Confessions of a Domestiphobic. (Taxicab Not Included.)
I used to flip through my mom’s novels — you know, the ones she kept on dusty basement shelves — and look for the dirty bits.
I’m not going to lie.
It started when I was bored. I’d already gone through my stack of library books and Mom said, “Go find something in the basement. I have tons of books down there,” and then suddenly my mind was opened to the likes of John Grisham and Sidney Sheldon and their twisted, dramatic worlds of crime and greed and super soft-core suggested sex.
People can write about sex?
This was news to me.
See, I’d picked up a paperback by Karen Robards called Heart Breaker, which was probably spankin’ new at the time but now has those tea-stained yellow pages with curled corners — the charming kind that smell like dusty antique stores when you flip them past your nose* — and it promised to have action and romance and, if I was lucky, a little kissing, so I snatched it up and let me just say Boy, was I surprised when I got to page 251.
*I only know that the pages are curled and yellow because I may have stolen the book and carried it with me on my semi-nomadic post-high school adventures until it ended up here, on my own bookshelves in my own office, simply because I don’t have a basement in which to hide my mother’s mildly embarrassing $5.24 purchase circa mid 1990s. Yes, it still has the original sticker.
So I got to that part — that part that was all steamy and sexy and… detailed — and I guess that’s when I realized that not only is it okay for young women to be curious about sex, but it’s okay for them to read about it.
Because it was certainly okay for Ms. Robards to write about it. And write, she did. For 6 whole pages.
And here’s the kicker — not only is it okay women to read about it, but it might be a little bit okay for them to get turned on by it.
Sure, the 90’s brought us other blatant sexual awakenings like Sex and the City and Taxicab Confessions and late night Skinemax, but it’s erotic literature, from its often creative use of the English language to its ability to take you to a sensual world of beautiful, mole-less, hairless, zitless, and otherwise flawless people, that has always held a special place in my heart.
For some reason I thought all women knew this. I thought all women knew that, if the raunchy, glistening, lurid world of hardcore video pornography wasn’t exactly their thing, then erotic literature, aka. “literotica,” held the answer. The characters look how we want them to look, the scenes, in our minds, hold as much — or as little — detail as we want them to hold, and it’s easy to skip the parts we don’t like and re-read the parts that we do. It’s exciting. It’s invigorating. And, it’s perfectly healthy.
Sexuality is normal. And it’s nice. And all women are in touch with theirs, right?
Apparently, not so much.
A co-worker came up to me yesterday and noted that I looked somewhat like a dominatrix with my tight dark jeans, charcoal lace top, and hair pulled back in a twist, and I’ll admit — dominatrix isn’t exactly the look I was going for, but at 29, I’ll take what I can get. KnowwhatI’msayin’?
She smiled when she said it — this knowing smile — and followed with, “I’ve been reading 50 Shades of Grey. You know — that sex book.”
“Oh yeah?” I smiled. “I haven’t read it. Yet.”
“Well you should! How long have you been married?”
“Six years, together for 9.”
“Well then, you know how, after a while, things… in the bedroom… can… you know… get a little… well…”
“Monotonous?” I offered, knowing where she was headed.
“Exactly! And… well… that book changed my life.”
“Oh yeah? It made you experience a sexual reawakening?”
“Well not so much that. I mean it did, yes, but I always knew that part was there. I just didn’t remember how to enjoy it. So the book, it helped me find a way to express these fantasies… or these ideas that I always thought might be kind of fun… to my husband.”
I’d never thought about it like that. I’d never thought of erotic literature as a way to communicate desires with a partner.
Instead of fumbling through delicate words, trying to express something that could crack you open to expose whole tender levels of vulnerability and potential embarrassment, all a woman need do is bookmark a passage, hand it to her partner, and say, “Here. Read this. This is what I want to try.”
Of course, there still might be some minor anticipatory embarrassment — some knuckle-cracking, toes-curling, lip-biting nerves as the partner reads the passage that explains, in vivid detail, the new ways she wants to express her love. And the ways she wants it expressed to her. But then it would be there, out in the open, an operation manual of sorts for him to start churning gears he’d thought long dormant with the crusted rust of cramps, headaches, and long days at work.
This would be it. The key. And any man who’d make his partner feel embarrassed about handing him the key to doors long locked, probably doesn’t deserve to have sex.
Most men, I’d think, would take it.
They would take it and they would learn it, live it, love it.
I’m upset that I didn’t think of this. Obviously, it’s a niche that needed to be filled.
And I’m sorry if this post has made you uncomfortable. But honestly, I’m actually not. If it made you uncomfortable, then you should probably ask yourself why. And you should probably think about those gears. And why they’re rusted. And whether you want them to stay that way. And, when you’re ready, you can try starting here. Just not while you’re at work.
Ladies, it’s time. And guys, if any of you are still reading this, I think you might agree.
Now. Where did I put my extra bookmarks…?