"You got any Dragon Lady films?" It was 2005, in a southern California porn shop, and the octogenarian at the counter was asking me a question that that was so far indiscernible at the least, and vaguely racist at worst. I faltered, "dragon... lady?" He shook his head, annoyed, "yeah, you know, those Oriental gals. Dragon ladies." I blinked, "Oh, you mean Asian women?" "That’s what I said, yeah." I sighed. "Right this way, sir."
Homo erectus is a creature vastly more existentially aware than any other living organism on the planet. We’ve combed the depths of the ocean, launched other people into space, cloned body parts, and genetically modified our foods. And yet, Sex in America still clings to a lot of old-fashioned beliefs. So many people still claim to rely on traditional ideals, as a defense against learning and accepting correct information, terms, and ideas. But! But! The good old days! Traditional values! As if people weren’t butt fucking, in the 1950s.
How did we get here? Each stimulus creates a reaction; each cause leads to an effect. American society stands alone in its gun violence, mental health diagnoses, income disparity, and contradictory sexual mores, and it’s not by accident. Let’s go back in time, to when the pilgrims of the Old Country set out to worship their religions without persecution. And Catholic persecution is nothing to smirk at, but the Puritans had their own strict beliefs, and they accidentally and/or systematically committed mass genocide as they invaded the continent of North America in order to live by their own definition of "free". We are a nation comprised of the offspring of cult followers, essentially.
So it comes as no surprise that Hitachi wands are still marketed as "back massagers", that some men still consider hyper masculinity to be a sign of superiority, that a woman’s worth is judged on the length of her skirt, that black males are fetishized in cuckold fantasies as ‘Mandingos’, and that porn clerks consistently have to explain that "Oriental" is a term meant for food or furniture, not a person.
Sex is life. Heck, archaeologists find prehistoric dildos all the time; the most recent one being carved from wood, about four inches long, discovered in Sweden and dating back to approximately 6,000 BC. Carvings and art in ancient Greece and Rome depict orgies, anal sex, and the Kama Sutra is a pretty amusing read on male dominance and female submission. At the turn of the century, and as a result of American industrialization, wealthy women were prescribed stimulation devices to cure ‘hysteria’, which is another way of saying that rich ladies were getting ‘scripts for vibrators. In the entirety of human existence, sex probably hasn’t changed much, but the way sex is discussed, portrayed and depicted, is entirely dependent on the cultural trends of the time.
And historically, it seems to be two strokes forward, one stroke back. Even in the last century, Americans have engaged in persecution and prosecution of people who engage in consensual activities that are not considered normative. In 1962, the state of Illinois was the first to decriminalize homosexuality, and yet not until 1973, did the American Psychiatric Association declassified homosexuality as a mental disorder. Interracial marriage was illegal in many states until 1967, and anti sodomy laws still exist in a dozen states. It boggles the mind that while some people are trying to cure cancer, others are telling us what consenting adults can stick up their butts.
Conversion therapy is one perfect example of the damage done by ignorant, archaic beliefs. That’s the type of "pray the gay away treatment" that quainter generations of prior instituted for decades, victims of this type of so-called therapy often subsequently suffered from self-harm, depression and suicide. Only in the last decade, and specifically the last year, have local and nationwide activists and health professionals fought for the abusive, trauma that is conversion therapy, to be made illegal.
It’s not just bad politics that leads to bad sex, but also a swath of misinformation in media and advertising and pop culture. Plenty of Americans still believe that there is a correlation between a man’s shoe size and his phallus length (there isn’t). And companies like Johnson and Johnson rake in millions of dollars each year on so-called "feminine hygiene" products like douches. Vaginal douching is not only unnecessary, but it is actually quite bad for vaginal health. Go ahead, ask a gynecologist. Douching does not "clean" anything. Rather, it strips the healthy, pH-balancing bacteria from a vagina, causing disruption to the body. Douching exists because women are expected to smell "fresh", which in reality is entirely dependent on genetics, diet, and overall health. And newsflash, a pussy is not supposed to smell like a clean basket of laundry. Some women are still afraid to sleep in tampons, for fear of getting sick from Toxic Shock Syndrome, (TSS), even though tampon companies haven’t used rayon in decades, the primary cause of TSS.
Culture and science is creeping toward a wider glossary of terms and understanding. The information exists, and yet for some reason it is slow to spread.
In speaking with a member of the generation Y population, "queer" as a term is now gaining popular acceptance as an umbrella term, for someone who feels outside of the societal norms in regards to gender or sexuality. Modern use of the word ‘queer’ includes, but is not limited to bisexuality, homosexuality, and pan sexuality. And yet the term "queer" has en entirely different connotation to older folks. "I hate that word", said an elderly transgender woman. She and I were seated at a cocktail party. Her lashes were stuck on, her penis was tucked back, and she twisted her mouth at the word. "That’s the word they used to use when they beat us."
There’s an old saying that "The only constant in life is change", and I think ‘Mericans are lubed up for some progress. Nobody still believes that a stork delivers babies. Just one decade ago, gay marriage was illegal in Oregon, and last year that was overturned. In the last decade, Planned Parenthoods haven’t been bombed like they were in the 90’s. Teen pregnancy is the lowest in twenty years and my most recent pap smear came back negative. The past is fun to look back on, but let’s keep it behind us. I welcome a future of consensual, legal sodomy, with or without "dragon ladies".
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