Thursday, October 3, 2013



Where and how did you get your sex education?

Did you hear about or read the "Kinsey Report?" In the forties and fifties it was considered quite a revelation. Maybe you browsed Masters and Johnson's "Human Sexual Response?" It was hot stuff in the sixties and seventies.

Or did you, or any of your friends, peruse the "Joys of Sex?" (Best seller in the early 80's and 2008, when it was revised). If you browsed the "Kama Sutra," did you find it fascinating or sort of shocking?  Did you read anything by Simone de Beauvoir -- wonder about her open marriage with Sartre? (Open marriages were "big" for quite awhile).

What about the lib guys -- Betty Freidan, Gloria Steinem, and hey -- Jill Johnston -- her 1970 manifesto put lesbian women at the forefront of the movement -- did any of this liberation stuff affect you and your friends?

The pretty-faced Virginia Johnson, who left the world this past  July, was one of the pioneers in the ever expanding field of what we're learning about sex. Though not a scientific type, Virginia she became William Master's assistant, researcher, right-hand, and finally became his wife. Together they studied sexual response with 694 male and female volunteers, wiring them up with every kind of medical sensor available and putting them through their sexual paces while the lab machinery measured and clicked.

Did their findings affect me? Well, reading excerpts and reviews about the book, gave me terms and ideas of what was more or less "normal."

When I was writing my novel,  "Somebody, Woman of the Century," I explored how my heroine, Cordelia, born in 1900, learned about sex. Since she was still a virgin, though married and the mother of twins, it was a challenge to plot, and then dramatize how Cordelia felt, years later, with a second husband, when she felt a first "tingle" and gradually learned what an orgasm was.

Hey, nowadays, how does one learn? How do we get a sense of the realities of sexuality? There are plenty of books, romances and sexually arousing fiction, non fiction, plays, great films, and B movies, prorno, TV shows, ads -- ads galore -- created by younger generation artists (newbie ad agency employees and their bosses.)

Older, wiser, famous creative artists sit side-by-side with the newbies, these days. Whoever they are, whatever age or cultural background -- they're keeping up with all the latest events in the news that have to do with famous people and their sex lives.

Yep, lovers, marriages, breakups, divorces, abuses, perversions, romantic madness, one night stands -- philosophical as well as rash remarks -- I suspect, more than ever, celebrities shape what we what we find titillating, sexy, sinful, inspiring.

I wonder how this will affect our children, the ones who'll be teaching us soon, with their pop songs, books, movies, ads they create -- stuff that will educate and inspire their offspring long after we're gone.

Gosh,. I don't think I could handle much more than what we're getting right now. I must say, I'm sort of glad I won't be around.


Anonymous said...

Today's kids have learned probably what there is to know graphically by surfing the infernal Internet, not a very sensual place to find out about love. Me, I found out from the school of hard knocks :)

Linda Phillips said...

I learned the very basics from my mother. And I mean THE VERY BASICS. Much later in life I TAUGHT HER about ORAL SEX. At first she refused to believe that people actually did that.

I truly don't think that my mother ever had an orgasim or even had a clue that women could and did have them. I certainly did, and in fact mainly, multi orgasisms.

My mother had a terrible book that had been written by her own gynecologist. I found it and used to sneak read it. Let me tell you, I learned very little from it.

As a teen I learned more from my girlfriends. We were of the generation that had been told we had to remain virgins until we were married. Can you believe that?

I broke the staying a virgin until marriage rule. Good grief, but I did at first feel very guilty and was convinced that people could actually tell. I had an "invisible Scarlet Letter" on my chest! I was about 20 then. Today they are so young that at first I found it quite amazing, but by now, I accept that that is the norm.

I did buy The Joy of Sex when it first came out, but I think it went the way of most of my cookbooks. That is to say, I glanced at it once or twice, but never really read it. Same with most cookbooks. I'm a very creative cook.

I learned by experience and was very fortunate to have had one steady boyfriend in particular, who was "A Master of Sex". I learned so much more from him. Thank you Les. You were a great teacher! A lousy boyfriend, but a great teacher!

Unknown said...

I enjoyed The Happy Hooker! I wish I had known far more far younger.