We watch several network medical shows and find that they have three things in common: (1) Concerned doctors sitting up all night with critically ill patients, (2) Rarely used medical procedures that nobody’s insurance would pay for, and (3) doctors and nurses who can’t keep their hands off each other.
Typically, two of the characters will go for weeks obviously interested in each other while desperately striving to keep things professional and avoid having to go to human resources and submit a consent form stating that they are intimate. Then, one night after a tough day in the E.R. and the O.R., the two people are walking down a darkened hallway talking about the emotions of the day when, SUDDENLY, their eyes lock into a mutual “come whither” look and they go nuts.
They find a broom closet or a medical supply room or an unused room, careen into it, and rip off each other’s clothes with an urgency that surpasses all understanding. Nobody mentions birth control or how spouses might react to their desires. All that’s missing is the music from “Unchained Melody.”
I wonder whether this kind of thing happens in “real life” hospitals. When I’ve been a patient, I seldom have the sense that doctors and nurses and orderlies stopping by my room to make life and death decisions about me have arrived fresh from the broom closet. But I see how they look at each other. While I’m likely to say almost anything, I have yet to look at the staff members assembled around my bed and say, “I’m curious how many of you are screwing each other and billing those hours to my Medicare account.”
That question would probably ensure that I’d die during the night due to a massive fentanyl overdose. Or a fall down an open elevator shaft.
I’m sure real doctors and nurses have “needs” and that savvy medical show producers want to portray those needs accurately while giving viewers a few minutes’ respite from the blood. But sex in a rush: is that for real or for dramatic effect?
When we were growing up, we occasionally heard about sex books that were banned everywhere. “Banned everywhere” meant those books were must-read novels. We were usually disappointed because they focused on a bunch of people having various kinds of scandalous sex for hundreds of words. Yawn
In some of these books, having sex was the plot. In some books, there was a plot–let’s say it was about the good guys vs. the bad guys–that was constantly interrupted by people stopping to have sex. Of course, when you’re in middle school or high school, you don’t care about the plot.
Since most of us didn’t have a lot of experience (sex-wise) in those days, people in the books were constantly doing stuff many of us couldn’t figure out. Needless to say, we couldn’t ask our English teachers or parents what those characters were doing. It would be like reading a book that mentions the Cardi B song WAP (go look it up if you haven’t heard about it) and then going to mom and saying, “Exactly what is WAP?”
There are a few popular novelists writing decent books that keep bogging things down with sex. These books have actual plots. Whenever the plot is about to take an important move forward, the protagonist gets an attack of lust and the action stops while s/he has a night to remember with somebody s/he just met five minutes earlier.
I want to write to the authors that do this and suggest they put the sex in the footnotes. I’m sure it’s there to sell books. But it really messes up the storyline. Maybe I’m just getting old and find no joy anymore reading about gratuitous sex in the back seat of a Buick or even in a $1000-per-night hotel room.
In high school, such things were WOW. Today, they’re as boring as watching a fly standing on the ceiling. Occasionally, I find an author who knows how to write about sex and, well, it’s like a miracle. But those books are few and far between.
When I was a kid, I found it amusing whenever a book was banned to hear that a long line of educators, philosophers, priests, etc., had read the book and wanted to protect the rest of us from reading the book. The same thing is happening today with WAP. Important people keep “accidentally” hearing the song or seeing the video and telling the rest of us how appalled they were.
I’ve never figured out how somebody accidentally reads a scandalous book or sees a scandalous music video. Perhaps I should take comfort in the fact that those people are trying to shield me from the bad stuff.
Rape and other forms of abuse are crimes of hate and have nothing to do with consensual recreational sex, much less love.
Now that James Toback’s and Harvey Weinstein’s names have become nearly synonymous with physical and verbal sexual harassment, people are asking how this has happened.
There’s no need to ask. Most men were brought up to believe that the purpose of women is sex, free or for pay. I’ll stipulate that in many families–such as mine–young men were taught that sex is appropriate only when it’s a component of love and marriage: the times have changed about that as, to varying extents, both men and woman believe consensual sex is simply recreation–like, say, bowling or jogging or tennis.
As for men’s belief that the purpose of women is sex. that has not changed. I heard that on the playground and the middle school and high school locker rooms during P.E. class fifty years ago, and knew it was the basic attitude of varsity and junior varsity high school and college teams. Certainly, I heard this view in the military.
What I did not hear was talk of rape. Culturally, men were encouraged to develop excessive masculine traits, including being and acting as macho as possible, focus on rugged sports like wrestling/boxing and football rather than baseball and tennis, going hunting for sport rather than any need for food, to generally avoid courses/hobbies/activities relating to liberal arts, to approach everything in life with an over-the-top (and often mindless) pack mentality bravado, and to seek out “the kind of woman” who enjoyed consensual sex.
Now society is asking why any man would have an entitlement attitude about sex and women as sex objects. The answer isn’t new: Men are brought up to believe this. While women are not at fault for this–other than the pretense that it’s okay for their husbands to bring up their sons with this mindset–they have contributed to the women as sex objects mindset by wearing more and more provocative clothing. However, this clothing does not justify rape. It does cloud the issue.
Women have asked for the right to do what men have always done: wear what they want, walk alone where they want, and generally to feel safe and be safe wherever they are. While I was not brought up to see such rights as provocative behavior, men in general have been trained/brainwashed to believe that a woman alone was “an opportunity.”
So now, as I read in the news, many men in Hollywood don’t know what to say about Toback, Weinstein and others. If they admit they were aware of non-consensual sex, groping, and verbal abuse/innuendo, they are asked why they didn’t protest this behavior. If they claim they didn’t know it was happening, they’re assumed to be naive or to be lying.
I don’t feel their pain. I have no sympathy for them. Even though men have been (and are still being) brought up to see woman as sex objects, we were also brought up to see rape and other physical/verbal abuse as crimes. Yes, there have been numerous examples of groups of men becoming silent to shield a member who is accused of rape. Yet, rape is a crime and men know that it is. Hollywood has been complicit for years. In many ways, we all have been complicit because even the best of men know how men have been brought up and I have a strong feeling that very few of us stood up in a locker room and said “you guys are assholes” when teammates said “we’re gonna get drunk and find some free pussy tonight.”
According to the National Sexual Violence Resource Center, “one in five women and one in 71 men will be raped at some point in their lives. In eight out of ten cases of rape, the victim knew the victim knew the person who sexually assaulted them.” No wonder most women can say “Me, too” whether it’s rape, groping, or verbal abuse/harassment.
Who is doing this? The male animal we have all created and nurtured.
Two of Campbell’s novels, “Sarabande” and “Conjure Woman’s Cat” focus on rape, the first from the victim’s viewpoint and the second from a relative’s viewpoint.