Two views of sex

In 1990, poet Mark O'Brien (who had polio) published an essay titled “On Seeing a Sex Surrogate.” I just read it, after seeing a preview for the 2012 movie The Sessions, which is fiction based on the article. I found some aspects of the article a little offputting (not the disability parts; mostly just some aspects of the way he talks about the surrogate, whose permission to publish this I hope he had), but overall I found it interesting and worth reading.

Which is fairly similar to the reaction I had to an otherwise unrelated article in the Awl the other day misleadingly titled “Maybe Sex Is the Least Fun Thing Two People Can Do,” about a woman who doesn't “experience a lot of extreme physical pleasure”; she enjoys flirting and more or less enjoys sex, but sex isn't a big deal for her, and that doesn't bother her. I suspect that that's more common than this interview makes it sound. I was a little put off by some of the overgeneralizations and odd remarks about various groups of people and approaches (asexuals, “Eastern sexuality,” etc), but I nonetheless found the discussion interesting.

And the reason I'm putting these two links in a single post is that I think they make interesting data points in a broad constellation of approaches to sexuality; I think the thing that I see in their juxtaposition is yet more evidence that sexuality is varied and complicated, that people have a lot of different things they want and ways of wanting those things. I dunno, maybe that isn't entirely relevant to these pieces, but it made sense in my head.

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