Sex et cetera

Personal ads, dating adventures pro and con

FINDING A DATE IN LOS ANGELES

Online dating is alive and well these days, even the Los Angeles Times has a special page in their Saturday section for stories about dating relationships . I suppose some couples still meet each other at parties, weddings, grocery stores and social events, but searching the Internet is probably the easiest method and gives searchers the most information. Like advertising, however, the “truth” can be a scam…or as the old saying goes, “Let the buyer beware.” I’ve had some fascinating adventures in the dating world over the years, which brings to mind another saying, “Truth is stranger than fiction.” The previews of the two stories below are completely true–I wrote them when the experiences were fresh in my mind. The first one was submitted to Playgirl magazine but rejected. I always thought they may have felt it was too bizarre since the incident happened before the Internet revealed the dating world can be awfully peculiar and eccentric. I met the subjects of these stories through ads in the Singles Register, a now defunct Southern California newspaper.

Here are two excerpts from my Kindle Single book on Amazon:   Weird Dates and Strange Fates

Weird Dates and Strange Fates#1

 

A Single Gal’s Guide to Cross-Dressing

The man who answered the door was friendly and natural as he guided her into his house. Proudly telling her he had inherited the home from his uncle, he suggested they take a little tour. A typical one-story postwar 1950s home, it had nothing imaginative in its design, inside or out, but she pretended to be impressed. He led her through a step-down, rectangular living room and then outside to a concrete atrium whose only amenity was a hot tub and a few cheap and fading lounge chairs. Occasionally touching her elbow, he told her of plans to make a few changes here and there and asked her opinion. When he took her into his small square bedroom, she noted a white lacy negligee hanging over a closet door and beneath it, four-inch black spike heels.
“How do you like my new negligee?” he asked.
“It’s beautiful,” she responded evenly, wondering what revelations might come next.
“My wife liked me to wear lingerie to bed. Now I can’t sleep without it.”
She could tell he was watching and listening carefully for her reactions. So far she was accepting all of it as if it were all perfectly normal.
Back in the living room he showed her some photos of a recent costume party. “How do you like these? You see, here I am in my French maid’s costume.” He handed her the photo.
“Mmmm.” She didn’t know what to say as she looked down at the photo, which gave her time to compose herself. She was too startled after the negligee reference to take in the photo’s details.

 

The Dark Side

When the letter returned with no forwarding address a week later, I was tempted to drive to his apartment. Derek’s daughter lived across the street from him, but I didn’t know the address or remember the daughter’s last name. I had an odd feeling of apprehension as I pondered what could have happened and searched my memory for little details that might indicate what to do next. Had I missed some important minutiae about him in all these months? How well did I really know him? I reflected, as my mind raced with a slew of possibilities.
Derek had meant too much to me to let the matter drop. He couldn’t have just left, I reasoned. What of all his obligations, his children, his friends? He filled his life with so many people and duties; surely someone would have the answers.
I called the office again, remembering that Derek’s best friend, Tom, worked in the same building. Tom told me he couldn’t talk in the office; he would call me at home. His comment piqued my curiosity. What would he tell me that was so secret?
The following evening he telephoned, eager to share the story.
“You remember that Derek went back to Boston to spend Christmas with his aging parents. He said he probably wouldn’t be seeing them again. I just assumed he meant because they were getting older. Then Derek ended up talking to me for three hours after our office party the Friday before New Year’s. He usually scooted out of there right after work, no matter what.”
Tom continued, “Derek didn’t show up for work the Tuesday after the New Year holiday. When he didn’t come on Wednesday, I called his daughter, Susan. Susan hadn’t seen him in a couple of days, she said, but there was a letter from him on her desk. She said she’d check on things and call me back. When she called back a half hour later, she was hysterical.”

To read what happens in both stories, check out my Amazon link:  Amazon books by Victoria Giraud  or just look up Victoria Giraud’s author page on Amazon.

SEX — In Books & TV

Emerging by Heidi Giraud, symbolic depiction of emerging from the tangle of the past

Emerging by Heidi Giraud, A woman pondering the confusion of sex!

Sex may make the world go round and the population go up, but how do we approach it in writing? Gingerly or full bore? And yes, you can interpret that as you wish.

Sex affects us all in one way or another, obviously. We spend enough time figuring it out: what sexual preference does our invented character prefer, and can he/she or we be put so easily into the box (label) of heterosexual or homosexual or something in between? Didn’t Kinsey, and Masters & Johnson open the door to open-mindedness and acceptance? Yes and no. Consider Caitlyn Jenner, LGBT, not to mention the Catholic priests’ scandals, etc. I won’t open that Pandora’s Box, but the subject of sex is always an attention getter.

