Young women today feel vulnerable to judgment; if a harsh sentence is passed (or even suspected or projected), it is not her reputation that suffers so much as the stability of her moral universe. They did not have long to explore the sexual revolution and make it their own. Before the old chains had grown cold, while young women were still rubbing the circulation back into their ankles and taking tentative steps forward, the beauty industries levied a heavy toll on further investigations, and beauty pornography offered them designer bondage.
Sexual expression is so powerful a way of bonding with others and so devastating a way of hurting others that it can never be reduced to a mere matter of personal preferences. Sexual desires have immense capacities to order or disorder the social world. Because of this, the social meanings and expressions of sexual desire, connections, and taboos are an organizing component of human societies: Who wants whom? Who belongs with whom? Who is forbidden to whom? What do infractions mean, and what are their consequences?
In spite of hopes to the contrary, pornography and mass culture are working to collapse sexuality with rape, reinforcing the patterns of male dominance and female submission so that many young people believe this is simply the way sex it. This means that many of the rapists of the future will believe they are behaving within socially accepted norms.
Sexual satisfaction eases the stranglehold of materialism, since status symbols no longer look sexual, but irrelevant. Product lust weakens where emotional and sexual lust intensifies. The price we pay for artificially buoying up this market is our heart's desire. The beauty myth keeps a gap of fantasy between men and women. That gap is made with mirrors; no law of nature supports it. It keeps us spending vast sums of money and looking distractedly around us, but its smoke and reflection interfere with our freedom to be sexually ourselves.
Modern cosmetic surgeons have a direct financial interest in a social role for women that requires them to feel ugly. They do not simply advertise for a share of a market that already exists: Their advertisements create new markets. It is a boom industry because it is influentially placed to create its own demand through the pairing of text with ads in women's magazines. The industry takes out ads and gets coverage; women get cut open. They pay their money and they takes their chances. As surgeons grow richer, they are able to command larger and brighter ad spaces.
Millions of couples out there practiced the art of sadomasochism every day, without even realizing it. They went to work, came back, complained about everything, insulted their wife or were insulted by her, felt wretched, but were, nonetheless, tightly bound to their own unhappiness, not realizing that all it would take was a single gesture, a final goodbye, to free them from that oppression.
We fitted together like the two halves of an oyster-shell. I was Narcissus, embracing the pond in which I was about to drown. However much we had to hide our love, however guarded we had to be about our pleasure, I could not long be miserable about a thing so very sweet. Nor, in my gladness, could I quite believe that anybody would be anything but happy for me if only they knew.
And eventually in that house where everyone, even the fugitive hiding in the cellar from his faceless enemies, finds his tongue cleaving dryly to the roof of his mouth, where even the sons of the house have to go into the cornfield with the rickshaw boy to joke about whores and compare the length of their members and whisper furtively about dreams of being film directors (Hanif's dream, which horrifies his dream-invading mother, who believes the cinema to be an extension of the brothel business), where life has been transmuted into grotesquery by the irruption into it of history, eventually in the murkiness of the underworld he cannot help himself, he finds his eyes straying upwards, up along delicate sandals and baggy pajamas and past loose kurta and above the dupatta, the cloth of modesty, until eyes meet eyes, and then
that's what people say. No one ever mentions how girls have to be something other than themselves altogether. We are to stifle the same feelings that boys are encouraged to display. We are to use gossip as a means of policing ourselves -- this way those who do succumb to sex but are not damaged by it are damaged instead by peer malice. Girls demand a covenant because if one gives in, others will be expected to do the same. We are to remain united in cruelty, ignorance, and aversion. Or we are to starve the flesh from our bones, penalizing the body for its nature, castigating ourselves for advances we are powerless to prevent. We are to make false promises then resist the attentions solicited. Basically we are to become expert liars. (p. 65)
It was frankly sort of confusing, the way everyone stared at our bodies exactly as they tried to erase the ideas of our bodies from our minds. We were supposed to get over ourselves but no one was supposed to get over us. The female body was our worst handicap and our best advantage -- the surest means to success, the surest course to failure. (p. 72)
It would be perfect if everyone who makes love, is in love, but this is simply an unrealistic expectation. I'd say 75 percent of the population of people who make love, are not in love, this is simply the reality of the human race, and to be idealistic about this is to wait for the stars to aline and Jupiter to change color; for the Heavens to etch your names together in the sky before you make love to someone. But idealism is immaturity, and as a matter of fact, the stars may never aline, Jupiter may never change color, and the Heavens may never ever etch your names together in the sky for you to have the never-ending permission to make endless love to one another. And so the bottom line is, there really is no difference between doing something today, and doing something tomorrow, because today is what you have, and tomorrow may not turn out the way you expect it to. At the end of the day, sex is an animalistic, humanistic, passionate desire.
NO. No no no. I don't want to screw you. I just love you. When did who you want to screw become the whole game? Since when is the person you want to screw the only person you get to love? It's so stupid, Tiny! I mean, Jesus, who even gives a fuck about sex?! People act like it's the most important thing humans do, but come on. How can our sentient fucking lives revolve around something slugs can do. I mean, who you want to screw and whether you screw them? Those are important questions, I guess. But they're not that important. You know what's important? Who would you die for? Who do you wake up at five forty-five in the morning for even though you don't even know why he needs you? Whose drunken nose would you pick?!
As in all infant sciences, the universal habit of the human mind - to take a partial or local truth, generalise it unduly and try to explain a whole field of nature in its narrow terms - runs riot here (in psychoanalysis). Moreover, the exaggeration of the importance of suppressed sexual complexes is a dangerous falsehood.
Press conference [on the movie ] yielded the usual crop of daftness. I've been asked if I related personally to Carrington's tortured relationship with sex and replied that no, not really, I'd had a very pleasant time since I was fifteen. This elicited very disapproving copy from the Brits ... No wonder people think we don't sex in England.