Let's Settle This Once and For All: Is Sex Sexy or Not?

I'm just gonna blow my load up front and work back from there: Yes, sex is sexy. Good sex is sexy. Bad sex is not sexy. You would think that this immutable truth would be obvious but it is not obvious. Nothing illustrates this more than two things on social media right now that seem to miss this essential distinction.

Thing 1: "21 Unsexiest Things About Sex (Because It's Not All Making 'Love' and Orgasms Is It?)"

It is if you're lucky.

But if you're not, you would probably compile a list of 21 totally regular things that happen during sex and label them unsexy as opposed to what they really are: Bad sex, inevitable bodily functions, and/or things that are not sexy on their own, but that don't register as unsexy in the moment because YOU ARE TOO TURNED ON.

But noooooo, says Hannah Gale, these parts of sex are unsexy:

1. The smell. That smell. You know the one. The indescribable combination of semen, lady juice and sweat. Nice.

2. Removing socks. Hey, let me just try and hop around naked while I pull a sock printed with dinosaurs off my foot. Especially unsexy when your partner is trying to continue the foreplay by latching onto your nipple while you wrestle with your ankle.

3. Fanny farts.

4. Or even worse, those real farts that slip out when you least suspect it.

5. Getting sex cramp in your leg. Feeling like someone may have slipped a dagger into your thigh and not knowing the best way to respond.

6. Getting semen in your eye. Or in your hair. Or anywhere that isn't your private parts. How long are you supposed to wait until you start the thorough clean-up process?

7. Also, swallowing semen and trying to pretend that it tastes like a peanut butter milkshake rather than, well, a slimy, salty bogey.

It goes on, but do you need it to? Because minus the farts (which, come on, are usually just funny anyway mid-coitus if they happen at all), she just listed all the good things about sex, which include how it smells and tastes, acting like an idiot to get your clothes off so fast because you want someone that much, not even noticing your underwear because you are too turned on to be inhibited. I super don't get this list. As Paris Lees over at Vice called it in her own celebration of 21 of the sexiest things about sex:

She doesn't even preface her list with any real acknowledgment that sex can be great fun, or that women's pleasure is important. It comes across like "women don't really enjoy sex, it's all just so dirty and embarrassing."

The author of the unsexy list could have talked about the performance aspect of sex for women, because that would be interesting. And I fully concede that if you are bored, uninterested, not turned on, or the person you're doing it with has no idea what they are doing, that you would probably notice every little errant detail of the act of sex and not get into it. I've been there! But that is not because sex is unsexy, it's because you are having bad sex or are too nervous to enjoy it.

But, truth: If you are horny enough, you will do it in a truckstop bathroom. If you are turned on enough, you will have sex on a grody back alley futon and like it. If you are in the mood for love, you will enjoy unshowered, greasy-haired, sweaty, dirty-talkin', jizz-everywhere sex in the kitchen of a Denny's. A busy kitchen. An open Denny's. If you are in the zone, you would do it at a sewage treatment plant directly under a picture of Jesus. THAT IS HOW SEX WORKS.

The rest of the piece traffics in immature wincing over all the stuff that good-natured sex skips blithely by or dives right into and rolls around gleefully, like:

12. Trying to talk dirty. What words are you supposed to use? 'I want you to stick your willy in my pussy' *is sick all over self*

and

16. The sweat. The sweat that makes your perfectly placed fringe stick to your forehead like a greasy pre-teen, and your make-up melt down your face until you look like a serial killer. Cute.

Sigh. If you're hoping to still look good during/after sex and don't want to sweat, try an ice bath.

18. Doggy style. Just, doggy style. What horrible person invented this?

Um, every couple who ever wanted to get laid good?

In the wrong hands, every good consensual sex act can be horrifyingly dull, sometimes painful, and plenty sad and/or hilarious. If you have ever been awkwardly fingerbanged by a bartender who was still not over his girlfriend, call me. Let's commiserate. But let's not mistake that for what good sex is and should be: Dirty, sweaty, clumsy even, and fun.

Thing 2: Sex Spreadsheet

I have no idea if a guy really did send his wife a spreadsheet detailing her excuses for not putting out between June 3rd and July 16th. She gave in to his carnal desires thrice in that period, and her reasons for not feeling like it every other time he attempted include "I'm too drunk and I ate too much," and "I'm sweaty and gross and I'm tired."

Even if it's fake, the excuses sound real, because that is exactly what you say to get out of sex when either a). you don't want to fuck that person because it's not good or b). sex is good but something they are doing makes you not want to fuck them at this particular juncture.

Either way, anyone who would list out your excuses rather than figure out what is behind it all sounds exactly like the sort of person that would list 21 normal or fun aspects of sex and call it unsexy. In other words, get those two kids together and they can not do it all day long, stewing in the juices of their discontent.

Illustration by Jim Cooke.