Elizabeth Hayt is a journalist and author on fashion, women, relationships and sex.

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The Man Who Put Me On Top, Or The Way to X-Rated Nirvana

Posted on Jan.27.2009

As of January 27, 2009, I have lost my blog-ginity to  www.wowowow.com , a site laying bare my first crack at web writing. What prompted my passage from blognorance to bloglightenment was nothing less than the potential of a sexual reawakening, a call to carnality from my past, more precisely from 1972, the year of the epochal publication: “The Joy of Sex: A Gourmet Guide.”

Written by Alex C. Comfort, a middle-aged, British gerontologist, political activist and peacenik, the book was a smash hit, tearing back the sheets from what was going on beneath the covers of many-a-hetero-couples’ bed.   I was only 11 at the time, but the book, which my best girlhood friend shared with me after discovering it on her parents’ bedroom night table, opened my already wide peepers.

From what I saw, or rather, what shot out at me, were the especially raw and rather unidealized illustrations – money shots, really — of male and female genitalia, with images detailing all sorts of arousal techniques and pleasure-promising, coital positions. The education I gleaned immediatly put me in advanced placement sex ed.  But I hadn’t even had any intro yet, let alone gone to second base. (I had, however, experienced enough dry, closed-mouthed smooches while playing Spin-the-Bottle under the stairwell of my elementary school to know that the softer the lips, the sweeter the boy’s kiss, a rule of thumb that still applies when it comes to grown men, whisker burns notwithstanding.)

By the time I came of age, becoming a woman wanting, I must have internalized Comfort’s admonishments to men and women not to conform to patriarchal norms, which, when it came to sex, meant woman on bottom, man on top. Instead, by reversing the arrangement, females, he assured, found it easier to orgasm. Consequently, I followed suit, mounting whoever was my man-of-the-moment, and proving the truth of Comfort’s words rode my way to nirvana.

To be fair, it was not the original “Joy of Sex” that compelled me to embark on  this blogging business.  Instead, it was a request from www.wowow.com to write a review of the latest “Joy of Sex,” the sixth in a line-up of revised and updated versions of the book published over the last three decades, including a 2003 commemoration of the publication’s 30th anniversary.  By then, Comfort had already been dead for three years, but his son, Nicholas, assumed the mantle as editor.  Hard to believe the publisher, Crown, thought there was still more to be said and yet, it was decided that the time had come to spruce up what was indisputably an oldie, but goodie.

The task of sprucing was assigned to Susan Quilliam, a British sexologist, whose mandate was to give a female makeover to the otherwise phallocentric classic. My review of her version of the book (www.wowowow.com) speaks to the value of her contribution and so there’s no need for repetition here, other than emphasizing that coyness is so uncool.

But explicitness, no matter if expressed in the spirit of healthy candor, can be terribly off-putting,  not that I am accusing Quilliam’s work of any sort of unsavoriness — quite the opposite, in fact.  Personally, I could have used a bit more blood, sweat and tears when it comes to really fine fucking. But maybe their absence is the difference between a sex manual and a sex memoir, the latter being my particular bent, ergo, my book, “I’m No Saint: Memoir of a Wayward Wife.”

Nonetheless,  there still remains the challenge to sexperts worldwide: to write a solid, unshy book about sex that is practical and yet philosophical, that bears a tinge of trashiness to keep things real while encouraging readers to muster the guts for whatever constitutes their outer limits of experimentation.

I firmly believe that anyone with a percolating libido should try the thing that seems most daring,  just once.  More than fulfilling, it’s emboldening. Bravery counts when it comes to experimentation but so does trust. So find someone who makes you feel very safe and very naughty and live out the fantasy. Whatever your fantasy. After all, what could be worse than lying on your deathbed, surrounded by your loved ones, and feeling regret, bitterly clinging to the proverbial “if only” wishlist, which might have been pre-empted by an easy fix, such as getting it on in a latex body suit, or giving in to a kinkier attraction, like autoasphyxiation while climaxing?