S-E-X

Plugging the empty soul of America's Venice with the wisdom of the ages

The sages of pop culture past, Salt 'n Pepa, once said, "Let's talk about sex, baby/Let's talk about all the good things and the bad things that may be." Notice the comprehensive scope of their entreaty, which encompasses both the "good" things and the "bad" things that sexin' may bring. The lyrics in today's dance music -- such as the chorus in Akinyele's "C**chie", "My coochie is soo juicy, yeah/My coochie is soo juicy"-- give us less to ponder. There's no side of "fries with that shake-shake booty," if you catch my drift. The sex comes à la carte. And that's probably a good thing, 'cause it kills the appetite.

One decade separates us from the relatively expansive sex talk that Salt 'n Pepa served up in the mid-'90s. With each passing year, dance-music lyrics have become smuttier, shedding the power they once had to titillate. So I recently decided that it was time to rewind far beyond the sexual knowledge of the past decade, to pluck the wisdom of the ancients.

And then I wondered what kind of sex people have when they take somebody home from today's nightclubs. With a stash of Fourth-century secrets from the Kama Sutra of Vatsyayana, I set out to discuss the ins and outs of bumping uglies with partygoers on Himmarshee, near downtown Fort Lauderdale. Because a girl who plans on talking about sex in public should never set out alone, I phoned a friend who said she was "fittin' to get her imbibe on with some raspberry kamikazes" and set off.

Around 11 p.m. last Saturday night, we arrived at the Porterhouse, where we downed a round of her choice drink and then started scanning the singles.

A tight-black-pantsed trio in belly-exposing half-shirts approached the club, looking as if they were on the prowl for one thing and one thing only. I approached them and asked whether they had ever hooked up down here at Himmarshee. Two said they didn't live here, and the third, who hangs here regularly, looked appalled by my question and responded, "No, I don't hook up."

Yeah, sure, OK.

Moving on.

Nearby, in front of Rush Street, was a young Puerto Rican man sitting at a high-top table, holding a drink, and looking up and down the street. I asked whether he wanted to talk about hooking up, and he held up a hand with a shiny gold ring on it. No, I mean talk about hooking up.

"Oh."

As it turned out, Chip had a lot of information to offer about his premarital late-night escapades: "Actually, the best places to hook up are inside the clubs." I mentioned that we'd just come from Porterhouse, and he remarked, "Porterhouse is the easiest place to hook up. Once you're in there, you're drinking, the girls are drinking... it's just a matter of making that eye-connection thing, you know?" When I mentioned the Voodoo Lounge, another Himmarshee joint, he said that was the easiest place to hook up too.

I asked, "But you can't have sex inside the clubs, can you?"

He responded, "In the [now closed] Chili Pepper, you could. In a dark corner. But you don't have sex out here. You take that to a hotel."

I asked him, "Is it good, is it good times?"

"Oh yeah," Chip said. "It's like spring break down here every weekend. It's not that hard to hook up and take that girl home. It's not hard at all."

I asked, "When you get home, do you have good sex?"

"Yeah... The whole one-night-stand thing, really, is about yourself. It's not about the other person. It's really about, uh, I did it. I hooked it up." Charming.

Chip's friend, Bernard, walked up, and I asked the boys if they'd ever read the Kama Sutra.Both said they had.

I asked, "Do you remember the categories it lays out for vagina sizes?"

Chip confessed: "I haven't read it. I've actually performed it."

I harbored doubts.

I laid out the categories for them: "They have animal equivalents for genitalia: A small woman is a deer, a medium-sized woman is a mare, and a large woman is an elephant."

They both laughed at the last category. How amusing: an elephant vagina.

I interrupted them. "Do you guys really think that the size of women's vaginas vary?"

"Oh yeah," Chip said.

"So, if you guys could choose what size woman you would sleep with tonight, what would you choose?"

Chip said, "I would choose a mare. Sometimes that whole small thing doesn't work out."

Subtly turning the conversation to their own equipage, I asked, "Would you feel compatible with a mare?"

The more modest Bernard said, "Yes."

"Would you feel compatible with an elephant?"

"Probably not," Bernard said, admitting, "I might get lost all up in there."

Moving on from size, I tell the men about the categories of sexual intensity. The Kama Sutra describes a man of low passion as one "whose desire at the time of sexual union is not great, whose semen is scanty, and who cannot bear the warm embrace of the female. Those who differ from this temperament are called men of middling passion, while those of intense passion are full of desire."

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