WEIRDLAND: Sexual Stimuli: Neuroimaging, Jim Morrison

Monday, April 03, 2017

Sexual Stimuli: Neuroimaging, Jim Morrison

New neuroimaging research has found that gay, bisexual, and straight men have different brain responses to sexual stimuli. In particular, the researchers uncovered that heterosexual and homosexual men showed different neural responses to erotic stimuli in the ventral striatum, an area of the brain associated with erotic desire. As expected, heterosexual men showed greater ventral striatum responses to erotic stimuli of women and homosexual men showed greater ventral striatum responses to erotic stimuli of men. Bisexual men did not show strongly different responses to erotic images of women and men, proving that bisexual men are indeed different from gay and straight men in their capacity to respond to both sexes. Most individuals identify as heterosexual, 2% of the US population reported identifying as homosexual, 2-4% of the US population reported identifying as bisexual. The study was published February 1, 2017, in Scientific Reports. Source: www.nature.com

Jim Morrison was the first rock and roll method actor who would wrap myths around him like a long leather coat, protecting and disguising himself in the process. In September 1965 Morrison met an eighteen-year-old redhead called Pamela Courson. Morrison's family were conventional, middle-class Republicans, with traditional patriarchal values. Pamela was ‘looking for something meaningful to do’. In Jim Morrison she found it. The couple fell in love, soon becoming inseparable, and their relationship continued right up until his death. It was a perversely normal relationship – sexual but platonic too. "Sex is full of lies," Morrison once said: "Sex can be a liberation. But it can also be an entrapment. Our society places a supreme value on control. We fear violence less than our own feelings. Personal, private, solitary pain is more terrifying than what anyone else can inflict."

Jim Morrison would usually wait for women to approach him. He wasn’t particularly choosy, and would often slip away from a party with women who wouldn’t normally be considered to be in his league. He tried to placate his 'cosmic mate' Pamela with endless expensive presents, by letting her go shopping in his chauffeured limousine, and even bought her a clothes boutique. She tried to cope  by initiating her own affairs (one of these revenge flings was with Morrison's friend Paul Ferrara). Andy Warhol, in his memoir POPism, remembered: ‘Jim would stand at the bar drinking screwdrivers all night long, and he’d get really far gone.’ Warhol also pinpointed part of Morrison’s appeal: ‘The girls were only interested in the guys that didn’t go after them. I saw a lot of girls pass on Warren Beatty, who was so good looking, just because they knew he wanted to fuck them, and they’d go looking for somebody who looked like he didn’t want to, who had problems.’ Warhol had wanted to film "I, A Man" with Jim Morrison and Nico both naked, but Morrison sent Tom Baker on his behalf. Morrison didn't attend any photoshoot with Nico not to incur Pamela's wrath. Tom Baker had dated Pamela before she met Morrison. Baker and Morrison would came to blows after their arrest in Phoenix.

Janet Erwin, a friend of journalist and former Morrison's lover Patricia Kennealy, remembers an occasion when Morrison was cluelessly hit on by a 'poor schlub' who didn't realize Morrison was "one of the most robustly and notoriously heterosexual men on the planet, the goddam Warren Beatty of rock." Mick Farren wrote about Morrison's myth in The Black Leather Jacket (2007) as: ‘the kind of ancient fertility religions ensured their followers’ survival and prosperity by choosing a monarch (young, cute and virile), who would be sacrificed by cute young females after seven years or some other mystic period. Morrison proposed himself as his generation’s sacrificial lamb: ‘We are obsessed with heroes who live for us and whom we punish.’ As Farren pointed out, this wasn’t merely a bleak observation: it was Morrison’s career goal.  Dressed in his martyr’s garb, he was ready to be lauded, victimised, and immortalised. 

