by Johnny Murdoc
(Warning/annoucement: this post contains links to websites that should be considered unsafe for work or minors.)
A few weeks ago Ben Folds released a new album called Lonely Avenue, created in collaboration with novelist Nick Hornby, who wrote all of the lyrics. All in all I’ve fallen in love with the album against my expectations. One of the two songs I’ve had on nearly constant rotation has been a song called Levi Johnston’s Blues:
The song covers the day that Levi Johnston discovers that his pregnant girlfriend’s mother (that would be Sarah Palin) has just been picked as a Vice Presidential nominee and traces his reactions from going to Bristol’s house to “lay down the law” and then learning that he doesn’t have much choice in the matter. The song borrows its chorus from Johnston’s MySpace page, which disappeared shortly after the VP announcement:
I’m a fuckin’ redneck, I live to hang out with the boys
Play some hockey, do some fishing, kill some moose
I like to shoot the shit and do some chillin’, I guess
Ya fuck with me and I’ll kick your ass
The song has an odd effect on me, although it makes complete sense: the song turns me on. Despite (or because of) all of my liberal city boy trappings, I have a thing for hot rednecks. Levi Johnston fit that bill to a T. Intellectually, I’m offended by nearly everything quoted in the chorus but hearing it chanted during the song makes my blood flow in all of the right places.
I grew up in a small town south of St. Louis, surrounded by what most people would accurately categorize as rednecks. My early erotic fodder was filled with thoughts of the guys I grew up around: country boys, jocks, farmers, blue-collar workers. The lines between what a man was and wasn’t were more clearly drawn than they are now. Aggressive assertiveness was an attractive quality. Hell, aggression itself was an attractive quality.
Sexual fantasies have a tendency to challenge our intellectual assumptions. As Esther Perel writes in her book Mating in Captivity:
“We’re afraid of being different and therefore deviant. This would be less of an issue if our erotic imagination were better behaved, more in line with our public persona. In our internal erotic geography, we all have places that are dear to us. Chances are that at least some of them are places that we must sneak into, eluding the watchdog of our conscience…
What turns us on often collides with our preferred self-image, or with our moral and ideological convictions. Ergo the feminist who longs to be dominated… the wife who masturbates to images of hot sex with the psychopathic boyfriend she knew she was never going to marry; the lover who needs to think about the hunk he spotted at the gym in order to get off with his boyfriend.”
As Esther points out, sexual fantasies have long been considered either sinful or a perversion afflicting the dissatisfied and immature. People who had sexual fantasies that conflicted with the reality of their sex lives were considered to be unhappy with their current situations or partners. It turns out that sexual fantasies are an important part of our sexual being and a healthy part of our sex lives, both solo and partnered. Much like humans require play to exercise their minds and bodies, we require sexual fantasy to exercise our libidos. This is one of the reasons we’re all so driven to daydream, fantasize, and masturbate.
Our sexual imagination allows us to play with erotic ideas that turn us on, even if they’re not something we want to do in real life. The first time I was exposed to the photography project Quinnford+Scout (the cutest, sexiest, most adorable Irish couple ever to live), the couple had submitted a photo to Butt Magazine’s blog taken shortly after one of them had granted the other’s wish of having sex with a bloody nose. I’m not generally one for pain, but the fantasy that their story gave me was incredibly potent and erotic. (You can read my original blog post about Quinnford+Scout and see some of their photography here.) Suffice it to say, I don’t really want my partner to punch me in the nose while we’re having sex, but the idea of it—well, then.
Don’t be afraid to let your imaginations run wild, to play with ideas you find taboo. Nothing is sacred, and nothing is dangerous when explored within the safety of your imagination. I’ll wrap up this post with another quote from Perel:
“Our flights of fancy bridge the gap between the possible and the permissible. Fantasy is the alchemy that turns this jumble of psychic ingredients into the pure gold of erotic arousal.”