Three times in my career I have written regular columns on sexuality for the public—a weekly column for six months for the New York Daily News in 1980-1981 and monthly columns for two national magazines, Play girl Advisor and Playgirl, for a year and for four months, respectively. In each case I received stacks of letters from readers. The ones below, taken from the newspaper job in 1981, are representative:
My name is Arlene. I am eighteen years of age I have a friend [and] we have become very committed to each other in a friendship way, but he thinks that because we have developed this friendly relationship we ought to have a sexual relationship, too. But I am a bit confused [as] to what to do. first before I have a sexual relationship with him. 1 am not sure if I really love him enough. What I am really afraid of is that once I get involved with him, all he will want to do is just have sex, and not be friends anymore.
I am forty-nine years old and my husband is fifty-Eve years: old. My problem is that we have had sex twice in fourteen months. When I bring the matter up, which I have done twice in this period of time, my husband insists that there is nothing wrong, not in any way, physically or mentally. He says that he is more tired lately, or that our twenty-four-year-old daughter may come in. . . . Two years ago I had a hysterectomy and we both joked about freedom 6from contraceptives and how we could look forward to "really enjoying it." But, to the contrary, our sex life is almost nil. I miss those intimate moments, preliminary caresses, and the feeling of being desired.
I am a divorced woman who, in addition to a ten-year marriage, also has had two other sexually satisfying relationships. So I know I don't have a problem. In the past year, however, I have met several seemingly nice men who just don't make love very nicely, and it has created anxieties in me which were never there before. How common are things like this, for example?
Food, which I believe belongs in the kitchen, not on the body. (This man thought I was unimaginative and unenlightened.)
Such a preference for oral and manual sex that I felt like a masturbating machine, not a lover.
The weirdo who refused to ejaculate inside me, even with rubbers 1 "for the first two or three months until we know each other better." All he could say was, "Look, I've always done it this way. It frustrates me as much as it frustrates you, but I prefer not to just yet."
I know all about "consenting adults," but are these men normal?
God forbids all sex outside marriage—but you encourage it! Which leads to promiscuity and all sorts of trouble. Are you proud of yourself? Someday God will judge you. He will hold you accountable for everything.