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23 Apr 98

Smutty Essay

When the Bird is Cooked

After six years of being sexually active, I'm still not sure if I've ever given a woman an orgasm. Some have expressed that I have, in flustered tones, but I wonder if it wasn't all lies. I guess it's not a thing I could phone them to discuss.

"Hey! Remember back when--"

"I have no desire to talk to you, Paul. My wealthy, witty, slender boyfriend wants me back in bed before we go to the reception at the Waldorf."

"Hey, well, I just have one question. Did you ever--"

Click.

I need the sexual version of those little poppy turkey things that go off when the bird is cooked. Or something like the tiny electric charge-thermometers that come with Duracells. You could hook one onto a prophylactic and connect it to an alarm. At the moment of climax, the sensual mercury would rise, and something could beep, innocuously.

I've been looking for a better working knowledge of the female orgasm for many years. Early in the quest (1988; I was 14) I found "The Encyclopedia of Sexual Behavior" in the back basement of Baldwin's Book Barn, and bought it for 50 cents. No one stopped me. It was a big brown book and serious. I learned a great deal. People around the world have some unusual habits. I learned that all the words that described my sex life were prefixed by "auto-."

There was a whole chapter on the female orgasm, compared to about five words for the male version. (Those five words were "Like you need an explanation.") As for women, the book reported that they flush red and do all sorts of physiological stuff at the big moment. It was described as a spontaneous rash, not at all subtle, and it seemed horrible. I figured that they transformed into giant erotic lobsters, right there in bed. Afterwards, they would scuttle out and hide in the tub until they turned back into women. I hadn't even conceived that they'd want to stay in bed and cuddle.

According to the book, the eight stages of female orgasm, all around the world, are:

  1. Fussing
  2. Flopping
  3. Yelping
  4. Temporary nerves
  5. Inarticulate babbling
  6. Slippage
  7. Fussing and flopping
  8. Wow

In the fourth edition, after millions of taxpayer dollars spent on field tests and research with cats and monkeys, that list was revised to:

  1. Flossing
  2. Flapping
  3. Helping
  4. Semi-articulate mumbling
  5. Slippage
  6. Flossing and flapping
  7. Zoom

So my unanswered question is, "how do you know when you've gotten to "Zoom," or if you're sleeping with an older woman, when you've gotten to "Wow?" I know I'm not the only one wondering. Men discuss these things amongst themselves, when they're performing masculine acts, like trout fishing, or shed-building, or anonymous sex with other men in public restrooms. When the topic comes up, it's like someone opened up the back of a computer. No one can figure out what the hell is going on. We might as well discuss vector calculus, or the stock market. Someone understands, just not us. All we can do is hope we're up to spec and trundle on.


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About the author: I've been running this website from 1997. For a living I write stories and essays, program computers, edit things, and help people launch online publications. (LinkedIn). I wrote a novel. I was an editor at Harper's Magazine for five years; then I was a Contributing Editor; now I am a free agent. I was also on NPR's All Things Considered for a while. I still write for The Morning News, and some other places.

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