I am experiencing stabs of pain under the swollen arm--nothing that Aleve can't handle yet--but I still am who I am.
Someone asked me, "How can you write about sex when that is so over for you?"--and I wanted to whack her hard over the head with my big Hitachi Magic Wand. Or, hmmmmm, ram it buzzing on high down her throat?
Last week, my friends Lorraine and Mel, a very open, sophisticated and understanding couple, took me out to dinner, one of those little Italian places in the Village. We were talking and laughing--and drinking red wine, of course--and attracted the attention of the owner, a handsome man, late forties, maybe fifty. He cruised the room, with a word here and there for the other patrons, but he stopped at our table and talked, openly flirting with me.
Coyly, Lorraine told him I write about sex. He sat down and ordered dessert for the table. Unfortunately, he was on my left. I moved my hand, covered to the fingertips by a long cuff, out of his range, though he tried more than once to clasp it. I flirted outrageously right back at him. It was fun. When we left, he gave me his card with his cell # written on it and said, "Call me, please." (I refused to give him my number.)
"Would you sleep with him if it weren't for...?" Lorraine asked. (I love it that Lorraine and my BFFs Marilyn and Carolyn don't feel constrained by social mores in the questions they ask me; they treat me like me.)
No. He's not my type. But I do love to flirt. That hasn't changed.
What seems to have changed is some other people's attitudes.
The phrase "sexual healing" generally makes me cringe because it largely encompasses the "spiritual" blather spouted by New Age sex gurus who have little knowledge of, or regard for, the science of sexuality--and write off the top of their heads. But, sex is healing, isn't it? As a society, we believe that the ill benefit from plants in their room and interaction with dogs and cats and hugs from strangers and gooey sentiments expressed in word and e-greeting card--but we can't bring ourselves to see them as sexual beings, perhaps in need of a sensual touch. Why is that? Do we believe sex is only "healing" for the well?
If you have missed Laura Linney in "The Big C" (Showtime), now in its second season, seek out the series. She plays a woman who was rather stuffy and conventional until she was diagnosed with fourth stage melanoma--and turned into a free spirit. She is sexier now. In one episode, she catches her husband masturbating to a lingerie catalogue, is turned on--and has good sex with him.
Inspired by "The Big C," an article on sexual healing on cancerwise, the MD Anderson Cancer Center website, is definitely worth reading.
But I want to know what my colleagues have to say on the subject, especially the wise and learned Pamela Madsen, author of one of my all-time favorite books about sexuality: Shameless: how I ditched the diet, got naked, found true pleasure and somehow got home in time to cook dinner. (Read my Shameless review for inspiration.)
I feel desire. I have erotic dreams. I admire beautiful men. Yes, I masturbate too.
Send me your stories about desire and the bad diagnosis. I want to know if you have (or not) shut down that part of yourself--and if your former and fond lovers and occasional Friend with Benefits reacted as mine have done. Their Silence speaks volumes. One of them did say I can call his assistant if I need anything. How sweet.
My male friends, on the other hand, have been great. One swears he lusts after me, and were it not for the 3,000 miles and his financial situation separating us, would be fulfilling my unfulfilled desires in the posh New York hotel of my choice. I suggest he start a travel/hotel fund on Facebook: The Erotic Make A Wish Foundation.
Keep writing to me. Your emails make my day.
Dying, The End Game, Part Six: A Quickie on Questions People Ask
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