I’m a person of mixed beliefs about sex and about sexually-oriented books, films, and TV, as I’ll wager most of us are. No tidy preferences for many of us; emotions can be jumbled. As a voracious reader, I can enjoy a book that hints at sexual dalliance as well as one with specifics. I’m not a prude but I can also be quite conservative. I speak or write more bravely than I act. I’ve seen a few porn films but prefer soft porn, which excites without being as explicit. That preference extends to books, for the most part. I’ve read the first two Fifty Shades of Grey books and while it was certainly titillating, I got tired of all the specifics. Perhaps I like more mystery to the process. I’ve been watching Masters of Sex about sex researchers William Masters and Virginia Johnson on Showtime. It’s been fascinating to discover how they did their research and with whom for their 1966 book, Human Sexual Response.

I wrote two fairly graphic sex scenes for my book, Melaynie’s Masquerade, and enjoyed the process. It was my first novel and my first attempt at a genuine sex scene. All the newspaper/magazine articles I wrote over the years steered clear of sex.

As a child of the 50s, my sexual education was a definite mix. Don’t get pregnant was the big fear before the 60s ushered in free sex. As we learned in no time, nothing is free! Sexual diseases, the usual STDs and then AIDS, soon took over. I’ve been married and single and not always prudent, but I’ve escaped dire consequences. Experience, however, does provide an edge in writing about sexual subjects. Imagination goes only so far!

It’s fun to debate the issue: to write or not to write the sex scene. Not long ago I edited a highly sexual book and found it to be a pleasurable experience and sometimes stimulating. Despite finding it salacious when I first read a sample, I changed my mind when I discovered it was very humorous. It was written by a young math teacher in his 30s and he didn’t have outdated compunctions about sex. When I’d grown up, sex was a sinful thing to be hidden and whispered about. The majority of us were not so innocent but pretended we were pure. Lots of hypocrisy exists concerning sex and that will probably never change. I went through a time in college when I was asking girlfriends if they were still virgins! Hilarious now, (I wonder who was lying?) but some of us kept our virginity longer in the early 60s.

I admired Dave’s easy way of writing about his adventures; he’d already put them on a blog; in case you’re interested—www.daveglenn.com. His writing is quite explicit; he doesn’t mince words. And he didn’t treat himself as the stud king. He described his mistakes, his rejections, and the hilarious escapades from meeting all sorts of women, both young and older, in bars or online, as well as encountering foreign girls available on travels to Europe, Australia, etc.

Dave told me he thinks casual sex and having sex buddies is fine, if it’s done responsibly so that no one’s feelings are hurt. He’s not averse to masturbating but having the real thing is more fun. And he doesn’t need a commitment or marriage to sanctify his sexual urges.

Editing his book brought me up-to-date. My, my…Sex was treated as a perfectly natural part of life (Kinsey had thought so in the early part of the 20th century: wish I’d read him earlier!) Modern girls are just as anxious as guys to crawl into bed or wherever the assignation might be, despite emotional or sometimes physical risks. One night stands.

Sex may be freer and more open now in the Western World but, being humans, there are usually emotional strings of one sort or another, especially for women. I must conclude I’m still betwixt and between. At least many of us can read about sex these days without having apoplexy.

SEXUAL PREFERENCE? GENDER IDENTITY?

Sex is complicated and probably always has been. Currently, thanks to Caitlin Jenner, once known as Olympic athlete Bruce Jenner, we might wonder who we really are and whether we’re happy with the physical gender we were born with. The conversation is out in the open and I’m sure we’ll discover all sorts of fascinating facts as the years roll on.

What was it that inspired me to write Melaynie’s Masquerade, my historical fiction about a young woman who masquerades as a captain’s boy to sail to the Caribbean with Captain Francis Drake in the 16th century? Women have pretended to be men and vice versa through the ages.

I had my own unique experience in the dating world when I met a man who enjoyed dressing up as a woman. Though his ad in the Singles Register newspaper hadn’t mentioned he liked costume parties, I didn’t know his preferences, initially. He had sounded very congenial on the phone, and I decided to meet him at his home. When he changed into his gear—a French maid’s outfit, high heels, and a blond wig, the show was on. Eventually he was attired in a white negligee while we played Trivial Pursuit and watched the Lakers game, and he wanted me to give him makeup tips!

I wrote about my experience and submitted it to Playgirl magazine years ago. It was refused so I turned that story and another experience into a small Ebook that is for sale on Amazon:  Weird Dates and Strange Fates

My book on Amazon.

