Khaya Dlanga

In defence of the missionary position

2011-04-19 09:50

Let’s talk about shagging for a moment. It shouldn’t be too hard (no, don’t excuse the pun) for us to talk about this subject matter. Not that you’re not constantly thinking about it anyway. So asking you to stop for a moment so that we can talk about it is a little redundant if you wish.

The major problem with sex is that it has been made to become some sort of performance. That the people involved must act as if they are members of a cast and pretend to enjoy things they don’t really enjoy doing because that’s what they see on TV teaching them how it should be best enjoyed.

That it is necessary for one to scream and shout to demonstrate how much one is enjoying themselves.

For all we know they might not even be enjoying it, it is to protect fragile egos. I had lovely neighbours who screamed at the top of their lungs whenever they were engaged in sexual activity. When they broke up I remember the woman screaming at the man mocking his (for lack of a better word). “You sucked in bed; I faked it the whole time.” Ouch.  I laughed.

I write this to defend the most vilified position of all time. It is a position that is more vilified than some very questionable political positions.

The missionary position has several names in various other places of our wide globe. The Tuscans call it the “Angelic position”. Some Arabic speaking groups refer to missionary as “in the manner of serpents”. Perhaps we should adopt the term that some of these Arab groups use because it makes it sound a bit more dangerous and daring. Frankly, the term “missionary” isn’t very appealing, even to missionaries.

An urban legend has it that when the missionaries were on a mission to introduce tribes to the gospel in different places across the world, they found the natives engaging in all sorts of Kama Sutra like positions, then the missionaries taught these natives what has now become known as the missionary position. These are some of the questions I ask myself; were the missionaries spying on the locals to see how they engaged in procreation? And how did they teach them? Did they demonstrate? Anyway, this is an urban legend.

The missionary position appears in ancient works of the Japanese, the Greeks, the Romans, Indians to name a few. I’m sure if we looked hard enough we’d find some Bushmen cave drawings too with missionary. It has always been the most common sexual position through the history of the world.

As I was conducting my research asking my friends about this position they all initially mocked it. Then I vehemently defended it, and upon my defence, the truth came out. Most people actually like it. It is commonly acceptable to say any other position but the missionary position is one’s preference.

I spoke to various married couples who said that it is a very intimate position and is probably the one that is most appropriate for the intercourse. It is the most comfortable; you can look into each other eyes and such wonderful things. The unmarried and single people I spoke to laughed at the missionary position the most until again, I defended it and then agreed that it is a very good if not one of the best ones.

In any case the missionary position was not some Anglo invention; surveys suggest it is, and no doubt always has been, a common sexual position in most of the world.

The phrase missionary position first appears in the Oxford English Dictionary in 1969 (excuse the pun in the year). Hippies who were just, well, being hippies invented the phrase “missionary position”. Now you know.

Sex is meant to be enjoyed, it’s not a performance, it’s not meant to impress. Having said that, I’m really pleased that my screaming, performing neighbours finally broke up.

- Follow Khaya on Twitter.

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