Posted on | December 16, 2013 | 2 Comments
I told you I would be back to discuss a TV show I’ve been watching called ‘Masters of Sex.’ And, yay, here I am!
You definitely have to be a Zen Master to watch this show. It is slow. It is about people. More accurately, it is about “humanity.” Slow, slow humanity [aka Humanitor]. There are no computer generated sparkles or explosions. Just people. Talking. And masturbating.
The show tells the story of groundbreaking sex researchers William Masters & Virginia Johnson, their research, their weird relationship & all the people around them. I debated whether or not to watch this show because human sexuality is a touchy subject for me.
It has been the source of most of my confusion, most of my bewilderment, most of my depression, most of my dislike of the human race.
And I was right to be hesitant. The subject matter is beyond depressing. Beyond bewildering. It frustrates me that a mere 57 years ago, people, both men & women, were so pertly & willfully ignorant about sexuality.
Especially female sexuality. ["My God, what IS it??? How CAN they--I mean, without a PENIS???"]
Despite the painful subject matter, I was immediately sucked into the characters, the wardrobe & the hotness of the actors doing all the talking & masturbating. Michael Sheen (who plays Masters) reminds me of my Moonface a little bit. And Liz Caplan (Johnson) is a dead ringer for Kate Moennig–except with normal hair!
Dr. Ethan Haas, Dr Lillian DePaul and Mrs. Masters (Libby) are also quite spectacular to gaze upon whilst being forced to endure the demoralizing dialogue.
Sorry to be so shallow, but hotness matters. Especially on TV. But why tell this story? Why bring up the fact that only 50 years ago, we were a bunch of repressed monkeys in the dark…
…and make a show about it?
I don’t know. Except….that we aren’t THERE yet. What Masters & Johnson started in 1957 has advanced us, yes, has enlightened us, yes…but we’re still monkeys. We’re still uncomfortable, and willfully ignorant, and mostly hormone-driven in our approach to sex, love, and relationships.
We are talking about sex much more loudly & frequently on TV. We are showing sex much more vividly in all mediums.
But are we understanding it any better? Do we still just seek it desperately & constantly without knowing its full limits, its full possibilities, its huge consequences?
From the time I was a small child I was stunned at how sex, gender & bodies were addressed by adults. With shame, horror, silence, guilt, averted eyes, frowning faces, and strict strict rules.
Perhaps because of the violence & sex I experienced very early on I was very AWARE. Of my body. Of others’ bodies. Of how men & women acted, apart & together. And in particular, how my parents interacted & taught my brother & I to interact.
To me, it never made sense. But unfortunately, everyone around me, male & female, seemed willing, happy even, to fall right into these assigned body-roles. I refused to join in the ignorance.
Since I was so sexually aware as a child, let’s just say I have never been ignorant about female sexuality. I may even have an enhanced sense of it. I have never been clueless about orgasms or where they come from. I have never been bewildered by the vagina/vulva/clitoris etc…and what part is where or how to “find” any of it.
And it always bothered me that so many girls & women sat around claiming they didn’t know any of that stuff about themselves. And worse yet–that they would want or need men’s help figuring it out!!
As a kid, I felt like I knew more about sexuality than grown women who had already had sex, and given birth. They seemed…so unsexual. So much like the sex was only part of making the baby. That’s how they talked, that’s how they acted. Whereas the men, when talking about sex, always had this… laughter, this triumphant ownership in it.
Later it depressed me that, as a female, I was supposed to not enjoy sex. That I was supposed to be the “inactive, passive” partner in the heterosexual act. That orgasm wasn’t part of the contract for me, unless I had a particularly skilled lover.
My mother wanted me complicit in this role. She tried her very best to keep me silent & hidden while my brothers were allowed to discuss their anatomy & even show it off around the house. This was not allowed of me. Menstruation was kept secretive–my mom hustled me off to the bathroom with my spotty underwear chanting, “don’t let the boys see, don’t let the boys know, we can’t let the boys see this, oh no…” (And of course, I was never to mention to any potential man friend that blood came dripping out of my crotch every month….)
[Well…I say if a potential man friend is as interested in fucking me as he so desperately seems, then he should know exactly what he's so desperate for : ))]
And my early lovers–my potential men friends–wanted me complicit in the submissive, underpinned, penis-worshipping, awestruck squealing tit-sack role. Who was I to guide their hand or move a certain way? “What are you doing?” Helping you. “I don’t need help.”
As a kid, I sometimes felt like I was something other than a boy or a girl. Something in between; something that should’ve been defined in society but wasn’t. I felt like I knew more about sex & sexuality than the people who wrote books about it.
And that was disappointing to me. And depressing. And confusing. And though we seem to KNOW MORE ABOUT SEX than we ever have, and we’re MORE OKAY WITH SEX than we ever have been, and MORE TYPES OF SEX are out in the open, and women are a much more integral part of the non-sexual world…
…there is still something ignorant about us. There is still this big gaping denial in our sexual knowledge. And we’re still, STILL capitalizing on women’s ignorance of their bodies, we’re still FEARFUL of women’s anatomy & physiology. It is still considered OTHER.
We see this in all the Medical Talk shows that are popular now. These shows are MADE to create more anxiety in women about their bodies–especially “DOWN THERE”, as they so medically call it. These shows were designed to make women scared of all the things that can go wrong with their lady parts–from strange odors to reproductive failures–the horror stories are exhausting. I try not to ever watch shows like this, but I occasionally flip through & it’s always, always, “Doctor, help, my vagina… it’s itching, it’s smelling, it’s leaking oil, it’s talking in tongues, it can’t bake a perfect lasagna, it ripped all the way into my asshole when I was giving birth & now I shit & piss through the same big hole which used to be my vagina…ETC..ETC…ETC…”
No details are spared on these gratuitous shows, and yet the ignorance looms. You would think that a) all women’s health issues come from having a vagina (or any lady part) and b) men never have any health issues at all.
This is all so wrong & ridiculous & harmful to the well-being of Humanitor.
But…a show like ‘Masters of Sex’ with well-written characters, and a realistic look back at a past that was dying to know about something so essential to life…It shows me that women are not as ignorant as they seem, but seeming ignorant was the polite thing to do back then. (it was the men who were really ignorant.)
It gives me hope that we will figure it out someday. That someday in the future, sexuality will not be so unseeable. We can speak about it now, but I still don’t think we’re “seeing it.” We see the images, the pornography, whatever graphic content we want, but we don’t see ourselves in that dance…we aren’t connected to it in any informed way.
We don’t see our primitive monkeyesque role-play as part of the problem. We just keep at it. And the hormonal hollering will continue…for how much longer? Another 50 years? Until Jesus dies?
Ughhh….yes…until Jesus dies, women will role-play as polite, miraculous breeding machines & men as polite & powerful family studs. Gross.
Even as a kid, I realized that only homosexuals knew anything about sex. This seemed to be the case in 1957 when Masters & Johnson were trying to figure out heterosexuals, the homosexuals had most of the answers already.
Well, that’s all I will say about the show. I’m not going to do a book report-type essay on it. Watch it yourself if you’re curious. See how you relate.