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“To be good you have to practice .. by yourself and with other people”
February 28, 2013 1:46 PM   Subscribe

“The point of jamming, musical or sexual, is to find out what happens and to enjoy the process of getting there.” -Sex is like Jamming for the SexEd Project

Based on “Toward a Performance Model of Sex” by Thomas Macaulay Millar of Yes Means Yes! (previously)
posted by jeffburdges (52 comments total) 18 users marked this as a favorite

 
NOTE: If sex sound anything at all like Phish, you are doing it wrong.
posted by Keith Talent at 1:52 PM on February 28, 2013 [18 favorites]


No one wants to be in my band. :(
posted by laconic skeuomorph at 1:54 PM on February 28, 2013 [9 favorites]


Noodling Ain't Canoodling. No to Phish sex analogies
posted by C.A.S. at 1:54 PM on February 28, 2013 [5 favorites]


And both are better on mushrooms.
posted by The Whelk at 1:56 PM on February 28, 2013 [4 favorites]


Well, in both cases, it is bad to never do it with other people. In music this leads you to end up like what I think of as "church piano players", whose only experience is being the sole accompanist to singers, and who fill up every bit of space they can, at all times. I am aware that there are many truly great church musicians, but in the wild there are a lot of pretty mechanical ones too.
posted by thelonius at 2:03 PM on February 28, 2013 [2 favorites]


But then there are the organ players!
posted by Kabanos at 2:06 PM on February 28, 2013 [2 favorites]


You spend an hour getting drunk and stoned, then yell random things until your voice breaks and your partners fingers bleed?
posted by Charlemagne In Sweatpants at 2:10 PM on February 28, 2013 [6 favorites]


Hmmmm. As with all things sexual, I guess, this is great as long as you're both (or all) into it. On the other hand, I think the idea of sex as a set of "techniques" that you can "master" is a recipe for an awful lot of sexual unhappiness. Intent and attitude count for a whole lot when it comes to sex--much more, I think, than "skill." Relative novices who are committed to having--and giving--a good time can have a great sexual experience in a way that a group of musical novices simply can't make great music (although they might have great fun trying). That's not to say that inexperience and raw technique can't be problems, but it is to say that past a certain point, "getting better at sex" isn't at all the same thing as "having better sex."
posted by yoink at 2:12 PM on February 28, 2013 [4 favorites]


Sex is like jamming because it's always better when Miles Davis is in the room.
posted by delfin at 2:26 PM on February 28, 2013 [7 favorites]


On the other hand, I think the idea of sex as a set of "techniques" that you can "master" is a recipe for an awful lot of sexual unhappiness.

I think the same is true for music for that matter.
posted by CBrachyrhynchos at 2:31 PM on February 28, 2013 [6 favorites]


Interestingly, that's not what the video is positing, yoink. In fact, it's very much the opposite.
posted by softlord at 2:35 PM on February 28, 2013 [3 favorites]


Doctor Nerdlove uses this metaphor a few times; I guess it makes sense. Based on the music I listen to I figured sex is what happens when a guy who loves the radio meets a girl named Maria, and then they go for a drive.

I wish Wet Riffs (NSWF) had taken off.
posted by Charlemagne In Sweatpants at 2:37 PM on February 28, 2013 [1 favorite]


I think the idea of music as NOT involving a set of techniques that you can master is a recipe for an awful lot of crappy music!
posted by parrot_person at 2:37 PM on February 28, 2013 [1 favorite]


I think the idea of music as NOT involving a set of techniques that you can master is a recipe for an awful lot of crappy music!

I think the idea that music requires technical skill or sophistication is a recipe for a whole bunch of crappy, soulless music. I suppose that idea - that things need to be perfected or learnt or shined up - is also responsible for the idea of sex as some kind of complicated skill involving weird gadgets.
posted by Charlemagne In Sweatpants at 2:39 PM on February 28, 2013 [1 favorite]


I once had a jamming partner who refused to improvise anything. He played guitar. I would play bass or drums. He would play riffs he had come up with until one of them almost fit what I was playing. His lack of rhythm didn't help, either. His riffs spilled over one edge or the other of the bar; sometimes he would play a 4/4 vamp and ask whether it was in 7/8 or something exotic like that.

It was much more frustrating than this current dry spell.
posted by Rustic Etruscan at 2:40 PM on February 28, 2013


I think the idea that music requires technical skill or sophistication is a recipe for a whole bunch of crappy, soulless music.

