Thursday, May 2, 2013

What I Learned from Mick Jagger About Sex

In the video below Mike Myers and Dana Carvey play Mick Jagger and Keith Richards, respectively. The sketch attempts to depict what the pre-wedding conversation might sound like if Jagger were to seek advice from his buddy, Richards, on how to approach his wedding night. At the time of the sketch, Jagger was about to marry model Jerry Hall who happens to be the mother of two of his children, and a woman who he had been dating/living with for close to thirteen years. What makes the clip particularly amusing is that- in spite of Jagger's sexual history- the SNL crew envisions a rather shy and humble Jagger looking for a few final nuggets of wisdom before he "takes the plunge".

As a teacher, whenever I ask my students why premarital sex is not only immoral but a bad idea on a practical level, they generally tell me that sex before marriage makes the wedding night seem "anti-climactic." The fact that this is a double entendre is probably lost on most of them, but for those who are aware of its double meaning, a deeper significance can be gleaned. Whether in movies, sports, songs, or sex, in order for there to be a satisfying conclusion, there must be a necessary build-up. The best things in life require some level of patience and preparation in order to reach a desirable end. The diabolical opposite of this is the demon of immediacy, which seeks to front load pleasure, while simultaneously stealing it on the back end. Without the appropriate build-up/denouement, life would be a series of  Christmases without Advent, "straight As" without studying, choruses without verses, a championship without a season, a punchline without any context, and a wedding night for a couple who has never experienced anything even approaching chastity.

Being more cynical than my students, I have never really found this argument to be a particularly compelling one (at least as a means of convincing others). But after watching this SNL clip one cannot help but to see how tragic and pitiful the man is who attempts to find romance and intimacy after such a sordid history. Ironically, by presenting Jagger and Richards in such an innocent way, the lie of premarital sex becomes even more pronounced. We are constantly informed by our culture that living chastity is at its best useless and naive, and at worst dangerous. But how naive, and perhaps even dangerous, is it to think that there are no consequences for deferring the wedding vows, while maintaining the wedding night (I would argue that such a "deferral" quite often leads to a permanent one)? Furthermore, how difficult would it be to have a romantic spirit on your wedding night if you had already been living with someone for thirteen years and had two children with them? I am not saying that there is no possibility that good could come out of this situation- only that it is much more difficult to envision anything resembling a "romantic night of bliss" after the history they had already shared together. If ever there were an anti-climax this would be it. One might even wonder if on a night such as this there were any climax at all. Not surprisingly his marriage to Ms. Hall did end in divorce in 1999 when it was discovered (surprise surprise) that he had fathered a child with a Brazilian model. Indeed, it does not strain credulity to suggest that if a man doesn't learn chastity before marriage, it is certainly less likely that he will learn it afterwards.            

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