SEX ON TUESDAY: Longing for simpler times

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My first sexual experiences happened in parked cars in the suburbs of Southern California. Usually a Strokes song was playing, my head would hit the roof at least five or six times and neither of us really knew what we were doing. On the drives back home, I remember dreaming of the day when I would finally be able to make love in my own room, on my own bed. Three years and many sexy rendezvous later, I have both a spacious room and a fluffy queen mattress. But lately I find myself strangely nostalgic for a back seat quickie.

Car sex, by definition, is already sexy. Yes, the space is a lot tighter, but there seem to be many delightful advantages to having sex in a motor vehicle. I see the headrests not so much as hindrances but more as leverages, and the backseat as a sturdy couch perfect for getting on top while enjoying the ride. In a car, there will always be some form of music, and if you bring your iPod around everywhere like I do, you can get it on to your favorite sexy playlist. Also, one of the coolest aspects of a car is that you can transport your sexual escapade to a scenic spot like an ocean cliff or a canyon view.

Inside the microcosm of a car, shortcomings and mistakes are overlooked. Awkward silences are replaced by the slapping of moist skin against steamy windows and hot groans from a new bruise. You go in expecting to exit with a battle wound or two, so you usually play more rough than usual. There are fewer pressures to strip entirely naked — although doing so is always welcomed.

Because of the limited space, understated positions are played out thoroughly. There is always that possibility of getting caught or seen, and this risk intensifies how much you want the other person at that very moment. The entire affair, from making out to finishing, is sexy, dangerous and daring.

Everything is magnified in a car. Have you ever held someone else’s mouth right by your ear the entire time while making love? If you haven’t, try it and thank me later. You hear their breathing and moans at an amplified level. Bodies are much closer, and the chemistry is so electric it’s almost volatile.

Best of all, there is no awkward conundrum of “to cuddle or not to cuddle.” There is no need to search for a bathroom at the end of a dark hall and absolutely no run-ins with roommates on the way out. There is no walk of shame. After-sex talk is generally lighter, and the topics are more whimsical and overall more entertaining. Although the sex itself is messier, everything else is, in fact, much less complicated.

I find that with beds, there are actually more letdowns. When feeling cramped within the limitations of a car, I used to excuse any disappointments by assuming that with more space he would be much more affectionate and that I would be more sexual.

However, because there is more room in a bed, there are also many more opportunities for awkward silences and more chances of exposure and vulnerability. In a bedroom, I feel the clashes between what sex is and what people conceive sex to be. Hollywood films and the orchestrated eroticism of the porn industry have a strong and constant impact on the expectations and standards that people bring when approaching sexual situations.

With more space and more time to think, I often find myself faced with a stream of questions instead of fully engaging and trusting my intrinsic carnal desires. Is it time to switch positions already? Is it humanly possible to look sexy while my face is squashed against the pillow? Am I moaning loudly enough? This feels good to me, but does this really feel good to you?

The bedroom is also a critically vulnerable location for subconscious comparisons because it is haunted by past lovers and habitual expectations. It is easy to get comfortable with the ways of your last partner and to scrutinize different techniques that come your way. The key is to approach every intimate relationship free of idealizations and recognize each one as something that is incomparable and unique.

Sex is not meant to be perfect and is oftentimes most beautiful for its messier qualities. Learning to revel in each individual experience, awkward silences and all, is a liberating lesson to learn. It is crucial to let go of the standardized notions of sex that have been shoved down our throats — no pun intended.

I do love my bed, so I’m guessing that my recent sentimentality for car sex stems from being overwhelmed and bombarded by life. I am longing for a simpler time when the weight of the world was lighter. I could just pull my pants back on, jump to the front seat, roll down the windows and drive.