08 June 2011

Wait. . . I thought you were a cooking show . . .

I listen to the news when I get ready in the morning. I like having at least a general idea of what's going on in the world and like to get different views on the world that sometimes the Deseret News doesn't quite provide in the middle of its Osmond obsessed super right-wing conservatism. This means a daily dose of the Today Show, which is wonderful for the most part - or, at the very least, something to listen to.

During the school year I never hear more than the first half hour before I'm off to work, but now that I'm working more in the afternoon than the morning I occasionally hear some of the more petty or strange lifestyle reports. Today, for example, boasted a vest with a lining like a fishing vest in which your father could store his iPad, a thing of Tic Tacs (people still eat those?) and other assorted oddities.

It wasn't until after the news that things got particularly disturbing.

I've never watched Rachel Ray before and I've never really had much of a desire to. I know she is primarily meant to be a cooking show, but I've never seen her actually cooking on her show - every time I flip past it she's got some kind of talk show going, which is odd, but what do I know? I don't watch talk/cooking shows.

Until this morning when I was in the middle of doing my hair and didn't take the time to change the channel. Her show featured a section today on sexual compatibility. From what I heard, the show had taken two people who had been dating for two months but had not yet had sex and gave them a sexual compatibility quiz to determine whether or not they were sexually compatible. Fortunately (?) the maker/distributor of this quiz determined that they were and, yay for standardized testing, they were encouraged to continue their relationship.

Now, to the credit of the young woman in this couple, she said more than once that she did not intend to sleep with her boyfriend until they were 100% sure they were "ready". They also said they were glad they took the quiz because it helped them see how much they really did need to talk with each other about sex first, which is also good. But Rachel and her fellow commentator (I believe the person who gave the quiz?) seemed to think that the waiting thing was a bit insane, suggesting that the most important aspect of a relationship is sexual compatibility and promoting the idea that all this can be determined by a quiz.

I am fully supportive of the idea of couples talking openly about their physical relationship, particularly when their relationship is more serious. A physical relationship is an important part of a full relationship and, lest either party wonder about whether or not the other person is happy, important to be open about.

What I do take umbrage with is the idea that a couple should base the future of their entire relationship off of sexual compatibility, whether it's determined by a quiz or not. This, I think, is a symptom of what Ken Robinson (and holistic medicine) calls in his book Out of Our Minds the "septic focus". A "septic focus" is when a problem is examined in isolation from its context. My suspicion is that many couples who are frustrated (sexually or otherwise) in a relationship are happy to find a scape-goat for the real problems at hand. My other suspicion is that couples who complain of not being "sexually compatible" with one another are almost always thinking of themselves before their partners - not just physically, but in other ways as well.

Now, this is not to say that I'm coming at this problem with a world of personal experience (obviously.) This is also not to say that physical attraction isn't important (because it totally is.) What it is trying to say is that standardized tests are crap at predicting job aptitude or emotional aptitude or sexual compatibility, and that there are no shortcuts to any place worth going, and that people really should just TALK MORE.

1 comment:

Lisa said...

Oh, what wise words! Too bad you couldn't have been a guest on Rachel Ray to set everyone straight.