Sex is like ballet. It appears before you elegant, graceful, leaping and soaring under special lighting, with fanfares, exciting arrangements of personnel, and touching denouements. The pleasure and thrill are powerful cultural markers which mask the deeper purpose. Follow the dancers backstage and you see that the elegance and excitement is only a small part of the function and process of ballet. The dancers unwrap their gnarled and aching feet, they soak their aging bodies in mineral baths. Every day, they exercise wearing old sweat pants in yellow fluorescent rooms. A spectator might be addicted to the beauty and grace, but the dancers’ love of dance is deeper.
There is a scene in Masters of Sex in which the misanthropic doctor holds his stillborn baby, which he has just delivered. The many problems he and his wife have been living with for years disappear in his momentary grief. As Khalil Gibran writes, “Your children are not your children; they are the sons and the daughters of life’s yearning for itself.” This scene is life’s yearning for itself gone wrong.
A reader has generously reviewed my book on amazon, and he complains that there is not enough sex in it. He wants details. The details, though, are not only in the unique pairings, the flights of the imagination, which is what he wants; but they are also like the dancer’s bleeding feet, the constant effort in the face of fatigue or boredom, the fantasy gone sour. The purpose of sex is much greater than fantasy and fancy choreography. It keeps our human race alive, cements loving relationships, keeps couples together, opens our eyes to new and unexpected experiences, and forces us to know ourselves. That is the art in it.