Tuesday, September 30, 2008

An experience not all it's sexed up to be

Those naughty things we're not supposed to do, but want to anyway -- are they really all that great?

I was going through a stack of books when I came upon "The Book of Vice: Very Naughty Things (And How to Do Them)" by Peter Sagal. I meant to tell you guys about this book when I read it awhile back, and to share a personal story. No time like the present!

"The Book of Vice" is a fun read, although, depending on your comfort level with the subject matter, is of questionable naughtiness. "Somewhere, somebody is having more fun than you are. Or everyone believes," begins the book jacket blurb. "Peter Sagal, a mild-mannered, Harvard-educated NPR host -- the man who put the second 'L' in 'vanilla' -- decided to find out if it's true." So for the book Sagal visited a porn set, strip clubs, gambling halls, and a swingers club to see if they were all we've been made to believe they are. And you know what he found out? They're not.

Let me tell you that story, because I think it illustrates Sagal's point really well. A few years ago, one of my best friends and her roommate went to an orgy. For real. There's a house in San Francisco where every third Tuesday of the month or something, people show up to have sex with strangers. Well, my friend's roommate was invited to attend and after talking it over with my friend, they both agreed they were too curious not to go.

So they get to this house and find out they're required to check their clothes at the door. They stripped down to their intimates - my friend's in a lace teddy, her roommate's got on a matching bra-and-panty number trimmed in fur (because of that fur from now on I'll refer to her as "Xena" and my friend as "Gabrielle"). Since the majority of the people walking around were naked, they felt decidedly overdressed. But they took a deep breath and entered the fray.

At this point in the tale I admit I was pouting, because I hadn't been asked to go along. I'm just as nosy as they are! But as the story went on, I found myself thanking my friend for sparing me the horror.

OK. They leave their clothes and start wandering. The house had a couple floors and something different sexually was going on in every room. There was a room for food, but it had all been scarfed down. Bowls of condoms everywhere. Lots of nekkidness and lots of sex, but Xena and Gabrielle were surprised at the number of people they didn't find attractive. Weren't parties like this populated by young, hot people?

Overwhelmed, Xena and Gabrielle cowered in a corner of an orgy room -- after a discussion about if it was hygienically safe to sit there. Gabrielle heard "May I give you a massage?" from behind her, and turned to find a smiling naked man. Apparently, the big rule at this kind of shindig is that you're not allowed to touch people without their permission, so the "massage" line is often used. It's code for "hey, wanna have sex?" Gabrielle told me she nearly shrieked, "DON'T TOUCH ME!!" but managed to calm it down into a simple "no, thank you," and grabbed Xena and fled. In the hallway, they ran into an equally mortified-looking pair of young guys, clad in pajama pants and sweats. They, too, were ridiculously overdressed. The quartet commiserated about the lack of sexy people and stuck together until the smell (Gabrielle said the odor of the different and numerous body fluids was overpowering) got to them and they left.

When Gabrielle told me her story, she said she was glad she went, but sad as well. In no way did the experience live up to its naughty allure, and it left her feeling disappointed and kinda dirty.

So she could well relate to "Book of Vice" author Sagal as he wrapped up his trips to the dark, indulgent and kinky sides of human nature. "God knows there are people who are having more fun that you, who are having more and better and frequent and more gymnastic sex than you are, who are enjoying adrenaline thrills and indulgences you can't even imagine," he wrote. "But you have one thing in common with those people: They, too, are wondering if there's something they're missing."

My friend Gabrielle is now content to keep wondering. After hearing her story, I think I am, too.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Poll: Lots of couples clash over clutter

Since I'm in a numbers mood, here's another stat: More than eight in 10 couples view unused items lying around the house as a source of tension in their relationships.

According to Kijiji.com, a free local classifieds Web site, 81% of Americans in relationships own items they’d love to throw away but can’t, because their significant others insist on keeping them. Sound familiar?

The poll says there are about 35 unused items in every household, on which each consumer has spent over $3,600. And it’s not just women hanging on to outfits they're sure will fit again one day; the poll found 31% of men are clogging the closets with old clothes.

Good luck streamlining your lives, couples. If you do get into an argument, remember there's always hot makeup sex.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

State of singles in America

Guess what? This is Unmarried and Single Americans Week. "National Singles Week" was started by the Buckeye Singles Council in Ohio in the 1980s to celebrate single life and recognize singles and their contributions to society. The week is now widely observed during the third full week of September as "Unmarried and Single Americans Week," an acknowledgment that many unmarried Americans do not identify with the word "single" because they are parents, have partners or are widowed. Here's some illuminating statistics about us singletons, courtesy of the Census Bureau:

92 million: Number of unmarried Americans 18 and older in 2006. This group comprised 42 percent of all U.S. residents 18 and older.

