Mara and I were drinking wine at Maxie's Grill when she said; “You have to put yourself in your cunt.”
And so an idea was born: IT’S VULVA WEEK ON SEXYPRIME!
We’d just taped an interview with Steve Otero for his Mondos Eros radio show. I believe we made web radio history, the first ever interview on the steps of Maxie’s—and while sharing a mobile on speakerphone setting. (I’d left my phone in the Boy Toy’s bed after breaking up with him that day.) Not one to waste access to a quotable person, I pressed her to do a 7 Questions interview with me before calling it a night.
7 Questions With Mara Altman, author of Thanks for Coming: One Young Woman’s Quest For An Orgasm (Harper Perennial)
SUSAN: Mara, my readers who have read the previous post, The Orgasm Quest, know that you went in search of your own orgasm and more or less found it. You describe your first one as akin to a sneeze. The journey makes for one of the most entertaining sex books ever written—though I advise readers to pick up my books when they are ready for actual sex tips.
My first question is: What was the big lesson you took away from your quest?
MARA: I learned how to get my f’ing O. I learned what I like and how to communicate that to a lover without any kind of shame/embarrassment or neurotic societal absorbed it-s-not-okay-to-be-assertive B.S. Okay, with a little bit but a lot less than before.
The biggest lesson for me was learning how to be intimate with another person. You have to know yourself before you can let someone else into your space. I had always wanted to please, but it’s not about that. I also learned that there is more to life than work.
SUSAN: I hate that word—intimate. Women throw it around as if it were holy water sprinkled on sex acts to take the nasty out of them. I prefer “connect” or “know” even “relate to” though I hate re-la-tion-ship. But I’ll let you pass this time.
At the end of your yearlong trek through Sex World (the sex education/research industrial complex)—do you consider yourself a skilled lover now?
MARA: I’ve brought myself up to normal now. I know that I have been cerebral about things that should be carnal. I hope to become more orgasmic and more adept as a lover. I want to take my orgasm to the superhighway.
SUSAN: And who knows what is “normal”? You are an adorable petite woman with those big doe eyes—the requisite hair strands falling innocently across them—the vulnerable type many men love. Yet I sense you could leave a man crippled and broken and take no responsibility for the maiming. Perhaps in girl terms, that is “normal.”
How important do you think the cock is to orgasm?
MARA: It’s not. It doesn’t matter at all. That was a surprise. I wanted it to be more.
SUSAN: So, you had the great feminine awakening: I am responsible for my own orgasm?
MARA: The more I went down the road of expecting him to do it for me, the further I got from orgasm. I was separating myself from my genitals—and expecting him to make my equipment work for me.
SUSAN: You didn’t masturbate, did you?
MARA: Not very much—and not effectively. I was inhibited. I know that sounds ridiculous since I was raised by sex-positive parents. Now I tell women: Go fuck yourself and please enjoy.
SUSAN: And you had some body issues with your genitals?
MARA: I worried that there might be something wrong with me. I was afraid to touch myself What if I wasn’t normal? I’d been to the gynecologist so apparently everything was all right, but I wasn’t confident.
SUSAN: And what is the best orgasm you ever had (to date)?
MARA: In the fMRI machine at Rutgers. I wanted to please the scientists, especially Barry. He’s such a sweet man.
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