Can you let Fabian do more columns? He was awesome.
Can you let Fabian do more columns? He was awesome.
Of course, Valentine’s Day ain’t just about romance. Other kinds of love count just as much – or even more. In fact, I treat Feb 14th as a great time to remember those who’ve influenced my sexual life, which is why I thought I’d share a few of my heroes with you. Frankly, if it wasn’t for the folks below I probably wouldn’t be writing this column. So here we go. I’m sending a valentine to…
If you’ve ever read Betty Dodson’s work or heard her interviewed, you’ll know how grounded, warm and wise she is about sex. From singing the praises of solo sex to encouraging us to value friendship rather than searching for an “other half” (see the videos on her site), Betty speaks her mind with spirit and integrity. The following quotes come from Sex For One, her groundbreaking book that has transformed attitudes towards solo sex:
“We have been so brainwashed by romantic love that when I talk about the importance of couples continuing to masturbate alone, and learning to share masturbation together, some assume I’m against ‘regular sex.’ Not true. I’m all for any sexual activity that makes both partners happy. What I don’t support is ‘compulsive intercourse’ as the only way to be sexual. Instead of assuming the word sex means a penis inside a vagina, we need to realize that there are an infinite number of ways to express our sexuality.”
“Organized opposition to masturbation, like opposition to pornography, is actually opposition to sexual arousal; to be turned on is somehow considered antisocial. In truth, it’s just the reverse: to be sexually repressed is antisocial.”
Stephen Elliott is a sexual hero of mine because of how totally he owns his sexual identity. He also writes like a flipping genius. His story collection, My Girlfriend Comes to the City and Beats Me Up, contains stories about a sexually submissive guy who derives pleasure from pain and violence during sex. A friend of mine once complained that he’d gone to one of Stephen’s readings and noticed the writer was all cut and bruised. But I was impressed to hear this! By modelling pride, Stephen Elliott liberates others to do so, including my own kinky self. (Pass me that paddle, will you?).
The following is from the title story in Stephen Elliott’s collection, My Girlfriend Comes to the City and Beats Me Up.
“She keeps going. Spanking me really hard, tying up my penis and balls, dragging me around the apartment by my hair. And it’s hours later when we go to sleep and she’s missed her train home.
“I sleep on the inside of the spoon. She’s my abusive boyfriend and I feel safe, her arms wrapped around me. She looks wonderful in her underwear. Her skin is warm, brown, and smooth. She smells so good. In the morning I don’t want her to leave. I slide my face between her naked legs. She opens her eyes and looks down on me. It’s only six and the alarm will soon ring. “What do you think you’re doing?” But she doesn’t make me move. She grabs my hair and closes her eyes.”
Susie Bright, the famed feminist sex educator, is one of my heroes because of the ways she speaks out about sex. She takes sex seriously, but can also laugh about it. In her fabulous, worldly wise audio show, In Bed With Susie Bright, she is open about sexual politics while also encouraging others to speak their mind. Perhaps what I love most about Susie is her absolute commitment to helping us explore our sex-lives with compassion and excitement.
“The openness of lust, of sexual attraction, is often the way we learn to love somebody, and that’s no small feat. It is very difficult to love people, even though our communal evolution and ego lead us there in many ways. It is so much easier to be impatient, to discriminate, to draw as many lines in the sand as we can. For even the awareness of not loving someone, of one’s loss, is compassionate compared to the demands of shame and blame.”
So Betty, Stephen and Susie, you’re all getting valentines. And I’ll also be sending a heart-shaped box of thank you’s to:
Do you have sexual heroes of your own? Movie stars? Directors? Sex activists? Artists? I’d love to hear your thoughts and suggestions.
Hearts and flowers, all. Enjoy Feb 14th, whether with others or alone. Mind you, the 13th has particular potential if you’re a solo lover… Plus if you want to create romance without necessarily having it, join me for some romance writing here.
The picture on the main page is by Fecuop, via Wikimedia Commons.
It never changes. Every time I even think of-let alone read or watch-the penultimate scene of Macbeth, I don’t just sit up, I stand up. I’ll stand right up in a theater-I have no problem with the violation of decorum in public places.
I know Macbeth is guilty of heinous crimes. I know, as he does, that he deserves his fate. I know he is the most despicable of men, a faithful general and friend-a true hero turned traitor, murderer…psychopath. I know he has sold his soul and become a greedy, power hungry madman. And yet…
I rise to my feet in respect, whether at home alone in my office, or in a theater in one of the world’s great cities. When Macduff reveals his prophetic magical protection of being “untimely ripped from his mother’s womb,” Macbeth at first acknowledges his cowardice. And then the old soldier in him, the noble though fallen inner man shines through, and he says for all time: I WILL NOT YIELD.
Though the line, “Lay on, Macduff” has become caricatured in many contexts, no one can ever minimize or demean the power of Macbeth’s assertion, “Yet I will try the last.”
With blood on his hands, doomed to die, he still draws his sword and calls upon the courage that made him the leader and warrior that has been his life. I get out of my seat and want to plunge into the page and the scene-because I want to help him. Despite his crimes, I want him to somehow triumph.
Hamlet, near the end, says, “We defy augury,” and goes on to fence to his appointed death. But my sympathy isn’t so much with him. I appreciate his predicament, but he seems a dithery sop to me-death is an easy way out. He’s a prince and fencing is something he learned indoors.
Macbeth wants to live. A Captain of Men, he’s seen the blood of combat and survived. He is in fact a professional murderer. Confronted by the same dark magic that had earlier protected him, he draws his sword one final time. I think I’m not alone in hoping against hope that somehow he will prevail.
The moment is a great triumph for Shakespeare. The fact that he could produce such remarkable comedy alongside this bewitched darkness is beyond saying. But to create a villain of Macbeth’s complexity-in this, his shortest tragedy-leaves me standing.
