The Lust Issue
Getting candid with sexpert Jane Fader
Published: February 9, 2011
MT: So part of your study is personal. There's the science that amazes, and the action that evades?
Fader: It's like, "Whoa, my body has the ability to do something nobody ever told me it could do. And I wanna know what it can do." Then there's just the relationship to the knowledge. We know men ejaculate and that there's evidence of their pleasure that is measurable. Female sexual pleasure has always been held up as some great world mystery, beyond comprehension, and rarely addressed directly, as if it were godlike. It's unexplainable, no one knows shit about it right? I mean, I was climaxing but I wasn't orgasming and I didn't know the difference. There's such a difference.
MT: So, at one point you were engaged to be married ...
Fader: That was before I had an orgasm ...
MT: And the two are implicitly related?
Fader: Yeah, probably. My interest in learning about my sexuality changed. When I was engaged, I really didn't think much about myself. I didn't think much about him, either, to be honest. I was focused on going to school, taking 19 credits a semester and working 30 hours a week. Especially since I hadn't really enjoyed it, I wasn't thinking about what sexuality meant to me. I didn't really have girlfriends to explain to me all that I was missing. And going to school the way I was just wasn't good for a relationship.
MT: Let's talk about porn. People look at porn and believe that what they see on screen is what sex should look like. But that's not true. Especially in mainstream porn, where people engage in sex in positions that benefit the viewers more so than they do the doers.
Fader: And now a lot of the mass-produced porn just mimics amateur porn. Just take the P.O.V. (point-of-view) shot. I just started writing a blog about this, about the reverse cowgirl position. We don't have sex, we have porn these days. The idea of the reverse cowgirl position becoming a sexual norm, as normal as missionary even, provides maximum visibility at the expense of comfort, convenience and, for me, pleasure. It's performative for no one unless you're having sex for someone, in front of someone. You're displaying everything for someone who is watching. Sure, it might be in the Kama Sutra, but I just don't know. And it's a standard now.
MT: I'm curious to hear what you learned about lust.
Fader: The history of the concept of lust seems to exist in a confusion of whether it's excessive sexuality or excessive love. Aristotle defined lust as excessive love. But it became a sin to love anything more than you'd love god. Throughout the writings on lust, many write about lack of self-control. One philosopher, Schopenhauer, thought that an ideal person, without lust, is a perfectly and completely productive industrial worker.� But there's no question that, across the board, lust is thought of as a very strong, powerful, and mysterious emotion.
MT: How do you define lust?
Fader: I like the idea of lust being a strong emotional force that is spurred from physical, sexual arousal. Emotions coming from sex. The Judeo-Christian thing is that first you have emotions, then you have sex. I like the idea that sex breeds the emotion of lust.
MT: How does lust work its way into the female orgasm? I've heard that to be achieved, it requires great concentration — something a woman mentally works toward. On the other hand, I've heard it described as a great release, a "letting go." The later seeming more in-tune with lust.
Fader: There definitely are those two schools. There's the idea that if you're uptight and can't surrender, you wont have an orgasm. Then there's the feminist stance of, well, "taking back the orgasm." I don't think those two ideas have to be mutually exclusive. In fact, they come to work together. Lust is active. Not, like, push-out female ejaculation active, but that it involves an active concentration to let go. One of the examples I heard recently at a sex and intimacy workshop I liked that best illustrates the idea is this: Can you just relax your anus? Can you really do that, right now? Your butt muscle? That's a deliberate letting go. That said, no one's ever given me an orgasm. I've never, as they say, surrendered.
MT: You don't like that using the word surrender at all though, do you?
Fader: No one's ever made me come. I'd rather just say that. And making someone cum is a nice thing to do for someone. I mean, I don't call it "surrendering" when a guy's fucking my mouth. I don't tell him, "surrender to me."
MT: Seeing has how your somewhat of a social media pro, I'm curious how you see the cyber sex chat room and instant message phenomenon of the 1990s juxtaposed with today's Facebook and Twitter platforms.
Fader: Well they sure make obsessing a whole lot easier, don't they? They make it easier to maybe temporarily fulfill fantasies on a superficial level. Give me a little more info, then a little bit more, where are you now, what photo of you is that, where was it taken? Facebook is lustful in that it's excessive. In a way I really like, maybe it can expand the possibilities for what can turn you on. There's sustained eroticism in the constant non-contact. Dirty sexting is the same thing.
MT: Is naughty text messages and Facebook flirting sex or or foreplay?
Fader: Depends on your definition of sex, I suppose. If only penile-vaginal penetration is ex then, well, Clinton's off the hook! All of these things have to be laid out, but the bigger point is that sex is harder and harder to define. Blowjobs? Are blow jobs sex? Sexting? I don't know. I guess I'm traditional in that penetration is my definition of what sex is. And then there's anal?� I mean, if I had anal sex I would consider it losing my virginity but I wouldn't consider it sex. From my own experience, Facebook's only been a medium of embarrassment. The issue of relationship status — man, that's a huge thing. Writing on someone's wall, it's apparent only sometimes whether there's something sexual going on between two people. Liking each other's comments is cute and a bit much.
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