by Julian Fleetwood. First published October 2007.
Because sex defines, influences and affects everyone; because each of us has a unique sexuality; because we rarely have the opportunity to honestly express and discuss it with others.
This is not the way it should be. We need to be able to openly communicate our experiences of sex for there to be healthy, realistic alternatives to the crap we’re spoon-fed by TV and film, the internet, books, magazines and news.
If we don’t demonstrate that our sexual desire can’t be summed up in a magazine centrefold, or that we are attracted to people who don’t conform to a narrow list of specifications defined by mainstream media, governments and marketing companies, then it’s going to become harder and harder for ourselves and others to do so. If we don’t express—often and loudly—how we see our own sexualities then those avenues we can currently use to communicate to politicians, companies and each other will diminish.
Much of the content of this book relates to the context of sex and sexuality in Australia, but the issues and conflicts expressed in these articles, stories, pictures, poetry and debates apply to just about anywhere else in the world.
Given that the core reason for producing this book was honesty and openness—to create a space for people to candidly (and, not to forget, entertainingly) discuss their perspectives on gender and sex in all of its messy and confusing plurality—it would be duplicitous to claim this book was any kind of authoritative statement.
Let’s be honest: this book is rough. ‘As rough as grass undies’ (to steal the title of Adrienne Kneebone’s 2006 sculpture about domestic sexuality). But, then, so is sex. It’s amorphous. It spreads and influences all aspects of our lives, especially those we wished it would stay out of. Sex can never ever be one thing to everyone: it’s beautiful and a mess.
Every person is constantly undergoing a process of negotiating and re-defining what sex means to them. This understanding is most powerfully shaped through our short or long-term contact with partners who are equally engaged in the life-long process of defining sex and their sexuality.
Think of this book as 62 potential new partners– let’s get out there and mingle.
Extract from The Sex Mook.