By: Claire Pizzurro
Before we start, let’s get something out of the way: most people really like sex. Yes, everyone has different levels of libido, and some people may identify as asexual, but for the general majority of people out there, sex is good. Is this really a secret? I mean, once upon a time (in the more sexually repressed portion of the 20th century and several centuries before), sex was not really something to be discussed, at least not by women. But now that people feel more comfortable with embracing female sexuality, I don’t think that it’s a big secret that women feel pleasure too. And they like it – probably because it’s called “pleasure” for a reason. And now, just before we go any further, let’s establish that when I say “sex,” I’m talking sexual activity of any sort, just so that we don’t leave anyone out who might want a clear-cut definition: there isn’t one.
Why do I bring this up? Because on Saturday, I went to the Live Group Sex Therapy show with comedian Daniel Packard. I went with some friends, none of us really sure what it was that we were going to see. But we had no concrete plans, and it was supposed to be an amusing way to kill some time before the night started. I wasn’t expecting very much, but I did think that it was going to be a funny show. Let’s face it: sex is hilarious. Things don’t go smoothly because you have two people (or however many, I don’t judge) trying to coordinate exactly what they want with what they think their partner wants, and things bump and someone bites and if you’re lucky, all the awkwardness turns into laughter and you try again. It is an enjoyable experience, but it is inherently a really funny thing (because if you’re not in a lesbian relationship, there are probably penises involved, and even just that word can make people giggle – if, like me, they are secretly 12-year old boys). So the promise of a comedian discussing sex, while a rather used shtick, still suggested real humor.
I was not pleased. I found the opening joke, about how the 37-year old comedian really just wanted to fuck all the college girls in the audience (harping on the 18- and 19- year olds especially), because all men ever want is to fuck the young (legal) girls they encounter, to be distasteful and sleazy. It’s one thing to maybe make some sort of comment about thinking college girls are attractive, but to make it a running theme was uncomfortable. Also uncomfortable? The “12-year old girl from the Philippines” joke he ran with as an offensive gamble to test the audience’s sensitivities, but then never let go of. But the biggest issue that I had (besides the whole not-that-funny, only-a-few-laughs thing) was that he kept coming back to this idea that the sexual relationship between two people is a power dynamic that the woman wins simply because she has the vagina.
Several of my friends left pretty early on simply because the heteronormative foundation of Packard’s humor left little room for homosexual couples to benefit. Since there were also quite a large amount of jokes about how everyone used to think that Packard was gay, and “OMG you guys, he totally knows why, he is such a girl sometimes, but he’s totally straight! Pussy all the way! Wooo! Balls are gross!” many in the audience that I spoke to after the show said that they were incredibly offended. Beyond the gross miscalculation on Packard’s part to assume that he was only catering to a crowd of straight people who wouldn’t care about his throwaway gay jokes, Packard treated the women in the audience as though every girl is aware that she can get any guy she wants due to the fact that all any boy ever wants is sex, and since they need a vagina in order to have sex, the girl is the one in charge. Because she has the vagina. Because she is the fucking gatekeeper. Can we please just get over the idea that women get to make the decisions because their sexual organs are internalized and they have to have the babies but men get dicks that they get to play with and clearly that is so much better because they can fuck and run? Packard made many comments about how girls are secretly all sluts but they don’t want anyone to know about it so that they can keep the power balance in their favor.
As I started with, this is bullshit.
Many girls accept their sexuality and are comfortable discussing it. Many guys are just as comfortable. At the same time, there are probably just as many men as there are women who don’t discuss sex on a regular basis. Or really, at all. How you speak about the subject, or when you speak about it, is often a function of personality as well as socialization. I, for one, am incredibly comfortable discussing sexuality of any sort. One of my best friends turns bright red and leaves the room. We are both heterosexual women, and we have very different approaches to the same topic. Vast generalizations of the sort that Packard was making are offensive to all genders and all sexual orientations at their core. They are attempting to subvert previous teachings that said that women were demure and innocent, but in trying to suggest that women “own” their super sexual natures, they just reinforce gender stereotypes and make any hope for “group therapy” dive down the drain.
Packard emphasized the importance of confidence for men when dealing with women, but of course that goes both ways. Everyone should know that being confidant in yourself leads to more acceptance by others, as well. It’s basic Psych 101 and we all know it – even if we don’t all follow it. In the long run, I’m willing to bet that most men and women are looking for the same things, and you can find someone who is looking for what you are without too much difficulty (crazy fetishes found only in the deepest recesses of the internet may not be as included on most college campuses). We don’t need to “reveal” that women like sex in order to go about our lives with a deeper understanding of relationships, and we don’t need to be told that reemphasizing the sexist ideal that women are better than men because they “receive” during traditional intercourse is the best way to get some. Packard was right that we shouldn’t be so nervous when it comes to dealing with members of the gender that we are interested in, but he was right because it all boils down to something very, very simple: we are all just as crazy and weird as the next person. And the best way to get laid is to start a conversation. Probably not about how awesome you think some girl’s breasts are, but you never really know.