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It Is Only Sex
by Alex Carnevale
Yesterday Harvard sex bloggeur Lena Chen posted a picture of herself with her boyfriend’s semen on her face.
This image called the collective bluff of people who pretend to be open-minded. It proved that the Victorian streak running through those educated at higher institutions, while largely irreligious, is still trumpeting a dated, outdated conception of female sexuality.
Camille Paglia made this point about feminism in her critique of their critique of pornography. As she told Playboy, “The problem with America is that there’s too little sex, not too much. The more our instincts are repressed, the more we need sex, pornography and all that. The problem is that feminists have taken over with their attempts to inhibit sex.” It is astonishing that this still goes on today.
Posts by other sex bloggers lambasted Chen. “This time she’s gone too far!” The reaction of the prudes was mind-numblingly predictable. Liberals and conservatives have finally found common ground in the War Against Semen!
If you’re going to say what happens, you say what happens. Semen is a part of life.
The outrage to the photograph is all the more pathetic when taken in concert with the explicit nature of Chen’s previous musings on the subject of sex. Sex scene:
His name was what I said the most, and I ground it out between my teeth with a ferocity reserved for sex that happened for sex’s sake. Behind me, he breathed hard and I squeezed my legs together and he sucked in his breath even harder. He was large and slick and filled me deeper than comfortable. But I liked it that way. Half-breathless he asked, “Is this okay?” and I silently winced but nodded at the courtesy. Straddling him would have made it easier, but the only time I was happy on top was when my mouth was on his cock, taking him down inch by inch and lapping him up again with the tip of my tongue. So instead, I found contentment on my stomach, on my back, and on my knees, as I dug deeper into his sheets and asked him, gasping, to fuck me harder.
Through Chen’s prolific blogging, you get to know this young, ethnically Chinese woman. She is dating some kind of native German graduate student whose apartment she lives in, and she finds herself deeply in love. Yet she is a young one, and she has trouble drawing boundaries. Her dabbling in bulimia and sex and abstinence all suggests that she feels most comfortable when she is made comfortable in some way, by someone. She also has a sweet dog.
chen and julia allison
“All Fall Down” – OneRepublic (mp3)
Ms. Chen’s current website, The Ch!cktionary, is a fairly comprehensive picture of her life. The revelation that she has an even more private blog than this one is shocking. What could she put in it?
Although at various times she appears chagrined at the connection between her public life and private life – even swearing that her best friends don’t even read her blog – if someone as smart Emily Gould can be naïve about that perilous intersection, so too can Ms. Chen. She posts images of her paramour, and yesterday she contrasted her awesome facial with an unfettered declaration of the meaning of love.
She reacted to the outrage:
Is this really such a big fucking deal? Compared to some of the other things I’ve written lately, a photo of me with semen on my lips is not exactly deserving of controversy. I’m not even naked. Sure, some people might find it gross and consider it porn regardless of nudity (that’s up to every individual), but you really find cum more objectionable than my views on religion? Maybe that means everyone agrees with my views on religion but no one agrees with my post-blowjob photo. But somehow, I doubt that the silence on the religion issue is because everyone concurs. I think sex is just easier to get upset about.
Look, I have no “mission” in writing about sex, but I sure hope that by the time I close up shop as a sex writer, the act is considered a little more common and a little less sacred. If I’m going to piss people off, I hope it’s because I proposed something radical in terms of the way our society deals with race or gender or religion. There are so many things WORTH getting upset about, that are worth sending me angry emails, that are worth your disagreement and outrage. This photo? Not so much.
To break down cultural taboos about sexuality is a noble act, and Chen devotes her life to it. There is really nothing so mysterious or wrong about a naked woman. There is a vicious rumor we are all like that under our clothes.
Her critics, meanwhile, compare her to interpretive abortionist Aliza Shvarts. Giving a blowjob isn’t like faking an abortion, and it’s shameful to suggest there’s a similarity. “That doesn’t change the minds of people we want to convince,” the faux-open minded whine. I have no idea who they believe they are engaged in battle with, but the fact remains that they spend most of their time preaching to the choir.
We are primitives, thinking sex could still hold mystery in itself. It doesn’t. It’s the basic reproductive function of human life. Other beings enjoy rich sex lives without shame. Thanks to organized
religion for providing us with that ancient concept.
“Won’t Stop” – OneRepublic (mp3)
Talking about sex in an honest way has a psychological benefit to our culture. The men who run this country – Clinton, Spitzer, JFK – continue to sacrifice whatever good they might have achieved at the expense of their desires. If we do not demystify sex, it controls us. Those in the public limelight will emerge unscathed with their wealth. It is young men and women without means who can’t afford to be its victims.
In the meantime, it will be the most purportedly liberal people who prove to be the most closed minded. There’s just something wrong with that, they sneer. Their inborn sense of the moral objects. It takes a lot of balls to be snobbier than a matriculating undergraduate at the dumbest university in the world.
Alex Carnevale is the editor of This Recording.
“Say (All I Need)” – OneRepublic (mp3)
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