Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Essay in English II



Essay written in 2000


This is not a task to be neglected. Indeed it concerns a vast portion of society, or that part which is characterized by a cohabiting couple, economic activity, and child-rearing. Take for example, a standard couple (Adam and Eve of the year 2 000) let them run through their week of work duties and family stress; the desired moment finally arrives for them to meet in bed. However, here the next hurdle called “successful life” awaits them. The information boom has done its job. Nowadays, couples making love are subject to a demand for a race of orgasms accompanied by complicated sexual gymnastics. The higher education of women understandingly increases their requirements for sexual satisfaction. On the other hand, “many women want nothing else in bed but close their eyes and be served,” as one man complained in a recent opinion poll. A husband in this type of relationship gets unintentionally assumes the role of “sexual maintenance worker”. Even if this were not the case, the man's responsibility for a woman’s satisfaction in intercourse has risen exceedingly.

Cynthia and Samuel Janusov based their ‘A Report on Sexual Behavior’, a 430 page book, on eight thousand forms filled out by American men and women. As much as 30 per cent of the respondents stated that they have no objections to watching porno-films with their partner. However, this congenial diversion unconsciously creates a need to imitate and compete. Who are the ones with whom we want a regular orgasmic competition? If Jurika, a 29-year-old Belgian porno-star, in an interview for POPO magazine declares that she really feels everything that is in the movie, we may believe her. Nevertheless, in the same interview, we find that between foreplay and the actual sexual act, she leaves for a break and drinks coffee. The 40-year-old German porn-star, a Polish immigrant Teresa Orlowski (bust volume well over 100 cm, due to mama-plastic surgery) is more sincere. She says: “it is a truly hard work... It is not only sex, a lot of distress is involved. Believe me, being an actress in porno films is more demanding than especially women think....” The truth is that when two (or more) play a role, even though not a theater role this time, they are subject to the rules of a dramatic performance. It is a tiny step from performing to pretending. A sexual act, which is rehearsed at first, then filmed, and later skillfully edited for the final version has very little in common with genuine sexual intercourse. Needless to say, we are all different, and in the course of a normal coitus, everyone faces the dangers of failure, pain, illness, unwanted pregnancy, even disappointment. When Karel Čapek, the famous classic Czech novelist wrote that pornography is immoral, he did not have in mind the fact that it is displays human nakedness, but that it hides the complexity and fragility of erotic behavior. The role of a sexual hunter might be challenging. On the other hand, a survey of 18,876 men and women in Great Britain discloses that 13.7% of men who had more than five female partners in the past five years had to seek medical assistance, compared to 0.7% of those men who are contented with just one partner. Even if the loving couple can successfully avoid all this, the subconscious and ever reappearing comparison still persists. The final result resembles a race between a male gazelle and a jeep, which added ironical spirit to a commentary in one of those films about African nature. Yes, it is true. Technology (video, in this case) will defeat every animal. Also a human.


Can it surprise you, after all, that as much as 45 per cent of men responded in anonymous survey by Esquire magazine prefer a good novel over a glance under the blouse of a well-shaped woman? Remember how many British women in the survey mentioned already prefer a hot bath or a drink to having sex. The cohabitation of couples passed through a truly dramatic development in the course 20-th century. The time that elapsed between "the bond what God joined let no man sunder” to mass divorce was too short. Nevertheless, it gives us an opportunity to ask why the human couple emerged in evolution. Why did, the human species convert from a herd copulation of the type ‘everyone with everyone’ to a strictly isolated human couple? This was evidently due more to biological reasons, rather than social. The human baby, because of the dramatic evolution of brain capacity (enabled by so-called neoteny) became ever more fragile, whose maturing is prolonged to a length of time unseen in other species. Even after this time, parent supervision over their offsprings is not completely interrupted. This human being inevitably needs concentrated care; even a parent couple selfishly attached to him. In the stone-age herd he would never get this sort of attention. However, parent-couple’s scheme could work safely at the times of William Shakespeare, when life expectancy of his nearest family and himself was 36.3 years. But how can a delicate construction of couple cohabitation persist if life expectancy, for example in New Mexico in 1989, was already twice as high as that of Shakespeare's family, approaching 79.7 years? In the same year, the anticipated life expectancy of Japanese women was 81.8 years! There can be no doubt that these facts bring a major revision in the meaning and duration of the human couple. In the light of these developments, the words of M. Scott Peck, author of the bestselling ‘The Unexplored Way,’ gain a completely new tone:

“One of the most widespread myths is that we should be entirely happy with one man or one woman, that one man or one woman should give us the sense of life, and that fidelity should not be a problem... This is nonsense.”

This is particularly true of couples in United States. ”Sexual boredom is most pandemic dysfunction in this country,” says for The New York Times Magazine Judith Seifer, a sex-therapist and advice columnist.

It seems that even without Dr. Peck's advice American men and women were at the past looking for ways to, at least for a moment, escape the ‘lifetime marriage’. Sexual investigations as early as 1975 confirmed that only 48 per cent put their permanent partner on the first place as a lover. According to the already mentioned Cynthia and Samuel Janusov report a temporary fear of the AIDS pandemic of the early 90’s gained back 87 per cent of those who preferred their permanent partners. This led authors of the report to state that the “incidental love affair is now out of fashion”. Nevertheless, AIDS is no longer in the headlines, and the passion for adultery seems to be back. Or better said -- adultery was probably never out of fashion, although certainly there have been periods in the recent past where it was out of a fashion to confess it even anonymously.

(To be continued)

Translation by Peter Duba, edited by Jerry Weir and Tom Reynolds

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