Camille Paglia said “Sex is Power;”
Tidbits and confessions of a
human being with blood in his veins.
Sex is power, I agree. Sex will never be reasonable; it will not say please and thank-you or iron out flat in terms of simple exchange or mere sensuality. I don’t know anything about sex, honestly, but I’ll tell you what I do know. I know I can’t have sex without some aggression somewhere. My libido- and the male libido in general- is lined with aggression, fear, and ugly ancient needs. The penis stabs its prey; it’s true. Ugly but all true. Sex is the Primeval Drama, enacted over and over and over in every moment of true passion. I feel the myth taking me over, in the act, in my girlfriend’s bed; de-individuated and possessed by some crazy satyr or wolfish deity. Just playing my part in the Primeval Drama. And what does Aristotle tell us about drama? That we must tap the passions to purge them. That we cannot play it safe and pretend to be friends, love. Catharsis demands real pathos. Sex, the Primeval Drama, needs this aggression and fear, control and release, these ugly ancient forces, to find true climax, orgasm, release into the little death. The man, just milliseconds before coming, is overtaken and automatic, like a praying mantis with its head bitten off by a hungry mate. For that quick splitspecond, he would rather die than release the prey caught in his clutches, the little fawn or rabbit or whatever.
Sex is power, but power made fit for the world outside the subconscious; power released in the form of power-plays.
Not one but millions, a whole myth system unto itself. The Primeval Drama has many acts, many turns-of-fortune, many colorful characters, and thousands of configurations. This time, the woman has her manslave lapping between her legs- down, slave, down! All he can do is comply, even when his tongue grows tired. He is a dog, made to lick the sweetstuff off her insides. She could, on a cruel whim, crush his head between her knees at any moment. He is at the mercy of Empress Wu; naked except for the shackle around his neck. Roles reverse and he grabs the girl by the back of her neck, pins her down, tries to squeeze her down to manageable dimensions, down to something more like, well, like masturbation, oddly enough. She has become a sex object— yes, that’s right, an object just as he was a slave before. Maybe, if he’s lucky, he’ll become the High King next, Charlemagne upon the throne, receiving favors from his retinue. Is this why he pets her head and strokes her hair? The condescending love of a king for his court and subjects. She climbs on top, mounts him like a saddle. He is an object now, an outgrowth. She closes her eyes and he’s gone, completely vanished. She cannot even remember his name. Only the sensations remain. He gets above and cradles her until his biceps burn. He is obviously there to perform, to perform a service and not to ask questions. There to fix her radiator or clean her pool. But the poor fool can’t help admiring the underside of her breasts, wanting to cup and weigh them in his hands. His mouth waters over a torso curve or the texture of an inner thigh. She is there to be eaten— that must be it— like a bouquet of plums and peaches and honeydew melons; because what else is there to do with all this? Yum-yum-yum. It really confuses the senses.
Switching positions, after the intermission, she comes up gasping for air. Really genuinely gasping, as if she’s been underwater. Has she been underwater, even metaphorically? Perhaps he was strangling her. Perhaps she forgot to breathe. Was there was a second there when she was the man and he was the woman? Lightning-quick though, you understand. Nothing serious. Wait a minute. Who is subjugating who? Who can tell. It’s the topsy-turvy disorientation of the Hegelian master-slave dynamic, in the bedroom! There is subjugation, there is power, between the two of them. But that’s all we can say for sure. They break apart and smile and acknowledge the parts they’re playing, wink-wink-wink. They roll over and kiss, with the sweatdew on her cheeks, and a rosy loveblush as well. She closes her eyes and clenches the pillow. Everything is beginning to blur for her, and she is now losing herself in the upsurge. She is on the brink of panic. In the blackhole before orgasm. How’s that for suspense in the Primeval Drama? A zillion times over, since the dawn of our species, and she still does not know the ending. She still thinks she is really going to die; as if she’s dying in childbirth, of all things. He watches her lips as she’s finishing, listens intently to her breathing, convinced that she’s an otherworldly angel, a sex cherub, flushed and frightened by infinite pleasure. He can’t get enough of her. Then she comes and comes and comes until she ceases squirming, like a strangled animal. Immediately, something changes, and the angel becomes the whore. Revenge and dirty words reign. He snarls. He growls. He corners his prey and holds her tight, and stabs her over and over and over again. Following through on the final stroke. The two of them becoming one being, connected from the inside, united “as one” at the most brutal moment of the evening. Quick frozen moment- self-awareness- and then: they fall dead. Applaud everybody, the curtain closes on another night of the Primeval Drama. Life resumes; life goes on. Night after night, all over the world, animals stab, queens suck scepters, slaves bow and pleasure, perfectly good men devolve into little boys, rapist gods, and hideous monsters, and sweet young lovers turn into cannibals and criminals. Sex, done right, is dangerous. I couldn’t agree more.