"Cheese crumbs spread before a pair of copulating rats will distract the female but not the male." -Alfred Kinsey
Death during sex, or, in Japanese, 腹上死 (fuku-jyo-shi, "Death above the Belly"), is a uniquely male occupation. It's an element in the film, Another Country (Rupert Everett's debut film, and Colin Firth's and Carey Elwes' second), in which Everett's character, Guy Bennett relates how he had to rescue his mother from being trapped underneath his father's dead body after he had died while his parents were having sex. "It happens all the time," he quipped. Bennett's relationship with his mother was "never quite the same" afterwards and she "couldn't really look him in the eye ever since" was the main outcome. His not liking his stepfather was apparently the only other negative outcome of this "how embarrassing" paternal fatality.
I guess men are just ridiculous. Or perhaps we like it, i.e., that's the "perfect way to go", rather like Slim Pickins at the end of Dr. Strangelove. One gives little thought to what it must be like for the man who dies during sex in this way, and yes, I expect it does happen all the time. Does that fact that one is having sex at the time make having a heart attack a different and less terrifying experience?
I was interested, too, in the comment in the HBO Miniseries, Masters of Sex, about Masters and Johnson's sex research, in which Masters remarks to his mentor that after coitus the male rabbit (a buck) immediately loses consciousness.
Do we see that as silly? I guess the male rabbit does seem silly in his excessive focus on doing the do with his doe (female rabbit), but at least it seems involuntary, a biologically predetermined thing. We tend to think of male spiders, praying mantises and other insects as a bit silly in engaging in sex when it almost invariably leads to their demise by being eaten by the larger female -- her first meal as an expecting mommy. It's also telling that some male spiders apparently survive, and that the male goes to great effort and trouble to prepare and to approach the female so as to try to avoid provoking her into making him her post-coital "sammich". It's analogous to human males, funnily enough, who are usually keenly aware of the fact that they are embarking on a risky, ill-starred, and ultimately stupid adventure...and yet they embark on it nonetheless.
I found this article while trying to find stats on death during sex (apparently it's about one in 200 of "sudden deaths"), and this female Ob/Gyn tells us that having sex is the equivalent of "walking 2-4 miles" and that the heart rate does not increase all that much.
Setting aside the physical demands on the male heart just keeping an erection going for however many minutes (or sometimes hours, yes, hours) lovemaking may take (and the orgasm afterwards), how much effort does it take to physically lift and carry around a 100-150-pound woman, even just shifting her from one room to the next, let alone holding her aloft the whole time? I have never been able to do more than 30 push-ups in my life, and 20 is usually a pretty good performance, which takes probably a couple of minutes, and I am not soaked head-to-toe in sweat afterwards. Somehow I manage to get many, many times that physical output, and that's in one of the least demanding positions possible -- what about the equivalent of the yogic "down dog" or "daddy forming rainbow bridge over bathtub with one hand and one knee so mommy has something to hang on to while also hanging onto mommy"? This last one is also known as "clueless female ostensible sex expert doctor". She does at least say that regular exercise can help prevent heart attacks during sex.
Duh? Ya think?
My worry is that males are driven to this place where they have no choice in their physical output during sex, as evidenced by Mr. Bunny Rabbit. Human men are fearful if they have heart or other health issues, and Ms. Ob/Gyn tells them that it's mostly not to worry. Some older men worry about other injuries as well, not just sudden death from heart attacks. What if one has had a knee or back injury, even as a young man? I would worry about all of that.
Small wonder that women such as this doctor should
take umbrage at being sent to "the sammich mines" after her man had just
made love to her, since even if he had done an Ironman Triathalon in
the process, she doesn't acknowledge it. I can't imagine that myself,
but apparently it's a huge, I mean, HUGE, "Feminist" issue.
