Mystics from all cultures have always told us: the Cosmos, the world, its dynamics and its inhabitants are all governed by the laws of desire. Sex is the expression of this primordial desire that manifests itself in ways that are at times predictable, and at others unimaginable. For some, sex is a shortcut to pleasure; for others, it is the expression of the will to reproduce. Some religious people see it as the consummation of a sacrament that can only take place during periods of fertility. There are also those for whom sex is a profession. For others, it is an effective technique for climbing the social ladder, or for transgressing the laws of morality. For a lucky few, it is a transcendental practice that breaks the bounds of individual consciousness. Monogamy, polygamy, anal sex, prostitution, orgies, masturbation, voyeurism, sexting, fisting; zoo, copro, and a long list of other philias. Sex has an infinite number of variables with only one limitation: the imagination. For centuries, human beings have recognized that sex is a powerful double-edged sword: on one side, there is the potential for absolute social chaos, and on the other, a tool of repression—for example through marriage, rape or virginity, which even now, in the midst of the 21st Century, is forced upon women in many societies. For this reason, it is of the utmost importance to educate children and teenagers so that they can explore their sexuality without putting their physical and psychological wellbeing at risk. Paulina Millán, who has been working in this field for decades, explains in “Beyond Fear” that despite the reservations that parents might have about addressing sexual matters, a good education will provide young people with the necessary tools to experience pleasure without putting themselves in danger. César Galicia, our advisor for this edition, describes the myths of masculine sexuality—at best, the cause of a great deal of dissatisfaction, and at worst, the cause of sexual dysfunctions like premature ejaculation. The stereotypes that men are subjected to often prevent them from being able to enjoy their sexuality, but above all, they hinder their ability to be truly present during the sexual act. It has often been said that prostitution is the oldest profession in the world. María Galindo reflects on this expression and describes the “whore” as the custodian of ancestral knowledge that only she possesses. Meanwhile, the Peruvian writer Gabriela Wiener speaks about the endless ways of achieving female orgasms and their seldom mentioned relationship to pain. Those who still feel intimidated by sexual diversity will appreciate Andrés Cota’s text entitled “Kamazootra,” which—in a pleasant and almost celebratory way—exposes the huge variety of sexual practices that exist in the animal kingdom. For example, the snakes that travel from distant regions in order to participate in orgies in the woods of Alberta, Canada. According to this well-informed essay, not only do animals frequently practice cross-dressing and transsexuality, they also choose between monogamy, polygamy, and other alternatives to conjugal life. On this occasion, our art dossier is dedicated to Sarah Lucas, a prominent figure in Contemporary art, who answers Rodolfo Díaz Cervantes’s questions in this playful and provoking interview. The artist, who has built a humorous but also brutally critical body of work around this topic, asserts: “Everything is sex, I think. The world, the universe, the galaxy is a sexual organism. The laws of attraction and reproduction are at work in all things. […] Sex is not simply the basic action of coitus.” Sexuality is a human right that many people are deprived of—from women who undergo genital mutilation to old men who are chemically castrated. In an essay titled “Sexuality in the Margins,” Aranxa Bello explains how, for a long time, people with Down syndrome have been denied access to a healthy sex life; and how this in turn has made them vulnerable to abuse from family or caretakers. Laws are changing, and these reforms have made it increasingly common to turn to surrogates who can give disabled people affective intimacy and satisfy their needs a few times a week. Attitudes to sex vary from one century to the next and from one culture to another. How is it practiced in the 21st Century with the risks that we now face? This is the question that inspired this issue. We hope, dear reader, that the result might help you to come up with your own answers.
Imagen de portada: Relieve erótico en Khajuraho, India. Fotografía de Ben Robinson, 2009