My book on Amazon.

 Here’s a sample from one of the stories:

 A Single Gal’s Guide to Cross-Dressing

The man who answered the door was friendly and natural as he guided her into his house. Proudly telling her he had inherited the home from his uncle, he suggested they take a little tour. A typical one-story postwar 1950s home, it had nothing imaginative in its design, inside or out, but she pretended to be impressed. He led her through a step-down, rectangular living room and then outside to a concrete atrium whose only amenity was a hot tub and a few cheap and fading lounge chairs. Occasionally touching her elbow, he told her of plans to make a few changes here and there and asked her opinion. When he took her into his small square bedroom, she noted a white lacy negligee hanging over a closet door and beneath it, four-inch black spike heels.

“How do you like my new negligee?” he asked.

“It’s beautiful,” she responded evenly, wondering what revelations might come next.

“My wife liked me to wear lingerie to bed. Now I can’t sleep without it.”

She could tell he was watching and listening carefully for her reactions. So far she was accepting all of it as if it were all perfectly normal.

Back in the living room he showed her some photos of a recent costume party. “How do you like these? You see, here I am in my French maid’s costume.” He handed her the photo.

“Mmmm.” She didn’t know what to say as she looked down at the photo, which gave her time to compose herself. She was too startled after the negligee reference to take in the photo’s details.

 

 

WRITING ABOUT SEX

Sex may make the world go round and the population go up, but how do we approach it in writing? Gingerly or full bore?  Interpret that as you wish!

Sex affects us all in one way or another, obviously. We spend enough time figuring it out–in life or on the page: what’s our invented character’s sexual preference and can he/she or we be put so easily into the box (label) of heterosexual or homosexual or something in between? Didn’t Kinsey, and Masters & Johnson open the door to open-mindedness and acceptance? Yes and no. Consider the fairly recent Don’t Ask Don’t Tell policy. Not to mention the Catholic priests’ scandals, etc.  The subject of sex is always an attention getter. Look no further than the Winter Olympics in Russia and Putin’s close-minded attitude toward homosexuals.

I’m a person of mixed beliefs about sex and about sexually-oriented books, films, and TV, as I’ll wager most of us are. No tidy preferences for many of us; emotions can be jumbled. As a voracious reader, I can enjoy a book that hints at sexual dalliance as well as one with specifics. I’m not a prude but I can also be quite conservative. I speak or write more bravely than I act. I’ve seen a few porn films but prefer soft porn, which excites without being as explicit–“The Story of O,” for instance. That preference extends to books, for the most part.

Yet, I wrote two fairly graphic sex scenes for my book, Melaynie’s Masquerade, and enjoyed the process. It was my first novel and my first attempt at a genuine sex scene. All the newspaper/magazine articles I wrote over the years steered clear of sex. Except one: when the Chippendales craze hit, I wrote about women attending a show featuring men dancing and stripping provocatively. Most of the female audience at one of these early shows responded with glee, then went up to the stage to tip the entertainers by inserting a bill into his skimpy underwear. Some fondled a favorite dancer and a few were rewarded with a kiss.

Since I was writing my article for a family weekly newspaper, I chose to keep it humorous and friendly. Besides, the whole act just hinted at what could happen. At that time there was no “full monty.”

As a child of the 50s, my sexual education was a definite mix. Don’t get pregnant was the big fear before the 60s ushered in free sex. As we learned in no time, nothing is free! Sexual diseases, the usual STDs and then AIDS, soon took over. I’ve been married and single and not always prudent, but I’ve escaped dire consequences. Experience, however, does provide an edge in writing about sexual subjects. Imagination goes only so far!

It’s fun to debate the issue: to write or not to write the sex scene. A few years ago I edited a highly sexual book–Sexcessful Failures by Dave Glenn— and found it to be a pleasurable experience and sometimes titillating. Despite finding it salacious when I first read a sample, I changed my mind when I discovered it was very humorous. It was written by a young math teacher in his 30s and he didn’t have outdated compunctions about sex. When I’d grown up, sex was a sinful thing to be hidden and whispered about. The majority of us were not so innocent but pretended we were pure. Lots of hypocrisy exists concerning sex and that will probably never change. I went through a time in college when I was asking girlfriends if they were still virgins! I wonder who was lying, but some of us still were in the early 60s.

