01 October 2015

Of Foxes and Holes

Some things are accomplished and enjoyed with the participation of two people: immediately I think,  of the act of sex. I remember something Woody Allen remarked: that sex between two people was a beautiful thing, and between three it is even better. Now, of course, a person alone can engage in sexual activity quite pleasurably—the pleasures of masturbation are not unknown, but male adolescents at least might participate in communal sessions of masturbatory activity called ‘circle-jerks,’ in which speed or volume (I don’t know exactly which) becomes the measure of success. (I remember once in high school a weight lifter friend entered a remarkably immature conversation about ejaculations and when asked how much he could pump blithely and rather proudly admitted without understanding the context of the question “150 pounds.” I think he became a sex therapist, in fact! I do not know the female activity to parallel the circle-jerk, but perhaps at some point someone will offer me insight. Nevertheless, though masturbation is often understood as a solitary affair, it often becomes an essential part of couple sex.
            There are other activities at which the presence of two (or more) is best enjoyed. Let me name just a few: outings, dates, movie/theater and concert goings, coffee in the ubiquitous coffee houses, visits to family, perhaps; dinners (at which as I age there are many more couples than singles); even religious events, such as prayer. For Jews the requisite number is considered ten. But at all of these events (and many more), two is nice but single is acceptable. At all of these events (and more) couples, families and singles are in attendance.          But I am thinking that there is one activity that indeed, requires complete solitude and results in some pleasure: farting in bed. Freud has said somewhere that a fox smells its own hole first, but in bed everybody can—and does-- smell what is in the hole. I think Freud also said somewhere (I am reaching here through any number of years) that we can accept (and even somewhat enjoy) the smell of our own feces but are vigorously averse to the ordure of others. Yes, we change our children’s diapers during their earliest years, though in the first years of breast feedings and liquid diets there is little or no aroma, but with the introduction of solid foods, defecations takes on a decidedly disagreeable aroma. I think here of parents grimacing after sniffing the rear ends of their loved ones and realizing the necessity for a change of diapers. Or the parents who manage to politely negotiate with each other the relatively onerous chore this time. The winner sits triumphant, continuing to enjoy the activity in which the two had been once together comfortably engaged.
            But the pleasure of farting in bed can only be accomplished alone. Were anybody present to bear witness they would frown, express disgust and contempt, and certainly be averse to any engagement in sexual activity. But I think we fart in bed knowing the consequences, and prepared to not only accept but to find some pleasure in them as well. I wonder if farting in bed returns us to the childhood experience of feeling free to go to the bathroom anywhere and be assured that all will be well. Or does farting in bed assert a certain freedom to be an unencumbered self. Farting in bed with another present serves, I think, as an act of aggression, but farting in bed alone hurts no one. Maybe farting in bed marks the hole as ones own!


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