By On the occasion of our 20th anniversary
By Gustavo Arellano
By R. Scott Moxley
By Alfonso Delgado
By Courtney Hamilton
By Joel Beers
By Peter Maguire
By Charles Lam
You do not know how good you have it. You, hip young reader, are riding in style on the sexual superhighway. Sure, there are a few speed bumps to encounter these days—AIDS, for example, or the anti-priapic thought of Kid Rock getting it on with Pam Anderson—but otherwise you are cruising in style.
You don't have to worry about where you can make love. You just say, "Mom? Dad? Can you turn down the TV? We're trying to screw in here" and close the door.
You don't have to worry about trying to get a forbidding-looking pharmacist to sell you the condoms they kept behind the counter; shameful, disgusting things they could barely bring themselves to handle because people like you bought them to put on your filthy penis with the intent of going into a fetid vagina. Now you can just go to the nearest convenience market or Condom Revolution to find a rainbow of choices displayed as if they were Hostess cupcakes. That or you just bang on the wall again: "Mom? Dad? Do you have any glow-in-the-dark, ultrastudded, rooster-headed condoms we can borrow?"
No longer do you need to learn about sex from schoolyard rumors or arcane medical dictionaries. You are only a few pages away from Savage Love, the best advice column in the world, or a mere mouse click or two away from a cornucopia of sexual information and imagery. (Concerned about Britney Spears' breasts? Check out www.liquidgeneration.com/poptoons/britney_breasts.asp.) On the Web, you can find purveyors of and support groups for every kink that enters your crenellated mind.
Do a search on Google for "facesitting," for example, and you'll get 262,000 matches. Then type in "flagpole sitting"—once a respectable campus fad—and the return is a measly 1,010 matches. This is why the "prevailing community standards" clause in anti-porn laws has all but halted prosecutions. The prevailing community standard we can infer from the Web tally is that even in these patriotic times, for every person who wants to sit atop a consenting flagpole, there are 259.4 people who want to get their faces sat on. That's enough interest to qualify facesitting for the Olympics.
Incidentally, it is purely for artistic reasons that I would direct your attention to a video available at Spanky's titled French-Kissing Facesitters. There is no sex in this movie. It's a feature-length presentation in which a guy returns home to his apartment and announces to his girlfriend and sister that he's joining the Navy. The women spend the next 70 or so minutes trying to persuade him otherwise by sitting on his head until he nearly blacks out. They let up every so often to ask him, "You change your mind yet?"
"No, I wanna see the world!" he crows, and then it's smothering time again, until they finally chuck the guy, naked, out the front door. The minimalist set (bed, nightstand, floor), the understandably spare dialogue, the overall sense of inertia: French-Kissing Facesitters is the art Samuel Beckett would have made had he been born a generation later.
Today, you can rent porn at any corner video shop or order it via cable or satellite. A few decades ago, there were only a few "adult" theaters in the county, and they were routinely busted. (It was a bit of a scandal when it was learned that the money being used by the city of Santa Ana to prosecute the Mitchell Bros. Theater was being supplied by anti-porn crusader Charles Keating, who had not yet been caught in his morally uplifting practice of bilking retirees of their life savings.) There was a mini-ghetto of dirty bookstores in Garden Grove, while liberal-minded bookshops around the county would get busted for carrying the LA Free Press or R. Crumb's underground comics.
Is sex fun without shame? Back in the day, teen sex was such a frowned-upon thing in OC that if you and your honey attempted it, you felt like you were stepping outside society, committing some 1984-grade Thought Crime. Indeed, under Governor Ronald Reagan, several popular and tongue-toning sex acts were classified as felonies.
And that made it seem all the more exhilarating, those furtive grapplings in the back seat of the borrowed family station wagon, parked on a dark road leading to an unfinished housing tract, finding there that secluded universe of love populated by just me, my girlfriend and the policeman rapping on the window with his flashlight.
There was always some sort of coppus interruptus: police, police helicopters, dog walkers, skunks, or the white-suited guard at the Paulo Drive-In, who once startled me so in mid-act that all I could think to say to my girlfriend was, "Don't move—maybe he'll think we're dead and go away."
Youthful lovemaking sites in the county included Irvine Park picnic tables, dirt gullies on Irvine Co. land, moving cars, Disneyland's aerial tramway and the Pacific Ocean. Like the other sites, the ocean was chosen not because it was different or romantic but because it was one of the few places we, or at least the underwater parts of us, could be alone. It was awkward and virtually unworkable from a physics standpoint, and I'm surprised we weren't interrupted by jellyfish.
A gay guy who went to my high school had one of those canvas covers for his car, and that automotive tent was where he and his buddy would repair, going at it parked right on his quiet residential street in Corona del Mar.
"I'm not a prude; I've been around some in my day. But there are things that are sacred in American life. What are we supposed to do, just go fuck?" So mused Roy Rogers—yes, the Roy Rogers—in the December 1975 issue of Esquire magazine.
The answer for a lot of folks was evidently, "Sure, okay, whatever," and the decades of unabated rutting commenced. I missed most of it. I was convinced that you're supposed to love just that one special person in your life, and it was only after a goodsome number of those one special persons had gone by the wayside that I started thinking that maybe some heedless carnal pleasure wouldn't be so bad.
But it was too late for me. I realized this one night when I was in bed with a woman nearly half my age, who kept saying things like, "Fuck me harder. You can fuck me just as hard as you like," when I was already fucking her twice as hard as I'd ever want to fuck anyone.
Along with being entirely too much work—I considered hiring some day laborers to finish up for me—it struck me that it was a different generation's sex, one that had been raised with video games, blow-'em-up movies and bam-bam-bam electronica, where you're pounded with sensation every damn second. I'm more inclined to an Exile on Main Street pace of events. Van Morrison or Sade works pretty good, and the more I age, the better Frank Sinatra sounds in the background.
Hey, just in time for Valentine's Day, Reprise records has issued Sinatra's Greatest Love Songs, which, the press release says, "includes 'All the Way,' Sinatra's posthumously recorded duet with international superstar Celine Dion." I can only assume the release fulfills some request of the late singer's, such as, "Yeah, I'd like to sing with her—when I'm dead and buried." Though Dion's not exactly bam-bam-bam electronica, the difference between her nonstop emotionless emoting and Sinatra's lived-in lyricism is pretty much what I'm talking about.
My point, basically, is this: you only think you're having a good time, all you young'uns out there piling atop one another in endless combinations of moist collegiate flesh. Listen to me, the new Ecclesiastes of sex: all is vanity. Give it up. Put down that spatula and Everett Dirksen-shaped vibrator. Join the Navy and see the world.