Um tal país do sexo

 

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“Travesti de lambada e deusa das águas”, de Bia Leite, 2013. Obra que estava na exposição ‘Queermuseu’. DIVULGAÇÃO

Brasil não é (apesar do que muitos gringos pensam) e nunca era o país do sexo. Num país do sexo de verdade, se discutiria coisas mais interessantes do que como um sexo heterossexual sabor de baunilha é bom, ou se a traição é culpa do traidor ou do traído. Se discutiria coisas mais interessantes do que se alguém está fazendo sexo com todos ou não está fazendo sexo com ninguém. Se encontraria palavras mais interessantes e mais adequados para descrever o sexo do que ‘natural’. Se discutiria o que significa sentir atraído por uns e não por outros e por que, além de alguma estética supostamente universal ou o bom senso de quem nos curte e a falta de bom senso em quem não. Se discutiria porque um ato entre dois vira da conta de todos e acaba construindo ou destruindo capital social. Se discutiria como fazer um sexo que enaltece e não rebaixa. Se discutiria a inevitabilidade de pessoas diferentes terem gostos diferentes e a obrigação de conviver com isso no âmbito social. A arte pode ajudar a fomentar essas conversas mais interessantes, mas somente se as pessoas estiverem dispostas a conversar.

Sim, certas coisas não deveriam ser aceitas como a pedofilia, a zoofilia ou o estupro mas sem a capacidade de sequer conversar sobre elas, se desvia o olhar do mal, se perde a capacidade até de dizer o por que e de onde provém, se inventa qualquer desculpa fácil e mais alguns inocentes se fodem.

Não podemos perder de vista que viver numa sociedade necessariamente significa ser exposto a cada conversa sem noção com cada pessoa tão nada a ver que nenhum de nós consegue imaginar todas — para senti-lo é só dar uma olhada na música tosca no playlist da pessoa ao lado ou os videos idiotas que assistem antes de dormir. Ou tomamos isso como uma oportunidade para renovarmos nosso pacto com o amor alheio, criarmos novos laços e construirmos uma sociedade melhor ou o usamos como justificativa para a crueldade interna de cada um.

O país do sexo morreu. Viva o país do sexo.

What is Masturbation?

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This is the second in a series of articles called An Absurd Guide to Getting Your Heart Broken. You can read the first here. With any luck (or misfortune), it won’t be too long before another one comes out.

There’s too much crap out there. You practically have to shout obscenities to get someone’s attention.

MASTURBATION.

Sorry. I’ll explain if you stop rolling your eyes.

I know we don’t discuss this openly passed fifteen. Nobody wants to be the luckless loser stuck with their hand, but we shouldn’t let our embarrassment allow the moralists, the liberationists and the psychologists to rob us of some useful self-reflection while we’re giggling in the corner.

Go ahead and have a laugh first though. It is absurd: touching yourself and pretending it’s someone else. We work hard to convince ourselves of an external sexual “presence”. Nobody fantasizes about their own hand after all. Being alone isn’t erotic.

Masturbation demands an active imagination. Who is touching us, and what do they look like? Where are they doing what? How does it feel? …and now?

Careful or you’ll hurt yourself!!

Yet most of us are too lazy, impatient or distracted for this. Luckily there’s porn to recreate the experience of sex for us. Like a spell book, a wand or a genie in the bottle, porn magically conjures a champion to take us on a little adventure.

The sorcery is so effective we forget to question it, but we shouldn’t. Liking something we don’t understand is dangerous.

Partially recognizing this, we lock Rapunzel in a tower and lock Harry in a cupboard under the stairs, we keep Cinderella busy cleaning the house, and we scold Jack for playing with “magic beans” until they’re all of marrying age. Left alone they might blow themselves up. Or forget to eat. Rarely are we as impulsive as in our youth.

But rarely are we as pompous as in our adulthood, preventing candid reflection on one of life’s most commonplace absurdities. We’re all more ignorant than we ought to be.

What is this peculiar act? If masturbation were merely gross hedonistic pleasure-seeking, like a sweatier version of eating chocolate, we could masturbate while thinking about filing our taxes or getting our teeth cleaned. I know there’s a fetish for everything, but still that seems extreme.

Let’s look closer (STOP! Not that close!). First the individual excitedly anticipates the pleasure to come, allowing a disconnection from reality. Then during the act itself, the individual fully concentrates their creative energies on bringing to life the “sexual savior” and hearing the angels sing. Finally the individual returns to objective reality and realizes nothing has changed. There is no dragon defeated, no enlightenment, no minimal human interaction, just the same old dreary walls and a sweaty hand. Temporary disappointment or even guilt pervades.

The individual at peace with themselves can laugh and move on. It was fun; it was stupid. They have no regrets. But this emptiness can push others further into themselves on a quixotic quest for pleasure and away from a balanced vision of their own reality.

Masturbation and sex have much in common in this regard. The deed’s context clouds any “objective” sense of quality, because eroticism isn’t determined by crude physical desires but by a fear, rumbling around our intestines, that when the end comes, death will just shake his head at us out of pity or embarrassment.

