“How to Write About Sex”

“How to Write About Sex” July 5, 2012

this was the part which struck me:

These insights extended to matters of the heart. A couple of years ago, after dating a mutual acquaintance of ours had left me feeling bruised and baffled, I sought Sister’s advice. After hearing my story, she frowned slightly and asked, “Are you sure ________ is even capable of the kind of intimacy you want?” Just recently, the woman was diagnosed with a mild form of Asperger’s Syndrome, which, while not precluding intimacy absolutely, does tend to complicate it.

By some roundabout way, it was Sister’s stodginess that allowed her to come closer to the truth than either of us could. My own diagnosis was that the woman was a lesbian. In part, I might have lit on the idea because it provided my ego with an out, but it was also in sync with my self-consciously modern outlook, the one that sees sex, especially exotic sex, everywhere. Sister saw straight through to human suffering. I’ll try to remember her example the next time I feel the temptation to be tragically hip.


Those paragraphs reminded me of this short story, in which–among other things–I suggested that the longing we see between two people, that visible absence, may not always be sexual desire. In this case it was the desire for absolution.

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