Originally published here.
There are many reasons to watch television. Having voices in the background whilst you eat crumbed chicken and brown sauce between two pieces of stale white bread distracts you briefly from your crippling loneliness. It’s nice sometimes to be reminded that the world is not a merely a cesspit of brutality, but also a place where dolphins court by passing strands of seaweed to each other. If work is boring and your friends aren’t texting you back, it’s good to know that you always have the option of lying about a dead parent and appearing, knock-kneed and badly lit, on a talent show.
But the main reason we watch television is for the sex.
Ross and Rachel pining for each other through rainy windows. Nick and Jess savaging each other in quirky bathrobes. Meredith and McDreamy disrobing on operating tables. They have jobs and lives and hobbies and families but the part we wait for – the part we pine for – is… well, it’s the touching. Particularly if the two people doing it are unreasonably attractive, and have had to wait at least a year before throwing down.
It’s not all about make-believe, or even the satisfaction of fantasy. It’s also about learning. No matter how prevalent sex is in our own lives, we’re always looking for more information, as if sex can’t possibly be limited to what we’re actually doing. Because if that’s all there is to it – fantasies on the tube, Ask Reddit threads about masturbation, desultory encounters before bedtime – then what’s the point?
Luckily, in the same way that television can teach you about the mating habits of dolphins and the performance potential of prison guards, it can teach you about sex. There are lessons to be taken from the love affairs we love so much. This is sex education at its finest, shiniest and most heavily edited:
Always have sex with your best friend. Even if you don’t end up together, you will certainly end up having a close and intimate friendship. Nothing is lost by having that longed for drunk encounter. Just take your top off.
If you can’t have sex with your best friend, have sex with your best friend’s close relative. They love you. They want you to be happy. They feel the same about their family. Complete the circle of love. Just take your top off.
If you can’t do either of the above, then make sure you have sex with people you see all the time. The person who delivers your pizza, for example. Your colleague. Your boss, your teacher, your gardener. After the deed, you want to make sure that you see them every day, so you can look them in the eye and mutually reminisce over the time when your genitals smelled the same.
Sex almost never leads to disease, pregnancy or children. Also, condoms? A figment of your sad, closeted imagination.
Sex is not a private act between two people. Sex must be discussed in intimate detail with both friends and strangers immediately after the deed. Bonus points if you’re hugely insulting to your erstwhile partner; triple points if they overhear you.
Only good-looking people have sex. Only young people have sex. In summary: only young, good-looking people have sex. If you can’t find five points of similarity between yourself and Selena Gomez, you’re out of luck.
All women want to be saved by sex. Or money – but mostly by sex.
When you’re having sex, you always look like your best self. Shadowed, with skin like milk, writhing in the horizontal dance of life. Muscles flexed, hair snarled. You’re a goddess. You’re a dream.
Disasters will bring out your carnal side. Oh, everyone you love has turned into a zombie? Have sex. Your husband’s a drug dealer? Have sex. Bomb? Apocalypse? Flood? You know what to do.
Your life isn’t interesting unless you’ve having sex. So you’ve got a great job, a big apartment and loving friends. Big deal. Tell it to someone who cares.
This leads us to the big one. Sex is actually the only important thing in your life. Don’t waste your time thinking about death and taxes. All you need is mutual nudity for a feeling of total completion.
And there you have it – lessons in sex from those who know best. Keep these rules in mind when engaging in a pants-down-party and people will love you more, you’ll be happier, and the sun will shine on your shiny life. Next time you’re watching a David Attenborough documentary, keep these in mind. Even the dolphins play by the rules.