|Oedipus at Colonnus by Jean-Antoine-Theodore Giroust (1788)|
For some people sex is an embarrassing painful and even expensive process whose only reward leads to the birth of a little tyke who trails you around admiringly for at least the first few years of its miserable life. Gay folks used to be exempt, but now that eggs and sperm can easily be drafted into service, sexual orientation no longer matters. Later the tyke will grow up and hate your guts so much that it may even want to off you, especially if it’s a motherfucker who wants its dad dead. Oedipus tried to run away from his fate, but ended up murdering the appropriately named Laius. But getting back to rewards. It’s like the time trials for the l00 yard dash. Some people exhaust themselves and end up with nothing more than cramps. There are a minority who enjoy sex. Usually these are the same people who trumpet the notion of art for art’s sake. This small but voluble group are always trying to get more conscripts through the creation of hedonistic propaganda. The Marquis de Sade, Frank Harris, D.H. Lawrence, Pauline Reage, Henry Miller and most recently E. L. James of 50 Shades of Grey fame are literary examples of this tendency, along with Gustave Courbet (“The Origin of the World”), Egon Schiele, Bernardo Bertolucci (Last Tango in Paris) and Lars Von Trier (Nymphomaniac) representing the fine arts and film. But one wonders if they would shut up if they actually had to put up. Talk is cheap. Is the pursuit of pleasure, Freud’s “pleasure principle,” actually all that it’s cracked up to be?