Jim Morrison would grow to hate this self-conscious image – it was only studied perversity, after all. ‘The Jim Morrison thing started out as an act, but so many people believed it, that he became that,’ said Danny Fields: ‘They returned to him what they saw, and he started acting out their fantasy. It was all a pose, and he became his own invention. He knew he had a kind of dangerous, menacing sexuality that women went berserk over – and he used that to cover up.’ But Morrison knew he was only a puppet of the crowd; the audiences weren’t interested in his literary allegories, they wanted him to make a spectacle of himself. The drink, the drugs and the endless supply of women were the consolation prize for knowing he could never really win. Being a star meant he had two career options open to him: he could burn out, or he could die. Steve Harris (Vice President of Elektra Records) said, ‘It was assumed Jim would go his own way. The Doors' members left him alone because they knew he was their meal ticket. He wrote 80 per cent of the material, he was the lead singer, the focal point.’

"Jim was referred to as the 'King of Orgasmic Rock' back then but I saw him differently. I was a 21 year old soon-to-be graduate student at the University of Miami (I was just finishing my Bachelor's Degree in Psychology). I met Jim at the courthouse in Miami, he was there for his pre-trial hearing and was sitting on a bench with Babe Hill. We talked for a few moments, and he suddenly asked me: “has anyone ever told you that you have beautiful eyes?” What an ice-breaker! I gave him my phone number. He called; I was living in an apartment building in Coral Gables and invited him and Babe to dinner: my specialty was duckling l’orange with wild rice! I knew this little place in Coconut Grove that was a bar/pool hall – we went with Babe and one of my female friends from the apartment complex. Jim did drink there - not excessively - and I remember him being very, very mellow. We shot pool and Jim actually sat at the piano improvising. After that we went back to the Carillon on Miami Beach and spent the rest of the evening. I was lucky to know James Douglas Morrison The Poet – Here was a man with a ’bad boy’ reputation ready to go on trial for indecency, and we were reading poetry to each other. He gave me his book “An American Prayer.” He wanted to know how I felt about it.  I do remember telling him that I was good friends with Carl and Dennis Wilson of the Beach Boys when I was in high school. Jim said that he really loved the Beach Boys’ music! I will always remember Jim as a kind, sweet, considerate, sensitive, confident, very talented and fascinating person." Deanna Michaelson in "Jim Morrison: An Hour for Magic" (1996) by Frank Lisciandro

Oscillating compulsively between 'the brute' and 'the baby' positions, Jim Morrison sometimes debased himself in company of groupies and lovers as Judy Huddleston or Sherry (a Pasadena girl who aspired to become a writer and allegedly had a tangled relationship with Jimbo). According to Judy, Morrison was bipolar and suffered partial meltdowns during their sexcapades; Sherry's personal retrospective in 1972 for Esquire: “He wanted dirty talk from me, it excited him. He wanted me to cry. He wanted mostly to be the passive one. He was mostly impotent. Most of the time with me he never had an orgasm, he gave up. A few times he acted as though he did but I sensed it was an act. I never had a full response and it would drive him wild, he thought I was holding out on purpose… His oscillation between the brute and the baby. A lot of roughing up, then the sudden collapse, whimpering: ‘I need somebody to love me, please take care of me, please don’t leave me.’ Eva Gardonyi was a Hungarian artist who remembers her affair with Jim Morrison (from late 1970 to March 1971) in the chapter 'This Affair of Ours' from "Jim Morrison: Friends Gathered Together": "A couple of times when he was drinking heavily he had a hard time getting it up, but I had a very satisfactory love life with him. Black underwear and garter belts did the trick. Pamela had a couple of real bad acid trips that left her kind of unbalanced early on and Jim was always aware of that tender line of Pamela’s mind. Somehow he just needed to take care of her. Actually it was quite touching."


"She was a princess, Queen of the Highway. No one could save her, save the blind tiger. He was a monster, black dressed in leather. She was a princess. Queen of the Highway. Now they are wedded, she is a good girl. Naked as children out in a meadow. Naked as children, wild as can be. Soon to have offspring, start it all over. American boy. American girl. Most beautiful people in the world! Dancing through the midnight whirl-pool, formless. Hope it can continue a little while longer." "Queen Of The Highway" ("Morrison Hotel" album by The Doors, 1970)

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