Richard III, Iago, Edmund-are all great villains that any actor of substance would kill for to play. (Richard Burton said, “Any actor given the chance to play Richard III who doesn’t take it, should be immediately executed.”)
But there is an undefeated humanity to Macbeth, and I long to join him…to bring Macduff’s head back on stage and not his.
I count this one of the finest, truest moments in fictionalized Western Civilization. There is Christ on the Cross, anguishing in vinegar and blood-but he had his Father’s many mansions to look forward to, and knew all along he was the sacrificial Lamb. Socrates? He knew the payment for the gadfly is hemlock. Odysseus? He would’ve run away. Macbeth draws his sword and says for all of us, YET I WILL TRY THE LAST.
The only moment to compare is early in Paradise Lost, when Satan sits brooding amongst his monsters and the exiled gods, and speaks with disturbing calm about “What reinforcement we may gain from hope…if not, what resolution from despair.”
Think about that…when the fallen angel of the morning star-a lieutenant to Eternity-speaks to monsters of “resolution from despair.” The vanquished ministers of vengeance and pursuit…under house arrest in Pandemonium, debating rebellion by either covert guile or open war against the tyranny of Heaven.
This is a moment in artistic civilization…not Mr. Darcy.
But oh, for Jane Austen, relative to her disciples today. Give me Jesus long before Paul. Holy shit.
I’m now very tired of warm fuzzy characters. I’m tired of the endless yeast infection of what is really chic lit, masquerading as serious fiction. I’m tired of the miserly boredom of figures as real and thin as toilet paper that get flapped in the published breeze just because someone is well connected and lives in Brooklyn.
And I’m sick to nausea of fantasy hijacks of darkness, where witches and black magic are the stuff geeky boys and a politically correct girl have to deal with-like fodder from a bad Disney movie.
Macbeth, the warlord, met witches. Shakespeare always brought out all the tricks. But still, there is that final moment, when he draws his sword-and transcends gender, race and class in the doing. I WILL NOT YIELD. Though prophecy and fate be against me, he says…bring it on.
Makes me want to climb on stage.
Dear Tim Kring,
I have a special request. One which I’m sure that many people hold close to their hearts, fondly whispering to the skies, possibly with the preface ‘Dear Tim Kring, wherever you are…’
Can I please have some of your money? Because I feel owed.
My request is this: can you please not make another terrible season of Heroes?
I know, I know. I’ve been harping on about this for a while. But the problem is that just when I think your show can’t get any worse, there it goes and just drops the ball even further. It’s as if I dated a really beautiful, really wonderful girl for 22 weeks, she went on holiday, then came back, and she was Herman Munster. Then she did it again, except this time she was Herman Munster’s non-union equivalent. And then she repeated the process one more time, and she became myself, and I was forced to experience first-hand just how horrible it is to date me.
The Germans amuse me. The Berlin Zoo, for the second time in as many years, witnessed a living, breathing, supposedly intelligent human being circumvent the security surrounding the polar bear enclosure. To call this Darwinism is not only obvious, but an understatement. This is stupidity on a brave new level.
Not to mention, it makes Hitler’s whole “the Germans are the Master Race” argument look more than a little off.
But back to the jumper. For starters, if you haven’t seen the story, this woman didn’t simply fall over a ledge. To even get to the ledge she had to first climb over another fence and through a brier patch full of thorny bushes. Only then could she jump into the moat full of polar bears. I wish I could say that this was a case of writer’s embellishment on my part, but there are pictures.
And she’s the second one. The guy last year justified his jaunt into A POLAR BEAR ENCLOSURE, by saying that one of the bears “looked lonely”. That transcends any dictionary definition of stupid. Both of these people, that guy and the fat lady from this week, must have been possessed. That’s what I have to believe if I am going to retain any hope or faith in humanity as a whole. I have to assume that they were manipulated by some God or devil or puppet master type person like David H. Lawrence’s character in Heroes. It could only be for the amusement of some higher being like in Jason and the Argonauts.
NOBODY does that on purpose.
I admire the people that tossed life rings down to this tubby pile of bear food. They are better people than I am. I couldn’t have done it. I can’t throw anything straight while I’m laughing, and I definitely would have been laughing. She jumped into a bear cage. It’s not the 100 Acre Woods. They don’t live in trees and chase balloons and eat honey with their pig friends and that little gay kid. They are real life bears. They eat people. Raaaarrrrrr! Her, and the Grizzly Man, and that lady on the Russian talk show they keep replaying on Real TV…
Diving into a pool full of wild animals will come back to bite you in the ass every time. Pun intended.
The Berlin Zoo said that it has no intention of making changes to the existing security measures at the display, and they shouldn’t. If you’re going to lock up animals in the first place, your only job is to make sure that the animals can’t get out. People getting in should never be an issue. If it is, they’re only doing us a favor. Why doesn’t this happen more often in the United States? With the government picking up the tab for just about everything lately, we could do with a little population control. 112th trimester abortions for those not smart enough to run with the rest of the herd…
If I sound negative, it’s because I truly cannot get over the fact that these people willing attempt to swim with polar bears during feeding time. The funniest part of it all was that the Berlin police issued the woman a citation for trespassing. That should stop her the next time she thinks about jumping in a cage with live bears. As if the fang shaped holes in her ass cheek won’t be deterrent enough, they wrote her a ticket… Hey lady. Quit your bleeding and sign here on the line.
Her punishment is the fact that she has to walk through this world with an IQ lower than some hockey scores. Let her walk away, and say a silent prayer that the bear managed to bite through her ovaries. The rest of us don’t need her stupid little babies running around our planet.
I know this… I will never not pull for the bear when these kinds of things happen.