What is Sex Theater?

I once went to something you could call a sex party. There was music, dancing and drinking, and behind heavy velvet drapes was a large room dedicated to the other kind of fun. The “funnest” kind.

I had gone to this party alone, but still had to get verified as someone who understood the concept of “consent.” Surprising how often such an elementary idea is overlooked when people get horny and entitled, and yet I admit that I myself have trouble keeping my hands off skimpily dressed men and women who are beautiful in latex, leather, or even spandex. Their bodies seem to be crying out for touch. But they are not.

After I had been at this event a while, I peeked behind the curtains and it was one of the most beautiful sights I had ever seen. It resembled an Opium Den without the Opium, with everyone on velvet cushions on the floor. It was more Dionysian than decadent, more sensuous than lustful, a different vibe to a regular sex club. I watched the outlined shapes in various stages of pleasuring and being pleasured, before it became unseemly to do so. I closed the curtain behind me. I was not invited.

It was not that I couldn’t have found a person at the party to fuck. One young man in particular was so completely gorgeous (in spandex incidentally) that I could barely look at him. I guess that’s why I closed my eyes when we kissed. I could see the hardness in the front of those leggings, the chemistry was electrifying, but something was holding me back and it wasn’t even the stretchy pants!

I kept trying to ask Spandex questions about his life, he answered a little, but was evasive. He was drinking and didn’t seem to want reality to intrude on this fantasy night. I, on the other hand, was sober and wanted to talk about real life badly, to anchor the experience. In between kisses he would flit away, flirting with women and men, then he would eventually wander back. Even though I didn’t want to impinge on his freedom, the comings and goings were starting to make me a little anxious. I was beginning to feel like a middle schooler, “Does he even ‘like’ like me?”

When he returned and after we kissed some more, I asked Spandex if he was gay. “Sometimes,” he said. Or maybe he said my other favorite thing, “I don’t identify.” Ah, the young. If only I were less old or less Jewish, and didn’t have a need to categorize everything to understand it, perhaps then I too could “not identify.”

Up until somewhat recently I overlapped a few categories and was mostly just “happy to be nominated.” One was MILF (not cougar, too predatory, these young men are often aggressively the ones in pursuit.) I decided to own the word MILF, seeing as it was most searched on porn sites, I took a gamble that people might actually want to hear what we have to say.

Cisgendered female, Pansexual, Switch. You may Google those if you need to, but they are in some ways irrelevant to what I am getting at here. Because through all of the wonderful sexual experiences I’ve had since my marriage ended, the largest category I inhabited was “lonely.”

While I am a huge champion of sex, just because it feels good, because touch is a basic human need, because orgasms! I have come to see that without love, the times around the times when I was getting laid and more rarely, even while I was, were among the loneliest of my life. Which is also fine. We must all get to the bottom of ourselves and learn to love our own company (blech.) No reason to stop having sex. And also, that’s what masturbation is for.

Even in marriage I was so often alone that I had plenty of time to deal with my demons, trying over and over again to put them on a leash, until once again they would escape, running me through the streets and into oncoming traffic. I would catch up with them again (self-care, therapy, right action blah blah blah) and clip those demons back onto the chain by their Cubic Zirconia encrusted collars. This is how I picture my demons, straining against a gaudy encroachment, not knowing that a simple unclip will release them forever. I am attached to them, my demons, as they belong to me. The key is to tame them to domesticity. (I’m working on it.)

The Person I Love, aware of my freewheeling lifestyle and attitude to sex before we met, informed me early on that what I had been doing was “Sex Theater.”

“What’s Sex Theater?” I asked, though I felt like I had an idea what he was referring to.

“It’s the acting kind of sex and BDSM, mechanical, people play a role but it’s not real or messy. It’s sex without connection…”

I interrupted him, “I feel a connection with everyone I have sex with. I love them all too…” on and on I went justifying my strong feelings for all the people I have fucked, how discerning I was about choosing them, how much they meant to me. He just stared at me with his ridiculously intense green eyes.

“Uh huh,” he said. Then kissed me until I saw constellations behind my eyes and understood the spaces between things.

There is nothing wrong with “Sex Theater.” Not with the Sex part – banging is gorgeous and healthy and fun and the last thing I want to do is align myself with the loony zealots who think you have to be in love to fuck. And certainly not the Theater part – I’m a theater geek from way back, even in life I am prone to the dramatic. Also, I have literally watched people have sex on stage (and it wasn’t even in Amsterdam, but here in Good Ole’ California) and it was wonderful and entertaining and I abhor people who try to demonize it. The moral crusaders can suck it, or at least admit that they do, or want to suck and be sucked, just like everybody else.

What I’m saying is, know. Know the difference. Know when it is Sex Theater, as it would have been at that party with Spandex, oh what a great experience it might have been, to be among the configurations on those cushions (MMF, FFM, FF?) some in love, some not, all in the abandon of breathing together and for me, sighing away that infernal loneliness for at least a little while. Some would have been Sex Theater and some not (is all public sex Sex Theater?) but instead, after seeing Spandex collect yet another business card from another beautiful girl across the room, I slipped out of the party as alone as I had arrived. And Theater or no, it broke my heart a little to do it.

But if I had stayed, and somehow managed to get this lovely boy into my own velvet room, the next morning, when the Oxytocin had worn off, I better have had a good plan. After all, no one wants to find themselves suddenly alone in an empty theater after a show that good… RAY_6021



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