Would you have sex with yourself?

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February 28, 2010

2:36 PM

_Warning: The content of The Flat Hat’s Daily Grind blog contains adult themes and explicit language. Please contact the editor-in-chief if you have questions or concerns._

Last semester my schedule sucked. I had feminist theory in Morton at 9:30, then ten minutes to race over to Washington for my Thomas Hardy seminar. Ten minutes! Ten minutes to zoom across campus without looking like a crazy person! It was the worst. I always showed up to that English class huffing and puffing, windblown and a little damp under the arms. Highly frazzled, I tell ya. Why did I walk so fast, you might ask? The Morton-to-Washington walk isn’t that bad, right? I could’ve taken my time. Well, yeah, but then I would’ve had zero time to primp!

Don’t laugh! I know I’m not alone in this. I see how packed the ladies’ room is right before a class starts, and the men’s room is no exception. Sure plenty of these kids are flushing away that last cup of coffee before their lecture starts, but those mirrors are also swarmed. We pat our hair, straighten jackets, check nostrils for any bats in the cave. And even if you don’t, odds are you still wipe the corners of your mouth or clear your throat or something before stepping into a classroom. Why? Why do we feel the compulsion to look our best on a Monday morning at 8 a.m.? Why do we factor in an extra minute and a half before classes to make sure every hair’s in place and every fly’s zipped up? What’s the deal?

This is human nature, right? It’s natural and normal to want to look presentable, right? But isn’t one aspect of wanting to look hot doing so to get attention? We fix our clothes and hair and everything else because we know we’ll be seen and we want the observers to be impressed.

Or is it just for our own benefit? Whatever your definition of beauty and attractiveness, whatever your take on cultural values and what the media tells us, there’s still the notion that we can look good just for ourselves. Does part of feeling good because we look good eliminate everyone else? Is this possible? Can we feel attractive in a vacuum? Am I just babbling incoherently?

Let’s focus. Let’s remember why we’re here. This is a sex blog, after all. So I must ask: would you have sex with yourself? I’m not asking about any sort of back-breaking oral eroticism. I’m not asking about bending certain things around to fit in certain places. I’m not asking about masturbation. What I really want to know is, would you have sex with yourself?

(Pause for contemplation)

Too hard! (That’s what I said!) This question might be unanswerable. I mean, no one wants to come off as a self-involved narcissist, but at the same time no one wants to imagine their totally do-able naked body not getting done. It’s natural to want to feel desired — to want to feel sexy and powerful and attractive — but even as we know this we know that we’re not necessarily attracted to our own body, or body type, or gender or whatever. We think (or, sometimes we think) we’re working it, but when we see a body similar to ours looking comparably as good, we don’t necessarily want to have sex with it. And, when I remind myself that plenty of you readers out there are straight, or asexual, or identify as any of the myriad sexual identities that don’t necessarily find normative bodies (either your own, or the bodies of others) a sexual turn on, then this question of “Would you?” gets even more complicated.

Oy. Looks like I’ll have to admit defeat. Attraction and beauty and self-esteem make for some powerful stuff, possibly too powerful to deal with in this column. Maybe your comments will enlighten me and others about what’s going on here. Or, if nothing else, let’s hear why you would or wouldn’t have sex with yourself!

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