RANGER AGAINST WAR: Titillation <

Monday, July 21, 2008

Titillation


Some they may go for cocaine

I'm sure that if, I took even one sniff

it would bore me terrifically too

but I get a kick out of you

--I Get a Kick Out of You
, Cole Porter

Silly rabbit, Trix are for kids!

--Trix cereal jingle


Whatever you fear, whatever you hide,

whatever you carry deep inside

There's something more than this

--Something More Than This,

Project October

_______________

A West Coast friend had this article from the Canadian press in my Inbox this a.m.; they care about these things in Oregon. While this post is a slight deviation from our mission at Ranger, if pressed I could find a linkage. And not to worry, we will be back to the hardcore military stuff later.

Bob Fulford wrote in this weekend's
National Post that Hugh Hefner's Playboy empire has served to mutilate male-female relations, arresting male development to the juvenile level of the forbidden gaze at the homogeneously perfect female form. Perhaps the attainment of that form will become his quest; perhaps, because he cannot attain or maintain it, he will become resentful and angry, and foist that resentment off on the actual mates he is able to bed.

In any event, sex is the raison d'etre, which one could say is a sound biological approach. However, if we fancy we humans are capable of attaining a higher plane, bunny ears won't take you there.


Fulford mentions Dutch historian Dylan van Rijsbergen who argues for an anti-Hefner, Slow Sex movement — "focusing on sex as 'elusive, exciting, intense, playful, authentic, dynamic and sublime.' It would stretch sexuality 'beyond the single
moment of the orgasm.'" Van Rijsbergen argues widespread pornography degenerates into erotic boredom.

One needn't go either-or on the matter of pornography.
I'm a defender of Free Speech. Efforts to liberate body image are a good thing, though these models are highly airbrushed, and their perfection can serve to stunt a girl's self-image. The Naomi Kleins and Andrea Dworkins have already written extensively on the objectification of women.

Surely such objectification predates Playboy. But the men of Generation Playboy have been
"liberated" to see the female body as a playground, but a playground for their entertainment, with pleasing the woman as a tack-on feature to buoy their own ego agenda and sense of proficiency. There is little more painful than standing on either side of the gulf separating the sexes and hoping that proper genital manipulation will release a torrent of passion. At best, what will be achieved is a momentary physical release.

Author Nick Hornby captures this tragedy a deux nicely in his How to Be Good when he talks about the estranged couple's
bedtime antics as "button pushing" sessions. Not psychological buttons, but anatomical buttons, like playing a game of pinball.

Not to knock the physiological benefit of getting off, but truly great sex isn't to be had through button pushing. There is a psychic gap between getting off and transcendent union, the latter which usually goes lacking. For the people in the former group, sex is masturbation with company.
The psyche in hiding is fragmented, split as it is from inhabiting the body at such moments.

One of the commenters to the piece, "
TCtheTiger" expresses it thusly:

"There is fun, a lot of it, in sex. But that fun becomes truly erotic and transcendental ONLY when sex is used as an expression of love towards the spouse, a total gift of oneself, without any reservation, yes, ZERO reservation. This kind of reservation is sorely lacking in casual sex.

"I never depreciate the carnal nature - just [want] an atomic bomb to harness [its] energy.

"When the carnal, the heart, the mind, and the spirit converge, you're close to heaven, that's real erotic. The carnal alone is just not cutting it...."


What do you think?

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14 Comments:

Blogger FDChief said...

With love and sex, as with life in general, I try and make a rule not to make too many rules.

The whole combination of emotions and nerve-endings, spiritual and emotional and physical is so complex that it's a tough one to categorize or predict.

I do agree that there is something unique about making love to someone you love, when things are just right. Its like...I don't know exactly what its like, but its a kind of good that's better than regular old good.

But just love doesn't guarantee that the sex will be good; there's a degree of expertise that matters. To say that "great sex is sex transfigured by love" may be true; but the reverse ("great love produces great sex")...perhaps not so much? Sex as love, sex as companionship, sex as struggle, sex as competition, sex as anger...so many different ways to, and influences on, put Tab A into Slot B.

Anyway, as you point out, the male fascination with abstract "sex" - putting the totem pole in the donut hole, no strings attached, no emotions involved - is something that waaaaaay predates the Hef and his airbrushed cuties. Look at the wall paintings at Herculanium, or the graffitti along the Great Wall. The only difference is that the Hefster came along at a time and place where 1) WW2 had produced a "fewer-holds-barred" culture in the U.S. and 2) mass publishing permitted a degree of outreach the medieval scriptoria only dreamed of. I don't think that Hef had to convince American guys that women's bodies were a "playground for their entertainment" - I suspect that the Cro-Magnon guys talked that stuff around the fire. If anyting, "pleasing the woman as a tack-on feature to buoy their own ego agenda and sense of proficiency" is a tiny step in the right direction! - all the evidence points to that pre-20th Century the typical sexual encounter was like the old joke about the would-be seducer that whips out his wedding tackle and it's about the size of a cocktail frank.

