Naked-gate, the term coined for the veritable band of celebrities’ phones being hacked into and their naked and compromising photos being stolen and placed online for all the world to see, has awakened debates and discussions in this country, which needed to happen. First are the technology questions: How safe is the iCloud? How did the images get out? If them, why not us (all of us)?
And then came the discussions about women taking such pictures to begin with, and what this says about our society. Has our culture become too sexualized? Or maybe sex has become too impersonal? The physical is all that matters and women feel pressured to send risque pictures of themselves to woo men who expect nothing less, some say.
For me, I just wonder how we got here.
A few years ago—OK, maybe a decade at this point when these smart phones were dumb and not nearly as important—a man asking for a nude picture wouldn’t get one. He might get slapped. He might get ignored from then on by the offended female. Somehow, at some point, this changed and it became a part of the romance dance, the hookup protocol.
That so many do it so freely could be an enormous turning point. It could signal that sex needs to calm down and take less of a dominant role in romantic relationships.
I’ve been pondering all of these deep, profound questions a lot.
And then, I came across a guy who was trying to take some action against it. A 33-year-old gay man named Matty Swenson decided that he was getting laid too much and he questioned the role of sex in his life. So, cold turkey, he gave it up. For a year.
There are certainly people who could not or would not abstain in this way. Swenson opted to see what happened when sex was taken out of the equation. And then he wrote about it for The Bold Italic, an alternative publication based out of his home of San Francisco.
Off the bat, I wondered if going sexless would have as dramatic an impact as it did for George and Elaine. For the non-“Seinfeld” fans among you, see below.
So where did our friend Swenson fare in relation? Really, he was neither a George nor an Elaine. The hardest part of the experiment seemed to be the questioning by friends: “Why would you live in a candy store,” they said about gay mecca San Fran, “and not try at least some damn candy.” He never really seemed able to articulate why he was taking a break from getting it on with other men.
Interestingly, he begins to realize why his sexually active friends get intimate as often as they do. They’re bored, have lust or need a conquest. This sadden him, even though he’s done it himself.
On a more personal level, for Swenson, a sex vacation didn’t make a huge bit of difference. At the end of it all, he said he was ready to go back to sex and his “junk had yet to morph into an unknown human sex organ” from not being used in that way.What he did realize was quite similar to the soul-searching I’ve been doing, in the wake of Naked-gate, we sure place a lot of emphasis on sex.
Even by not partaking for a year, he was right back where I had started.