Do women even like that kind of a performance, that kind of physical effort being made when they are being made love to? Why is it part of it? Women (and doe rabbits) are apparently not cannibals, right? If I expire whilst in flagrante with my lady fair, she's not going "come over all peckish" and decide to devour my mortal remains or anything...is she? Or is it some kind of Darwinian thing? If I can't hack it in the endurance and eXtreme Sports sexual performance aspect of things, then my body, through the expedience of sex driving me to and beyond my limits, kills me off automatically?
I've long said that "there aren't enough tigers" and this may be another example of that. Sometimes rather than a predator, we need a built-in mechanism to take us out of the game of life after too long a loosing streak (again, another essay).
Or maybe it's just good exercise, and it's healthy, and the urge to have sex neatly fills the need to get a bit of exercise, say a nice little 2-4 mile walk, or a full-pack, swinging 50-pound dumbbells all the way sprint up Everest as the (more realistic) case may be.
Who knows? But it is rather silly, all this risk-taking. It is rather reassuring, however, all this mountain of evidence from the animal kingdom that there's probably very little choice in the matter, e.g, Mr. Bunny passing out invariably, I mean, you can actually pick him up and flop him around, and so of course he's easy prey at that point, and spiders and bugs getting eaten and so forth.
What of the human male? That kind of brings me to what I really wanted to talk about.
I know quite a number of medical nurses, and I've heard that when a person comes out of a coma after some kind of accident, a woman will invariably ask if her children are all right (I don't know what she asks if she doesn't have any -- which might be telling) and a man will, apparently without exception, ask if his dick is still attached.
These nurse friends all being female, and invariably recounting these nuggets to other women, or where the number of men present is below the magical "critical mass" where women just ignore them and talk about their women stuff regardless of how man-bashing it may be (or maybe at that "critical mass" point they start to feel safety in numbers -- the stuff of another essay, perhaps), they all begin clucking about how ridiculous and shallow men are and how obviously virtuous and superior women are, children and family, home and hearth, the unseemly male pursuit of sex, blah, blah, blah.
But what if this is some kind of biological inevitability?
I kind of cheated in the whole "parental ambiguity" game by heading to a part of the world where everybody looked completely different to me and getting a kid off a woman there, and when the kid obviously looks like me and not like any of the other kids, it's a better-than-average shot that it's actually my kid, which is actually kind of weird. Most men don't have that. All women do.
If there were even fewer men (or no men) in the room, after bashing men for putting their dicks ahead of their kids (if they have any), these women might start confessing blandly how they have sex with other men, the milkman, the mailman, or whomever, for whatever reasons, whatever inadequacies of their husbands. As they say, rather moreso than "death during sex", in fact, it happens all the time. There are enormous numbers of women out there who have children (whom they know are their own, of course) from other men than their husband, and many of them know this. And even if they don't, they must know that this happens all the time.
I worry that this is all getting a bit muddy, but it seems like a double-standard. If a kid pops out of me, then I know it's my kid, and I'm going to care about it more than anything. By the same token, if I'm stuck on Mars (or the Earth equivalent) alone with a woman, and a kid pops out of her, then there's no way it can't be my kid and I'm going to love it in a similar way and I'm going to know that it's my kid. Even still, there's always an outside chance that it's not. And that's the way it is for every man.
If women want to be liberated and for men not to be "possessive" (and there has been huge cruelty committed for this reason throughout human history), then it seems this sort of thing has to be addressed. Do we want to have chastity belts, women in harems, under guard always, some kind of electronic vaginal equivalent of the house arrest ankle bracelet thing (hey, that might be cool) or such? I think it's safe to say the answer is no. Even if we did all of that stuff, and there are societies that have done and do, I don't think we're ever going to get to the point that men feel the same confidence that women have that their own children are their own. Women cheat. Women can cheat. Which means that men cheat, which is the same thing. People cheat. And when people cheat, the difference is that the woman still has her own children, but if she's married, some other man is bringing them up for her, a cuckold.
So it's not fair to make fun of guys for dying during sex or for worrying about their dicks after an accident. Yes, men have all the stupid parts of sexuality left over after women got all of the important, virtuous, worthwhile ones. But if you're going to construct a gender liberation philosophy based on the premise that we're all human beings, that we all have human minds, or even "souls" if you will, then you have to account for all that stuff.
