Sex Is Not a Natural Act and Other Essays

By Leonore Tiefer | Go to book overview

6
Six Months at the Daily News

In 1980 I was invited to write a weekly 200-word column for the New York Daily News, which advertises itself as the largest-circulation daily in the country. I knew they wanted something popular and a little titillating, not academic or political, but I thought I would see if I could find some way to present the ideas I was interested in anyway. The Newscalled the column "Your Sexual Self,"exactly the sort of privatized perspective I planned to preach against! I had to repeatedly resist the editors' request that I answer readers' questions in the column. I got lots of mail, but none of it ever commented on the columns; it all wanted advice. The Newscalled it quits after six months; I have selected a few of those columns to include here.


The Myth of Spontaneity

Nowadays we are expected to be sexually spontaneous. Scheming and playing games are out. But good sex doesn't strike like lightning. Only in romantic novels do lovers swoon from a single glance or pant from a passing touch. Getting turned on in real life is more like warming up an engine than flicking on a light switch.

Such is the power of our ignorance on this subject that many people suspect organic or hormonal weakness if they are not aroused at a moment's notice. Even those informed about the importance of mental preparation may wrongly label themselves psychologically undersexed. Not to mention the names they hurl at their partners.

In fact, seasoned lovers often deliberately put themselves in the mood. Thinking about sex usually tops their list of preliminaries. Like John Travolta, leisurely and lovingly combing his hair before going out to disco in Saturday Night Fever, anyone can tune into sensual, sexual feelings by imagining good times ahead. Relaxing, mentally and physically, is important. A shower works for some, a quiet time alone for others.

-69-

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