Years ago, sitting in a friend’s apartment, this guy who had been our coach announced that all women were the same in bed. What he was really saying, of course, is that he had one mode no matter the woman, but what we heard at the time was something more pitiful. At twenty, I already knew women were different from each other, and from session to session. I have not met women with unchanging predilections. Even if a woman wanted the same thing from sex every time she had it, the ability to achieve it would alter with hormones, menstrual cycles, stimulation, position, and dozens of other considerations. Our sexuality is complex and adaptive.
Which brings me to Marion Cotillard, who gave a perfect kiss in the latest Batman movie. A kiss so vulnerable and receptive as to render a sex scene redundant. And here’s why that’s important: we have a curious inability to define sex in our culture. We debate it. Sex is penetration. Sex is orgasm. Sex is anything intended to result in orgasm. Sex is genital contact. One of the most basic experiences of our lives, and we still bicker over its definition. Its purpose. Its meaning.
I think, as we grow up, we have a vision of what we want our sex life to be. Frequency, duration, choreography. And then we have the reality. And the goal is for those two things — vision and reality — to be as close together as possible. How is this achieved except through devotion? This body broken for you. Even the kiss is different, do you see? I have never touched a woman, not her hand, not her face, and found her to be like anyone else. (Nor, for that matter, have I found men to be interchangeable.)
Sex is only casual if you don’t pay attention. Otherwise, however you arrive will shake you.