The most annoying kinds of sex jokes, and probably the most hurtful kinds of sex jokes are those that a) ridicule one gender for biological things that can't be changed, or b) ridicule non-biological (socially-imposed) traits of one gender as if they are engrained and can't be changed.
The first one is pretty obvious. Women menstruate, they bleed, they have hormonal mood swings, they get pregnant, they scream during sex, they have babies, and they nurse them. They don't have penises, which, among other things, typically means that things get messy if they don't somehow squat down to pee. Oh, and that doesn't leave them with anything to penetrate somebody else with, so, if they are lesbians, nobody has anything to penetrate anybody with, for what that's worth.
Making fun of any of those facts, or rather, using them as a tool for derision, is unforgivable. Joking around can actually be quite fun, in the right light, since our sexual equipment generally is quite funny (that's the best way to look at it, at least), and it's good to feel like it's normal and something we can all talk about.
Men don't have any of those things. Men have external genitalia, and it's all kind of bunched together in a blob which can be easily seen, measured, touched, grabbed, caught in things, cut, kicked, hit, squeezed, partly or totally cut off, etc. Men are keenly and painfully aware of this, and are deeply frightened of possibly threats to their genitals, and also of comparisons and comments. Women are mercifully free of off-hand comments such as "oh, I see that your vagina is much tighter and deeper than average (or is funny-shaped)" or "I see that you're missing one or both of your ovaries" and also since all of these parts are invisible, lots of jokes such as "grow some balls" "cut your dick off" "limp dick (limp vagina?)" "cut your balls off" "kick you in the balls" "dicks in the wind" and so forth don't make any sense, so women are apparently mercifully spared them. I am pleased by comments such as "that [difficult thing] took a lot of uterus" because I find them cute and ironic and I just like them.
Men are also often somewhat more hairy, on average bigger, on average less curvy with less body fat, and have deeper voices (men have difficulty imitating the voices of women and children).
It's assumed (in US society) that men can't breastfeed, which is false. It might help the lactivist movement to encourage men to do so, but this idea hasn't caught on yet. Because of men's physical equipment, perhaps, it seems to be assumed that they are less nurturing of children or something. Since men's sexual organs are on the outside, men are perhaps seen as more aggressively and overtly sexy, which is probably not very fair. If a woman walks around in a mini-skirt and possibly no panties (you wonder. if there's a woman in a mini-skirt prancing around, a big question on everyone's minds is whether she's wearing panties - the question must be answered), it's somehow less aggressive than a man in tight pants or with his penis out or whatever, which is probably not very fair, since men can't help it. Even if a man has an erection, that's also involuntary, it might be less sexually in-your-face than a woman in a miniskirt.
Funnily enough, now that I've rambled down that particular garden path, I've been on Tokyo trains whether there were exhibitionists with their penises out, and I found it less provocative and shocking than a woman in a mini-skirt. Funny that.
Yes, the penis is not an inherently sexually aggressive thing, but since it's a sex organ and it's external, it seems to be automatically assumed to be (by women). Other magical properties are ascribed to it as well, and these should probably be looked at in the light that they are all probably completely wrong.
Back to my other point about gender-related humor: the stuff that seems to be socially-imposed. This is the stuff that the so-called Feminist movement was supposed to be working on (though a lot of the time it seems they were trying to work on the first part, the biological part, as well, particularly when it comes to men, i.e., assuming that female biology is fixed, but that male biology may be arbitrarily altered). These stereotypes that one gender or another is stupid, unfeeling, bad drivers, naggers, violent, passive-aggressive, bad cooks, bad at math, irresponsible, emotional, etc., may have some basis in reality, but I would suggest that it's a social-imposed reality that could be changed.
Making fun about men's penises and their attitudes toward them may be partly a socio-cultural thing, so it might be able to be changed, but other things can't be changed, and so making fun of that stuff is tantamount to making fun of women because they bleed during their menstruations, which is just horrible.