Like you, I was horrified by the events of September 11. The Red Cross has advised people to avoid repeated viewings of the event, talk about our feelings, and return to our normal routines to reduce stress. Well, sex feels good and lowers stress. But the stress of current events leaves my partner feeling rather unenthused. Maybe you could offer us all some advice on how to be especially kind to one another in bed during this stressful time.
Not Getting Any
I haven't had much interest in sex since September 11, privately or professionally. I keep expecting my base desires to kick back into gear but I didn't so much as touch my boyfriend in the first couple of weeks after the attack. What's weirder, though, is that since September 11, I haven't checked in with any of the various porn sites I frequent.
So I'm not in a very good position to advise you or your partner, NGA, on ramping the ol' sex life back up to pre-attack levels. But, hey, I'm with the Red Cross: People should be kind to each other during this stressful time, in and out of bed, and whatever makes you feel better or lowers stress levels--well, do it. You know what they say: If you can't lower your stress levels with the one you love, honey, lower them with the one you're with.
You acted surprised that someone was thinking about sex in the immediate aftermath of the recent attacks, but my sex worker friends and I witnessed a sudden surge in demand. Are people trying to get their minds off the tragedy? Or are they trying to make the best of life before the next wave of attacks?
Socially Responsible Hooker
P.S. I am sending a portion of my income from the "big week" to the Red Cross.
According to three prostitutes I spoke with, business has indeed been booming. A male hustler in New York City told me his clients wanted to get their minds off the news; a female hooker in Chicago told me Armageddon wouldn't keep her clients from sex; and a tranny escort in Vancouver told me his/her clients were so fucking weird that he/she wasn't in the least surprised that his/her pager buzzed constantly in the week after the attack.
Unfortunately, none of the whores I spoke with were as socially responsible as you, SRH. None said they would be sharing their post-WTC windfalls with the Red Cross.
Ever since the World Trade Center attacks I have lost my sex drive. I try to go out to plays and movies, but every time I pass by the firehouse at 48th and Eighth and see the flowers and the photos of the 15 firemen that died, I cry. All I want to do is stay home. How much longer will this last?
James in Manhattan
It might last another week, James. Or a month. Or a year. Hell, it might last forever, if you let it.
So don't let it.
Look, you can wallow in the grief or you can make up your mind to pull yourself together and get on with your life. And getting on with your life is in no way disrespectful to the men and women who died trying to rescue people from the World Trade Center. I mean, why do you think firefighters risk their lives saving other people's lives? They do it so the people they rescue can live long, productive, eventful lives filled with joy, plays, movies, sex, and fun. Firefighters don't risk their lives so that we can lock ourselves away in our apartments and mourn for all eternity when they die in the line of duty.
Although I think it is hard to see the existence of God on a day like September 11, I think God can be seen in the days and weeks that have followed. I have seen my community and my country bind together to help one another. I have seen individuals travel across the country to give of their talents and skills. I believe it is in this love, concern, and compassion that we can truly see God.
A Reason To Believe
Let me see if I follow you: When bad people do bad things, bad people get the blame. But when good people do good things, God gets the credit? Excuse me, but if God gets the credit when people do good, shouldn't God shoulder some of the blame when people do bad?
I wanted to express my thanks for your column about God last week. It's too bad God didn't just tell the cavemen about physics, and chemistry, and biology, and astronomy. Then the cavemen wouldn't have needed to invoke deities to explain everything inexplicable. The events of September 11 were pretty inexplicable, and can be blamed on belief in God (twisted belief, but belief). No one has ever been killed or injured by a group of fundamentalist atheists.
Atheist in LA
Sorry, AILA, but I can't get your back on this one. No one has ever been killed by fundamentalist atheists? Really? Tell that the victims of Joseph Stalin, Chairman Mao, and Pol Pot. Fundamentalist atheists are every bit as dangerous as all the other fundamentalists.
We know that bin Laden and his collaborators, the Taliban rulers of Afghanistan, espouse a radical vision of the world that bans alcohol, drugs, and most forms of popular entertainment; this vision forces women to cover themselves from head to toe. These zealots have shown a bloodthirsty willingness to inflict mass violence on an international scale to achieve their reactionary aims. But will we give in? Will we allow their terror campaign to cow us into abandoning our freedoms?
In response to their violence, we must redouble our "decadent" practices that fly in the face of their distorted, puritanical views! We must form patriotic columns streaming forth into nightclubs, bars, theaters, and casinos! We must offer rousing support for a woman's right to bare her flesh in public! And we must shun the moral preachings of the likes of Jerry Falwell who merely echo what our adversaries stand for. For love of God and country, boogie on!
United Sensualists of America
I couldn't tell if your letter, USA, was something you wrote for my column or if you were just forwarding me something someone else forwarded you. Regardless, your e-mail touched me, and I will do what I can to return to my decadent ways ASAP just to spite those fundie dickweeds.
Oh, and speaking of dickweeds, last week Ari Fleischer, the White House press secretary, scolded Bill Maher, host of ABC's Politically Incorrect, for calling some recent U.S. military actions "cowardly." (Although George W. Bush said much the same during his campaign last fall.) "Americans need to watch what they say," Fleischer said. Excuse me, Ari, but isn't freedom of speech one of those fab freedoms your boss called on Americans to defend, during his big speech to Congress last week?