For a while now I’ve been following, in a completely non pervy way, the sexual exploits of Betty Herbert, whose blog has recently become a book – The 52 Seductions. I was absolutely delighted then when Betty agreed to be a guest on my blog, talking about her writing experiences.
She has also very generously offered to give away a signed copy of her book to one lucky reader, so if you fancy learning a few new moves, just leave a thoughtful comment on this post over the next week, and a winner will be picked at random. Over to Betty…
I am possibly the world’s most unlikely sex blogger.
Setting aside the fact that, when I started writing The 52 Seductions, I hadn’t had sex for four months, there were other issues that didn’t weigh in my favour. For example, I would cross the road to avoid anything vaguely sexy in books or on TV. And, frankly, I found adults who were ‘into’ sex more than a little bit creepy.
But then, those were the very issues that made me think I ought to take action. I had been with my husband Herbert for fifteen years and somehow, sex had become something of an embarrassment between us. It certainly hadn’t always been that way. But as the years passed, I began to feel like there was no place for sex in our happy, fraternal relationship. We just didn’t fit into the roles of lovers anymore.
That’s not to say that I didn’t miss sex – I did. It’s just that it seemed like an impossibility. Every few months, we’d both lament the lack of lust in our relationship, but neither of us had a clue how to fix it. And I felt sure that other people were going through the same thing – although every time I tried to start a conversation about it with friends, I was met with blank stares. Once married, it seems that sex becomes a secret.
But then, one night while staying in a hotel, we managed to break our dry spell – and it was good. So good, in fact, that it shook me into taking action. I couldn’t afford to lose this forever. The idea of seducing each other once a week for a year popped into my head unbidden, and seemed like an excellent plan, except for the fact that I knew we’d never stick to it.
That’s when I decided I’d have to blog about it. It was a way of holding myself accountable, and not allowing us both to discreetly ‘forget’ the whole project after a fortnight. And as it happened, my readers gave me so much more than I could ever have imagined. They doled out helpful tips, shared their own experiences, encouraged me to try harder, and occasionally told me off when I was being flaky.
Gradually, I became less horrified by the idea of sex. But still, I was always conscious that a few short months before, I would not have read my own blog. I now see that it’s because I was afraid of so many things – that I’d be shocked; that I’d be offended; that I’d feel inadequate and incompetent. The politics of sex in recent years had made me anxious. I needed to understand all over again that I could feel sexy to myself without being a Jordan-clone.
Nowadays, I’m prone to startling friends with conversational openers such as, ‘I just discovered this brilliant new range of vibrators!’ The old me would have run screaming for the hills. But the new me is just a bit more chilled. It’s still not the case that I’m up for anything, but now that I’ve got over my fears, I trust myself to say, ‘That’s not for me,’ rather than, ‘that’s disgusting!’
You can also find Betty on facebook and twitter