It might not require skill or sophistication, but they help.
posted by Rustic Etruscan at 2:42 PM on February 28, 2013


Intent and attitude count for a whole lot when it comes to sex--much more, I think, than "skill." Relative novices who are committed to having--and giving--a good time can have a great sexual experience in a way that a group of musical novices simply can't make great music (although they might have great fun trying).

On the flip side, people who are committed to having -- and giving -- a good time may have no clue how to go about that. They may not know what their partner likes or how to achieve that. They may not know what THEY want, how to achieve it or how to ask for it. They may have preconceived notions about sex from upbringing, media and/or locker-room chatter that are completely divorced from reality. They may have read or seen things but be shell-shocked by the actual physics involved.

And, who knows, they may be on board with all of the above but the person they just met has a completely different set of turn-ons and turn-offs from anyone they've ever encountered.

A technical wizard at sex is sort of like a session player, someone who plays the same songs in every set exactly the same as they sounded on the album. They may be REALLY GOOD at what they do and be capable of playing multiple styles skillfully, but they lack the spark of originality that marks a true artist. On the flip side are the Shaggs of sex, who invent new playing techniques and time signatures every time out because they don't know any better and, perhaps, don't care to. Somewhere in between, the truth lies, and it probably sounds a bit like Frank Zappa.

(But don't have sex with Frank Zappa. He's dead. His family won't like it.)
posted by delfin at 2:48 PM on February 28, 2013 [6 favorites]


The OP's headline reminds me of a book I once saw displayed in the window of a London occult bookshop: Celtic Sex Magic for Couples, Groups and Solitary Practitioners.

It was illustrated too, which I'm sure the third group found particularly useful.
posted by Paul Slade at 2:51 PM on February 28, 2013 [6 favorites]


As a musician, I find doing it in front of an audience is a lot more mainstream. Or with up to 60 people at once.
posted by randomkeystrike at 2:52 PM on February 28, 2013 [2 favorites]


The OP's headline reminds me of a book I once saw displayed in the window of a London occult bookshop: Celtic Sex Magic for Couples, Groups and Solitary Practitioners.

It was illustrated too, which I'm sure the third group found particularly useful.


In fact, there were no instructions for solitary Celtic sex magic in that book.
posted by Rustic Etruscan at 2:55 PM on February 28, 2013


Seems appropriate
posted by R. Schlock at 2:56 PM on February 28, 2013


I think the idea that music requires technical skill or sophistication is a recipe for a whole bunch of crappy, soulless music.

How many Adorno threads do we really need today!
posted by Lutoslawski at 2:59 PM on February 28, 2013 [3 favorites]


Interestingly, that's not what the video is positing, yoink. In fact, it's very much the opposite.

The idea that we "practice" so as to get "better" at performing on our "instruments" is exactly what the video is positing. I find it a troubling metaphor for the reasons I outlined. I'm not saying "OMG, this is evil incarnate," I'm just saying it's a way of thinking that can lead to some unhappy outcomes.
posted by yoink at 2:59 PM on February 28, 2013


Sometimes, my wife walks in while I am practicing my scales.
posted by Danf at 2:59 PM on February 28, 2013 [4 favorites]


Thinking back to my last jam session, some friends and I ate pizza, got super drunk and then played improvised ambient/noise/krautrock for several hours uninterrupted. I don't remember many details. I had no idea what key anyone was playing in. I knocked over a mic stand multiple times. There was a hoedown at some point. We kept saying "grow up" to each other for some reason. There was a buzzing noise that we couldn't figure out for a while. I'm not sure how any of this is related to sex.
posted by naju at 3:11 PM on February 28, 2013 [4 favorites]


Dude all of that sounds like sex to me.
posted by The Whelk at 3:15 PM on February 28, 2013 [6 favorites]


Dude all of that sounds like sex to me.

Including the "several hours, uninterrupted"? Man!
posted by yoink at 3:21 PM on February 28, 2013


( there is very little to do Hagerstown Maryland )
posted by The Whelk at 3:22 PM on February 28, 2013


We kept saying "grow up" to each other for some reason. There was a buzzing noise that we couldn't figure out for a while.

HAWT
posted by echo target at 3:22 PM on February 28, 2013 [2 favorites]


A technical wizard at sex is sort of like a session player, someone who plays the same songs in every set exactly the same as they sounded on the album. They may be REALLY GOOD at what they do and be capable of playing multiple styles skillfully, but they lack the spark of originality that marks a true artist.

