3 Things Sex Teaches Us About Sex

Sex. Sex. Sex. There, do I have your attention? Or am I competing with reruns of Entourage in the background? I realize my blog a couple of weeks ago about the placenta brooch might have been a turn-off for my male readers (I can’t imagine why you wouldn’t want to grab a cosmo and dish with us girls about discarded organs), so in an attempt to bring you back into the fold: here’s a little question.

What does sex tell us about sex?

This question is like asking if a tree falls alone in the forest if it still makes a sound, or what came first — the spoiled chick or the Kardashian. But we should ask it. Why? Because we dress sex up in bedazzled leotards when we really should be asking what IT wants to wear. Nobody ever asks it. And who knows, maybe it’s more of a yoga pants and t-shirt kind-of-a gal. Like if Rihanna told me she loves cream of wheat, I’d be way more likely to believe her just because it’s unexpected. And because she would say it like, “Cream of wheat, mon.”

The first other question you’re probably asking is, why do I care what this woman thinks about sex? What kind of expert is SHE, especially if you saw the sad state of affairs that is my underwear collection or the dorky way I dance at weddings.

Well, I’ll tell you why I’m an authority. I’m a mother.

Mothers know more about sex than regular women because most mothers have had to do it again after childbirth. Ah, childbirth, the Chernoble of sex. If you survive it, you might in fact go on to have a happy marriage. Even if you’ve had a c-section I’ve heard there’s a willingness-to-act hurdle to clear, because now you have an alien living with you who, if he hasn’t gnawed off your bosoms learning to nurse has at least sucked you dry of any remaining hormonal fortitude.

But I, I have cleared the beachhead. (Tee hee.) I have lived to fight another day. My sweet Thing Two proves my street cred. Are you willing to listen?

The other-other-other first question you might be asking is why? I don’t talk about sex very much. My father reads this blog. My grandmother reads this blog. I’m not interested in discussing this over Thanksgiving dinner, so why here?

Well, that’s simple. I’ve met some of you. And some of you are young, unmarried, or engaged and waiting until marriage for the big beast-with-two-backs, and… I just pity you. I pity the fool about to launch a sex life in May of 2011.You need to know a few things, sister (or brother, as the case may be), and sometimes we bloggers are the only ones who will give it to you straight.

Here are some things I think sex teaches us about, well, sex itself:

1. Sex is supposed to be kind of horrifying. I see movies all the time where the couple has just made love and then they jump up to attend a state dinner like they’ve just read Goethe over dry martinis. There’s no mention of the unmentionable unmentionableness of it. I can barely type this, but the clean-up involved is nothing to sneeze at. We want so badly to imagine sex as some kind of romantic dance where both partners retain their personal integrity, their sense of propriety; their sense of allure that always keeps the other person coming back for more but that never quite lets them see the bottom of the barrel. Sex won’t stand for this, I don’t care how many James Bond movies you’ve seen. Sex makes you gross in ways that sap the power you might want to hold over the other person. Sex doesn’t want to be sterilized. Sex doesn’t want to be neat. Sex wants to be kind of messy. Kind of unmentionable. Kind of human.

2. Sex is supposed to be mildly hilarious. If you’re cool with the surprise grossness of it all, then it suddenly becomes very funny. This too is a surprise. Are we supposed to be laughing? Isn’t this all a very serious, erotic business? How can hilarity fit on the nightstand next to the stilettos and cigarettes and oysters? (Although oysters ARE pretty hilarious, but why would keep them on your nightstand? Or stilettos?) To an extent, sex doesn’t require much of a Dummy’s Guide unless you’re trying some pretty advanced techniques. But the nature of sex demands things of your body and coordination that you’re not used to, like when I recently auditioned for the part of a tap-dancing pea.

Even seven years into marriage, the thing cracks me up. That might be because I’m a terrible klutz, but I’ve collected enough anecdotal evidence from others to know I’m not alone, that sex is as weird and hilarious as a Zack Galifanakis routine. (Yet strangely cleaner.) Nothing binds two people together more than an inside joke, and I don’t think this would be the case if it wasn’t MEANT to be funny, if sex wasn’t trying to tell us about itself by its very nature: you think this is strangely awkward and tricky and goofy? Good! You’re doing it right!

3. Sex is more of a wallflower. Ok, this one is especially for all my unmarried friends out there, or those of you waiting to have sex: help me help you. Admit it: most of you, if you were to imagine SEX personified, would see John Hamm wearing a non-gay sparkling vest singing “Your Body is a Wonderland” under a Tahitian waterfall. Spoiler alert, but this is only out of love that I unpack this for you, sex is more like your fifth-grade homeroom teacher. A task-oriented, good-natured woman who wears Easy Stride peep-toes as she grades your long division problems — quietly, attentively — from the comfort of her screened-in porch. Sex gets the job done. It takes care of business. Sometimes if Gordon and I are at odds, the biggest reason is we haven’t been together in a while. Sex is the repair technician of the relationship. It refreshes the system, reboots the drive. But it doesn’t want to be the center of attention. It hangs back and reports for duty when called up. This is why you Christians out there should never get married to have sex. That might sound strange in this day and age when sex, even sex on a blog intended to capture readership (who, me?), seems to scream for attention, like it is the ultimate experience. It really just clears your head so you can have OTHER more ultimate experiences with your mate. So don’t give Mrs. Pinkerton a sparkly vest. She shops at Dress Barn. I bet she’d love to meet John Hamm, though.

So, are we good? Have I violated any writer-reader relationship rules here? I didn’t think so. Too bad my next blog is on lawnmowers and Jim Lehrer. I can only keep this talk up for so long.

Oh, and Gordon would just like to say, “Don’t you worry, our sex life is awesome, I am awesome, and I am awesome at sex. The end. Oh, and you know your mom’s going to read this, don’t you?”

Yes. Yes I do.

14 Comments to “3 Things Sex Teaches Us About Sex”
  1. Adrian W. says:

    Found your blog through your guest post at Stuff Christians Like, and I’m definitely impressed. Funny, funny stuff. Definitely got a lot of truth to it too, though. Probably something most of my Christian college friends need to read.

    • Julie Rhodes says:

      Thanks Adrian! Glad you found me…er, that we found each other…um, ok, getting awkward. Thanks for reading!

  2. Mama Bean says:

    the clean up!! nobody told me about the mother-of-life clean up!!!

    great post. thx for doing scl so we could all discover you 🙂

  3. Nora B. says:

    This is so true. Thanks for saying it out loud.

  4. Deb says:

    Enjoyed your post on SCL so found my way here. Looking forward to the exercise my face will get with all the laughing I’ll be doing. My jowls could use some tightening. 😉

    • Julie Rhodes says:

      I will make it my ambition to exercise your jowls as often as possible! Thanks for reading! 🙂

  5. Nichole says:

    Like those above me in blog world, I found you through the SCL guest post. I’m SO glad, because you’re my new favorite blogger!! (I think you were in my head when you wrote the proofreading blog!!)

  6. Susan says:

    Where were you 32 years ago when I got married? Oh, wait, never mind. But, truer words were never spoken.

  7. Bobbi says:

    I popped over from SCL too. I thought the proofreading blog was a riot…but this post…Oui, it had me wheezing I was laughing so hard!!

  8. Becca says:

    This is hilarious, Julie! Laughed all the way through 🙂 Jason always says – you laugh b/c it’s funny – and you laugh b/c it’s true 🙂

  9. Susan says:

    Catching up on your blog… I see I’ve missed some great ones! Agree with the “repair technician of the relationship” point. It’s so true! And the unmentionable unmentionableness… Love how you put that!

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