Making People Think They Enjoy Sex

Question: Is there a particular joy in writing about sex?

Jonathan Ames: I’ve often been drawn to writing about sex. I’ve tried to answer this question before. I did in some interview recently. I do a lot of these written interviews. I almost would like to collect them. I do these email interviews and I sometimes put a lot of effort into them. But, I think sex is always, obviously, very fascinating and is this little theater where all sorts of issues and problems can express themselves between two people, or one person. And so as an arena to like explore a character, that’s why I like a character’s troubles or heart, or perversions – not perversions, but inclinations. That’s why I’m drawn to writing about sex. Not so much for the physical act, though it’s not bad to titillate people also too. Because a lot of times people read books and they love the sex parts. “Oh, that’s what its like for me to be in bed.” Especially if you’re honest about it about how difficult it might be, or how insecure one might be, or the thinking one has while making love. So, it’s one more area to connect to the reader and to make them feel less alone as well as, like I said, exploring what really makes a person a person, and a lot of times that’s most expressed in their sexuality.

Question: Do you have any personal stories with Craigslist?

Jonathan Ames: I’ve never personally used Craigslist for anything. But at one time, I used to love to read all the ads where people wanted to meet people. All the variety – Henry James’ brother, William James, wrote the book The Varieties of Religious Experience or something like that. Well “Craig’s List” was the varieties of sexual experience. I mean, I would read these ads and some would be like, “I live in Ohio, and I want to come to New York and be transformed into a woman and be your maid.” And it was so plaintive, and a lot of times it was very well written. Or someone else specifically wanted this kind of sexual act, or someone else just wanted to be in love. And it was all these narratives. I was just kind of drawn to this mad chorus on Craigslist of need.

But I never knew part two of any of the stories. I wanted to write to the people and say, “Did you meet someone?” Or, you would read one ad, “I want this.” And then someone would write, “I want this.” I’m like, why don’t they connect. You know, they’re each looking for the coefficient. Don’t they see that ad? I hope they hood up. You know. But mostly for me, it was just a source of reading material. I’ve never actually used Craigslist to purchase anything in any way.

Recorded on: November 4, 2009

Striving for titillation may be fun, but for Jonathan Ames the true aim of writing about the act is somewhat cathartic--if only he could reach all of those needy souls posting odd desires on Craigslist.

A brief history of human dignity

What is human dignity? Here's a primer, told through 200 years of great essays, lectures, and novels.

Credit: Benjavisa Ruangvaree / AdobeStock
Sponsored by the Institute for Humane Studies
  • Human dignity means that each of our lives have an unimpeachable value simply because we are human, and therefore we are deserving of a baseline level of respect.
  • That baseline requires more than the absence of violence, discrimination, and authoritarianism. It means giving individuals the freedom to pursue their own happiness and purpose.
  • We look at incredible writings from the last 200 years that illustrate the push for human dignity in regards to slavery, equality, communism, free speech and education.
Keep reading Show less

​'The time is now' for cryptocurrencies, PayPal CEO says

Is Bitcoin akin to 'digital gold'?

Technology & Innovation
  • In October, PayPal announced that it would begin allowing users to buy, sell, and hold cryptocurrencies.
  • Other major fintech companies—Square, Fidelity, SoFi—have also recently begun investing heavily in cryptocurrencies.
  • While prices are volatile, many investors believe cryptocurrencies are a relatively safe bet because blockchain technology will prove itself over the long term.
Keep reading Show less

"Clean meat" approved for sale in Singapore

Singapore has approved the sale of a lab-grown meat product in an effort to secure its food supplies against disease and climate change.

Credit: Adobe Stock / Big Think
Politics & Current Affairs
  • Singapore has become the first country to approve the sale of a lab-grown meat product.
  • Eat Just, the company behind the product, will have a small-scale commercial launch of its chicken bites.
  • So-called "clean meats" may reduce our reliance on livestock farming, which kills billions of animals worldwide every year.
  • Keep reading Show less

    Scientists find the "magic number" that links forces of the universe

    Researchers dramatically improve the accuracy of a number that connects fundamental forces.

    Credit: Adobe Stock / Big Think
    Surprising Science
    • A team of physicists carried out experiments to determine the precise value of the fine-structure constant.
    • This pure number describes the strength of the electromagnetic forces between elementary particles.
    • The scientists improved the accuracy of this measurement by 2.5 times.
    Keep reading Show less

    Study suggests most "dark web" users are not engaging in illicit activities

    A new study finds that some people just want privacy.

    Photo by Soumil Kumar from Pexels
    Technology & Innovation
    • Despite its reputation as a tool for criminals, only a small percentage of Tor users were actually going to the dark web.
    • The rate was higher in free countries and lower in countries with censored internet access.
    • The findings are controversial, and may be limited by their methodology to be general assumptions.
    Keep reading Show less
    Quantcast