I admired Dave’s easy way of writing about his adventures; he’d already put them in a blog; in case you’re interested—www.daveglenn.com. His writing is quite explicit; he doesn’t mince words. And he didn’t treat himself as the stud king. He described his mistakes, his rejections, and the hilarious escapades from meeting all sorts of women, both young and older, in bars or online, as well as encountering foreign girls available on travels to Europe, Australia, etc.

Dave told me he thinks casual sex and having sex buddies is fine, if it’s done responsibly so that no one’s feelings are hurt. He’s not averse to masturbating but having the real thing is more fun. And he doesn’t need a commitment or marriage to sanctify his sexual urges.

Editing his book brought me up-to-date. My, my…Sex was treated as a perfectly natural part of life (Kinsey had thought so in the early part of the 20th century: wish I’d read him earlier!) Modern girls are just as anxious as guys to crawl into bed or wherever the assignation might be, despite emotional or sometimes physical risks. One night stands.

Sex may be freer and more open now in the Western World but, being humans, there are usually emotional strings of one sort or another, especially for women. I must conclude I’m still betwixt and between. At least many of us can read about sex these days without having apoplexy.

WHITHER GOEST SEX…Milord…Milady? By Victoria Giraud

Sex may make the world go round and the population go up, but how do we approach it in writing? Gingerly or full bore? And yes, you can interpret that as you wish.

Sex affects us all in one way or another, obviously. We spend enough time figuring it out: what sexual preference does our invented character prefer, and can he/she or we be put so easily into the box (label) of heterosexual or homosexual or something in between? Didn’t Kinsey, and Masters & Johnson open the door to open-mindedness and acceptance? Yes and no. Consider the Don’t Ask Don’t Tell policy. Not to mention the Catholic priests’ scandals, etc. I won’t open that Pandora’s Box, but the subject of sex is always an attention getter.

I’m a person of mixed beliefs about sex and about sexually-oriented books, films, and TV, as I’ll wager most of us are. No tidy preferences for many of us; emotions can be jumbled. As a voracious reader, I can enjoy a book that hints at sexual dalliance as well as one with specifics. I’m not a prude but I can also be quite conservative. I speak or write more bravely than I act. I’ve seen a few porn films but prefer soft porn, which excites without being as explicit. That preference extends to books, for the most part. I’ve read the first two Fifty Shades of Grey books and while it was certainly titillating, I got tired of all the specifics. Perhaps I like more mystery to the process.

Yet, I wrote two fairly graphic sex scenes for my book, Melaynie’s Masquerade, and enjoyed the process. It was my first novel and my first attempt at a genuine sex scene. All the newspaper/magazine articles I wrote over the years steered clear of sex. Except one: when the Chippendales craze hit, I wrote about women attending a show featuring men dancing and stripping provocatively. Most of the female audience at one of these early shows responded with glee, then went up to the stage to tip the entertainers by inserting a bill into his skimpy underwear. Some fondled a favorite dancer and a few were rewarded with a kiss.

Since I was writing my article for a family weekly newspaper, I chose to keep it humorous and friendly. Besides, the whole act just hinted at what could happen. At that time there was no “full monty.”

As a child of the 50s, my sexual education was a definite mix. Don’t get pregnant was the big fear before the 60s ushered in free sex. As we learned in no time, nothing is free! Sexual diseases, the usual STDs and then AIDS, soon took over. I’ve been married and single and not always prudent, but I’ve escaped dire consequences. Experience, however, does provide an edge in writing about sexual subjects. Imagination goes only so far!

It’s fun to debate the issue: to write or not to write the sex scene. Not long ago I edited a highly sexual book and found it to be a pleasurable experience and sometimes stimulating. Despite finding it salacious when I first read a sample, I changed my mind when I discovered it was very humorous. It was written by a young math teacher in his 30s and he didn’t have outdated compunctions about sex. When I’d grown up, sex was a sinful thing to be hidden and whispered about. The majority of us were not so innocent but pretended we were pure. Lots of hypocrisy exists concerning sex and that will probably never change. I went through a time in college when I was asking girlfriends if they were still virgins! Hilarious now, (I wonder who was lying?) but some of us kept our virginity longer in the early 60s.

I admired Dave’s easy way of writing about his adventures; he’d already put them on a blog; in case you’re interested—www.daveglenn.com. His writing is quite explicit; he doesn’t mince words. And he didn’t treat himself as the stud king. He described his mistakes, his rejections, and the hilarious escapades from meeting all sorts of women, both young and older, in bars or online, as well as encountering foreign girls available on travels to Europe, Australia, etc.

Dave told me he thinks casual sex and having sex buddies is fine, if it’s done responsibly so that no one’s feelings are hurt. He’s not averse to masturbating but having the real thing is more fun. And he doesn’t need a commitment or marriage to sanctify his sexual urges.

