Pecs and the City


What exactly IS sex?

Don’t worry, no need to doubt my credentials. I’m fully educated in many, many facets of sex and all of its peaks and valleys.

But sex itself means different things to different people. So, to quote renowned 20th century poets Cheryl James and Sandra Denton: “Let’s talk about sex.”

Don’t be scared. It’s a natural part of our animalistic behavior. We all do it. To paraphrase an old song: birds do it, bees do it – even educated fleas do it. Sex is a word that provokes different responses in different people. Sex is as much a part of us as sleeping, eating and breathing. Sex is the basis of pop songs and first-degree murder. Sex is one of the driving forces in our lives and the reason we’re here in the first place. Madonna even wrote a book about it. Wait, let me clarify: “wrote” a book about it.

That being said, it’s the one topic many people are the most uncomfortable discussing. But why is that? None of us would be here without it, and many of us can’t live without it either. Some of us idealize sex as a badge of honor or a notch on our belts, while some of us think it’s only to be whispered about behind closed doors.

No matter what anyone says, it’s not sinful or shameful, but an expression of desire and love. Maybe it’s because we all classify “sex” as different things. So let’s talk about all the good things and the bad things that may be, shall we?

To be clear, I’m not talking about sexuality itself, or where you’re classified on the Kinsey scale. I’m not talking about things like gender roles, sexual fluidity, what it means to have sex on the first date or the role of sex in situations like open relationships. I’m talking about the actual act itself. The down and dirty, muscle-clashing act performed on twisted sheets in candlelit rooms and slipping and sliding on sweaty skin in grimy back alleys and cramped back seats.

Clinically speaking, sex is the “physical, chemical, emotional and intellectual properties and processes and the cultural and social influences and experiences that are how people experience and express themselves as sexual beings. Some aspects of all those things are very diverse and unique, others are very common or collective.” God, that sounds boring.

Even within the parameters of polls and studies, the standard answer to the question of what defines sex is “penile penetration of the vagina.” That sounds really sexy, doesn’t it? Utilitarian descriptions of sexual activity are always a real turn-on.

I can pretty much guarantee there’s a lot more to sex than just those simple answers. But the strange truth of it is, the majority doesn’t consider other sexual activity to be sex. It’s a known fact that after Bill Clinton and his… cigar got him in all that trouble, young people followed his lead and declassified their activities into a broader scope, leaving the term “sexual relations” to represent good old-fashioned penetration.

Even now, many people don’t believe oral sex or anal sex is actual sex even though the word “sex” is in the name of the act itself. I guess if you’re a girl, and can retain the physical aspect of your virginity by only doing those two things, you can say that you haven’t had sex, right?

Let’s look further into the sex kaleidoscope. Is manual stimulation sex? Or is it only sex if you’re on the receiving end? What if you’re using a fetishized object to provide sexual pleasure? Is it still sex if you’re detached from it in that way? You can see how the lines get blurrier and blurrier the more we analyze what sex really means.

Let me give you a scenario of when you yourself question the nature of sex: You’re sitting with a guy you just met, laughing at his jokes and enjoying his Stephen Amellian stubble and his Chris Hemsworthy biceps. Then he smiles with a flash of teeth and says, “Do you want to get out of here?” You suggest your place for a drink or maybe Netflix and chill – or as I put it, “watch a movie or something.” (To be clear, when I say that, there’s no movie. There’s just “or something.”) Cue the lighting and the fade-out.

The next day at breakfast, your friends ask, “Did you guys have sex?” And you realize you don’t know how to answer because you’re not sure if what happened was actually sex. You both were naked and your mouths and hands were working overtime, so… yes? Your roommate used your last condom so you avoided that situation. Therefore, maybe the answer is no?

The truth of the matter is that sex itself is subjective. It means different things to different people, just like many other things. For example, when I say the word “dog,” I think of my own sweet pup with his coiled tail and adorable underbite. When you think of a dog, it may be your own, or merely a dog you’ve seen at some point in your life. Either way, a dog is still a dog. We just see it differently through our own experience. In this regard, sex can be whatever you want it to be. The only commonality is that more often than not, it’s going to involve whatever you’re packing below your belt.

So, now that we know sex can be so many different things to so many people, let’s talk about the one thing sex will never be: Love. You may need to remind yourself of this fact to avoid any unnecessary heartache.

So say it with me: Sex is not love.

Sex can be absolutely amazing and it can take you to a plane so high it feels like there’s love attached to it, but that’s where people make the unfortunate mistake. Sex is just a physical act between two warm-blooded animals that provides pleasure and, in some cases, procreation. It’s awesome for sure, and can leave you with an experience that’s scorched into your brain like a brand, but love is a completely different department.

In the early days of our sexual awakening, we easily connected sexual activity to the intricacy of emotional attachment. When we discover that isn’t necessarily the case, it’s a painful lesson to learn.

The sting of that realization lessens once we meet someone, fall in love and discover sex has become so much more than just a physical act. The connection you feel during sex is amplified and magnified because you’re entwined with someone who has your heart. There’s humor and ease in sexual interaction with someone you love, no matter how wild or intense it is. Don’t get me wrong – there’s a certain kind of urgent intimacy between two strangers having sex that can’t be matched in other encounters, but sex within a relationship holds a deeper level of emotional bonding.

In this day and age, sex with a stranger may or may not lead to more. As a society, we find ourselves engaging in sexual activity long before we get to know someone on a level beyond the physical – almost as if we need to get it out of the way or use it as an icebreaker of sorts. Assorted apps take the mystery out of seduction, but that doesn’t mean a random hookup can’t lead to something more meaningful.

Even though we’ve discussed what sex is or isn’t, depending on who you are, how you feel about sex can be your own as well.

You can treasure each encounter or forget it the moment the door closes behind you, but no matter what you think, in the moments of heated attachment, you and the other person are sharing an encounter that will link you together forever.

Sex can be breathtaking and eye opening. It can shake the planet and blow your mind. The only limits are your dirty thoughts and protecting yourself from harm – physically and emotionally.

When the opportunity presents itself, be confident and comfortable in your own skin. Be honest about what you want and what turns you on. If you’re at the point where someone wants you to take your clothes off, believe me when I say they are already into you. Make sex as incredible as you imagined it would be. Make it yours.

So this concludes my Sex Ed class. If you are interested in more information, feel free to ask me anything. Or perhaps you can stop by sometime. Maybe we can watch a movie or something? 

 Article republished with permission from The Gay Word.

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