Wish you hadn't asked that

Thirty years after the sexual revolution, sex is back with a vengeance. But it’s just not the same. In the late ’60s and early ’70s, love was free in America. Everybody was discovering sex and couldn’t wait to talk about it. Which explains why Candy, The Joy of Sex, The Story of O and The Harrad Experiment were among the best-selling books a quarter of a century ago.

In 1998, we still want everyone to get all the lovin’ they can — but we definitely don’t want to talk about it. Poised on the brink of the new millennium, we have become curiously Victorian. If there’s one thing we know about sex in the cyber-age, it’s "Don’t ask, don’t tell."

That slogan, ironically, was made popular by President Clinton. Four words have never been so prophetic. Poor Bubba has paid dearly for flaunting his slick willie in our faces. For centuries, presidents were so prunelike and unattractive (with the exception of JFK), that we would have been happy for them if they got any. But Clinton had the nerve to do the nasty and rub our faces in it. A couple of times.

We need to be able to pretend that our presidents are as virtuous as Mother T. How can we sleep at night knowing that Big Macs give President Clinton the trots, Princess Leia makes his sap rise and Monica Lewinsky calls him "Butt-head?"

It’s all much more than we ever wanted to know about the private life of Hillary’s husband. And now that we have to face it, it’s making us nauseous. It’s like the day you realize how you were conceived. You don’t exactly want to discuss it with your parents, you just want to pretend the whole thing never happened.

Thank God Newt Gingrich resigned before we were forced to imagine him doing the horizontal mambo.

Unfortunately, the whole Capitol Hill Sexgate obsession is by no means over. The American public is comfortable with "don’t ask, don’t tell," but Larry Flynt has a million dollars worth of questions he’s just raring to answer in a very public way. His first casualty was House Speaker-elect Bob Livingston, the only man in history who was able to turn fornication into an occasion for martyrdom. Now the question is: Who’s the next self-righteous Republican to take the fall?

Not that we really want to know.

Perhaps the only thing even more nauseating than Zippergate is the idea of Dr. Laura Schlessinger knocking boots in the buff. Who was the jerk who wondered out loud, "I wonder what Dr. Laura looks like naked?" Now look what you’ve done. A click of a mouse and the whole ugly scene is right there to pour cold water on your wildest Dr. Laura fantasy.

Some say it serves her right. The queen of Judeo-Christian morality has lowered the boom on many a philandering adulterer. She has doled out tough love like it was peppermint sticks. She has ordered thousands to go sleep in the beds they made. So, some argue, this is poetic justice. But mostly it’s just something we didn’t need to know, and now that we do, we wish we didn’t.

Here’s another question that never should have been asked: "What is girl power?" Now that Posh and Scary Spice are both expecting their first children, we have a better idea of what girl power means: Women should use their feminine wiles to snare a man and make sure they have babies before they get too old (spelled t-h-i-r-t-y). The Spice Girls call it new feminism, but our moms just called it getting knocked up.

Teens and sex. Now there’s a sore spot. If there was ever a subject you don’t want to know about, that’s it. The antics of Daniel Granger, the Grosse Pointe playboy who tried to deflower anything answering a booty call (even if it was still in diapers) was only the tip of the iceberg. We made ourselves feel better by slapping him in prison on charges of statutory rape.

We protected the virtue of all the women at the University of Michigan that Granger was sure to chase, but we didn’t cope with a hard reality. By the time they graduate from high school, only about one-third of Michigan teens are still virgins. Here’s a hint: There aren’t enough prisons to house all the underaged teens having sex.

That’s just a few examples of sexual duplicity for the new century, but more abound: Women have a constitutional right to choice, but their doctors can hardly practice women’s medicine without being murdered. People say gays can be gays, but not if they keep sending out wedding invitations, and could they please stop nagging employers for domestic partner benefits?

Women who have eight babies at one time — even though they can’t possibly afford them — are celebrities. Women who have eight babies that they can’t afford over several years are condemned as welfare queens.

While RU486 remains logjammed with the Food and Drug Administration, doctors dispense Viagra like Tic-Tacs. Politicians try to close library access to pornography online, but never worry about kids surfing white supremacist propaganda.

Cities try to ban gender-bending Marilyn Manson, but welcome the gender-oppressing Promise Keepers with open arms.

What we need is a good, old-fashioned, retro love-in. A return to the times when everybody asked about sex, everybody told, and nobody was afraid of the answers. When women publicly celebrated their G-spots, when male transsexuals openly challenged women to tennis matches, and when vans were made for lovin’, not luggin’ soccer equipment.

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