Editing his book brought me up-to-date. My, my…Sex was treated as a perfectly natural part of life (Kinsey had thought so in the early part of the 20th century: wish I’d read him earlier!) Modern girls are just as anxious as guys to crawl into bed or wherever the assignation might be, despite emotional or sometimes physical risks. One night stands.

Sex may be freer and more open now in the Western World but, being humans, there are usually emotional strings of one sort or another, especially for women. I must conclude I’m still betwixt and between. At least many of us can read about sex these days without having apoplexy.

SEX IN THE 50s – TRIPOLI STYLE

Sex makes the world go round and can make fools of us all.  Styles, preferences and scandals fill novels, newspapers, movies and TV, especially in this new century.

In the 1950s, when I lived with my family in Tripoli, Americans were more prudish. Females wore longer skirts, showed a more modest amount of cleavage, and bathing suits were mostly one-piece affairs. Fuck was considered a filthy word—I was in fourth grade before I saw it written with chalk on a sidewalk. If it hadn’t lost its power with me, I never would have used it here for “effect.”

In the city of Tripoli, American teenage girls were advised not to wear jeans. We were given handouts filled with advice of what to do and not do in this ancient city where the lifestyle in some areas hadn’t gotten past the 12th century, or so it said. Libyan women were dressed, literally covered, in white wool barracans: an idea similar to burkas except one eye could be shown. Even though jeans weren’t revealing to us, it was an exciting idea to Libyan men who didn’t see many women in form-fitting outfits that hinted at sexuality.

The Egyptian Ambassador, across the street from me, was served by a few Libyan policemen who patrolled the walled perimeter of his compound. If my girlfriends and I walked the unpaved path outside the compound, and a policeman were nearby, he’d try to walk beside us and brush against us with his body. I don’t think the phrase “cop a feel” was invented yet, but we learned to avoid these uniformed watchdogs.

Me in Jeans. Egyptian compound and Libyan police in background.

One day, a girlfriend and I had an unpleasant encounter while walking to her house, a few blocks from mine. We were in jeans, of course, and since there was almost no traffic in this residential area, we sauntered along in the middle of the street. We weren’t paying attention to a young male bicyclist trailing us. Most male Libyans had bicycles; they were relatively cheap and reliable. We were prime bait, and he saw his opportunity as he swooped in front of us and made a grab for my crotch. He succeeded and then rode on a little ways. Before I could tell my friend to be wary, he came back and managed to do the same to her.  We were incensed and fruitlessly followed him a few blocks as he sped away. It was a good lesson to be more aware.

One of the most outrageous episodes, however, was an exhibitionist, also on a bicycle, who put on a brief show for my friend Gail and I. Looking back, I find it hilarious, but at that time it was mildly disgusting. We had been playing a game of tennis on the street and talking/flirting with British servicemen who worked for the General who lived on the corner.

A Libyan working man in overalls splattered with paint was sitting on his bike about 10 feet away. He was leering at us as he pulled out his penis and started waving it. My knowledge of the penis at that time was limited to my baby brother, so this man’s organ looked huge.

The Brits, who were behind a gated wall, probably sensed something was going on, but they couldn’t see the man. The two of us struggled with our composure as we stepped closer to the gate and hung on without a comment. The crazed cyclist, having gotten his thrill, soon pedaled away.  We never saw him again.

 

 

 

 

 

Being Single — IT’S NOT ALL FUN AND GAMES

While it’s enjoyable to meet potential relationship material at local watering holes, then and now,

US Navy Blue Angels in formation

there are many bittersweet stories among the patrons. Since I was always interested in people’s personal stories,  I got to know something about various “regulars” of the male gender, and a few became friends.

One such person was Bill, a former Navy fighter pilot, who’d been part of the highly skilled Blue Angels, and flown in the Viet Nam War. He was up to having fun of all sorts, even if it made him look foolish. During Happy Hour at a classy bar restaurant one night, a girlfriend of mine challenged Bill on his offer to do something crazy. She dared him to take off his trousers and boxer shorts (he was wearing a suit and tie) in front of everybody. He managed to slip them off without causing too much of a stir: his shirt had a long tail, which kept him modest. He handed her his boxer shorts and stood there grinning while people stared. Since only his bare legs showed and not his naked fanny, no one protested.

So far, I’ve never seen Bill’s stunt repeated, but a male friend once told me he rode a horse naked (a la Lady Godiva) to a local Western bar for Halloween.

