But Lisa, you ask, what if I live in Manhattan, where you can do that and more, and still go four years without a sexual encounter? Then, my friends, it's time to take matters into your own hands. Forget about the mind; I'm here to tell you, the clitoris is a terrible thing to waste. If, between the job, the kids, the parents, the houseplants, and the dry cleaner's, you don't have time to create some semblance of a sex life, I say make time. Not only will your productivity at work
improve, you'll have a lot more patience for your kids, and your dry cleaner will come to think of you as his perkiest customer. If, on the other hand, the problem is that you're not acquainted with your clitoris, let me suggest you get yourself a little privacy and a smart book
. The Good Vibrations Guide to Sex
, by Cathy Winks and Anne Semans, contains page after page of clear-eyed wisdom, and Satisfaction
, by none other than actress Kim Cattrall and her husband, Mark Levinson, is explicit without being icky. Do some reading, have a look around, and then start learning exactly what feels good. Are you partial to direct pressure, light rhythmic strokes, or some combination of the two? Is there a particular angle you respond to? Do you prefer your legs straight or bent? The point is to know your body. For one thing, you'll burn a few calories; for another, if you don't understand what it takes to bring yourself to orgasm, then you can't really expect anyone else to. By the way, if you've yet to experience an orgasm, I say forget the guitar lessons and invest in a copy of For Yourself
, by sex therapist Lonnie Barbach. She teaches a number of techniques that (with practice) will help you learn to climax. If the notion of getting in touch with yourself on a regular basis seems a bit daunting, consider this: While women are busy cutting themselves off from their bodies, feeling bad about being too droopy, too flat, too gangly, too round, too curvy, too straight, too much, and not nearly enough, it's come to my attention that men are not getting together over Diet Cokes to ask, "Dude, is this outfit making my butt look big?" Evidently they haven't been trained to torture themselves with fears that their hips are too wide or their stomachs aren't perfectly taut—maybe they were too busy learning it's not okay for boys to cry during Old Yeller to develop crippling body-image issues—but rumor has it they simply allow themselves to slip into their fantasy of choice and release a few endorphins. All in all, not a bad plan.
For the record, I'll take flannel sheets over silk any day of the week, rose petals make my eyes itchy, and I consider long baths incredibly tedious. I do, however, find sex—not the slick MTV kind but the exuberant, klutzy, tender, funny, fiery, mystical, adventurous, creative kind—endlessly fascinating. I'm not sure what love's got to do with it, but I believe "like" helps a lot and lust is essential. I don't have all the answers, but there are myriad pleasure activists out there who believe there's something to be said for just asking a few questions and showing up for the big dance. Good luck, and get busy.