Dude, why so serious?

Sex on Tuesday

This column was originally published in the Dec. 1, 2009 issue of The Daily Californian.

Over the past three years, I rarely made it through an entire Sex on Tuesday column.

Some crazy story would whet my appetite only to let me down a few paragraphs later. All those thick, mildly philosophical paragraphs would push my mind to ponder where I should go for lunch. Next thing I knew, I would be heading to the back page to get my sports fix.

Maybe it’s because I had enough Foucault in my rhetoric courses, or maybe I couldn’t care less about how some college student was posturing as some deep intellectual. Whatever it was, I didn’t dig the abstract theoretical writing about sex.

The thing that disturbed me most about a handful of these columns is the subtle theme of how sex is supposed to take you to a higher level of being. If it fails to do so, you’re doing it wrong. That is to say that we as human beings will never truly live until we experience intercourse that induces in us some life-changing breakthrough. While we are in this abnormal state, we can finally come to a fuller understanding of who we are.

And for those of us unable to reach nirvana, well, we’re not getting jiggy with it properly.

Sex columnists certainly aren’t the only purveyors of this view, but they tend to be the standard-bearers of it. Throughout this semester, I’ve made it my project to show that there is another, simpler view of sex. Generally speaking, I view intercourse as an act that taps into our animalistic instincts: Me want to bone you. You want to bone me?

Let’s be real here: When our hormones take over, they tell us to go have 15 minutes of ecstasy — not to go and try to find the meaning of life. Don’t kid yourself into thinking that your hormones work any differently.

Half the time after a successful sexual interaction, I want to beat my chest like King Kong while simultaneously howling like Jacob Black (Team Jacob for the win) and then follow that up by crashing into the headboard like Alexander Ovechkin smashes into fiberglass after he scores a goal (and to think they said I couldn’t get in a hockey reference by the end of the semester).

Go ahead and embrace that primal aspect of sex.

Contrary to what many people would have you believe, there is nothing wrong with having an uncomplicated night of coitus. It’s healthy for you to drop your social pretenses and let loose in the confines of your bedroom. During most other times, we’re forced to keep our natural tendencies pent up at the expense of enjoying ourselves to the fullest.

Only in rare cases can you actually act a complete fool in public without A) alienating the people you’re with or B) getting written up for student conduct violations. (How was a brother supposed to know UCPD was camped out at the Big Game?)

Let that animal rage — in all of its forms — out of you, and have a good time instead of overthinking sex.

You might want to nibble on a little flesh. As long as it doesn’t offend your partner, don’t hold back, young ‘un. Getting back to the idea of coming to a higher level of being, I’m not saying that it doesn’t exist — I am saying that for me, achieving it doesn’t come primarily through sex.

Instead, it is reached through opening yourself up to the point where someone else knows you inside out. You tell a joke about Gorbachev’s wine stain that goes way over everyone else’s head, yet there she is with her hand outstretched ready to receive you with a high-five by the time you turn around.

You’re about to open up your birthday gift from her, and yet you already are pretty sure you know what she got you. You just know.

For some of us, sex also falls right in line with these two examples. Getting to the point where you know what your partner wants, when she wants it and what works for you is vital.

Sex, in this case, weaves into something larger; it is just one component — not the component — to some higher state of being, or whatever you want to call it. It fits into the framework of coming to a greater understanding of yourself by virtue of enabling someone else to understand you.

Man, I need a girlfriend.


Mustafa Shaikh was an undergraduate at UC Berkeley and is a former Daily Cal columnist.