During a time when I was having financial challenges, Bill, who had bought a brand new Porsche and was feeling generous, lent me his older Porsche for about a month. As I got to know him better, I discovered Bill’s charm and enthusiastic boyishness had periods of highs and lows, as did his life. He suffered from bipolar disorder, which soon became evident. During manic times he’d take several showers a day (enough to begin peeling off his apartment’s bathroom wallpaper) or pop in for a visit and head for your wine with a large plastic “to-go” cup  (he ignored any rules about drinking and driving — he drank while he drove). I often wonder what happened to this essentially sweet man.

Before Match.com and all the Internet dating sites, Los Angeles had the Singles Register newspaper, which was readily available and crammed with hundreds of ads from all over LA. The ads were somewhat similar to the more modern ads of today, but without the bells and whistles of graphics, photos, tapes, and computer services, etc. A man or woman with an imagination and willingness to create an enticing ad could have a field day exploring Love or Lust. Things weren’t as threatening in the days before AIDS sprang into full life.

In my personal ads I mentioned I enjoyed walks on the beach, candlelight dinners, great conversations, good movies, and the like when those descriptions were a bit fresher. This type of ad is totally passé at this point, but then so are newspapers. The method of contact was also old-fashioned. The respondent was required to send a letter (the kind that uses stamps and is now called snail mail) and encouraged to send a photo. Those letters could be flowery and clever or very simple. Analyzing the handwriting, if you knew how, gave a clue about personality.

I’ve always appreciated creativity and good writing, but I soon learned that the “buyer” must beware; not everything or every person was as advertised. Photos weren’t necessarily current or very representative of the person: a common complaint now on the Internet. Oddly heartening, however, was the fact that these advertisers often genuinely believed what they wrote about themselves. Optimistic advertisers actually did see themselves as looking younger, having all their hair and a great body. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, even if it’s just your own eyes.

Are We Gaga Over Sex?

Sex…just the word is titillating to most. Vanity Fair’s cover for September 2010 features Lady Gaga, the frequently outrageous pop star. She’s dressed in a fancy jeweled collar and nothing else; her long blond hair (is it a wig?) tantalizingly reveals some skin here and there. Inside, there’s a fuller body view but her hands cup small breasts and she’s in profile, showing a tattoo of three roses at waist level on her left side, which is the camera’s view.

I enjoy the thoughtful variety of stories in this magazine and have been a subscriber for years. The advertising pages in the front are typical of many publications these days: very sexual. I don’t think I paid much attention when I was younger, but it seems more blatant in the last decade or so. The models may be wearing long pants in the ad for Calvin Klein jeans but their legs are spread and poses are quite provocative. The Gucci ad’s female model sports a furry vest and thigh-high boots; a triangle of black cloth appears under the very short skirt, emphasized by her spread legs, as if a pair of bikini panties have been deliberately pulled down.

Sex affects us all in one way or another, obviously. We spend enough time figuring it out.  Can we be put so easily into the box (label) of heterosexual or homosexual or something in between? Didn’t Kinsey, and Masters & Johnson open the door to open-mindedness and acceptance? Yes and no. Consider the Don’t Ask Don’t Tell policy. Not to mention the Catholic priests’ scandals, etc.

I’m a person of mixed beliefs about how sex is presented in books, films, and TV, as I’ll wager most of us are. Prudery runs deep in American society. No tidy preferences for many of us; emotions can be jumbled. Perhaps our always evolving country and its varied mix of cultures will make sex seem less naughty, but perhaps we prefer it that way—a bit forbidden and nasty. As a voracious reader, I can enjoy a book that hints at sexual dalliance as well as one with specifics. I’m not a prude but I can also be quite conservative. Oftentimes, I speak or write more bravely than I act. I’ve seen a few porn films but prefer soft porn, which excites without being as explicit. That preference extends to books, for the most part.

Yet, I wrote two fairly graphic sex scenes for my book, Melaynie’s Masquerade, and enjoyed the process. It was my first novel and my first attempt at a genuine sex scene. All the newspaper/magazine articles I wrote over the years steered clear of sex. Except one: when the Chippendales craze hit, I wrote about women attending a show featuring men dancing and stripping provocatively. Most of the female audience at one of these early shows responded with glee, then went up to the stage to tip the entertainers by inserting a couple of dollar bills into his skimpy underwear. Some fondled a favorite dancer and a few were rewarded with a kiss.

Since I was writing my article for a family weekly newspaper, I chose to keep it humorous and friendly. Besides, the whole act just hinted at what could happen. At that time there was no “full monty.”

