A year ago Mark and I started a satirical podcast called Big Time Dates. The idea back then was to make fun of relationship experts and savvy online marketing (sort of like Adbusters or Daily Affirmations With Stuart Smalley). As the year has passed, however, I’ve begun to realize that my effort to continue the project stems from deeper desires than mockery or satire. And when I recently read Sex at Dawn, these desires became clear: the podcast is really about promoting open communication and better understanding my own sexuality and the sexual nature of human beings overall.
The premise of Sex at Dawn is simple: Our biological baseline is to have a number of sexual relationships at the same time. The authors write:
“Homo sapiens evolved to be shamelessly, undeniably, inescapably sexual. Lusty Libertines. Rakes, rogues, and roués. Tomcats and sex kittens. Horndogs. Bitches in heat.” (Pg.46*)
Of course, as we all know, societal norms don’t permit us to act on this evolutionary trait. Repression of our non-monogamous sexual desires is a fact of Western, “civilized” life.
Sex at Dawn diplomatically states that “Whether or not our society’s investment in sexual repression is a net gain or loss is a question for another time,” but it’s clear to us here at BTD that sexual repression is unequivocally a net gain. Just ask the porn industry, which rakes in $50-100 billion annually. Or consult the data on drugs like Viagra, which bring in $1.9 billion every year. While BTD doesn’t pull in quite this kind of money, our strategy is exactly the same. Just like pornographers and drug manufacturers, we too are profiteers of sexual repression.
Just like Al Capone was a hero during prohibition in the U.S., Nathan and Mark are heroes of sexual devolution. We sneak in that sweet tasty repression that forward thinking liberals would like to keep out. Here at BTD, we give you that good loving. And by loving I mean abuse. We exploit the tension between human beings’ naturally non-monogamous nature and society’s expectation of lifelong monogamy, and the inevitable shame and isolation that this tension engenders. “Sexual and emotional isolationism is a culturally imposed aberration for our species,” and this aberration creates a sweet spot of shame and self-loathing.
The characters we play in the podcast are hyperbolic examples of what humans can become in an attempt to escape these unpleasant emotions. “Mark” and “Nathan” are constantly inventing new plans for sexual domination and then failing fantastically, all in the space of 30 seconds. They want so badly to fix their own loneliness, not acknowledging that they have already succeeded as the show so often end in epic bro-mance (Describes the complicated love and affection shared by two straight males). Meanwhile, sex is inflated in a monstrous King-Kong towering above us, never to be understood.
Oppression of women and sexual repression are kissing cousins, and so at BTD we celebrate them both equally. “Societies in which women have lots of autonomy and authority tend to be decidedly male-friendly, relaxed, tolerant, and plenty sexy.” And continuing, “If you’re unhappy at the amount of sexual opportunity in your life, don’t blame the women. Instead, make sure they have equal access to power, wealth, and status. Then watch what happens.”* Unfortunately, what will happen is the end of Big Time Dates. So don’t let it! Preserve the patriarchy and our endless supply of high-fives and self-deprecating humor! Live in fear! Buy our T-shirts!
Humans need to seek peace with the truth of our sexual nature. But as the real social change required to do so seems unlikely at best, the next best thing may just be rude, unapologetic satire that illustrates what we can become when we suppress who we naturally are.
You’re welcome, America.
*Sex At Dawn, by Christopher Ryan and Cacilda Jetha, published by Harper Perennial in 2011