Is Sex a Performance? (Sex Part 8)
Last week I attempted to diffuse all the tension surrounding sexual compatibility by pointing out that, practically speaking, there are a lot more “compatibilities” you should be concerned about.
However, I must concede, I for one certainly didn’t want to wind up married to someone with whom the sexual experience was even a fraction less hot and steamy than I had always hoped and fantasized. After all, I had waited till marriage (at least for the act that could lead to conception). I “deserved” to be rewarded by TKO sex!
Unfortunately sex was a fraction less hot and steamy than I had always hoped and fantasized.
But that turned out to be OK. Julie and I made it through. We figured it out. We learned to communicate more clearly and vulnerably about our expectations, desires, insecurities and inhibitions. Then we each learned how to selflessly adjust our own expectations to better conform to the reality of the desires, insecurities and inhibitions of each other.
It is highly likely you will able to do the very same thing, even if it takes you a few years, like it did us. Practice makes perfect, so if you marry for life you’ll have plenty of practice time (wink, wink, nudge, nudge).
After 20 years of marriage, our sex life is more fun and free than we could have imagined it ever would be. More fulfilling and meaningful too. I guess you could say that, as we grew in relational, emotional and spiritual intimacy, we learned sexual compatibility.
But it was not automatic.
But who said sexual compatibility should be “automatic?” Which leads us to the overarching question: from where did we derive our ideas of what sexual compatibility should look like anyway? More directly, do you think the non-negotiables and subtle nuances of your unique sexual cravings are “automatic?”
Do you think your desire
for certain responses from your partner
to certain types of sex
in certain positions
using certain techniques
happening in certain settings
is genetic? Innate? Involuntary?
Do you think you are somehow instinctively turned on by a certain “come hither” look… (How do we even know what that “look” looks like?)
…given by someone possessing a certain body type… (In Victorian times that body type was considerable beefier than it is today. Does evolution explain this?)
…adorned in a certain brand of undergarments? (Is a VS thong really sexier than one from Target… or might it be the model?)
If we can be honest, I think you’ll agree that you, me and the “Virginity Mistake(n)” girl, all get our ideas for what we want sex to be like from the media. I call it Type-A sex. It’s young, hot, and frantic. And it looks like a lot of fun!
Oh. And, it’s not real.
I’m not saying that kind of sweet and spicy sex isn’t real, but that [plot spoiler] all sexual depictions you experience in audio, video or text are being performed. Even if the sex is “real,” in the sense that you are watching, reading or listening to an actual sexual encounter, it’s still a performance.
Can you see what issues this reality might raise for the rest of us learning “Five Hot Tricks to Try in Bed” from the magazines, so we can “do it” like in the movies? More fundamentally, is this “performance” perspective even the right lens through which to view the sexual experience? Is that all sex is: a performance?
That’s what we’ll discuss more in depth next week, but for now I encourage you to wrestle with that question yourself and even discuss with a couple close friends or mentors. #IsSexAPerformance?
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The LoveEd study guide series, Beyond Sex & Salvation, will empower you to prepare for relational success when it counts: BEFORE YOU FALL IN LOVE! It’s NOT for couples, but for any wise individual who thinks they might want to get married sometime before they die. Check out the first two 8-lesson study guides in our store. You can walk through it on your own, but it’s more fun with friends, so consider putting together an FMU LoveEd small group study. Even better? And ask a married couple you respect to lead it!
image source: flickr.com/photos/reegone