M a r c h   2 0 0 5

No time for love

Letting the sexual genie out of the bottle
Dear Dr. Jones
by GZO Jones

s it advice? Is it opinion? Or is it simply the monthly rant of a pompous, over-the-hill windbag? Whatever it is, it's been happening without fail since our very first year, 2001, when GZO Jones contacted us from his Brazilian retreat and hinted at a literary pedigree that reaches back to the Beats. So we offered him the job and he's amused us while remaining pithy and religiously reliable ever since. Plus, he works really cheap.

Dear Dr. Jones,

What's the big deal about Kinsey? I mean, it's like they're saying he "discovered" sex. Isn't that like saying Lawrence of Arabia discovered sand?

Oh Come Now

Dear OCN,

I never met Alfred Kinsey, but I've long admired his efforts – which began to bring sex out of the closet for the ridiculously repressed America of the 1940s and '50s.

Before the good doctor's work, society said women weren't supposed to have orgasms, much less enjoy them. Hell, it was taboo for anybody to have any kind of orgasm other than within a legal marriage between a man and woman. No masturbation, no living in sin. No nothing other than husband and wife via man-on-top-get-it-over-with-quick. Anything else was often actually criminalized! And don't EVEN think about homosexuality!

That kind of dogma, of course, is like saying prohibition keeps people away from liquor.

But Kinsey, a mild-mannered college entomology professor, put people of all stripes at ease and got them talking about their sexuality through extensive interviews. Kinsey and his staff came up with questions for every conceivable sexual experience, asking things in a way that made subjects feel as though any behavior was expected and accepted – from the "unusual" to (gasp!) sex removed from love.

And talk they did, about the enormity of their collective sexual experience and activity: rich, poor, black, white and everything in between – 20,000 subjects in all! The study began to quantify the fact that human sexual identity is endlessly complicated.

"My writing will speak with the combined wisdom of all of us," Kinsey told respondents as he and his staff crisscrossed the country in search of the delicious truth.

The first book came out in the late 1940s and quickly sold 200,000 copies. And although his work predictably came under much scrutiny, it served to let the sexual genie out of the bottle. Americans (prudes included) began talking about the book, the study, the doctor and, thus, about sex.

Ironically, Kinsey died in the late '50s – before the sexual revolution of the '60s that essentially validated his work. But the essence of Kinsey's work is with us to this day: Sex is neither good nor bad, moral nor immoral. It simply is.

Before Kinsey, Americans weren't talking about sex. But they were certainly thinking about it! That, at least in part, is what he discovered.

Still, the realization that the world is a better place when it doesn't make anyone feel shame for their sexual proclivities is not the same as such obvious logic actually being put into practice.

Sadly, it looks as though that kind of would-be elementary enlightenment might take a few more centuries.

– Jones

Dear Dr. Jones,

Do you think steroids are that big of a problem in big-league baseball? Do you think testing will stop it? Do you believe Jose Canseco?

Just Juiced

Dear JJ,

Yes, no and maybe.

– Jones

Dear Dr. Jones,

You flaming liberals are all alike. Plenty of countries and experts thought Sadam had weapons of mass destruction but you just don't want to admit that Bush was in the right.

W. Wasn't Wrong

Dear WWW,

Indeed, plenty of countries and experts thought Sadam had weapons of mass destruction. But only one "leader" was foolish enough to shake the wasp's nest.

– Jones

Dear Hunter,

Thanks for everything. Rest in peace.

– Jones

Examine more advice from GZO Jones, visit his Web site and e-mail your question, large or small, to gzojones@hotmail.com.

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