I never really made it a point to contemplate the paradox of sex and death. Perhaps someone ten years (and more, sadly) removed from the enjoyment of carnal pleasure isn’t qualified to comment, but I still live, breathe and dream. I have desires whether I can act on them or not.
The French have a way of making things that can sound vulgar in English a little more mysterious and exotic. A ménage a trois doesn’t sound as bad as a threesome, even though it means exactly the same thing. So while calling an orgasm la petite mort (the little death) can seem a bit melodramatic and bordering on morbid, it is certainly apropos.
These things usually hit me when I least expect it, if not in unbidden memories, then in dreams.
Old Dr. Freud would be having a heyday with my dreams. The things I find myself embroiled in (in dreams, that is) that would leave me shocked and mortified in the waking world are beyond the pale. Which may be why they are safely relegated to dreams. The things I imagine are just too impossible for reality, and I will not attempt to chronicle them here.
Yes, Dream. After Dream (the Journey album) is awesome. My dreams are just bizarre. And rated X.
Many years ago, Stephen King wrote a short story called The Jaunt. It was about a scientist who discovered a virtually cost-free way to teleport people through time and space. The only problem is that living things would die shortly after being “jaunted”- unless they were put under anesthetic. At the end of the story, the man telling the story to his children awakes in horror as his son went through the Jaunt awake- and the son had aged by decades and decades and gone quite mad, before he dropped dead.
Before the son dropped dead his last words were, “It’s eternity in there.”
Of course The Jaunt’s version of eternity isn’t a positive one, so it’s probably not the best illustration of that moment where time stands still and the universe is simply two, but it’s a similar concept. There is a dimension beyond time, for good or ill.
When I was growing up I was given the impression that sex was The Ultimate Sin and the only thing worse than utilitarian procreational-only married sex is murder. It didn’t help that Mom is old-school Catholic (and I mean pre-Vatican II) and Dad is more or less a lapsed Regular Baptist. Both of their traditions will drill it in your head that you are better off dead than to have sex and enjoy it.
Yes, Christians are hypocrites, just like everyone else.
Good “Christian soldiers” are allowed to have sex only if they are married to each other, the lights are out, the only position is man-on-top missionary style, they only do it because they’re trying to make a baby, and they aren’t allowed to enjoy it.
We did what? For that? Why?
Since I never really had a desire to go out and kill people, (at least not a desire to kill anyone that overrides my fear of arrest and inevitable incarceration) then for me, sex was the only “mortal sin” that had any allure to it. And it had a LOT of allure to it when I was younger. I freely admit it. I just had a really hard time finding suitable, complicit males. That was probably a blessing in disguise, and nature’s way of chlorinating the gene pool to some extent.
I’m not into carpooling, because I’d rather “ride with Hitler” than with the friendly neighborhood serial killer. I like having my car all to myself.
My son doesn’t get the sex=mortal sin concept because I made a conscious effort not to represent it to him that way. My mother may have given me the “dirty duty” speech, but I didn’t pass that along, except for comedic effect, when he was much, much older.
The more a parent makes a “forbidden fruit” sound absolutely vile and horrible, the more likely the offspring are to run right out and try it to see if it’s as horrible as Mom and Dad contend. As much as possible, I tried to give him the rational approach to life, as in yes, sex is good, but with certain boundaries. Such as “try not to bang ex-strippers,” “wrap that rascal,” and “avoid venereal diseases.”
So where did they get it? The dance hall?
There is good reason for caution in the pursuit of all things amorous. The 1980s taught us that the anti-sex crowd had a point: sex with the wrong partner can kill you.
I guess once they give you AIDS, retribution is sort of pointless.
For centuries humanity has known the fear and shame of venereal diseases, and the possibility of a lifetime of pain or even an untimely death for a moment of pleasure are quite real.
Even given the potential risks involved with sexual congress, I don’t think I can agree with the lights-out missionary-position sex-for-procreation-only crowd. I do believe in caution in guarding one’s body as well as one’s heart and spirit, but not in total denial.
There is a certain distasteful and soul-killing element in the “friends with benefits” mentality, just as there is a distasteful and soul-killing element in the outright rejection of something that is a gift and a blessing in the proper context.
When the person and the moment is right, surrender to that universe of two. Savor, enjoy, revel, and live, and thank God for that rare opportunity.
It’s eternity in there.