THE SEX FILES: Ruminations on Sex

So I went to The Artist Is Present exhibit at MOMA, you know the one getting all the hype because of the naked people? I guess it was cool, far be it from me to know what it was all about really, beyond the artist herself staring and the nudes on the 6th floor of the museum (and not all that many nudes really), plus some videos. But it all got me thinking enough to inspire another one of these ruminations.
Titillation, what we want to see vs what we think we see, the things we fantasize over, make laws against; we spend an incredible amount of time and energy in this country worrying over our nakedness or the possibility of it. We’re still getting our panties in a bunch over seeing scantily clad women in videos, tittering behind our hands, hearing about celebrity sexual escapades, and flocking to a museum with the promise of seeing a few naked models (I never would have even thought to go if not for the buzz over all the flesh). Our Puritan ethic runs deep; we are still the bashful boy-of-a-country when it comes to this stuff. We will warn and legislate against sex in our media well before we do violence, as if shooting someone in a movie is any les offense (or realistic) to an audience’s everyday experience then two people doing the nasty.

Was it the fact that we spied Janet Jackson’s famous nipple at the infamous Super Bowl halftime that caused the uproar, or the mere fact that we saw an actual nipple? On any good day we will see plenty of breast, booty, etc. flesh plastered across VH1, our computer screens or even late-night cable. Why does a body part become that much more dangerous when we see nipple or ass-crack? We can watch any number of video vixens bounce and jiggle a great expanse of boob, but as long as their areola/nipple is covered all is well with the world. We see ever-shorter skirts on our newscasters, watch as booty is all but bared in skinny low-riding jeans, but as long as no actual dent of derrière is revealed all is ok?

Can’t be skin that we fear since there is so much of it on display. Is it the actual ‘parts’ that hint at baby-making or bodily functions that get to us so much? I hear all manner of naughty words on T.V. now but notice how we avoid the scatological, when in fact, what links us more than anything is the fact that we all breast feed as babies (or have the ability to) and we all, God forbid I say it (or even think it) we all….poop and pee pee! Or is it simply the age-old quandary that men (and yes kids the world is still run by men, sorry to say) are so afraid to consider a woman’s sexuality and a woman so reluctant to be thought of just because of it, that a nipple, ass crack, etc. hints at stuff we all fear to consider or objectify? As usual, our biology trips us up when we try to ignore it.

Ralph Greco, Jr.

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