Sex and Civic Responsibility
The frenzied run-up to the American mid-term elections is finally behind us. I don’t know about you, but I found myself masturbating a lot more just to relieve my anxiety over the state of our nation, rife with hateful Tweets and bloviating rhetoric about the dangers of a busload of defenseless Central Americans supposedly menacing our borders.
Turns out, the way I get my rocks off might be a product of my values as a Democrat. According to Justin Lehmiller in Politico magazine our fantasy world is very much a product of our political leanings. This is based on data he gathered from over 4000 people in all 50 States for his book Tell Me What You Want: The Science of Sexual Desire and How it Can Help You Improve Your Sex Life (well worth putting under the tree this year!)
According to Justin, as a liberal I’m more likely to fantasize about activities involving BDSM, power play, spanking and pleasure in the form of pain. I suppose he’s onto something because I can’t imagine anything more pleasurable right now than crushing Donald Trump’s balls with my bare hands and watching him fall at my feet, red faced and begging for mercy. Let’s just hope the Dems get to do that metaphorically over the next few years.
Ironically, Republicans, the party of traditional ‘family values’ and prescribed social behavior are much more likely than Democrats to fantasize about infidelity, swinging, and watching their partners get fucked by other people. So the party working towards more equality for its citizens might be the ones yearning to humiliate their partners like a first class dominatrix while our buttoned-uped conservatives would like nothing more than to visit the orgy room in the underground sex club. Without their wives. Whoa. What’s this all about?
Lehmiller attributes it to the theory of psychological reactance. It’s really very simple: when someone tells you something is bad and you can’t have it, then what do you want more than anything? Yeah, that. And the harder we browbeat our members into thinking they must tow the party line, like an eclair singing a siren song to an equivocating dieter, we are likely to indulge that thing we believe is anathema to our goals.
Listen up, lovelies. I’m telling you to have it. Sex is the sweet and savory of everyday life, food every much as beneficial to our bodies as kale and cupcakes. I’m not saying to cheat on your wife, but start talking to her about your fantasies and ask her about her own.
What if we stopped believing in taboo and shrinking from the fact that most of us think about sex just about every bloody day? Would we then all become Libertarians? These are the people who emphasize ‘Minimum government, maximum freedom’ which, when it comes to a sensual life, sounds like a good thing to me. I’ll admit, politicians with an Alpha male charisma, those with whom I might want to have a secret assignation, and who get fired up about government getting out of our bedroom business, get my vote, as long as they haven’t crossed the line of good manners, such as pussy grabbing and abusive put-downs. (All these white women who love Trump just boggle my mind, but they probably don’t think Obama is sexy as fuck so I’ll let them have their own perverted imaginary world.)
Missing from our daily lives is a sense that we can move erotically through the world and use a respectful sensuality as a glowing force for good. How much better the day is when I smile mischievously at the barista? Or put a skirt on in the morning and walk slowly by the table filled with retired men sipping their morning coffees. If our politicians allowed themselves to be unafraid of using charm instead of anger to make a point, don’t you think we might get more accomplished as a country? Within the realm of the personal, if you learn to glide across the room thinking you’re the bomb, I guarantee you’ll rock your working life and gain more energy to give your partner and kids at the end of the day. And no doubt you’re going to enjoy a more vibrant sex life even if you never pull out the riding crop or attend a key party.
Being loyal to desire, giving certain desires time to show themselves more fully and reveal how they might make their way into life, is a form of sexual living. Broadly speaking, it is an erotic way of life.
Moore, whose article preceeds Leymille’s research by a few decades, emphasizes that sex and the sexual of everyday life is something that need not be repressed but should be a force that drives the good we could be doing as sexual citizens of any political party. How about we be curious about our fantasies and not let reactance drive us to see those fantasies as something contrary to our values, whether conservative or liberal.
In general, if we want to live a soulful life we have to allow some latitude for the unexpected in ourselves and others, but this is especially true of sex. It is the nature of sex, maybe its purpose, to blast some holes in our thinking, our planning, and our moralisms — sex is life in all its boldness.
Indeed! Sex is life in all its boldness no matter which way you vote. Now, let’s just hope our newly elected bodies get bold enough to work for the good of all its citizens.
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