Ariel Levy and Me

We weren’t friends exactly but we were referred to each other by a friend and so, I thought we could be friendly too.  It’s not that we couldn’t in some conceivable parallel universe get along but we had radically different ideas about sexuality.  Mine is: let women make out with strangers on the street, use vibrators during sex, have threesomes at thirtieth birthday parties if they want to.  Hers is: women who try too hard to enjoy or promote sex are only fooling themselves.

She is not the first nor the last woman to make this argument.  Today’s NYmag’s cover story includes Julie Klausner kind of slamming Zooey Daschanel for doing the cute girl thing.  Why is that whenever one woman does something public that can be in some way seen as attractive to one man or another, there’s another woman warning her not to trust herself?

The email- notification about Ariel’s New Yorker article this week sent me into a flurry of solipsistic fear.  But her book, the article, the ideas about women – none of that was ever about me. The only me that was really involved was the insecure me – the one that thought if my life was in conflict with someone else’s in some way, it must be me that is wrong.

AL’s article this week  is about Wilhelm Reich, an orgasm evangelist who saw the body as a place of tremendous disruptive and revolutionary possibility.  Whether or not one thinks that his orgone box was an imaginative metaphor or a paranoid delusion is a matter of psychological assessment.  Either way, AL says the sexual revolution is a cyclical phenomenon: sex  has been discovered time and time again in the same way: by two people in the bedroom.

We are always, AL says, looking for sex to serve us as something other than an evolutionary device.  And so we buy into the secrets, the fads and the discoveries because we want to think that nature has provided us with a cure-all that’s been available to us all along.  But where in there lies the harm?


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