Jimmy Page was originally a session musician (purportedly the most sought after in Britain for a time) and he seemed to do fairly well with the originality and true artist bits. (Although if popular history is to be believed, you might want to skip over the sexual wizardry part in regards to him.)
posted by BigHeartedGuy at 3:30 PM on February 28, 2013


The main thing is to make sure all the parts fit properly, and, y'know, come together.
posted by unSane at 3:32 PM on February 28, 2013


When the cassette showed up at the end, I thought she was going to talk about recording your sessions for later viewing.
posted by orme at 3:33 PM on February 28, 2013


And masturbation is like Metal Mike, the dude who shows up at jam sessions and only plays long noodly metal solos.
posted by Charlemagne In Sweatpants at 3:35 PM on February 28, 2013 [1 favorite]


I think the idea of music as NOT involving a set of techniques that you can master is a recipe for an awful lot of crappy music!

Personally, I blame the japanophobia of my childhood for the idea that the arts belong only to the people lucky enough to be born with both patronage and talent, and everyone else should bend to the grindstone of productivity. If it's worth doing at a professional level, it's worth doing at an amateur level. I can both support the best of the best with my entertainment dollars, and the fun of my family and friends who do what they can with a tin ear and limited practice hours.

But that's art. On the subject of sex, the idea of the campaign is to get away from the "red-light/green-light" or "lover may I?" model of consent, and promote one of collaborative play and interaction.
posted by CBrachyrhynchos at 3:35 PM on February 28, 2013 [1 favorite]


Just twiddle the knob(s) until you get a sound you like.
posted by infinitewindow at 3:36 PM on February 28, 2013 [2 favorites]


(But don't have sex with Frank Zappa. He's dead. His family won't like it.)

Indeed, sometimes you have to rely on a giraffe filled with whipped cream.

Sex is like jamming because it's always better when Miles Davis is in the room.

Even when he's not in the room, he's in the room.

"Don't play what's there, play what's not there."-
Miles Davis


"When sex is a jam, your instruments are your body and your toys."

Gotta be jam, 'cos jelly don't shake like that.

"Sex as commodity." Well, yeah. Turn on a t.v. Read a magazine. Watch a bus go by. We're bombarded by that constantly. It's what drives advertising.
But if you have people going and actually having good, collaborative, satisfying communal sex, you're not going to sell anything.
So it has to be a constant cycle of titillation and spoiler ruled by selfish interests imposed from the outside.
Fear of intimacy really instills that self-doubt.

One of the things, among the other things alluded to here, is that trust is liberating. Apparently in music (I can't carry a tune with a forklift), but in everything really as far as I've found. And there is risk involved, but without stretching, you don't grow.
I don't know anyone who does anything really productive with any partner(s) where trust doesn't exist.
posted by Smedleyman at 3:40 PM on February 28, 2013 [2 favorites]


I said this first!

"Think of sex like jazz. We all know what the main theme is -- each time you make love to someone, though, you're riffing off that theme afresh. You're reading cues from your partner about how to riff on the theme. Sometimes it'll sound a little different, and sometime it'll sound a lot different, but it'll only work if you read their cues. (And -- of course, give a few cues of your own by letting yourself react to what they do as well.)"
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 3:43 PM on February 28, 2013 [2 favorites]


In fact, there were no instructions for solitary Celtic sex magic in that book.
posted by Rustic Etruscan at 2:55 PM on February 28 [+] [!]


Don't disillusion me: I've been telling that story for years. Now I have to fall back on references to practicing your fingering and the importance of a large horn section.
posted by Paul Slade at 3:47 PM on February 28, 2013


As a horn player, I enjoy practicing not only fingering but also tonguing and lip exercises.
posted by Jon_Evil at 3:58 PM on February 28, 2013 [1 favorite]


Presumably you're looking for a lucrative blow job.
posted by unSane at 4:10 PM on February 28, 2013


( there is very little to do Hagerstown Maryland )

That's not true! Aren't there a bunch of bakeries where you can get fresh-made bagels on Germantown Road?

No, wait, that's Germantown.

