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Make Your Own List. Sex: it's all around us, but many of us still have questions. Relationship coach and author Susan Quilliamwho updated the s classic, The Joy of Sex, talks us through the best sex guides and also some of the groundbreaking books that broke taboos and paved the way to more open-minded sexual attitudes. Interview by Sophie Roell. What is sex really about, do you think?
Really good sex is about a deep, not just physical, but emotional, connection. It might be a connection with yourself, or it might be a connection with another person. Bad sex is about a toxic connection, or a lack of connection. Today, we have much more potential for a good connection but we still also have the potential for a bad, toxic or misguided connection. I say that because every week people with sexual problems talk to me or write to me. And I realise that while sex is in some ways more simplistic nowadays, in other ways it is a lot more complicated and a lot more challenging than it ever was.
The answer is not to strip everything away—because along with the complication has come information, support, insight and understanding. Nevertheless, with the good comes the bad and vice versa. Lack of desire. The desire has dropped.
This is happening! Emily shows you how to do it. Five Books interviews are expensive to produce. If you're enjoying this interview, please support us by donating a small amount. The book is written hugely accessibly and it brings in almost everything: emotions, social context. Work with your own body, your own emotions and your own life.
Yes, the knowledge and the professional experience.
She describes herself as a sex educator, which I think is a wonderful way of presenting herself. Going back to the issue of lack of desire, what solutions does she suggest? In the book there are whole chapters dealing with different issues. She uses this wonderful phrase, in a non-judgmental way. I use this concept in my coaching work as well. If you take that away, then the desire will likely be the default option. Bringing in my own experience as well as Adult wants real sex Brilliant, I think the thing that many writers, advisers, and organizations miss—and she really majors in—is that factual ignorance about sex is not the main block.
When I was growing up, I probably got a better sex education than a lot of people nowadays because my mother was happy to talk about sex and emotions. Most sex education—in Britain today, at any rate—is still very, very limited. Where it is given, it is all about the facts. Is there the emotional permission? Is there the encouragement to look on sex as something that you experience rather than something you need to be aspirational about? All the information in the world is not going to solve that.
They may also be feeling harangued at the moment, which is going to drop self-esteem levels and lead to a loss of desire. I love his writing style. It has no hang-ups, no biases, no prejudices, no phobias of any sort. There is also a joyfulness to it. Tell me about the book.
The Joy of Sex was a seminal book.
It not only reflected but created the sexual revolution. Why not? I love sexual discovery. Alex was so nervous about the book that he wondered whether it would be banned. Indeed, in Australia, The Joy of Sex was sold in plastic covers. You had to buy the book before you could take the plastic cover off and read it. In Britain it was more laissez-faire, but there was a lot of wariness about it. And then, just a few years after the book took off, we had the AIDS epidemic.
Just as we were getting a good sense of what Alex was talking about, we were no longer able to talk about sex in the same way. If there was any joy being discovered in sex as a result of his book and other projects, it ended and sex was wrong again. He says we have recipe books for cooking so here is a cordon bleu guide to sex. Yes, the model was a book called The Joy of Cooking. Alex brought in all his knowledge to write it. He had medical knowledge, clearly, but he also used to have a folder where he kept interesting newspaper articles and he would look through them to get ideas.
The book was hugely successful and a tour de force. Nobody had done anything like it before. You were then commissioned to update it, a book which became The New Joy of Sex This was not only a re-edit job—it badly needed updating. It reflected s values. It was written by a man, for men. So we had to take some stuff out—like his suggestion of having sex on a moving motorbike and the fairly regular references to group sex.
It may have been what people wanted to happen, rather than what was actually happening. So we had to take out a lot of that. We did put in tenderness. We did put in a lot more about the clitoris. There were over 40 additional sections. It was certainly longer than the original, although only marginally, because we cut out about 10 or 12 sections—including the motorbike one. This marks another key moment in our sexual liberation.
One of the main arguments of Adult wants real sex Brilliant book—the groundbreaking part that got Shere Hite so much attention—is that most women do not orgasm through intercourse alone. We need clitoral stimulation. But before The Hite Reporteverybody thought a woman should climax through intercourse. It was a core belief that went unchallenged. Freud wrote that a woman who has an orgasm by stimulation of the clitoris is infantile and is having an infantile orgasm. Yes, questions were raised: Did she get paid for it? Did she actually do all of the research? She radically changed the way we view sex.
That piece of research again changed everything. Why is it on your list? I read it when I was in my teens, and it was one of the first erotic books I read.
Although it has a very, very sad ending—I literally cried when I read it—interestingly, the message that I took away from it was not that at 49 you are too old to have a lover, but that you are absolutely not too old. At the age of 49, you can be extremely sexual and extremely desirous and you can be desired. There was some very nice research from Sweden in suggesting that many couples in their 60s, 70s and 80s are still having extremely active sex lives.
My generation was the first Pill generation, and it really freed us from the link between fertility and sex. Now, 49 seems incredibly young to me, looking back. There are a of physical and social reasons why post-menopausal sex can be better. The obvious one is no fear of pregnancy. A lot of women spend the middle part of their life thinking about partnership, commitment, kids and responsibilities, working as a team leader.
But there is just as much capacity post-menopause, should you choose sexuality. But for those who do want sexuality, there can be a different picture. Yes, the Lady Chatterley trial was a turning point for freedom of expression around sexuality. It was a reflection of the sexual revolution in which I grew up. It was one of the first big works of literature to describe sexuality fully, very arousingly, and also to celebrate sexuality between classes.
Because there was a whole lot of other social change at that time, particularly in Europe. We were moving from a very structured, hierarchical society to a much more equal society. Having sex up and down the classes was very new and very revolutionary. The film helped bring gay sex into the mainstream. The way the sex is described is not feminine sex.
In the book there is blood. They hit each other. There is loving force and strong passion. The other thing that is important about the book is that it makes a very strong statement about the way some sorts of sexuality are still not accepted in our world, and people can get killed for it. Taboos are being handled openly now and we are protesting them, rather than just accepting them. In some ways, because sex is so open, we tend to be more wary of it, more boundaried. The sexual communes have largely died and people are a lot more defended simply because it is possible to have more than one partner.
We still have this idea that we should be. Monogamy offers that. This is sacrosanct, nobody is going to break this and therefore we are safe for the rest of our lives. Now that we have divorce, now that we Adult wants real sex Brilliant more sexual freedom, that essential safety in a relationship has gone. Ten years on from when we first spoke, I still believe that sex is wonderful, powerful, and a hugely important part of life for anyone, if they want it to be.Adult wants real sex Brilliant
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