From the TMI file:
My approaching 42nd birthday reminds me that I am deep into middle age. I’ve been married for a little more than a decade now to a woman I’ve been with for a tad over fourteen years. We have two young children together.
In case you didn’t already know this, all of these facts conspire against an active, spontaneous, and appropriately spicy love life. Gone are the days where my wife and I would pass the majority of a twenty-four-hour cycle naked, bookending our waking hours with prolonged love-making and lying languid in between, draped across each other’s bodies while endeavoring only half-heartedly to “think which way \\ to walk, and pass our long love’s day.” By this midpoint in our shared existence, making time and space for the acts and art of love has had to become fairly deliberate, an exercise of will against the considerable obstacles of prying little ones, early bedtimes for early risers, busy work and home schedules, and just general boredom.
So we did what any couple caught in our perpetual missionary position would do: we took out a new Amazon channel subscription and began watching B-grade softcore porn of the sort I used to secretly record on VHS cassettes off Skinemax in the middle of the hot-n-sticky humid Georgia nights. This stuff dates from an earlier era for sure, way before any organized, publicized, and long-overdue #MeToo movement. At least I sincerely hope they made these pictures well before #MeToo, because the male gaze is strong with these ones: movies that sport titles like Sex School: Dorms of Desire and the sequel Sex School: Naughty Professor, The Real Naughty Housewives of Surrender Cinema, and Amorous Sisters.
All the same, seeing naked women and mostly naked men cavorting with one another, interspersed with bad acting and even worse dialogue, had its intended effect. We felt inspired to a passion all our own. To paraphrase medieval French scholastic Peter Abelard writing of his affair with student Heloïse:
“My hands strayed oftener to her bosom than to the remote; love drew our eyes to look on each other more than watching kept them on the screen.”
And just like Abelard and Heloïse, this new fillip to my wife’s and my love-making only made us hungry for more. Again to paraphrase Scholastic Pete:
“Our desires left no stage of love-making untried, and if love, the Amazon channel’s film catalog, and our imaginations could devise something new, we welcomed it. We entered on each joy the more eagerly for our previous inexperience, and were the less easily sated.”
Soon we turned from the sterile gateway of lame Amazon fare down the thrilling Knockturn Alley of exploring more explicit, ethical, and feminist pornography together online. What delicious fun!
I did look up from all the hubba-hubba-hot sexing, however, long enough for a singular thought to occur to me. Those really bad softcore movies do a brisk business in spontaneous and entirely unmotivated masturbatory sex-play. You know what I’m talking about: one moment, the coquettish ingenue is picking up in the bedroom or tidying the master bath, and the next, she’s looking at herself naked in some full-length mirror, caressing her exposed breasts like an imagined lover, her hands soon straying southward for more tropical autoerotic adventures—all to the dulcet tones of some bad, royalties-evading impression of Enigma’s Principles of Lust. As I watched this type of scenario play out for the umpteenth time, it came to me: I was witnessing the Satanic answer to the ever-present traditional religious drive to sacralize the mundane.
So many religious traditions—from early monasticism in both the East and West to Eckhart Tolle-style mindfulness—emphasize the importance of making every moment of daily and waking life sacred through careful mindfulness, seeing the transcendent in the ordinary, having a meditative mindset, and so on ad nauseam. Since such approaches depend on imbuing daily existence with a touch of the divine, they pretty much foreclose on the possibility of enacting anything of the sort within good ol’ carnal and materialistic atheistic Satanism.
What Satanism can do, however—and which traditional, body-shaming, sex-denying religion cannot—is borrow a page from the Skinemax playbook and turn every mundane moment into a chance for erotic delight. Get up close and personal with the throbbing washing machine, jump naked into a fresh pile of clean laundry still warm from the dryer, scrub the shower nude and pause a moment to see how the bristles of the brush feel against the head of your erect penis, slip undressed into the walk-in closet behind your spouse as he/she tries to decide what to put on for the day and enjoy a few moments of taking it back off. You name it. Chances to revive the flatlined quotidian with a pulse-quickening sniff of the carnal abound.
When I was a teenager and lived on twenty acres of forested land with the nearest neighbor a half mile or more away, I would slip outside unclothed at night or when alone in the midst of rain storms during the day and enjoy the water and wind on my skin, the dank earth under my bare feet. There was a waterfall some two miles or so from the house that I would hike to on full-moon nights to wade nude in the pool at its base. I guess I’ve been practicing this eroticization of the mundane for a very long time now. And like any great mindfulness practice, it has brought me pleasure, release, grounding in the here and now, and never-ending delight in just being alive—not to mention the adrenaline rush of fearing capture! I commend it to you, fellow Satanic traveler, in lieu of more boring traditional religious methods of raising mere living to the level of art (appreciation).