"Who the hell are you planning to satisfy with THAT!?" she sneers.

He giggles "ME!"

I think the only real difference is just that sex and sexual images have become SO inescapable in our media-saturated modern world. And the saturation produces what feels like a chain between sexualized commercial imagery all the way through the Playboy tits-and-tushes to hardcore porn. I'm not sure how that plays out with people individually or society in general. I'm not sure if it's a "bad" thing or not. Hel, I'm still trying to figure out this man-woman thing, and I'm 51 years old...

Monday, July 21, 2008 at 11:50:00 AM GMT-5  
Blogger Lisa said...

Chief,

Thank you for entering the sticky wicket. One cannot codify the ideal sexual relation, and surely the problematic nature of sexual relations is as old as the hills. So what does Hef bring that is new?

Like you say, the ubiquitousness of the image. Sex can be all of the things you mention, and now there is even a little sex in your toothpaste and chewing gum. So the pervasiveness of sex has demystified and perhaps degraded it.

As to the "pleasing the woman thing," this often occurs in acrobatic player sex in a FWB scenario, where it is not game to whale away without checking in on your partner's state now and again. Since all you are about is the physical, if you are at all civilized you realize you must also toss something into the pot now and again.

However, since you are not connected on a spiritual level, you're not really sure what's going on down below so you do the button pushing. This often leads to dissimulation from the disconnected partner. This "pleasing" is not so great.

Love doesn't guarantee the sex will be good because there is often a disparity in those feelings. Perhaps if one loves "too much" the other will naturally retreat (action-reaction.) Just as sex is linked with the things you mention, so too is love (love-possession; love-anger; love-jealousy,...) So the pure sexual relation is rare, save in the most perfunctory hook-ups.

For many, that would be a joyous thing in itself, but that whole-hog sexuality may not be the best there is.

The last question you pose re. the chain from commercialized sex through to hardcore porn is a provocative one. What does this imply to the consumer about the apex of sex?

Monday, July 21, 2008 at 1:31:00 PM GMT-5  
Blogger FDChief said...

Lisa: If there's anything I consider PURELY malignant about the "Playboy Nation" we've become, it's the comodification of sex and desire.

ISTM the apparent connection that runs from sexy body spray all the way through humpy-rumpy cable movies and booty-call hip-hop to full-on porn gives guys, especially the young guys, the notion that a woman is fundamentally a "thing", a life-support system for a vagina, and the whole object of the game is to get more and better "things".

I was thinking about this post yesterday as I was driving north through through SE Portland. Stopped at a light, I looked over at the bus shelter and took a few moments to appreciate the woman sitting there looking cool and attractive in her summer dress.

It occurred to me that there was a whole universe sitting on that bench; that you could spend a lifetime learning about why she wears her hair up like that and how it feels under your hands... what she thinks about rainy Sundays, falling stars, coffee and butter croissants...the satisfied sounds she makes when you rub her feet...how she dances...her story about where she found that funny silver ring...and, (of course since it's what we're talking about) her body and the silks and perfumes it simultaneously hides and displays...

Or you could think of her as a self-propelled cum dumpster, whose purpose is to, as my old roomie at Ft. Bragg ued to put it: "Wel, time for my gash to get in the hose-draining mode!"

So while I'd say that Hef & Co can use the fig-leaf of "pleasing her" to cover their spiritual nakedness, their approach is far likelier to result in the latter approach to my bus-stop Giconda than the former. When sex is a commodity, a woman is the package.

Having said all this...the genie is out of the bottle ad I'm not sure how to get him back in. Maybe the only way is one life at time, by somehow convincing my little boy as he grows up that he needs to look at the girls and women around him with the eyes in his big head, not just the the little one!

Tuesday, July 22, 2008 at 8:34:00 AM GMT-5  
Blogger FDChief said...

RARAW: But when I think of England I think of Madonna, Prince Charles, warm beer and bad sausage. What the hell is wood-enhancing about that?

How about thinking about France, instead? Or Canada?

BTW, you're a hell of a funny guy. Is it all you, or just the meds?

Tuesday, July 22, 2008 at 11:28:00 AM GMT-5  
Blogger Lisa said...

Chief,

The commodification of the human is a sin without forgiveness. And yet, we learn that we sell our services in the marketplace daily, and men hope to buy a "good piece of a$$", versus a "two-bagger" or a "coyote ugly model." Though even the latter gives fodder for humor 'round the bar.

That your beautiful description of your response upon seeing the woman at the bus stop as an "entire universe" made me cry tells you something about my current position.

Young men are taught to put notches on their belt. When is enough? When Viagra ads show 30-ish young men losing their vigor, the player wants to use it as much as possible -- "sport models," "spinners" -- anything will do, really, for a time.

The antidote is as you say, teaching the boy and the young man that women are worthy in their own right, and hopefully his mother and the women in his family will demonstrate dignity, thereby enforcing the lesson.