As a child of the 50s, my sexual education was a definite mix. Don’t get pregnant was the big fear before the 60s ushered in free sex. As we learned in no time, nothing is free! Sexual diseases, the usual STDs and then AIDS, soon took over. I’ve been married and single and not always cautious, but I’ve escaped dire consequences. Experience, however, does provide an edge in writing about sexual subjects. Imagination goes only so far!

It’s fun to debate the issue: to write or not to write the sex scene. I recently edited a highly sexual book and found it to be a enjoyable experience and sometimes titillating. Despite finding it salacious when I first read a sample, I changed my mind when I discovered the book was very humorous. It was written by a young math teacher in his 30s and he didn’t have outdated compunctions about sex. When I’d grown up, sex was a sinful thing to be hidden and whispered about. The majority of us were not so innocent but pretended we were pure. Lots of hypocrisy exists concerning sex and that will probably never change. I went through a time in college when I was asking girlfriends if they were still virgins! Hilarious now, (I wonder who was lying?) but some of us were very inexperienced in the early 60s.

I admired Dave Glenn’s easy way of writing about his adventures; he’d already put them on a blog; in case you’re interested—www.daveglenn.com. His writing is quite explicit; he doesn’t mince words. And he doesn’t treat himself as the stud king. He describes his mistakes, his rejections, and the hilarious escapades resulting from meeting all sorts of women, both young and older, in bars or online, as well as encountering foreign girls available on travels to Europe, Australia, etc.

Dave told me he thinks casual sex and having sex buddies is fine, if it’s done responsibly so that no one’s feelings are hurt. He’s not averse to masturbating but having the real thing is more fun. And he doesn’t need a commitment or marriage to sanctify his sexual urges.

Editing his book brought me up-to-date. My, my…Sex was treated as a perfectly natural part of life (Kinsey had thought so in the early part of the 20th century: wish I’d read him earlier!) Modern girls are just as anxious as guys to crawl into bed or wherever the assignation might be, despite emotional or sometimes physical risks. One night stands.

Sex may be freer and more open now in the Western World but, being humans, there are usually emotional strings of one sort or another, especially for women. I must conclude I’m still betwixt and between. At least many of us can read about sex these days without having apoplexy.

Trying "cheesecake" at age 15!

Whither goest Sex?

Sex may make the world go round and the population go up, but how do we approach it in writing? Gingerly or full bore? And yes, you can interpret that as you wish.

Sex affects us all in one way or another, obviously. We spend enough time figuring it out: what’s our invented character’s sexual preference and can he/she or we be put so easily into the box (label) of heterosexual or homosexual or something in between? Didn’t Kinsey, and Masters & Johnson open the door to open-mindedness and acceptance? Yes and no. Consider the Don’t Ask Don’t Tell policy. Not to mention the Catholic priests’ scandals, etc. I won’t open that Pandora’s Box, but the subject of sex is always an attention getter.

I’m a person of mixed beliefs about sex and about sexually-oriented books, films, and TV, as I’ll wager most of us are. No tidy preferences for many of us; emotions can be jumbled. As a voracious reader, I can enjoy a book that hints at sexual dalliance as well as one with specifics. I’m not a prude but I can also be quite conservative. I speak or write more bravely than I act. I’ve seen a few porn films but prefer soft porn, which excites without being as explicit. That preference extends to books, for the most part.

Yet, I wrote two fairly graphic sex scenes for my book, Melaynie’s Masquerade, and enjoyed the process. It was my first novel and my first attempt at a genuine sex scene. All the newspaper/magazine articles I wrote over the years steered clear of sex. Except one: when the Chippendales craze hit, I wrote about women attending a show featuring men dancing and stripping provocatively. Most of the female audience at one of these early shows responded with glee, then went up to the stage to tip the entertainers by inserting a bill into his skimpy underwear. Some fondled a favorite dancer and a few were rewarded with a kiss.

Since I was writing my article for a family weekly newspaper, I chose to keep it humorous and friendly. Besides, the whole act just hinted at what could happen. At that time there was no “full monty.”

As a child of the 50s, my sexual education was a definite mix. Don’t get pregnant was the big fear before the 60s ushered in free sex. As we learned in no time, nothing is free! Sexual diseases, the usual STDs and then AIDS, soon took over. I’ve been married and single and not always prudent, but I’ve escaped dire consequences. Experience, however, does provide an edge in writing about sexual subjects. Imagination goes only so far!

