In These Days of Orgasmic Bliss for All, It's a Relief to Discover a Healthy Disgust of Body Fluids
Taylor, Laurie, New Statesman (1996)
Helen doesn't like saliva. Whenever we accidentally meet in the basement room of Broadcasting House, which the BBC reserves for smokers, she somehow brings the conversation around to the way in which her love life has always been marred by her refusal to bestow anything more meaningful upon her would-be lovers than a dry, tight-lipped kiss. From time to time I've tried to reassure her with allusions to literary figures who've displayed a similar disgust of bodily emanations, but her horror is too distinctive, too specific, to be squeezed into any ready-made categories. "I don't like the way it bubbles. Look at anyone who has drops of spit on their lips. It doesn't just stay there. You can see it spluttering. Like lava. I don't want any of that horrible stuff getting in my mouth."
I don't take any prurient pleasure from these revelations. I've never leant forward and asked whether she's horrified by other lubricious possibilities. First things first. Until something can be done about her saliva fixation there's little point in considering how she might react to the average male insistence that true love depends upon her being the happy recipient of enough spluttering fluid to fill a small test-tube.
You don't need to have led a particularly gregarious life to know that Helen's aversion to saliva is only one of the many concerns which arise among men and women when the talk turns to body coupling.
After a few pints, my best friend Dave would rather shamefacedly admit he loathed any form of oral sex because of the cultural requirement never to comment upon the odours it aroused. "Nobody ever tells you what to expect. You're simply supposed to ignore all those molecules buzzing round your bodies. And it's the women I feel sorry for. Men smell absolutely awful after orgasm. Like the shallow end of a municipal swimming pool. …