Society goes both ways on questions of sex

PRINCETON, N.J. (U-WIRE) — It’s time to write about sex. A recent Daily Princetonian poll showed our campus evenly split between those who are getting some and those who aren’t. I tend not to take polls seriously, if only because I lie incessantly on them. A pollster could ask me, “Is child abuse a serious problem in our society?” and I would reply, “Oh no! If anything, we need more of it.” I assume others are the same way.
That said, I really hope the poll is accurate, because a split that equal is only appropriate in an era in which there’s a stigma if you’re a virgin and there’s a stigma if you aren’t — thus ensuring that everyone in our generation will eventually have severe emotional problems.
If you’re having sex outside of wedlock, folks say, “Hope you enjoy your diseases and illegitimate children before you go to hell.” Whereas if you’re not having sex, folks say, “Boy, you are just repulsive. I didn’t find you repulsive at first, but now that I know no one sees fit to have sex with you I find you vile. I think you’re giving off a weird smell.”
Truly, this is an exciting time to be alive.
Our society has begun to move to bizarre extremes in both directions on the sexual spectrum. Television offers endless images of people so over-sexed it is impossible to view them with anything other than contempt, such as the guests on Jerry Springer and President Clinton. But just when virginity seems worth the trouble, you remember the Unabomber. Widely believed to still be chaste (though prison showers have a way of changing that in a hurry), he showed that a person could save himself for marriage and still wind up happy and well-adjusted — provided that your idea of happy and well-adjusted involves becoming a bomb-making hermit. As a nation we are clearly working through some issues.
This deep ambivalence about sexuality has started to affect me personally. Recently I have discovered myself finding complete and total incompatibility a wildly sexy quality in a woman. Perhaps you’ve heard of “gay-dar,” the term for a tendency to be drawn time after time to people who do not share your sexual orientation. I am happy to report I have not had this strange ability since high school. I am less happy to report it has been replaced by “engaged-dar,” through which I inevitably find myself drawn to people who are in serious, established relationships.
Worse, I have outbreaks of “nun-dar,” such as the occasion I found myself drawn to a girl who had been having visions in which God called her to join a convent. I was not aware of that fact per se when I hit on her, but I am convinced my sub-conscious was going, “Sex is good … but then again, it can be bad … so, um, keeping both those points in mind, it would probably be best to … um …Let’s make a pass at that future nun!
There’s a good chance sexuality will only get more baffling. Most trends from Great Britain eventually come over here, and recently that island has seen a surge in bisexuality. On the song “Up in the Sky,” Liam Gallagher of bigger-than-the-Beatles Oasis asks, “How does it feel/When you’re inside me?” Maybe I have a dirty mind, but I think some naughty stuff’s going on there.
My hero Jarvis Cocker of Pulp goes even further, musing on one track, “I’ve kissed your mom twice/Now I’m working on your dad” and matter-of-factly declaring on another, “The problem with your brother/He’s always sleeping with your mother/And your sister missed her time again this month.” (Note: Incest isn’t just for the royal family any more.)
Plus the English still have enough guilt about sex from the Victorian era that even relations between a husband and wife seem a touch icky. America has a long way to go before we reach the British level of confusion.
However, I am confident we will get there. Every week it seems another priest is involved in a sex scandal. Meanwhile, A.C. Green remains a virgin. This would not be a big deal except:
1. He’s 34.
2. He’s in the NBA, which attracts group-ies the way Idaho attracts white separatists.
Something is amiss, and I don’t see us getting it in order for a long time. Until then I’ll keep hitting on married lesbians in convents and you can figure it out for yourself.

Sean Cunningham’s column originally appeared in Wednesday’s Pinceton University Daily Princetonian.