Recently a single-gal friend of mine decided to have a 21st-century “Tupperware Party.” She invited all her chick pals to come check out the toys. We were all pretty open to the plan – you know, we’ve all read “Our Bodies, Ourselves” and Anaïs Nin. We’re drinking some wine and talking about girl stuff like stocks and oil changes when the doorbell rings.
This very ordinary woman walks in with a couple of suitcases and proceeds to set up her stage area. After a short introduction, she proceeds to show her wares, everything from flavored condoms to whips. Some of the items needed a little instruction, and while some of this was educational, like the part about toothy blowjobs and how men don’t like that, not much of it was terribly erotic.
All the items I wanted were quite expensive so I wasn’t really shopping, although I jotted down a few items I might buy myself online for Valentine’s Day. I’m not cheap; I’m thrifty.
Anyway, the important part of this story was at the end of her show. There wasn’t a big flurry of purchasing and I think she was a little pissed. Honestly, I think most of us already had the staple items she was selling and the fetish items weren’t really that appealing. So she launches into this diatribe about how we need to own our own sexuality, and that led to a tirade about freeing ourselves from the patriarchal chains of society by buying her wares!
None of this was working, so she decides to pull out her limited understanding of science and starts explaining oxytocin and its effect on women. Oxytocin is a chemical released by the brain and sent through the body by women when they are orgasming (is that a word?) Now, I’ve heard of oxytocin and in fact, the only other time it’s released by a woman is when she is breastfeeding her child, which is thought to affect the bonding process of mother to child. I think that’s just a fascinating coincidence; don’t you?
The Tupperware Lady was saying this is why women tend to “cling” to the people they have sex with – it’s all about oxytocin – and that we, her clients, needed to buy her toys because then we would free ourselves from “clinging” to our sexual partners; we would be responsible for our own libidos and emotions. Well, that got me thinking, “So now I’ll just be clinging to myself!” I’m an artist. I already spend a fair amount of time thinking about myself, so I’m not sure it would be healthy to CLING to myself. Then I was thinking about, how the only other time, oxytocin is released when a mother is breastfeeding her child, but you’d never say, “Oh, that mother was just clinging to that child.” So why don’t we say, “That woman is bonding with that man.”
I get really nervous when people start talking about chemical reactions and sex. I can’t help thinking about the lions mating in the zoo. It makes it all just biology. I want to believe we have evolved slightly.
I was in college in
We were together alone.
We heard this wailing, chilling, painful cry coming from the lions’ den. I should mention that we were on acid, and since we were on acid, of course we followed the sound. We saw a lion mating with a lioness, and the other lionesses were biting the mating lioness' neck and she was wailing in pain.
I have to admit it was fascinating and terrifying, so I got up close to the glass and watched with big eyes. But then it got to be too much and I reached back to grab my boy's hand, but he had wandered off like you do on acid and somehow the zookeeper was there and came up behind me and said in this low, gravely, horrific voice, “Ya know,” … cough, cough … “the male cat has a barbed penis and it hurts the female cat a lot to be mated."
It was so disorienting to have grabbed a hand thinking it was my love's, but instead it was some zookeeper talking about barbed penises – it was like a small child reaching up for her mother's hand in a crowd and mother is gone.
Since I was on acid I felt like I was in a junior high Coronet drug-education film. The discordant theme music starts in my head and the announcer says, "She thought it would be fun until Johnny thought he could fly." Luckily, my love saw me and came over and took me away from the mating cats and their barbed penises. I’m just glad I’m not a cat. So it makes me nervous to think about sex and biology because I can’t help thinking about the lions in the zoo.
Or, I’m sure you’ve heard about pheromones – those secretions we release when we want to sleep with someone.
I could lie awake all night wondering what happens to the pheromones when the guy you want to sleep with doesn't want to sleep with you. Do they just float out into the general bar atmosphere? Is that what makes singles bars so crazy? There are all these random pheromones hanging around just waiting for someone to be attracted to one.
What if you smelled one pheromone and you got all excited about it but it was the wrong pheromone? What if it was the pheromone of the guy who’d just been sitting on the barstool and then you walked up to get a beer and there was a new guy sitting in the old guy's pheromones?
But you wouldn’t know that.
Then, suddenly, it's 1:00 a.m. and you're sitting in a bar, a restaurant, a party, on a beach, at home and you're with someone and his pheromones and he’s talking about his film, his play, his music, stocks, mother, cat, things, and you're bored. You're Hedda Gabler; you're bored. You've heard this conversation a million times before with minor changes in objects, names, places. But you could be deceived by the pheromones, and you’d end up clinging to his barbed penis.
That’s rather grim. Thank God I’ve evolved. I bond. I don’t cling.