, perversions, romantic madness, one night stands -- philosophical as well as rash remarks -- I suspect, more than ever, celebrities shape what we what we find titillating, sexy, sinful, inspiring.

I wonder how this will affect our children, the ones who'll be teaching us soon, with their pop songs, books, movies, ads they create -- stuff that will educate and inspire their offspring long after we're gone.

Gosh,. I don't think I could handle much more than what we're getting right now. I must say, I'm sort of glad I won't be around.




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