Ah, spring. Life stirs once again, the flowers blooming and the birds chirping. Nature’s sweet songs ring through the crisp air. It is a joyous symphony. That is, until you realize it’s the sound and smell of every living thing trying desperately to get laid.
You don’t have to walk through a cloud of AXE body spray to realize you are part of the same seductive symphony. For most of us, the search for companionship, pleasure and power are at the depths of our beings. Our life choices have sex at their core. The clothes we wear, the cars we drive and the hobbies we choose are subconscious ways of attracting a mate. We have dating shows like The Bachelor to pretend the latest contestant isn’t just trying to spread his seed. We swipe endlessly on dating apps to gamify our horny as if we are more than mere animals humping each other in a maze of iPhones and skyscrapers.
As I write this column, my pet bearded dragon is fiendishly rawdogging the floor at the sight of his own reflection in the mirror. I laugh at his idiocy until I glance at my drawer of industrial-grade vibrators. They stare back, asking me to play with them like some kind of pornographic sequel to Toy Story in which I am Andy and Buzz Lightyear is an intergalactic brand of a clitoral massage wand. Through all of my daily activities, I am feeding myself the illusion that it isn’t all about sex: I am not just a horny lizard. After all, I do YouTube workouts and write term papers like any other sophisticated lifeform, but even these activities hide sex under all their layers of complexity.
No matter your sexuality, you are socialized by a world obsessed with insemination.
The paradox is that we can thank one of society’s deepest taboos for our very existence. Maybe we’re so possessed by sex because it created us. Sometimes if I’m in a crowded room, I visualize the magnitude of all the one night stands and wedding nights that made each person. It was all just body parts rubbing up against each other, spinning the wheels of history with a heaving thrust.
Ever since I conceptualized this, I’ve fought against the existential dread. I try to revert back to my childhood, when I didn’t know what sex was. It still ruled my life, but I was blissfully unaware. It was only a coincidence that babies could spontaneously appear and that it felt really good when I aimed the shower head at my peepee. My best friend and I would make our Webkinz hump each other because we saw her chihuahua do it to the vacuum cleaner. We didn’t need to know what sex was to give our life meaning, but it was a nameless entity permeating the fabric of our reality.
Sex is ultimately a means of making ourselves collectively immortal. Billions of lifeforms busted a nut to directly result in us, and we get to continue the chain. Even if we don’t partake in the genetic ballet, we find other roads to immortality. Authors live on through their books and artists release their work into the void. But even our mundane experiences make those millions of years of sex worthwhile.
Sex may be what makes life continue, but it is not life itself. We cannot put something as all-encompassing as “everything” into a penis-shaped box. It does life injustice to see it only as a means of creating new life. It is also unproductive to take apart matter, molecule by molecule, and announce that atoms are everything. Even if such a statement is true, the world is more than the sum of its parts. Atoms may make up everything, but our dreams are not made of atoms. Sure, the definition of sex can stretch to anything we can imagine, but it is only a lens by which to make meaning from the chaos. It is a fun lens to look through, but we have to learn when to take off the semen-stained glasses.
Anya Neeze is a student at Cornell University. Comments can be sent to [email protected]. Boink! runs during alternate Sex on Thursdays this semester.