Conversations with My Bragina
Dr. DeFelice’s Brain-Genital Law, BGL, makes a lot of sense to me. I got a bit tongue-tied when we first discussed the BGL and improvisatorially said, “Bragina”, instead of Brain-Genital. We both laughed at the birth of my new word, and I decided it would be the topic of this and future columns. Bragina is here to stay!
Since Adam and Eve surrendered to the BGL, it has been in the driver’s seat of sexual behavior throughout history. The BGL traffic light is forever green for go! My Bragina is made up of two components. The first is the powerful BGL and the second is the regulation center of my brain which tries to control it, flashing a yellow light for caution and red to slam on the brakes and stop.
My favorite episode of Seinfeld jumps to mind as a perfect example of this conflict. Jerry is both sexually attracted to and repulsed by the personality of an actress he’s been periodically sleeping with. Their sex is great, but she is incredibly stupid and boring. One night while she is rehearsing her lines with him, Jerry’s BGL is on fire anticipating a passionate sexual encounter. At the same time, his regulation center is flashing the red light to send her home. In a split imaginary scene, the two conflicted Jerrys sit on opposite sides of a table playing chess to see who gets to check mate first. Regulator Jerry wears a brain-shaped cap and BGL Jerry wears a phallic shaped construction hard hat that resembles a penis. In the end, regulator Jerry check mates the genital Jerry. The imaginary scene fades away with Jerry showing his date the door and then collapsing in misery and frustration as the BGL rears its horny head again.
Seinfeld – Chess Game (Penis vs Brain)
In my experience, women have similar types of Seinfeld conversations with their Braginas beginning with their first kiss and continuing throughout their sexual lives. I would guess, particularly today, those conversations begin in Middle School as estrogen begins to flow and puberty blossoms. I recently read that the morning- after pill may be offered to girls as young as 12 without their parents’ consent.
When I graduated from high school in 1970 I would estimate that 95% of the girls in my class were virgins – unimaginable in our country today. In my parents’ generation almost everyone entered marriage as virgins and divorce was rare.
By the time I entered college, the birth control pill was readily available, the Vietnam War was in full swing, drug experimentation was beginning and sexual behavior was rapidly changing. Erica Jong’s novel, Fear of Flying, was published in 1973. She introduced the concept of the “zipless fuck”, pure and simple sex with a stranger. It sold 20 million copies. The BGL was coming out in full force and Cole Porter’s classic “Anything Goes” should have been the theme song of the day. I observed a lot of pain accompanying the pleasures of the moment.
I am curious about today’s BGL world across generations. I like to watch “Girls”, Lena Dunham’s award winning HBO series, about a group of girls in their early 20’s living in Brooklyn. They all lead complicated sexual lives with the exception of one, who is mortified to be the only virgin left in the group. She is tortured by her BGL and desperate to lose her virginity. Most of the guys she approaches run the other way. Unlike in the past, they do not want the emotional baggage of bedding a virgin. When did virginity become a liability? In my mother’s generation it was something to be treasured.
In the movie, The To Do List, a high-school valedictorian with no sexual experience is determined to catch up the summer before she goes to college. She makes a list of all of the sexual acts she wants to experience and goes off in search of partners. Another BGL gone wild.
Then, there’s What’s Your Number? You might think this movie is about exchanging phone numbers, but instead it is a dating question about the number of sex partners one has had. None had reached the numbers of the prolific Casanova or G, but the young woman in the movie was desperate to keep her number under 20 before she found a husband. She was up to number 19 when she fell in love. The red light part of her Bragina was struggling with her BGL trying to dissuade her from adding another number to her roster.
Do you believe in the Coup de Foudre, Colpo di Fulmine or the lightning bolt of love that G refers to in the Casanova book? I believe it exists with mere mortals but also sometimes celebrity seduction power can be a powerful BGL magnet. Women have forever swooned and succumbed to the likes of Clark Gable, Frank Sinatra, Elvis Presley, the Beatles, Mick Jagger, Tiger Woods and others. What is it about womanizers that women love? That will be a topic for another column.
I saw an HBO special about Marilyn Monroe. She once confided to a friend that she married Joe DiMaggio because he was great in bed, even though they had little else in common. Ava Gardner said the same thing about Frank Sinatra. Both couples later divorced. I sometimes wonder how often the BGL has changed the course of history. Just look at our constant headlines regarding the roller coaster sexcapades of politicians, athletes and celebrities. The BGL is front page news almost every day!
I have a BGL-Bragina confession to make. Over three decades ago, I saw my favorite James Bond, Sean Connery, checking in to the luxurious Hassler Hotel in Rome. He was there for the premiere of his last Bond film, Never Say Never. I always found him to be exceptionally sexy. He looked across the lobby and smiled at me. My BGL jumped to attention and ordered me to return a sensuous smile and follow him toward the room elevators. My Bragina’s voice of reason was nowhere to be heard. For better or for worse, 007 headed outside to the Spanish Steps, and I regained my equilibrium.
My Bragina is still alive and kicking, though significantly diminished. After reading G’s book, I had a chat with my Bragina. Would we give the BGL the green light to an apocalyptic aphrodisiac of the future?
My options are simple, yet complex. “Pourquoi pas?” or “Basta!” I’m still gazing into my Bragina’s crystal ball and wondering.