Umm...
.
.
.
The Premium Outlets...?
posted by the sobsister at 4:15 PM on February 28, 2013


One of my best lovers ever told me sex was 99% attitude and 1% what actually happened and I firmly believe he was right. Being technically adept at sex sounds kind of...not hot. Unlike one of my best friends ever, who said once at pint night, "You know, I just like to get down and do some nasty fucking". Classic.
posted by PuppyCat at 4:31 PM on February 28, 2013 [1 favorite]


Paul Slade, it was a joke: The solitary magic instruction would have been like a zen koan in my imagined book.
posted by Rustic Etruscan at 4:44 PM on February 28, 2013


I brung my geetar.

Uh, um, oh. I was expecting Mark Knopfler.

But I know all the chords.

You do understand that this ain't no trumpet-playing band.

Okay, fine. But is it what you call Rock and Roll?
posted by mule98J at 5:01 PM on February 28, 2013


On the other hand, I think the idea of sex as a set of "techniques" that you can "master" is a recipe for an awful lot of sexual unhappiness.

That's kind of what it is though. The difference is that everyone is basically born with an innate knowledge of the basic techniques and the instrument is a lot easier to learn.

The point of mastering techniques on an instrument is that they get so integrated into your playing that you don't even think about them, they're just an expression of your "intent and attitude" as you put it.

Some basic technique combined with intent and attitude will get you pretty far and you can make some good music that way (how many really great songs are just really basic chord progressions?). Some more advanced technique is good but it isn't really anything special with the intent and attitude.
posted by VTX at 5:44 PM on February 28, 2013 [2 favorites]


Paul Slade, it was a joke: The solitary magic instruction would have been like a zen koan in my imagined book.

Huh? Postmodern magick is kinda based on masturbation, so there's no paradox there.
posted by Charlemagne In Sweatpants at 5:58 PM on February 28, 2013 [1 favorite]


If your partner refers to an episode of sex with you as "The String Cheese Incident" or "Widespread Panic," then you're probably doing something wrong.
posted by octobersurprise at 7:54 PM on February 28, 2013 [4 favorites]


On the other hand, I think the idea of sex as a set of "techniques" that you can "master" is a recipe for an awful lot of sexual unhappiness. Intent and attitude count for a whole lot when it comes to sex--much more, I think, than "skill."

Of course attitude and intent matter most. But you can still have great attitude and intent and fizzle at sex. TRUST ME.

I didn't like the "jamming" analogy at first, but I think you're dead wrong here about practice. Sex and playing music both involve interactions between two (or more) people that depend on communication and also, yes, very much on "skill," (unless, of course, you get off on playing a teacher role).

It reminds me of that Seinfeld episode where the woman asks him to "talk dirty" and he says something about "you mean the panties your mother laid out for you?" or something completely inappropriate and she's turned off and leaves. That's not too far from some truth. A bit of practice learning how to talk and act during sex is important. And practice is the only thing that really helps.

With longtime partners (like mine), sure, the mindspace is much more important than the technique, but how do you get those long-term partners? Practice.

I can't tell you how many women with whom flirtation ended b/c because I'm not a good standard dancer (more of a Rerun-inspired disco guy). If I had those skills and wanted to attract those woman to have sex with me, I probably could have had sexual relationships with at least a few.

Practice is essential, not just on your own to determine your own desires and pleasures, but with someone else to learn, hey that's what that does for him/her and that's where that is on a body with possibly different sexual parts than mine and almost certainly different desires and expectations about "sex." And also just to be able to achieve a sense of comfort with your entire sexual response system.

And also, fuck, to be able to competently blow the mind (or groin) of that perfect partner when you meet them? Yeah, I think it's worth some practice. Or what VTX said more concisely.

Finding that person to practice with, is, of course, the literal rub.
posted by mrgrimm at 7:48 AM on March 1, 2013 [1 favorite]


As a horn player, I enjoy practicing not only fingering but also tonguing and lip exercises.

Dammit, the one time I dated a horn player, he also had a hangup about oral sex being icky.

I feel cheated somehow.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 8:21 AM on March 1, 2013


I almost forgot to mention my tired old violin story, about my g-string snapping and getting stuck in my f-hole.
posted by Kabanos at 9:09 AM on March 1, 2013


Sex is like jamming because it's always better when Miles Davis is in the room.

Also, who brought the viola player?
posted by Kabanos at 9:09 AM on March 1, 2013


Also: just because you suck doesn't mean you automatically "have soul"
posted by thelonius at 12:52 PM on March 1, 2013 [1 favorite]


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