I met Jon when I found his blog Sex in Words and reached out to him about my words in this here blog of mine. There is not a sexual stone unturned on his blog and you have to check it out.
Beyond that, Jon has written an essay entitled "Holy Fuck: The Fourth-and-Long Virgin" for the collection on shelves now entitled Best Sex Writing 2013: The State of Today's Sexual Culture. (There will be an interview with the editor, Ms Rachel Kramer Bussel, in an upcoming post as part of a larger blog tour to promote the book). Jon's essay dissects the brou-haha surrounding football-player Tim Tebow's announcement that he is a virgin, and the meaning it has for us watching on the sidelines. It's a stellar piece of sex writing. I got to turn the tables on Jon and interview him about his contribution to an amazing collection...
1) How did "Holy Fuck: The Fourth-and-Long Virgin" come about and how did the essay find its way into "Best Sex Writing 2013"?
I like to think that Holy Fuck was good kharma coming back to me for years and years of free writing for others. I'm a big fan of Rachel Kramer Bussel's writing and her anthologies. I'd seen the calls for submission for the Best Sex Writing collections in the past, and just like in other years, the deadline passed without me putting fingers to keys. My writing runs in cycles—sometimes I can come up with topics and write freely and other times I can basically only write when I'm given an idea to explore.
In this instance, Rachel posted on Facebook that she was particularly interested in a piece on Tim Tebow for the anthology and I jumped at the opportunity as quickly as I could. It was just chance that I even saw her request and I'm glad the internet was smiling on me that day.
2)What was your initial, gut reaction to football player Tim Tebow's admission that he is a virgin? Did your reaction shift during the writing of your essay?
Quite honestly, his virginity ranked pretty low on the "oh my" factor of this dude. He was a legend in college football with a whole mythology created for him by a rabid fan base. Tim being a virgin just fed into that.
Now, it is a surprising thing, a pro athlete who isn't out fucking whoever he can find. Athletes usually only come in "married, family man" version or "who's up next" version. Not many athletes, or guys in general, will come out as chaste. As I wrote the essay I did actually gain a bit of sympathy for the man. But just a bit because he uses his untouched status as a marketing ploy. If he were just a humble dude who chooses not to get any, I'd have more respect for him.
3) You reference Dr. Don Sabo's essay "The Myth of the Sexual Athlete". I can see how athletes exist in a competitive culture, and by extension a sexually competitive culture. That in turn can lead to a sense of being "detached from the idea of sexual and emotional committment." How might we explain the same phenomena of sexual detachment in gay men who perhaps didn't involve themselves in a sports environment in their youth?
I think this idea of detachment can exist across many spectrums. Musicians might feel the same way. Authors might. Academics might. Where there is success in competition, that detachment from commitment can grow.
But you bring up an interesting idea here, that gay men might experience sexual detachment. Do you mean that this could happen just by virtue of them being gay? If so, then I think sports or music or any other outside factor is secondary to the "otherness" that queer people can feel. And when you've been deemed an "other" or different from the norm, I think it is only natural to develop a differing sense of commitment.
4) Society both upholds Tim Tebow as an exemplar, and also ridicules him for his virginity. What does this double-talk say about the culture we live in?
It says we, as a society, are still struggling with sex as a whole. The two sides are at loggerheads because there is fanaticism from both sides. We aren't comfortable with an adult who is a virgin because of the massive pressure to pursue sex at all costs. At the same time, we're also not comfortable with someone who does fuck around all the time. There's no middle ground that is acceptable.
5) You reference basketballer A.C. Green, a player who wasn't a "player" off the court. His stance seems either-or: You are a virgin, or you're a promiscuous slut. Do you think he's missing a middle ground?
Exactly, that's what I was getting at a minute ago. Personally, I don't think there is a need for a middle ground. Instead, I think we need to eliminate the two poles. No more either/or. Neither of A.C. Green's statements are correct.
6) What is your gut feeling, if it's possible to say: Is Tim Tebow genuine, or is he a closeted gay man who "doth protest too much"?
As tempting as it is, I don't think Tebow will be claimed by the rainbow elite. I do think he is genuine in his beliefs, I just question how he uses those beliefs and throws the virginity around.
Through all of his very public trials and tribulations, I do hope he meets someone he loves and who loves him back.