It’s fun to debate the issue: to write or not to write the sex scene. I recently edited a highly sexual book and found it to be a pleasurable experience and sometimes titillating. Despite finding it salacious when I first read a sample, I changed my mind when I discovered it was very humorous. It was written by a young math teacher in his 30s and he didn’t have outdated compunctions about sex. When I’d grown up, sex was a sinful thing to be hidden and whispered about. The majority of us were not so innocent but pretended we were pure. Lots of hypocrisy exists concerning sex and that will probably never change. I went through a time in college when I was asking girlfriends if they were still virgins! Hilarious now, (I wonder who was lying?) but some of us still were in the early 60s.

I admired Dave’s easy way of writing about his adventures; he’d already put them on a blog; in case you’re interested—www.daveglenn.com. His writing is quite explicit; he doesn’t mince words. And he didn’t treat himself as the stud king. He described his mistakes, his rejections, and the hilarious escapades from meeting all sorts of women, both young and older, in bars or online, as well as encountering foreign girls available on travels to Europe, Australia, etc.

Dave told me he thinks casual sex and having sex buddies is fine, if it’s done responsibly so that no one’s feelings are hurt. He’s not averse to masturbating but having the real thing is more fun. And he doesn’t need a commitment or marriage to sanctify his sexual urges.

Editing his book brought me up-to-date. My, my…Sex was treated as a perfectly natural part of life (Kinsey had thought so in the early part of the 20th century: wish I’d read him earlier!) Modern girls are just as anxious as guys to crawl into bed or wherever the assignation might be, despite emotional or sometimes physical risks. One night stands.

Sex may be freer and more open now in the Western World but, being humans, there are usually emotional strings of one sort or another, especially for women. I must conclude I’m still betwixt and between. At least many of us can read about sex these days without having apoplexy.

PERSONAL ADS

Creative writing serves all sorts of purposes: love letters, poetry, personal ads. Call it personal advertising. Personal ads have been around for perhaps hundreds of years. Roman graffiti might have attracted some young swain to a woman looking for love or money. I enjoyed Jimmy Stewart in the 1940 classic movie The Shop Around the Corner, which centered on a personal ad and anonymous mail.

In the 80s there was a widely distributed Southern California paper that focused on personal ads, aptly called the Singles Register. Local newspapers and the L.A. Times also carried personal ads. Compared to Match.com, eHarmony and countless others, this was the Dark Ages.

I felt like a pioneer in the single’s revolution of personal ads; none of my divorced friends had tried it. I did persuade a few to go a local bar and dance spot that featured a live band and lots of available men (or guys who didn’t wear their wedding bands). One friend met her future husband there. I found some great dance partners.

Newly divorced, I was ready to explore the single life. The Singles Register was readily available and had hundreds of ads from all over LA. The ads had some things in common with the more modern ads of today, but lacked the bells and whistles of graphics, photos, tapes, etc. A man or woman with an imagination and willingness to create an enticing ad could have a field day exploring Love or Lust. Things weren’t as threatening in those days before AIDS sprang into full life.

In my ads I mentioned I enjoyed walks on the beach, candlelight dinners, great conversations, good movies, and the like when those descriptions were a bit fresher. This type of ad is totally passé at this point, but then so are newspapers. The method of contact was also old-fashioned. The respondent was required to send a letter, and those letters could be flowery and clever or very simple. Just analyzing the handwriting gave a clue about personality.

I’ve always appreciated creativity and good writing, but I soon learned that the “buyer” must beware; not everything or every person was as advertised. And photos weren’t necessarily current or very representative of the person. Oddly heartening, however, was the fact that advertisers often believed what they wrote about themselves. They actually did see themselves as looking younger, having all their hair and a great body. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.

One of my early experiences was meeting a man in his twenties, much too young for my taste but I admired his enthusiastic and creative letters, and his persistence. When we graduated to long telephone conversations, I was impressed. New at the game, I was curious and had always enjoyed interviewing people for my newspaper column. He knew I was almost 20 years older and kept claiming he wasn’t after a “mother” type; he truly liked older women. I decided to meet him at the Boardwalk restaurant at Venice Beach, a fun place to people watch at least. I coaxed my daughter to come; at 19, she was closer to his age.

Some “relationships” are better served at a distance. Letters (those missives that come through snail mail) and even phone calls leave more room for fantasy. My earnest knight wasn’t unattractive but our age difference was awkward. Besides, I didn’t feel he had the self-confidence to take me out and I wasn’t attracted to him. We had an awkward lunch and I never heard from him again. My daughter handled it well and we had some giggles as we drove home.

My most amazing date was the man who loved costume parties. And then there was the older man who said he coined the word “parenting.”

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