Once a week is enough – although three or four times is better. It’s nothing, and yet. Antibody levels increase by 30%, inflammation in the blood decreases, adrenaline secretion acts on the cardiovascular system, increases blood glucose levels, blood pressure and heart rate. The anxiolytic, antihypertensive and analgesic effects are proven. Oxytocin, dopamine and endorphins are in full swing, pain tolerance increases, and stressful situations are better managed. The positive cognitive consequences are numerous: men have a 23% higher success rate (14% for women) on memory tests. We look five to seven years younger. Once a week – although three to four times is better. It’s nothing. And yet, it’s just sex.
What if ecoanxiety, generalized depression, aggressiveness in the guise of hello and indifference to others were only the consequence of one thing, the absence of sex life? The figures have fallen, relayed by Release – you know, this daily life which broke down the constraints and which now wallows in the morality which extinguishes freedom and desire. Delirium. The Ifop study carried out for the sex toy company Lelo tells us that only 76% of people declared having had sexual intercourse in the last year (15 points less than in a 2006 study). Among 18-24 year olds, 28% have not experienced any sexual activity (this was only 5% in 2006).
Sex without consent and desire is not sex. It’s violence, rape, which is criminal, a crime. Sex is not a place of domination, of submission, of power relations dictated by society which imposes a way of making love. Sex is the most obscure and the most luminous, the most contradictory and the most revealing. How can we rejoice in the declining sex of young people in the name of #MeToo? In other words, it’s because women now say “no” without fear and without pressure. Or it’s generational: before sex was everything, today it’s yuck.
And there is also laziness. Libé call it dating fatigue. Not false. We are lazy about everything. To read, to wax, to solve a mathematical problem, to learn a poem by heart, to go downstairs to buy milk, to make love. Pascal Bruckner was right with his Sacred slippers, the pandemic has only accentuated a trend of Western societies being too spoiled, too comfortable, too tired of just having to reach out to have. And then it’s true that it’s so much less emotionally dangerous, less psychologically exhausting to watch series that live for us. Release timidly advances: “More difficult to assess but also pointed out, the impact of certain religious and political ideologies which would like to reserve these things of life only for legitimate couples”, all without mentioning Islamism. The equation is however simple: the West is sexual decadence, Islamism is purity and respect.
A flesh that has become moribund
I don’t buy. There is certainly a little truth in all these causes put forward with the assurance of a sociology professor from Nanterre. But also: the Westerner is a child king, who wants when he wants, who prefers sex toys to the mirror of the other, porn with guaranteed orgasm for a body which is a mystery to be solved.
Wouldn’t this be above all the consequence of a discourse which makes sex the domain of the big bad patriarchy which ruins women? In the 19th century, the bourgeois discourse was simple: we must cut women’s connection with their bodies, mirrors are prohibited in the bathrooms, women wash with their clothes on, you must definitely not make your wife orgasm – pleasure is reserved for courtesans and prostitutes. A woman who enjoys is a woman who liberates herself. Speech taken up word for word by neofeminism, which confuses liberation and submission to extract women from physical love. Speech that kills the possibility of love. The flesh is no longer just sad, it is moribund.
Abnousse Shalmani, committed against the obsession with identity, is a writer and journalist