I will say sadly of my own sex that they, too, are lost. They understand their essential commodification and so "use it." Here in the impoverished Deep South, the vagina is referred to as a "moneymaker." In Nelly's 2003 "Tip Drill" rap we see a man sliding a credit card down a woman's thing-clad backside. That says it all.

In pop culture, maybe Madonna of all people said it best in "Respect Yourself." But go beyond that and respect others. So much gamesmanship and fear going on in relationships. Honesty, clarity and care would be so refreshing. And if people could retain a sense of wonder about each other, not saying naivete, but just an honest curiosity.

Yes, there are a lot of boring, bitter, cunning people, but people will tell you who they through their words and actions. The rest are precious, but treat all with respect.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008 at 2:23:00 PM GMT-5  
Blogger Lisa said...

RARAW,

I think you are unwell, or you just don't like Jim. Whatever, I find your comments distasteful and I will ban you from the site. And every new incarnation you take.

Please conduct yourself accordingly. All are welcome who wish to engage thoughtfully. You are not only off-topic, you are vulgar, and so irrelevant.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008 at 2:27:00 PM GMT-5  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

nothing will happen.

my master, rangeragainstrangeragainstwar, will come again to judge the living and the dead.

and in the third coming he will be a bird.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008 at 3:11:00 PM GMT-5  
Blogger FDChief said...

"Here in the impoverished Deep South, the vagina is referred to as a "moneymaker."

My wife tells the story of a former college roommate of hers who liked to use sex as a punishment or reward for her whipped bit of a lover. She liked to refer to her sexual parts and the denial of same as "the vaginal vise", as in "Aah've got him clamped down right tight in mah vaginal vise. Aah'll squeeze him a li'l mo' and he'll be ready to get me that bracelet jus' to get some o' mah sweet li'l ass..."

Sad. But oh, so very human.

The day we stop playing games with our minds and bodies is the day the sun will stand still and the rivers run uphill...

Tuesday, July 22, 2008 at 4:16:00 PM GMT-5  
Blogger FDChief said...

"and in the third coming he will be a bird."

"Gozer the Traveler! He will come in one of the pre-chosen
forms. During the rectification of the Vuldrini, the
traveler came as a large and moving Torg! Then, during the
third reconciliation of the last of the McKetrick
supplicants, they chose a new form for him: that of a
giant
Slor! Many Shuvs and Zools knew what it was to be roasted
in the depths of the Slor that day, I can tell you!"

A-henh.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008 at 4:18:00 PM GMT-5  
Blogger FDChief said...

"That your beautiful description of your response upon seeing the woman at the bus stop as an "entire universe" made me cry tells you something about my current position."

Lisa: Based on what I can tell of you from your writings, you should be someone's entire universe. May I express my regret and disappointment on behalf of my gender that you are not, at the moment, and my hopes that you and that someone will find each other. Soon.

"Now, as in Tullia's tomb, one lamp burnt clear,
Unchanged for fifteen hundred year,
May these love-lamps we here enshrine,
In warmth, light, lasting, equal the divine.
Fire ever doth aspire,
And makes all like itself, turns all to fire,
But ends in ashes ; which these cannot do,
For none of these is fuel, but fire too.
This is joy's bonfire, then, where love's strong arts
Make of so noble individual parts
One fire of four inflaming eyes, and of two loving hearts."

Tuesday, July 22, 2008 at 4:43:00 PM GMT-5  
Blogger Lisa said...

Chief,

Yes, improper self-valuation is a lot of the problem. Silly women think they are something special by virtue of anatomical possession. Silly men say and give what they need in order to appropriate or colonize those anatomical features for a period. All play the game, and all predictably emerge unsatisfied.

Women flock together and I guess men do, too, to talk about "the enemy." It is Hobbes's battle of all against all, and this is the tie-in to RAW. Where does peace enter the picture?

People have become brutish and inured, and fragility is dismissed as weakness. It only seems to exist in its charicature, like a Blanche DuBois -- something cloying and manipulative, and hiding something else.

Hence, many settle for familiarity, or quantity over quality. Not very inspired.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008 at 5:02:00 PM GMT-5  
Blogger Lisa said...

Chief,

I just saw your second post.

Thank you for the beautiful verse and your very kind words. They are sustaining.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008 at 5:07:00 PM GMT-5  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Coming late to the topic...just for a few fast comments: (1)Not only young men are into putting notches on belts---older men often want to prove they still CAN, and want to prove it on younger women. Hefner is the exact example of this.
(2) The rangeragainstranger dude wants to think of England? Let him blog comment there, too!
(3) Objectifying anyone, but particularly just as a sexual conquest, cheats the one doing it more than the one being so dismissively catalogued. After all, the sex object is NOT merely that and will go on with his/her life in other arenas. The objectifier, on the other hand, lives in a self-limiting universe of box checking and button pushing. That kind of "reward" is its own punishment.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008 at 5:15:00 PM GMT-5  
Blogger Lisa said...

Labrys,

"Yes" to all. I feel just as much for those who cannot connect, and know the greater loss is theirs.

From the great Eleanor Roosevelt:
No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008 at 8:30:00 PM GMT-5  

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