Monday, January 30, 2012


It's always nice to be able to blog my two favorite topics in tandem (film and sex), so I'm happy to report I recently saw one of the top films of 2011: Hysteria. It's an account of the London doctor who, tiring of servicing so many Victorian matrons by hand (and I do mean hand), invented the first electrical vibrator. I saw the film at the Kino Central in Berlin, in a packed house of about three-quarters women. Of my five years on and off in Berlin, I can solemnly swear this is the very first time I've sat in the middle of German women literally screaming with laughter. I honestly can't remember the last time I enjoyed a movie-going experience as much!

Well, then, psychoanalysis in the 19th and early 20th centuries had a ball with women, didn't it? If they weren't being accused of frigidity, it would seem, they were being diagnosed with hysteria. Even now, in the 21st century, how often have you heard someone use the term "frigid" to describe a woman? Now how about "nymphomaniac"? For heaven's sake, ours is one of the few species where females are designed to desire as much or more sex than males. In stark contrast, let's review the image of the man snoring in a heap where he's fallen after finishing his business as meanwhile the woman fantasizes about crooking her finger to summon the next one...

Let me recount a second story as a counterpoint. A week or so ago I met up with a new prospect and went through the usual routine of dispensing with the preliminaries (tell me about yourself, where you're from, what you're doing in Berlin, etc.) in order to get down to the important topic at hand. I'm watching for a certain spark in a man's eyes, an indication that he "gets" that a smart-as-hell, experienced, no-nonsense woman can be sexy. My faithful readers (some of whom have experienced this first-hand) can certainly imagine that a woman like me doesn't exactly mince words on the first date. It's guaranteed that I will bring up my favorite topic if I like the man at all. This one seemed to be flying wingtip-to-wingtip with me and so I consented to continue the conversation over a second drink with him at a cool little French café in a Kreuzberg Keller. I asked him about that moment I'd observed in his eyes a short time before, the one I've come to think of as the Pornographic Images Moment, which my frankness almost invariably tends to invoke. From what I've previously deduced (see here), such images are a rather constant part of life for men [mental note to self: more detailed questioning about this is needed]. So I told him, "I could see at one point that you felt like reaching across the table, grabbing me and ripping my clothes off right there in the middle of the restaurant. What stopped you?" He smiled ruefully and said, "Training, constant training."

Later I was chatting with the man I think of as Chocolate Guy, responsible for by far the most creative Craigslist M4W personals action this previous year in Berlin. He'd describe it more as some sort of reverse Pavlovian conditioning: in his words, "the bell rings and everyone pretends it never happened." Finally, here's what a new acquaintance had to say: "Islam has something going for it with those burkas, you know, to cover up those curves."

It's depressing, isn't it? We can't blame our societal ills on another species that mercilessly whittles away at our natural habitat or shuts us up in metal cages in the interests of science. No, the concrete jungles which we inhabit, with their endless rules designed to beat us down into sedate, asexual, obedient little creatures, are entirely of our own making.

Well this wild animal, for one, doesn't take kindly to captivity. And so she's launching a new campaign, to find out what this pathetic species of ours is doing to escape from the zoo. How we post-modern humans are rediscovering our true natures. And where the unapologetically sexual are hanging out in Berlin. So, readers in the know, come on now, help me out, post a comment on how/what/where/when you get out of the zoo -- and remember, it's completely anonymous.

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