Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Sexual liberation doesn't always lead where you expect it to

I turned off the engine in Staples car park today to listen to the end of a story by Emma Kennedy, recorded at the Latitude Festival in Suffolk. 'Drink Nothing' was about her childhood, with a hippy mother and a father who went along for the ride. Apparently, Emma's mum took her to 'Hair: The American Tribal Love Rock Musical', with the infamous nude scene that caused such a to-do. Emma was only three at the time, but must have been a bright kid, as she learned some of the songs off by heart, presumably because they had a recording, without understanding what the words meant. Asked to sing something by some of her mother's teaching colleagues, who expected a nursery rhyme, she launched into a rendition of the sodomy song:
Sodomy
Fellatio
Cunnilingus
Pederasty

Father, why do these words sound so nasty?

Masturbation
Can be fun
Join the holy orgy
Kama Sutra
Everyone!
There were a lot of people in the late '60s and early '70s who didn't know what those words meant, besides young Emma, including my friend Paula (not her real name). She and I were probationary teachers in a secondary modern school in the North East. Paula was older than me. She'd trained as a mature student. One day, I found her in the hall with a group of eleven-year-olds, doing drama - the sort that involves wriggling on the floor pretending to be fish, or drifting around being clouds. She had the sodomy song from Hair on her tape player. "Paula!" I hissed, "You can't play that here." "Why not?" she said. "Do you know what it means?" I asked. "No," she said, "what does it mean?" Considering that she was a GP's wife, I was a little surprised at this, but I supposed they didn't discuss sexual positions at home.

We changed the tape, and later I explained what the words meant. She was intrigued, especially by fellatio and cunnilingus, and my explanation of soixante-neuf. Her eyebrows went up a bit, but she was smiling. "Oh," she said. "That sounds interesting."

A few days later, she said she'd asked her husband if he knew what the words meant, and it turned out he did. So, she said, they'd tried them out (apart from the sodomy), and enjoyed themselves. Until then, she said, their sex life had been fairly dull.

Sadly, Paula's new-found sexual passion didn't last long. Within weeks, she found out how her husband knew so much about a variety of sexual positions. He's been having sex with his receptionist for several years. They got divorced. I moved away, so I don't know if Paula found anyone else to play the sodomy song too.

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