Thoughts on sex (Part 2)

This is an addendum to Somebody’s thoughts on sex (Part 1)

“You told me it is not anymore important to you.”

“Yes, but it does not mean it is not anymore important. It definitely is, still.”

I have nothing against constricting my sex life in a straitjacket, or more appropriately a chastity belt, as this is a normal consequence when one gets himself involved in a strictly monogamous union. I welcome this as a restful respite from years of reckless abandon and unhinged debauchery. Sometimes I already find it hard to see my old self in the context of my new life. As if out of whim, but definitely a result of careful introspection, I woke up one day and came up with this foolish idea of denouncing promiscuity and sticking to the one person whom I derive sexual pleasure from and with.

When it stops being cheap, sex gains the greatest of values — bliss.

I remember writing ‘off to my third job’ (I currently hold four) as a Facebook status recently. A female college friend left a comment asking me ‘Wala ka na na social life, Fev, eh? (Do you still have a social life, Fev?).’ I remember how I used to equate social life with sex life and that the only meaningful form of socialization, excluding, of course, with my family, friends, students, and the people I work with in academe, is having sex with the other party. I, however, avoided having sex with another party if the other party happened to be coming from a different species, of supernatural origin, or a non-living thing.

Aside from finally deciding to retire from the repetitive courtship game of luring and being lured because it has gone tiring, stressful, I eventually felt that I derived nothing from it but dirty pleasures and the icky feeling of having contracted something malevolent such as syphilis, herpes, or worse, HIV.

But I guess this is the normal progression of things. When one grows old, he realizes there are things more important and interesting than getting laid.

Plying Pasig River

These photos taken using my phone would have remained untouched on my desktop had I not fortuitously ran into them this morning while I was attempting to clean my computer and rid it of unnecessary and incriminating files.

Two weeks ago, a friend and I went to Manila for lunch and finally proceeded with our long-stalled plan of riding a passenger ferry that plies Pasig River from Manila to Taguig City.

I must say that the idea of the project–using the navigable portion of the river as a passenger route to ease the traffic in the metro–is an excellent one, only that the government arm who is tasked to do this has been missing on a lot of details.

The ferries are not properly maintained, the air-conditioning units not working, and the security is, to say the least, very lax. The stench of the river seeps through the interior of the ferry. Despite the commendable effort of both local and national government to rehabilitate Pasig River, undeniably, the river still gives off noxious odor. If they intend to use the river for the purpose of making it a commuters’ highway, and if they want the people to patronize this alternative, then something has to be done regarding the minor discomfort the system brings to the riding public.

In spite of this, the experience had a tourist-y feel in it similar to riding a Ferris wheel or walking through a House of Horror for the first time, we ignored the inconvenience because of the novelty of the experience; it’s not as if we ride the ferries in Pasig River every day.

From Escolta, several meters from Chinatown, is the second station south of the route. I imagined Elias (was it he?) throwing the improvised bomb to Pasig River thwarting Simon’s plan to seek vengeance against the corrupt friars in Jose Rizal’s novel El Filibusterismo.

The trip, which took more than 40 minutes, had lull moments. So to let time pass, I folded my ticket into a paper boat.

One will notice that people keep on moving from one side of the ferry to another to avoid the sun. With this, one can see the narrow line that separates death (that is, dying from ingesting murky water that has in it God-knows-what species of bacteria and viruses million times more potent than HIV or Ebola virus)  and life, all because of the vanity subliminally imposed on the Filipino psyche by ads for skin-whitening lotions.

The back of the Post Office building that faces the Escolta station and the building being reflected in the nearly black water. If there is something beautiful about the waters of Pasig it’s the fact that their reflections of buildings and objects along banks of the river are comparatively clearer and definitely more beautiful than in the waters of cleaner and more pristine rivers.

For unknown reasons, probably security, it is forbidden to take photos of the Malacanang palace. The moment it dawn on us that the magnificent white building to our right is the center of power in the country, we passengers started snapping pictures of the president’s palace. The uniformed men in the ferry hurriedly ordered us to delete the pictures in our phones which we promptly did, and these men made sure we did. But out of sheer luck, I was able to keep this one. This, I believe, will hardly pose any security concern to the incumbent president, Gloria Arroyo.

(But if somebody has the audacity enough to go past her legion of security personnel and, say, put poison in her cup of coffee, plant a bomb in her bathroom, or simply bludgeon her to death, it’s an act some of us would gladly welcome.)

And after the long trip, we saw this imposing silhouette of Guadalupe Bridge right in front of the breathtaking Pasig sunset. Relishing the unforgettable sight before us but more concerned with the stench that got stuck to our clothes, we caught a bus home to Makati.

But how pleasurable this banality is

Somebody once told me that I overrate sex, that I am too caught up within its crafty, labyrinthine path that one day I’d wake up totally enmeshed in and unable to escape from this game I all too enjoy playing. I laughed at the person giving me the remark, disregarding his comment as something at the height of naïveté. Sex moderates itself and the idea of being ‘oversexed’ is a fallacy. Sex operates within the bounds of diminishing marginal utility; inevitably one will get tired of it. And besides, I reason, that I am not getting any younger, the natural course of things is to slowdown. And thirty, forty years from now I shall altogether lose interest in it.

But he went on by saying that I’ve redefined moderation to a point that it becomes unrecognizable and unbelievable. My appetite for sex, he observed, is beyond compare. It’s as if I’ve been starved of it for years and reintroduced to it; I’ve transformed myself into a maniac who needs sex like one needs air and water to survive. I gave him a meaningful wink that caused him to almost choke in the oxygen he was inspiring. “Spare me,” he emphatically declared.

“And are you sure you’ll live for thirty or more years?” He jokingly asked.

“Well, I only intend to live until in my fifties. I do not dream of growing too old to be unable to perform well in bed,” I sarcastically answered.

“That is if you reach that age without having contracted syphilis, chlamydia, gonorrhea, or God forbids, HIV,” he finally said.

I looked straight to his eyes and asked, “What do you want me to do? Stop doing it and become an asexual salmonella like you?”

“What I mean is moderation. I do not have to define what moderation means in order for you to understand it. I have complete trust in your intelligence and ability to comprehend.” He paused, “And you’re all too aware that you are over-doing it.”

I was silent for more than a minute, sipped my cup of lukewarm cappuccino, and before me came a surge of countless images of the faces of people I had sex or made love with (as the two are totally different ideas and acts). I confused one from the other, forgot when I had the most unforgettable, the best, or when I did it for the first time. Sex has become too cheap and easy. And it was I and my almost insatiable thirst for it that made it too cheap and easy.

It’s as if my entire existence rests on this platform whose sole purpose is to seek pleasure. Sex ceased to be an emotional experience for me, and I do not remember whether it ever was an emotional experience shared with another person. What I know is that it is an exercise that dissipates bodily heat, facilitates an exchange of bodily fluids, and mediates the union of emptiness contained within equally empty bodies. But how pleasurable this banality is.