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Tuesday, May 27 2008

Sex, er, Satan and the City

I was on the phone with the Reverse Cowgirl, Susannah Breslin, today discussing a piece that she’s writing for Salon.com. I can’t say what she’s writing about exactly because a) I’d rather wait for the finished product and b) I’d rather you wait for the finished product too, but we talked a bit about Sex and the City, which apparently a lot of bloggers and sex pundits would be happier to refer to as Satan in the City. I know there are lots of people out there who think that Sex and the City is the worst thing to happen to female sexuality, but I disagree. I think we need to embrace the bits we can from the show, and discard all the rest. I watched Sex and the City, not religiously, and not at all at first, but eventually, and over time, I enjoyed the weekly ritual that changed the way we talked about female sexuality in mainstream media.

I’m not saying it’s the best thing, or even that it isn’t, at this point, an overdone, overcooked thing, but it is it’s own thing, four perspectives on sex and dating and shoes. And I’m happy to see Sex and the City attempting to wrap things up with what should be one final hurrah. I think that women all over the country, and probably the world, will benefit from the extra boost of SATC talk that will trickle down around water coolers across offices in buildings in places where the most exciting thing to happen all day may be nothing at all.

I think that even if we don’t agree with these four women and their quest for eternal manly happiness, there’s something of value to take away from the experience of talking about sex, whether it be Charlotte’s orgasm addiction, which introduced myriads of women who may never have ever owned a vibrator before or again to the Rabbit Habit, (NOTE: If this is the only vibe you own, and you are not completely satisfied with the results, please, I beg of you, try another vibrator. There are way more practical, functional and tactilly pleasing vibes out there, and for me, and lots of other women, the rabbit is not the even close to the best! vibe! ever!), or Carrie’s search for the perfect relationship, or Samantha’s sexuality after breast cancer. I also think it’s okay to hate things about Sex and the City. Things like Carrie’s obsessive compulsion for shoes, or Charlotte’s obsession for money, or the compulsion for all of them to find men with money, looks and love for sale. But it’s TV, which means even if it’s based in a real time and place, it’s not reality. It’s illusion, it’s the place where people tune in to tune out of their other lives, to live along with a group of fictitious women that don’t really exist. We all know that there’s no way a writer like Carrie would live how she lived and still have loads, upon more loads of money to throw at a nice pair of shoes and a designer outfit. Unless, of course, she was a very rich trust fund baby.

So I ignore the facts that are there for the fantasy and I look at what we can learn from the rest of the show. And please don’t cringe when I say this, but I think that there are still conversations to be had, the kind of conversations that this show can facilitate. There’s still time to remember that a lot of women get their sex “education” (and I use the term lightly) and fashion advice from watching Sex and the City. I mean for some women this is the only exposure they have to talking about sex, relationships, dating. For some women this is how they have a conversation about sex. This is the conversation starter about sex. Whether we like it or not.

As a sex educator, I hope that Sex and the City, the Movie, will grant me some teachable moments. Moments that I can bring to my workshops, moments that people I know and people I haven’t yet met, can relate to. The types of things that can lead to intelligent discussion, to dissection, to education.

Even if I don’t agree with all that it represents, I’m happy that Sex and the City exists. Think about it really. Right now, what’s the alternative?

Tell Me You Love Me


2 Responses to “Sex, er, Satan and the City”

  1. Hank Says:

    The bringing of formally polite conversation taboos into the mainstram consciousness was a good byproduct of the program.

  2. er tv Says:

    [...] I can??t say what she??s writing about exactly because a I??d rather wait for the finished produchttp://www.jamyewaxman.com/blog/2008/05/27/sex-er-satan-and-the-city/Radio review Guardian UnlimitedElisabeth Mahoney on Anne Diamond Nick [...]

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