Come over here and let me take off your clothes,
Things I wanna do to you, nobody has to know,
So lay your body right here, lady have no fear,
Cause ecstasy is near…
This man and my sewer were made for each other. Scratch that, this man is the inspiration for my sewer. R Kelly can croon an uplifting ballad one minute (‘I Believe I Can Fly’), and then turn around and sing the most crass nonsense (‘Feeling On Your Booty’), and then woo you with his romance (‘Love Letter’). Any man this schizophrenic is a man I will willingly pledge undying love to, despite his creepy antics in the bedroom. ‘Sex Me’ came out at a time when R&B was still all hearts and flowers mush, when men would go out of their way to tell you how much they wanted to shag you, without actually saying it. But not Robert, nooooo… This bugger wrote an entire album about sex, and because he didn’t trust us to fully grasp his meaning, he threw in a song explicitly titled as such. 12 Play is one of the albums of my generation, and while this track is not the best track on the album, its one of the most recognisable. And it’s a fitting theme song to my sewer, because what is this all about, but sex?
We live in the age of sexual enlightenment, a time when the pursuit of gratuitous, and often mindless, pleasure is not just the norm, it’s expected, unfortunately. A quick glance at the forums and you’ll find all manner of conversations (if you can call them that) about the sex people are having, when and where, how and why, with whom, or what (I refuse to touch that dog story, even I have standards, dammit!). Some days it looks like all we talk about is tawdry sex, and by extension, they who are having tawdry sex. There is an unending narrative out here that women who like sex are whores, and men who like sex are studs, and both are deviants. The women play the part of sexy tarts, while the men are the macho bulls, and anyone who doesn’t fit these narrow definitions is an anomaly who must be shamed out of the building. A woman who likes a good shag, but doesn’t want to shag every stranger she meets? Impossible! A man who doesn’t know his doggy from his cowgirl? What kind of man is he? He probably hasn’t shagged enough women yet. And the celibate ones? Well they must be depressed, or repressed. These are the boxes we keep being forced into, and I for one am sick and tired of it.
Now before you accuse me of contributing to the moral decay of the masses, I’d just like to point out that, yes, I am part of the problem, but no, mine is never mindless ( I am nothing if not reasoned, no? What? The reasons may be flawed, but they’re still reasons.). Many months back, someone asked me why I talk about sex ‘all the time’. I assured him that I only seek to talk about what others refuse to talk about, because I feel the conversation needs to be had. He then called me, and others like me, a purveyor of filth. Don’t laugh, the man was serious, serious enough that I took him serious, for a minute. While sitting here having random conversations about our sex lives seems useful, it’s not lost upon me that some, make that many, look upon the sewer as nothing more than perversion. And that’s fine, different strokes and what not. But even as I was considering the point to the sewer, I realised that I’m not done yet, not until I start to see conversations about sex that no longer centre on the how, and start to focus on the why. Why do we do what we do?
You know that for the longest time I’ve been banging on about good sex, occasionally ranting about our refusal as good, upstanding members of society to get down, really get down. I’ll be straight with you, I was ready to pack it in, convinced that all my screaming on the mountain top was getting me nowhere. And then I read this piece (Why the “Sexually Pure Good Girl” Is a BS Myth That Screws Both Women and Men), and I felt like the heavens had parted and hallelujahs were playing… I’m not joking, I was jumping around like she was testifying and I had been touched. I almost wrote her a letter, but that’s another story. Turns out, I’m not the only one who’s frustrated by our current state of affairs.
Women are constantly bombarded with messages telling us that our emotional needs far outweigh our sexual needs, and that our lustful tendencies must come a far second to our lifelong quest for commitment. The way they tell it, a woman is an emotional creature, a sweet little thing above the sweaty filth of sex and such like nastiness. That’s what we’re told from the minute our breasts start to sprout, and we keep hearing it the rest of our restrained lives, unless, that is, you happen to turn on the TV, or open any one of the glossy magazines they print to sell us crap we don’t need, like foundation, and Jimmy Choo’s. Thing is, once we get out from under our mothers’ thumbs and out into the big bad world, we are bombarded by a completely different set of messages. From the well meaning liberals telling us to embrace our sexuality and reject the conservative morals we know so well, through to random strangers (not unlike myself?) telling us that sex is not the great evil they told us it was. Sex is good! Sex is fun! But don’t go having too much fun, or you won’t find a good man to settle down with, because good men don’t like women who like their sex too much, because women who like their sex are not good women. Does that sound familiar? Seems these days, we’re constantly being forced to choose between pleasure now, and our future later.
And it’s not that different for the men. See, they’ve been hearing the same contradictions all their lives too. There are men out here who were brought up listening to the same conservative messages, talking about how sex is sacred, special, their marital right (or responsibility), nothing more than procreation. These same men also grow up watching sex on TV, packaged as the most pleasurable thing they could ever have; shagging the maid as a teenager and sneaking off to the neighbour’s to watch cheap porn; screwing their way through college to the sounds of 12 Play, sex on tape, and on tap; treating sex like a commodity to be traded at will, once they can finally afford it. Thing is, they do all this knowing that when the time comes, they will be expected to strap their twitching dicks down and act like grown ups, because good men don’t like their sex too much. From everything they’ve been taught, they have no business thinking about sex once they settle down and have families. And the women who are, for lack of a better word, freaky? It goes without saying that these are not the women they should make the mothers of their children.
I know, it’s a bit of a bitch, isn’t it? Put down your gun, I’m just the messenger.
I’ve concluded the reason we seem to be so obsessed with all things sex, is because we were never taught how to handle it. Not really. We were taught to hide our desires, and then we were told to satisfy our desires, and then, just as we’re starting to enjoy ourselves, because we’re finally starting to figure it all out, we are expected to contain our desires, because we are proper ladies and gentlemen, aren’t we? I’m not. I’m not proper. I’m tired of having to explain myself whenever I feel the need to have sex. I am fed up with having to search high and low for good sex. I refuse to be shamed by an idiot because I admit to wanting to get laid more often than once a bloody year. I will not be bullied into sleeping with someone I’ve just met, because that’s the way it goes, these days. And I sure as hell won’t apologise for talking about it, because I am a grown ass woman, who can purvey whatever the fuck I want. Why the hell not?
Any unexpected positions,
Any secret fantasies, you see I’ll fulfil, as long as you sex me…
I don’t know anyone who listened to this man in their youth and they turned out proper, well, proper-ish. R Kelly is the reason we’re deviants, my friends, he put our nasty thoughts to words, then he put said words to hypnotic rhythm and bass, and then he threw in the hip hop kick, because he knew us younglings did not want to get down to old people music (read Teddy P). Ah, the ignorance of youth… Good times.