Sex Is Overrated (Or So My Wife Often Observes)

 Sex is overrated because of the efforts of people trying to sell us stuff.

Sex is overrated and that’s a money issue because thinking sex is more important than it is causes you to spend on the wrong sorts of stuff.

Sex Is Overrated

The job of advertising is to get you to buy stuff you don’t need. This is not done by listing the pros and cons of various spending options. It is done through an appeal to the emotions. Advertising is always going to contain a lot of sexed-up stuff in it because sex is the great universal irrational drive.

I do it myself. I call my approach Passion Saving.

That’s fighting fire with fire. I play to win.

It’s okay when I do it because I’m on your side. (I’m joking — kinda, sorta.)

Sex is overrated because it’s something we all have in common in a world in which we feel increasingly isolated.

Sex has always been used for nefarious purposes because of the power it provides to persuade people to do things they otherwise would not be inclined to do. The problem has gotten a lot worse in recent decades.

Today’s world is more under the control of big corporate interests. A mom and pop grocery store could only increase its profits by a wee bit by coming up with a sexy advertising jingle. For a huge chain, it’s worth the expense to hire the sorts of people who in earlier days would have been writing hit songs for the Monkees to make a purchase of their convenience foods irresistible. I swear that I once saw a billboard with a sexed-up enticement to buy a premium brand of lettuce!

Forming a real connection with another human is a difficult business. It’s a hard sell getting people to buy what they need to buy to feel less lonely. But we all “get” sex. As marketing becomes more and more efficient, more and more of the pitches directed at us promise sexual intimacy to the millions in dire need of the real kind.

Sex is overrated because the negatives are often overlooked.

Sex has its good side. It forces us to slow down, for one thing. I think of that Elvis Costello song “Busy Bodies.” If it weren’t for the sex drive, some people would never put down their cell phones.

Still, sex hurts an awful lot of people. People open themselves up and then get torn apart. This should be talked about more frequently in this free-discussion society of ours.

I don’t like the smell of cigarettes. But I bet that free sex has hurt more people than the Marlboro Man. Illicit sex should come with a warning label.

Of course, it’s not my place to say that people should not engage in illicit sex. I avoid controversy whenever possible; I’m a “push not the river” sort of individual, like my friend Wanderer. I’m merely suggesting that the consumer advocacy people look into this free-and-uneasy sex business and provide us with some tips for not getting our hearts crushed into bits and that sort of thing.

Is There Sex After Marriage

The point here is that they don’t ever put up advertisements reminding us of the bad side of sex. People don’t tell jokes about it. There are some songs about it, but they usually are placed on the flip side. Yet the dark side of sex is very real. The wrong sort of sex is a dream crusher.

Buyer beware!

Sex is overrated because it draws attention away from life activities of more enduring satisfaction.

The real problem is that sex sucks up energy that could be going to other purposes.

Say that you daughter never gets pregnant and has to drop out of school. Has she escaped the reach of the negative power of sex? Not necessarily. What if she directs too much mental energy to boys and not enough to learning how to draw or to studying organic chemistry or to swimming laps? People still do those things, to be sure. People are smart! But do we put as much effort into those things as we would if we spent less time and effort and money pursuing sex and sex substitutes? I wonder.

When Mick Jagger complained about not getting satisfaction, it wasn’t just a complaint about the sex not being good. It was really a complaint about our Consumer Wonderland not always satisfying every desire. My thought is that the Consumer Wonderland would serve us better if we maintained our ability to think straight by not getting too caught up in the messages fed to us in the sexed-up advertisements.

Is rock and roll a shout of joy over sex or is rock and roll a shout of joy over independence attained?

I think it can be taken either way. I remember the Beatles opening that door in A Hard Day’s Night and shouting “We’re Out!” They were overcoming repression but it was not necessarily sexual repression that had been holding them back. My sense is that some people interpret songs about independence (“Get Up, Stand Up!”, “Dancing in the Street” , “Girls Just Wanna Have Fun”) as being about sex. I try to take it the other way. I make an effort to interpret songs about sex as being about independence.

I was bowling with my wife and boys last Sunday and they were playing “Let’s Spend the Night Together.” I was singing along a bit and then I thought “Well, this isn’t quite right.” Then I told myself that it’s really a song about the quest for independence and self-assertion, that the song need not be taken as being entirely about sex.

Rationalization will get you everywhere in Hoco-World.

Sex is overrated because it draws attention away from simple stuff to which we should be paying more attention.

One of the first things I learned when I began saving effectively is the importance of being thankful for the good stuff in your life. The ultimate advertising slogan is that one that says “It Costs a Little More, But You’re Worth It!” We all want to hear that.

