Sep 2, 2007

You Say Public Sex Like It’s A Bad Thing

With the current sex panic blowing lusty hot breezes through the late summer heat wave you would think the atrocities of the Iraq War were not occurring on a daily basis or even at all. They seem to be regarded by cable news (always a sad and telling snapshot of the American psyche) as almost an irritant mucking up their coverage of the 10th Anniversary Jubilee Celebration of the Death of Princess Diana, the brutal dog torturing of Michael Vick and most especially the ongoing, as it turns out, sexcapades of Senator Larry Craig. Senator Craig, with the gentle prodding of the news media, has managed to reintroduce public sex back into the American mainstream, forcing them down on it, insisting they swallow or at the very least imagine having a little taste for themselves. George Michael, we hardly knew ye; let’s hear it for Idaho values.

On CNN, Larry King, bless his heart, talked about it with an expression on his face that looked like he had a mouthful of sour milk. Over at Fox News, Sean Hannity, on the other hand, displayed body language that seemed to suggest he was a bit aroused and kept shifting in his chair, as if a loop of stall sex possibilities was playing over and over in his mind, betraying his curiosity. Coupled with his condemning words on the subject it was the embodiment of being fair and balanced.

I say reintroduce because it’s a practice as old as humanity, and public sex (be it in a restroom or park or locker room or beach or car or anywhere for that matter) is, as an urbane English friend said to me recently, “a tradition.” I mumbled something about Joe Orton and he responded, “Exactly. We invented it, mate,” beaming with pride.

He and I, along with his lovely wife and two sons (ages 10 and 13,) had just finished watching an episode of Extras, the brilliant BBC/HBO series from Ricky Gervais, wherein, in a matter of half a minute one of the characters had given a brief yet thorough explanation of hetero-vs.-homo copulation with extremely helpful hand gestures. My friend turned to his sons and said, “Well, there you go, boys. Any questions?”

There was no shielding of the boys’ eyes and ears as this smart little scene played out. We all laughed as I realized this young generation in decades to come just may save us all from the cudgel of sex shame utilized by religious zealots; or if not, bring us a little closer to that goal so dreaded by our Puritan ancestors, and the sooner the better.