November 19-26, 2005

Sexual practices have a way of
changing their classification
over time. Different things go
in-and-out of style; people's
attitudes toward practices
shift; and the acts symbolise
different things than before.

There's a peculiar amnesia that
kicks in after-the-fact: people
seem to like to believe that         There's a convenient
what's normal now has always         forgetfulness, even
been normal.                         about obvious changes.

   Possibly this is                  Like the change
   a side effect of                  in attitudes toward
   the need to                       pre-marital sex and
   believe that                      divorce that came in with
   sexual behavior                   the "Sexual Revolution"
   is animalistic.                   of the sixties,

   We like the                          The conservative take is that
   idea that it's                       everything about the sixties
   biologically                         was a disaster.
   determined.        ANIMAL
                                        If your position is that
                                        social experiments are
                                        always misguided, you don't
                                        like to be reminded that
                                        the status quo is a social
                                        experiment of yesteryear.

For example, around the time                                     when folks
that I was a teenager (the                                       like Reagan
1970s) I think "oral sex" was    In Delany's "1984", he          and Limbaugh
doing a transition from a        describes something he          have been
nasty perversion to a "normal    noticed in his                  divorced.
sexual practice".                (extensive) experience
                                 of hanging around in            And most of
   Which doesn't mean            porn movie theaters --          your core
   that there was                in the early 80s,               constituency
   necessarily a big             cunnilingus went from           is busy
   change in people's            being something that            collecting
   behavior... though            produced embarrassed            trophy wives.
   there *might* have            laughter to the
   been.                         standard warm-up.

       In the dance of                   Delany credits porn
       attitude and action               movies themselves with
       it can be hard to                 creating this change
       say who made the                  in the definition of
       first move.                       the normal.

                                              And it could be that
                                              increasingly easy
                                              access to pornography
                                              is producing further
       But there are also                     changes.
       the perversions
       that don't click                            Much to the
       over to "normal",                           consternation
       despite an upswing                          of some...
       in popularity.
       Bondage practices became
       very widespread by the
       close of the 80s; something
       that everyone did or at
       least tried, or at least       ATTRACTION-REPULSION
       was thinking about trying.
       A trendy perversion.

       It's entirely possible
       to have a practice
       practiced by nearly
       everyone and for it to
       still be classified as a            And isn't it interesting
       "perversion", which no              that there's now a standard
       one admits to in public.            set of fetishes that
                                           go under the heading
                                           of "Fetish"?
  I wonder about the
  future of anal sex.                          Fetish fashion.
  The anus has gone
  from untouchable to                          This year's fetish.
  negotiable in the                            The latest fetish.
  space of a few
  decades, with one                                       There's another
  of the later                                            way of looking at
  developments being    It's obligatory                   "fetish fashion"
  the discovery of      to reference the                  though: maybe it
  heterosexual male     "Bend Over                        isn't *really*
  penetration...        Boyfriend"                        fashion.  The
                        series of videos                  parameters of it
                        put out by Good                   stay fixed for
                        Vibrations.                       far longer than
                                                          they do with the
                                 And a few years          straight fashion
                                 later a sex              world.
                                 decreed this           The latex jumpsuit
                                 should be              bought years
 A sketch of three futures:      called "pegging".      ago doesn't
                                                        suddenly develop
 (1) anal sex becomes an         A question: is         the wrong lapels.
 "of course" item.  Refusal      being "pegged" a
 to engage in it in any          *degrading*            Adding something new
 form becomes grounds for        experience?  In        to the world of
 counseling -- much as an        the porn-world         fetish fashion is a
 aversion to cunnilingus         it's most often        strange business of
 would now be regarded as        part of                casting about for a
 fairly weird.                   dominated-male         new feature that
                                 scenarios,             hits the embedded
 (2) anal sex becomes a          though this was        complexes in just
 standard perversion.            never the "Good        the right way...
 Something nearly                Vibrations"
 everyone does, but not          attitude.
 before the third date.                                      (But then,
 (3) anal sex retreats                                       working
 slightly and resists                                        "within
 incorporation into the                                      genre",
 mainstream, and becomes                                     isn't it?)
 an acknowledged symbol       Much as, say, a
 of strangeness.              black leather
                              jacket remains a
                              fixed symbol of
                              the outsider...



  A decade hence, will
  strap-ons adorn the post
  of every marriage bed?

      Will anal sex
      still matter?