Once I wrote a sex tip book for men. Yes, it was the height of the custody battle and divorce, Xaviera Hollander (most famous as ‘the Happy Hooker’) called me from the Netherlands, and I needed money.
I remember, vividly, the first conversation where she learned about what was happening state-side . . .‘he’s fighting me for custody, he wants full custody!’ I lamented to her from a bar-stool near the Milwaukee airport.
I had just arrived and my mother and I were sipping Bloody Mary’s when the cell call came in from Xie. I will never forget her reply to my lament . . . so authentically spoken like someone who never had children . . . so quick her retort. In her crisp British accent, without a split second of hesitation, she said, “Well, give him one dah-ah-ahling, afterall, you have three.” After I recovered from laughing, I explained how he had seized all funds, all assets, and was trying to starve me into his victory corner.
A few months later, she called with two representatives of two publishing houses that worked together, something like one having recently acquired the other. Truthfully, I wasn’t paying that much attention when she made the introductions. By this time, I had escaped Kentucky and was sinking financially in Atlanta.
“You know, dahhhhling, how you helped me organize the best of the best from my thirty-two years of writing the Call Me Madame column for Penthouse?”
“Yes.” I said, reluctantly.
“Well these good folks are prepared to pay us an advance for putting them into a sex tip book for men, and I want you to write it.”
I needed money. There was no offer from the universe I wouldn’t entertain.
“What do you want to call it?” I asked.
“One thousand nine hundred ninety-nine mind-blowing sex tips for women!” she exclaimed.
I choked or made some similar disgruntled noise. “Xaviera, I’m sorry, there just aren’t one thousand nine hundred ninety-nine mind-blowing sex tips for men in all of history, in this universe, and in any nearby universes. There just aren’t.” I informed her and those listening.
“Of course there are, dahhhling.” She said. “I wrote that darn column for thirty two years, there must be . . . “
“Look,” I interrupted her. “I tell you what. How many folks on this call with me? Three? Ok, if each of you can name one mind-blowing sex tip for men, right now, right here, then I will concede that there may be one thousand nine-hundred ninety nine in the universe. Go.”
My gauntlet was met with silence, followed by a heavy sigh from Xaviera. “Ok dahling,” she said. “What do you suggest?”
“What I suggest is that you definitely don’t put one thousand anything on the title, because most men don’t buy books that are big . . . most men would look at the title and walk away. It has to be short . . . they like the number sixty-nine so maybe that one, each chapter just a few pages, and some pictures, maybe retro sketching of couples . . . the women are going to buy it for the men, is my guess, since they buy most of the books on this planet and only if you do this right.”
“Ok then!” she agreed and the rest of the call was hammering out terms. I put that book together in six weeks. It’s based on the holy trinity of the clitorii. That women have three of them. A brain clit, a heart clit, and a body clit. And that for the man to get to the body clit, he has to make the heart clit feel safe (loved) and the brain clit feel unsafe (challenged, prodded, teased sometimes, the right times).
The only reason I am sharing is because the extra books are now in my living-room . . . yesterday, I filled a large order of white sage bundles for the east coast, and the only box that fit was the box that formerly held my books. That led to questions . . . questions led to the story.
“Did you ever make any money from the books?” the buyer asked.
“Not really. I got paid an advance for writing it, I then spent fully half of that on copies for three dollars each, which I could re-sell for ten dollars each, as Xaviera does, if I wanted to be in the business of selling sex tip books, which I don’t . . . I’d rather forget about them . . . but it was a learning lesson. I learned how corrupt the American publishing industry is . . . how exploitative. And it made me research self-publishing -- for when I get around to publishing something substantial.”
I gave the buyer a copy, just for listening to my story.
One of the saddest things about the Catholic religion, Rome, the Papacy, is how they systematically equated female sexuality with a sort of demonized behavior. Therefore, even today, sixteen hundred years after the invention of the Bible, people can’t get their heads around women being sacred, being spiritual, and being sexual. In ancient times, it wasn’t like that . . . women exercising their thigh freedom, especially medicine women, healers, spiritual leaders, didn’t cancel out or contradict their ability to walk the sacred path. In fact, exercising thigh freedom itself was probably part and parcel of their spirituality, an honorable event, with a climax that re-affirms the woman’s connection to Mother Earth and the heavens above.
“Meet me under the passionate skies, with hope in your pockets and love in your eyes.” Romance is the frosting on the cake of life. Denying sexuality for men or women, in my opinion, is nuts.
Even though I prefer to forget that chapter in my life, I do think the book can be medicine for American men, who rank poorly as lovers on the international comparison scale. (I didn’t make that up . . . surveys say . . . ) My advice in a nutshell: Three clits, guys, and you can’t ignore any of them. And if I were to write a book for women, it would be to tell them ‘you can be holy and you can be sexual. They aren’t mutually exclusive’.