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Is sex, like comedy, neutralized by the kinds of intense cerebration books provide?
Emily Witt’s debut essay collection, Future Sex, unlike Timberlake’s song, offers a resounding hmm, maybe—let’s think about it some more.
The porn studio Kink buys fake eyelashes “several hundred at a time,” she finds, and the sex-party host insures her stripper pole. Her critique of intimacy remains intimate, however, owning its own biases while rejecting the dishy humble-brag, the brave over-share, and over-generalized neuroscience.
The honest depictions of her sexual experience make few concessions to dramatic tension, or even to sex.
It could bring us people, but it did not tell us what to do with them. Language is a benchmark for political progress, and as Witt observes, “Our relationships had changed but the language had not.” She finds the mainstream narrative riddled with false dichotomies (casual sex vs.
committed relationships) and vague euphemisms (“hooking up,” “dating”).
But this outlook is a useful prophylactic against the boosterism that surrounds her, as she goes in search of “a model of sexuality better suited to the present, to its freedoms, to its honesty.” Her admirable commitment to firsthand reporting has her undertaking movie-set tours of panda-costumed gangbangs, experimenting with webcam hookups and online dating, and doing whip-its at a Google employee’s sex party.
But most popular advice around sex seems to agree on not overthinking it—on getting out of your own head so you can screw your brains out and make him lose his mind.
In eight mostly stand-alone essays, Witt reports on existing fringe and alternative sexual cultures, in the aftermath of free love and its backlash, STI awareness, and three waves of feminism.
The subjects are spelled out in very non-misleading chapter titles, such as “Internet Dating,” “Orgasmic Meditation,” “Internet Porn,” and “Live Webcams.” San Francisco provides the ideal venue; to paraphrase William Gibson, the future is already here, it’s just not evenly distributed, and the Bay Area has always received the greater share.
"It also has the honour of ensuring audiences will never look at a spoon in the same way again.
It's always painful to say goodbye to shows we love, but it's a necessary part of being able to commission new drama, a raft of which are launching on the channel throughout 2015."Showrunner Dennis Kelly had plans for a third and fourth series, but despite the reverence for it the show struggled with ratings.Amid the ceaseless slew of sex and dating books, it’s probably more efficient to describe what Future Sex is pointedly not.