Purpose of Sex

If you take note of all the good stuff you’ve got going on in your life, you feel less of a drive to accumulate junk. Saying grace before meals leaves you less vulnerable to all sorts of marketing pitches. When I pray, I make a point of saying thanks for all sorts of simple joys that I otherwise might forget to appreciate — the incredible variety of foods we have to taste, the thrill of a good conversation with another human, having been born in a place where people don’t live in huts and the police don’t carry machine guns. If you remember to be thankful for all that, you feel less intense of a desire for a red sports car.

The best value propositions lie in taking the time to enjoy the simple things. You can read a great novel. You can take a long bath. You can look at old photos. They don’t often show you a girl wearing a short skirt to get you interested in that stuff because there’s not much profit in it for them for doing so. So you need to create your own non-sexy (or ultra-sexy, depending on your point of view) advertisements in your head to sell yourself on that sort of thing.

It’s not enough just to know what matters in a “yes, I get it” sort of sense. When walking through a Consumer Wonderland dominated by photos of girls in short skirts (who in all likelihood are kind and generous-spirited people as well, it should be noted), you need to focus on the alternative. Sex hurts most by taking our attention away from non-sex stuff that counts for more in the end.

Sex is overrated because it always ends badly.

Sex doesn’t go anywhere.

Love goes somewhere. Friendship goes somewhere. Raising kids goes somewhere. Marriage goes somewhere.

I see sex as being an exclamation point to sentences comprised of words telling a non-sex message. Sex has its place. It’s a limited place, though. Sex by itself doesn’t go anywhere. Let sex get too big, and it ruins your fun instead of adding to it. Sex can add something significant to a positive trip with a non-sex purpose. Sex trips end badly. Make sex a condiment, never the main course.

Why is it that sex trips end badly? It’s because we are not sex machines (James Brown is an exception — that’s the entire point of his song on this topic). We can handle sex as part of a mix but ignoring the non-sex machinery causes it to act up. The human machine strips a gear when the volume control for sex gets turned up too high.

Sex is overrated because the urge is too darn insistent.

Sex is like a song that is all drumbeat. It’s too darn demanding. When the message keeps getting repeated and repeated and repeated, I get distrustful. If it’s so, why do they have to say it so many times?

I am not anti-drums. I am not anti-sex. I just like to see the other side of the story get a hearing from time to time. I see so many advertisements for sex all about me that I feel a need to write a different sort of song.

Sex is overrated because it too often contains a self-destructive component.

Sex Happens

The way they say it in the songs is “I’ll give up everything for one night with you!” It’s an exaggeration, but there’s some truth in it. Do you not know people who gave up too much for sex? Have you not ever been tempted to give up too much for it yourself?

That scares me. There are few other urges that tempt us to give up so much for so little.

I’d rather live without sex than live without reading. I’d rather live without sex than live without running. I’d rather live without sex than live without conversation. I’d rather live without sex than live without music.

I think most people are like me. But I also think that most people are tempted at times to give sex too high a place. Sex is too demanding! I don’t trust that urge.

Sex is overrated because it is forgettable.

Sex is intense. I’ll give you that one. That doesn’t mean that it’s memorable.

What we remember is things associated with sex. You might remember seeing her standing there and your heart going boom when she crossed the room or you might remember talking things over in the restaurant or you might remember having the fight and that feeling that comes when you see that it’s more important to make up than to be proven right. That’s different than remembering the sex itself. The sex itself is not what stays in your mind. It is intense but not memorable. There’s a difference.

Sex is overrated because songs about it are better than the real thing.

There are many good songs about sex. Maybe they’re not really about sex. Maybe they’re about a quest, or whatever.

Ray Charles scored a bunch of hits by turning gospel songs into sex songs. He should be ashamed of himself! That was a very, very naughty thing for him to do. That was just too much.

Still, they were good songs. There’s no purpose served in denying the obvious realities.

Is Sex Worth It?

Dylan turned the tables on his Time Out of Mind album. The songs all appear at first to be about relationships with women. When you listen carefully, you discover that they are about a relationship with God. This guy really enjoys messing with people’s minds. And the Time Out of Mind songs are good too!

God seems to like the idea of presenting us with seemingly contradictory visions of what it takes to get closer to Him. You figure it out! God knows I can’t!

When you get older, it makes more sense to be thinking about your relationship with God. So we need to de-emphasize the sex stuff a bit. I cannot give up on all those great songs. I cannot turn my back on much of the Consumer Wonderland, even though I don’t entirely trust all its claims. My encouraging thought for the day is that there is non-sex stuff to be found even in the most sexed-up songs once you stop letting the advertising guys tell you what to think.