The need for a new language

Female Sexuality, Penis Size, Eroticism and Language by Chandler Marrs, PhD

Several weeks ago I wrote a post about Penis Size and Condom Use. It was a legitimate commentary on the state of medical and science marketing, but, truth be told, I used it as much to get a post with the words penis size circulating in blogosphere as I did to comment on bad medical journalism. Penis size ranks among the highest search phrases around. The post got a lot of hits, but no discussion. It was, after all, a bit of a bait and switch using research on penis size to describe the state of medical marketing – not what most would have expected when Googling that phrase.

Recently, however, a gentleman commented both on the content of the article and the nature of modern eroticism. This gave me pause on many fronts. First, I had to consider whether to approve the comment at all – he used rather frank terms. Would our readers be offended? Would they discontinue reading because of the terminology? The very act of having to consider whether to publish the comment, led me to wonder when our adult, female ears became so sensitive that we could not speak or write frankly about sexuality? Probably around the time of Freud, but I think I missed that memo. And then, there was the comment itself about the nature of modern sexuality or more specifically, eroticism.

It is that raw eroticism mediated by plastic [that] is devoid of real memory. When I think of some of my worst erotic encounters, they invariably are those mediated by plasticity.

How absolutely telling his comment was; modern eroticism is plastic. From a physiological standpoint, the plastic barrier that a condom provides reduces the erotic sensitivity for both parties – even when the condoms fit appropriately. And apparently, as the original research suggested, more often than not condoms do not fit correctly.

From the language perspective, modern sex is most often discussed in terms of disease, violence or ‘safe sex’ – no pleasure, no passion, no eroticism and not even an appreciation those concepts – only power, disease and violence. Even our images of what is supposed to be sexually desirable are plastic, modified and unreal – think unnaturally thin women, with fake boobs, botoxed lips and when at all possible, heavily photoshopped so that nary a glimmer of natural or erotic beauty comes through. Indeed, there is no reality to our plasticized versions of eroticism.

So how do we talk about sex in a modern culture, where disease from sex places a barrier on the act and the language of pleasure? How do we talk about sexuality when the medicalization of sex supersedes the erotic? How do we talk about eroticism when the politics of power elevate the sperm of violent, repugnant men – rapists, pedophiles and incestuous degenerates – above the health and well-being of girls and women? How do we talk about sex when women don’t enter the conversation, except to denounce the actions of men? How do we talk about sex, sexuality and eroticism in the 21st century?

We don’t. We seem only capable of talking about or writing or even visualizing notions of plastic, unreal, violent or medicalized sex. To make matters worse, we fail to distinguish among the ‘types’ of sex, between sex and sexuality, between the erotic and the mechanical. It’s all just sex. Well, it’s not.
We need a new language of sexuality; one that brings back to the fore a notion of beauty and pleasure for both participants; one that speaks frankly about sex, sexuality and eroticism. We need a language that is honest about female and male sexuality, anatomy and pleasure and that is capable of distinguishing acts of violence from sex.

I would argue that conversations about penis size and female sexual pleasure have to come into the mix in some form, preferably with honesty. Ladies, what beyond the obvious, do we really know about the male penis or male sexuality? Probably, not a lot. Does penis size affect female sexual pleasure? Does penis size affect male sexual pleasure? Who knows. Nobody, but the purveyors of porn talk about this stuff.

And guys, how much do you really know about the female anatomy or more importantly female sexuality? Sure you’ve seen hundreds, if not thousands of pornographic images of women faking pleasure with over-endowed men. And of course, you imagine yourselves the wielders of such pleasure, but in reality how many of you know what a real woman actually wants and needs to achieve pleasure? How many of you have taken the time to find out, or better yet, become skilled in these endeavors?

If we are to move beyond the plastic, the political, the violent, the sterile and mechanistic views of sex, we need to bring sexuality, eroticism and pleasure back into the conversation. We need a new language about sex and we need it now.