Can You Say "Libido" With A Straight Face?

"Two years ago, bored, fed-up, frustrated with my life and with my confidence plummeting, I walked into a kitchen full of women." And discovered her sexuality! (That's them, post-discovery.)

Lately, we've heard a lot about female desire, or lack thereof. In this weekend's Sunday magazine, the Times' Daniel Bergner wrote about the rather undernourished the study of the phenomenon. And then there's the Times' examination of the need for female Viagra. Says one woman quoted in the latter, "So many women give up...That's a shame. It's so important. You marry your best friend, but intimacy is what makes a marriage work."

Then, just by chance, the Daily Mail brings us the rather...more colloquial? story of one woman whose sex life was "pepped up" by joining a group of other female writers, the Contemporary Women Writers' Club. The group started as a means for housebound writers and mothers to meet like-minded women in their somewhat isolated rural area.

But what actually emerged from the increasingly drunken conversation was I should write a short story that had sex in it and see if it helped....At first I thought I absolutely could not do it. Every time I sat down to write my story, I blushed so much I could barely think of the words. But, eventually, I gave myself over to it. I decided to set it somewhere foreign, sexy and hot. It ended up in Argentina and involves an older woman and a gaucho and it's about as raunchy as I can get. Did it work for me? Absolutely. I found writing about sex made me feel far more sensuous about myself. And so, gradually, over these past two years, we have all begun to change.

While both the gaucho porn and the raisin-fondling Bergner describes in a sex therapy group may seem goofy, there's a similar premise behind both: destigmatizing female sexuality and getting in touch with a dormant part of one's self. The problem is, the whole issue is still couched in awkwardness - or rather, the defiant off-throwing thereof. It's still an issue that reduces us to 12-year-old boys. (Consider if you will the recent raft of "OMG pathetic women love Edward Cullen!" cream-puffs that have clogged the newstand and the inbox, to say nothing of Cougars.) What I've been trying to remember is if we found talking about male sexuality as hilarious before we were all inured to "Viva Viagra," or whether it's more purely a result of age-old Madonna-whore disconnects. Is it the stigma of 1970s Our Bodies, Ourselves sexuality discussions that tarnishes the discussion? And will this aggressive onslaught of the sublime, ridiculous and white-coat serious ultimately wear us down as surely as the little blue pill? I hope so. I think.


In Search Of Their Own Elixir of Love
[NY Times]
Women Who Want To Want [NY Times]
How Joining A Group Of Female Writers Pepped Up My Sex Life! [Daily Mail]