We seek out the company of others, because we lack the perspective to judge the adequacy of our own lives. People don’t seem to understand us in a meaningful way. Doubts build. How can they assuage our fears if they can’t even see who we really are? Our words fail us. We lack eloquence, and they lack interest. The doubts remain. If only there were some way we could communicate to others our innermost being without all the confusions and misunderstandings.

This is when the erotic whispers in our ear that it knows a purer way to communicate, without any of the bullshit that normally hinders comprehension. We can finally have the much desired confirmation of our own existence’s legitimacy. All it takes is two nude bodies, intertwined, writhing. We scream. They scream. The joy is shared and therefore real. Through this mythical ideal, we no longer feel alone. We understand and need nothing more. This is what it means to be alive.

But the crash afterwards tests our strength. The person lying next to us could be mean or boring or ugly or smell funny. How could someone we don’t even like understand us? Or worse, if we’re masturbating, then they don’t even exist! At least not the way we want them to. We’ve been looking at pixels on a screen, ink drops on a page or fuzzy projections on our cerebral cortex. How futile are our efforts once again!

This is why understanding the motives behind our little absurdities is so important. Masturbation or even sex by themselves can’t shield us from our existential fears. The erotic can only paint in new colors an existent pain or reaffirm a positive belief that itself requires no external confirmation.

7 Things On My Mind This Week – Fun with Coffee, Politics and Sex

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This is pretty much what it sounds like. Yes, I’ve sold my soul to the internet-fame demon. Deal with it. I can’t do posts like this every day.

1. Milan Kundera

I just finished reading The Unbearable Lightness of Being by Czech writer Milan Kundera. It’s a dark, nimble and thought-provoking novel about the Prague Spring and the subsequent Soviet invasion. Kundera is interesting in the way he relates sexuality to politics as different approaches to finding meaning in life. Sex promises a deeper understanding of the world by penetrating the social distinctions between us. Politics promises a deeper understanding of the world by denying the legitimacy of these same social distinctions. Neither activity fully delivers on its promise. It’s a fun ride. The dude is hooked on Nietzsche, but who isn’t? I’m debating whether to see the movie with Daniel Day-Lewis.

2. Modeling Portfolio

I’m working on a modeling portfolio to try to get work as a greeter at some events in São Paulo. A friend originally suggested the idea, and since I am in search of the absurd, I said why not? We’re all a little vain. Whatever happens I’m sure I’ll learn a lot and gain some interesting experiences. I just hope my younger idealistic self isn’t rolling over in his grave.

3. Rain in SP

It’s been raining a lot lately, which wouldn’t be so weird if it weren’t for all the catastrophic predictions about the city’s water running out. Extended droughts and political incompetence, you know how it goes. Now that it is raining, it’s shifted to the other extreme with water flooding some people out of their homes. At this rate Milan Kundera could probably write a book about rain and politicians. Plus I keep forgetting when I hang my clothes out to dry.

4. Art, Culture & the Weight of the Past

I was thinking about art and culture after reading a short story by a friend of mine. While visiting an art museum or a library, it’s easy to be overwhelmed by the weight of our cultural heritage. Look at all these Great Writers and Painters! At the right time in your life, the experience is magical. But inevitably you leave these “sanctuaries of the past” and much to your disappointment, you return to your comparatively cold, empty contemporary reality. The Great Artists you loved suddenly seem inaccessible and out of touch. Were they wrong or are you? You’re faced with a choice: either preserve your heroes and be crushed by the weight of the past or rid yourself of your idols and suffer through, what our Czech friend calls, “the unbearable lightness of being”. In other words, the whole of modernity could be summed up with the question: politics or sex?

5. Coffee is never strong enough

Ever since I moved to Brazil, I’ve been drinking a lot more coffee. It really is tasty down here. We received a shiny red coffeemaker as a wedding present. Unfortunately, I probably have borderline narcolepsy, which means that whether I drink one shot of expresso or six, I still worry about chance encounters with the sleepy monster. At least it makes me feel artistic and intellectual when sipping on it. Maybe I should make another batch.

6. Torture in the CIA

So I haven’t read enough to write about the topic intelligently. But it doesn’t look good. The arguments in the US over what constitutes torture, whether torture is a useful tool for acquiring information and more fundamentally how you define an undemocratic use of force remind me of similar debates in Brazil (which also involve the CIA) on the fiftieth anniversary of the military dictatorship. How likely was it that deposed President João Goulart would have turned the country into the next Cuba? How dangerous and numerous were the leftist guerrillas? Who and how many were the victims? How much violence is permissible and/or necessary in the name of democracy? Brazilians seem to have made up their mind, reelecting Dilma Rousseff, herself a former Marxist guerrilla and victim of torture during the military dictatorship. Nonetheless there have been protests calling for her impeachment or even military intervention. We all tread a thin subjective line.

7. Looking at Honeymoon Photos

While preparing the modeling portfolio, my wife and I have been looking at photos from our backpacking trip around Europe. The experience was surprisingly intense, seeing which photos we did and didn’t remember, how our memories changed, how much we both wanted to go back. I’m not sure if I can adequately express it. There are some moments that are neither light nor heavy. How does one quantify looking at photos or sipping on coffee?