Carv's Thinky Blog I'm an author with a focus on satirical sci-fi and agnostic commentary.

8Jan/100

Controversy!

"People call me rude," Prince admitted, "I wish we were all nude." Well, I won't go that far, but I do think a bit of controversial conversation at the right time, in the right place adds to the spice of life.

It is risky. My girlfriend admits that when she read my views on religion in another blog two years ago, she almost decided never to go out with me. Some of us worry our bosses will delve too deeply into our Web footprint. Maybe what seems most unfair is that we suspect we'd be penalized for behavior far less tawdry than that of those who would sit in judgment. We know we have secret lives, and we wonder how ours stack up to the secret lives of others.

I began talking to people in depth about religion years before I put pen to paper on Lightfall. I found huge holes in people's belief systems, and they weren't always happy to discover those holes existed. Their discomfort would spike at unpredictable moments. Okay, so they didn't really believe the Bible was 100% true--but you can pry the global flood myth out of their cold dead hands! Or they ignored most Biblical rules of morality, while still maintaining kung fu grip on the homophobia of centuries past.

We can't even agree on which taboos are scariest to break. I don't mind talking politics or religion with my girlfriend's parents, but sex is off the table. (Good news for the table, right?) Others will happily tell you about their last seventeen bedpost notches, but balk at discussing their annual income.

Now that I'm working on a book about sexuality, more specifically our views and suspicions about the sex lives of others, I felt a new round of research was needed. I'm reluctant to buy field glasses and lurk outside people's windows, so I invited people to take a survey instead. The results are still being collated, and umcomfortable "yes" and "no" answers are only gradually relaxing into more fascinating anecdotal responses--but even now, as I said on Facebook, I'm continually surprised by how surprising people are.

I won't claim I have anything near a statistical sample, especially since, unavoidably, I screened for people who were brave and trusted me enough to return a completed survey. But even so, a few myths seem to fall by the wayside. Do women find it easier to enjoy sex when there's romance involved? Sure, but no more than men do. People seem to think their sex lives are much less exciting than their friends', but in truth, it's a bell curve; most people have average sex lives. In other words, your next-door neighbors might be tag-teaming a series of babysitters, but apparently none of us are. Sadomasochism, voyeurism, and exhibitionism are also far less common than we expect, at least in large doses.

Yet anyone who's ever thumbed heatedly through a Nancy Friday book knows we Westerners create and maintain vivid fantasy lives. My next book is about a resort that attempts to give people what they believe they want from sex, and how it all falls apart. Thematically, I suppose it'll be similar to McEwan's On Chesil Beach, only funnier. I think of it as Jurassic Park with an order of nookie. It's not erotica; far from it. It's black comedy.

I know that of my three "controversy" novels (book three will cover politics), the sex novel will be the toughest for my two families to accept. They'll read about fictional characters and assume, or fear, that I'm "really" talking about me or my significant other. Of course, the sex novel will probably also be the biggest seller of my career, so perhaps that'll mitigate the awkwardness a tad. I suppose I should worry about future employers reading it, too; but y'know, at some point, my life contracted a full-blown case of in for a penny, in for a pound.

Here, then (in an early draft, at least), is the very first paragraph of my novel-in-progress:

The following memoir is adapted and expanded from an article in American Zeitgeist magazine ("Down and Out in Pornotopia," 18.2: 42-49) and has been extensively fact-checked by the author, American Zeitgeist, and Mr. Stein. However, much of the documentation needed to verify the entirety of this account was either lost in the Bliss Panerotic incident of June 12 or is still ensconced within Panerotic Entertainment Group, Inc. Panerotic has refused at least four written requests for interviews and/or relevant documents. Statements within this book are used by permission, but may not reflect the views of Panerotic Entertainment Group, American Zeitgeist, the publisher, or its partners...

Am I trying to whet your appetite? You bet.

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  1. Christian,

    While you may think Sex is off the table… I’m afraid that it is very much on the table, and Jeannie will be sure and bring it up at the very next opportunity. Especially since you think it is off the table. While I might agree that it is good for the table , you have to remember that Jeannie considers you part of the family, and that no one in her family even thinks about sex, much less write about it. I’m sure you’ll find out all about it at some appropriate time. It makes for a good laugh for me… it could be kind of uncomfortable for you however…. Keep up the Great Work! I do enjoy it so!

  2. I tend to be open about my life, at least as much as I can get away with. However, whatever sex life I may or may not have at the moment isn’t my business alone, so it isn’t my decision alone. In fact, it isn’t my decision at all. And the decision is: It’s off the table. You may try to put it ON the table, but believe me, it will fall right back off the table. Which is better for the table.

    As for Jeannie’s family, I know they don’t talk about sex, but I find it hard to believe they never think about it. Last I checked, they were all human beings.

  3. OFF THE TABLE! OFF THE TABLE!!!!

  4. Of course the “BPI” falls on your birthday!


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