A Culmination of Yeses: The meaning of great sex

School of Medicine

It’s late Tuesday night. The N-Judah has failed me again. The next Muni is an hour’s wait. Surprisingly, the only other thought running through my mind is, “I don’t understand the perineum.” The second-year medical school curriculum is all sperm and eggs these days, as we are introduced to the world of the reproductive system.  The first week into the course, I am both amazed and confused by the creation of human life.  

I decide it is time to get productive. I find a dingy café a few blocks down and start reviewing lecture slides. It dawns on me that reviewing slides on male and female genitalia inside a drearily lit café might not have been the best idea. But I am here and the Muni is refusing to take me home.

A few sips into my cup of coffee, a voice whispers from behind me. “What you looking at?”

I turn around and find a group of five women, cigarettes in one hand, coffees in another, peering down at my iPad.

Startled, I reply, “The pudendal nerve.”

“Honey, that ain’t no nerve. That’s the vagina,” the woman replies. The other four laugh.

They pull up some chairs and sit at my table. I am both scared and amused. Thankfully, I don’t need to initiate conversation. The first woman introduces herself as Saber and offers to teach me about the vagina for a reasonable price, which I graciously decline. It is rare that my homosexuality gets in the way of an opportunity, but this is one of them.

We sit in silence for couple of minutes. They look exhausted, and I must do too. It is a slow night for all of us. I gulp my coffee, hoping it will distract me from the situation. Thankfully, Saber breaks the silence by describing her sexual encounter from last night.

“It is the best I’ve had in some time,” she recalls. “Might even be the best I’ve ever had.”

This is all I need to hear for us to start bonding. I’ve long pondered why certain sexual encounters are thought of as great, and certain others as “not so much.”

I ask Saber, “What does great sex really mean?”

Saber grins. “Great sex is about yeses.” The other women understand what she means. I, clearly, don’t.

Saber explains without prompting, “Listen, great sex is an act of yeses. Say you see someone you like. Somewhere in your mind, you say ‘Yes,’ then you hear their voice, and you say ‘Yes.’ Then they offer to take you home, and you say ‘Yes.’ Then they kiss you, and you say ‘Yes,’ and then, during sex, you keep on saying ‘Yes.’ When it’s all over, you breathe out and say ‘Yes.’ 

“Most of the time, you don’t say ‘Yes’ at every point, but you decide to have sex anyway.  That’s mediocre sex. But when it’s great sex, both you and them keep on saying ‘Yes’ every step of the way.  All those yeses make you forget you are two different people.”

I found her answer to contain a great deal of truth. Maybe we all differ in the time it takes for us to say “Yes,” maybe there is room for falling in love in between those yeses, but when we do have great sex, it is a “Yes” kind of an event.  The culmination of all those yeses allows us to forget the boundaries of our physical bodies, helping dissolve the space that separates us. 

In a culture where people define themselves so much by their individuality and their uniqueness, sex is an event of oneness.  Maybe, just maybe, this desire for oneness is what gives all those tiny sperm the motivation to travel so far in hopes of meeting that one egg.

I glance back at the lecture slide and I see the same pudendal nerve struggling its way out of the pudendal canal. It is just another nerve in the body, but this time all I can hear myself saying is “Yes! You made it through that canal for a reason. Your existence has made a whole bunch of yeses possible.”