54%: Percentage of unmarried Americans 18 and older who are women.

60%: Percentage of unmarried Americans 18 and older who have never been married.
Another 25 percent are divorced, and 15 percent are widowed.

15 million: Number of unmarried Americans 65 and older. These older Americans comprise
16 percent of all unmarried and single people 18 and older.

86: Number of unmarried men 18 and older for every 100 unmarried women in the United States.

50.7 million: Number of households maintained by unmarried men or women. These households comprise 44 percent of households nationwide.

30.5 million: Number of people who live alone. They comprise 27 percent of all households, up from 17 percent in 1970.

35%: Percentage of births in the last 12 months, as of 2006, to women who either were separated, widowed, divorced or never married. Of these 1.5 million unmarried mothers, 199,000 were living with an unmarried partner.

12.9 million: Number of single parents living with their children in 2006. Of these, 10.4 million were single mothers.

733,000: Number of unmarried grandparents who were caregivers for their grandchildren in 2006. They comprised about three in 10 grandparents who were responsible for their grandchildren.

6 million: Number of unmarried-partner households in 2006. These include 5.2 million of the opposite sex and 780,000 of the same sex.

904: The number of dating service establishments nationwide as of 2002. These establishments, which include Internet dating services, employed nearly 4,300 people and generated $489 million in revenues.

36%: Percentage of voters in the 2004 presidential election who were unmarried.

83%: Percentage of unmarried people 25 and older in 2007 who were high school graduates.

24%: Percentage of unmarried people 25 and older in 2007 with a bachelor's degree or more education.

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Ad shocking ... in a good way

I was bored and flipping through the TV channels when I saw a commercial that made my jaw drop. It was for Trojan's Vibrating Touch, a fingertip massager that ... ahem, gives women pleasure.

It wasn't the massager that shocked me, but the fact that there was a commercial on television advertising it. Sure, it was almost 2 in the morning, but the ad was on AMC, no less! (I would think Bravo or FX, but there it was ...)

A tasteful commercial is a leap forward in taking some of the mystery and stigma away from sex toys. Trojan has done a nice job of mainstreaming sexual aids with its Elexa line for women, and this toy is a logical step. I think it's great that more women and couples can see, even if it's on late-night cable TV, that not only is it OK to be interested in sex toys, but you can have attractive and affordable ones of your own. And that no, it doesn't make you a perv!

Friday, September 05, 2008

'Tis the (football) season

My favorite season is finally here: Football Season! It's about time -- I've been entirely too productive on Sundays. Now painting the kitchen will have to wait until February.

I have the luxury of a girlfriend who also loves football. Nothing's perfect, though; she's from Pennsylvania and a Philadelphia Eagles fan and I grew up a Dallas Cowboys fan. If you know anything about football, you know those teams mix like oil and water. I know I'm not alone in this situation so I've got a few tips to help get through the season.

Find some common ground and cheer for the home team. What would I do without the Panthers? We can both scream and cheer without penalty and check the scores of favorite teams at commercial breaks. And if your team plays a late game, there's a chance your spouse will be passed out in a pool of beer and nachos by then.

Join a Fantasy Football league that both of you can be in. Playing god with football players is fun. Trade 'em, start 'em, sit 'em ... you'll get more familiar with the game this way. Plus, it's kind of a turn-on when your girlfriend rattles off stats about San Diego's defense. (Is that weird?) Try to pick up a player from your partner's favorite team so maybe you can stomach watching them play. All it takes is one fantasy kicker to make an uninteresting game worthwhile.

Just accept it. It may have broken my dad's heart to tell him I'm dating a Philly fan, but I'm not gonna dump her because of it. (If she was a Patriots fan, maybe.) Team apparel makes for a good birthday gift and traveling to watch either of your teams play makes for a great weekend getaway. Last year my girlfriend bought me tickets to watch KU play in the Orange Bowl at Miami. That was an awesome gift idea!

Hopefully, my advice will help. You can apply it to almost any other sport, too. If you don't think it's possible for rivalry couples to prevail, a friend from Chicago recently married his Green Bay lovin' girlfriend. So, yes, differences can be set aside.