Friday, February 22, 2008

Sex and Relationships Revisited

manola's writing career burnt-out
In case you missed my first sex and relationships column in Citylink Magazine last year, I've retyped the printed column below (Citylink doesn't archive its stories online).

Writing under Manola Blablablanik as nom de plume, my stint at Citylink was brief; after only three columns, the publisher reorganized editorial made a dumb-ass decision and the topic of sex fell by the wayside. My editor assured me that I was no less adored -- the decision to toss off the topic of sex had nothing to do with me. You'd think a street-smart local rag that focuses on entertainment and makes revenue from escort ads would want black, white and sex all over! But no ... chalk it up to one of life's great mysteries.

I'm very grateful for the experience, which I thoroughly enjoyed, even though it was challenging to adapt Manola's voice to print. She had to be true to herself while addressing a different audience. This was no ordinary navel-gazing column a la Carrie Bradshaw in Sex and the City; I had to play journalist -- interviewing, reporting, fact-checking and so on. I also had the pleasure of working with Dan Sweeney, a funny, no-nonsense editor. Being a columnist changed the way I blog and will undoubtedly influence the course of Sex and the Beach in the future. Happily, what dizzying and amazing turns my writing career has taken!

In any case, I've been a bit burnt-out lately. I sent Manola Blablablanik, Dr. Annie Steelclit and Professor Chancleta to an undisclosed luxury health spa in Arizona a couple of weeks ago. I suspect they'll return refreshed and ready for much unabashed mischief in no time. Expect to see more street-smart reporting here in the not so distant future . . .

So in the meantime, enjoy a reprise!

sex and the animals lions copulating
Going at it like the animals
by Manola Blablablanik

A trip to Miami MetroZoo can be a learning experience – and maybe even a turn on.

It’s a cornball scene: The music rises. Man grabs woman and plants a smoldering wet one on her lips. She hesitates, but barely. Apparently furious, she steps back and slaps him. “You’re an animal,” she cries. Another crescendo and boom! The two start humping like monkeys.

For Ron Magill, that scene wouldn’t be just cornball, but the age-old replay of the birds and the bees, or more accurately, the orangutans and the chimpanzees. As a matter of fact, if apes could talk, they’d probably tell us that human sex is a real snoozer. Magill is here to speak for them. “Animals don’t have preconceived notions about sex,” he says. “If it feels right, they do it. They’re pure teachers about sex.”

As goodwill ambassador and communications director for Miami Metrozoo, Magill knows the ins and outs of sexual behavior in animals. He’s a wildlife expert with years of field research under his belt as well as a master at communicating scientific facts to regular folks like you and me. His annual Valentine’s Day Sex and the Animals show, now 18 years running, is part educational talk and part slide-show presentation with a heavy dose of slapstick. “Sex is one of the most beautiful gifts given to human beings, but you have to be responsible about it,” he explains. “Animals have much to teach us about sex.”

Magill says that, back in the day, public lectures at the zoo were a bit humdrum. Sex and the Animals aimed to educate audiences in an entertaining way while fulfilling the zoo’s need for community outreach. “I really wanted to call this Sex and the Animals,” he admits, “even though the zoo needed to maintain a wholesome family image.” He got his way.

We jaded adults think of the zoo as a place to let kids run around for a day, and while we may keep the porn channel blocked at home, we can’t always shield junior’s eyes. At the zoo, everyone’s a voyeur. “Sex takes place spontaneously and unpredictably,” Magill says. “Let’s say one day spot a crowd in front of the zebras. You know people are watching. They feel safe watching animals have sex without being stereotyped.”

After attending Sex and the Animals, I’m game for some beast porn, which will definitely spell return visits to the zoo for me. The seduction was easy: It started with a little wine, a little cheese and a show during which I laughed my ass off. The show starred Magill’s addictive enthusiasm, a bevy of naughty photographs and some larger-than-life props.

I really got in touch with the animal kingdom after the unforgettable experience of stroking a walrus penis bone, which was passed around the audience. The object gives whole new meaning to the word boner and could very well be the inspiration behind many sex toys. Approximately the size of a baseball bat, the walrus penis bone is sleek, sporting a slightly rotund tip.

Why the bone? Sex organs are designed to work quickly and efficiently. “It’s not absolutely clear why, but in some species, the male needs to be immediately ready when the female displays,” Magill explains. “In nature, penis and vagina shapes fit like pieces of a puzzle.” In other words, if you’re an enormous walrus who has to penetrate your zaftig mate, boy, does that bone give you an advantage.

Magill isn’t shy about demonstrating the wonders of animal sexuality himself. He doesn’t just describe tortoise sex; he air-humps an imaginary partner in order to explain the exquisite timing of orgasms. The male tortoise is quite a screamer, and Magill’s imitation would put a histrionic porn star to shame.

Some animals are into the titillation of porn, proving that even cute, furry mammals sometimes need a little help from their friends. In one breeding program, captive male pandas that were standoffish got their freak on after watching other pandas get down on a TV monitor. But most animals are naturally horny and don’t need technology for stimulation. “Sometimes, it’s all about quantity vs. quality,” Magill says. A male rhino will engage in intercourse for an entire hour ejaculating every two to five minutes. On the other hand, the Shaws jird, a type of rodent, will breed every 15 seconds for an hour, earning the record for frequency of sex. Don’t feed the animals Viagra, please. Do give them a tube of K-Y.

All this sex talk got me thinking about the many times I’ve referred to South Beach as a zoo. Now that I’ve received an education, every time I see a woman wearing a microminiskirt, I’ll be thinking about a chimpanzee in estrus, displaying her lovely, swollen come-hither vulva. Lesbians kissing on Lincoln Road? No problem. Female pygmy chimpanzees rub uglies when they say hello, just for pleasure. Some bimbo on the arm of a rich geezer? Well, now, that’s predictable. Those same lady chimps are also gold diggers; they’ll screw dominant males to climb the social ladder or to receive gifts like fruit.

The highlight of the show confirmed something I already knew. Even though men may appear to be the aggressors in hot pursuit of nooky, women rule the roost when it comes to sex. A married man, Magill wasn’t just speaking from his knowledge of scientific data: “Absolutely – 99 percent of the time in all invertebrates, it’s the female that ultimately dictates if, when and how many times.”

The orangutans do have something to teach us. The image of one hunky, hairy ape performing oral sex on his female partner before intercourse will forever remain etched in my mind. That’s not just sex, that’s superior service.

Originally published in print for Citylink Magazine, March 7, 2007

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Thursday, February 14, 2008

Happy Oxytocin Day!

I don't think you have to be a scientist to realize chemical bonding must be absolutely necessary between lovers. After all, how else would we put up with all the extra-curricular crap outside the bedroom if it weren't for some hormone that makes us go ga-ga?

"In humans, oxytocin is thought to be released during hugging, touching, and orgasm in both sexes. In the brain, oxytocin is involved in social recognition and bonding, and may be involved in the formation of trust between people and generosity." -- More at Wikipedia.

So you know what that means: on this day, go stimulate yourself and your lover enough to produce gallons of oxytocin, because you know there are going to be days when you have to tap into the reserves!

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