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Losing It: True Tales of Lost Virginity

April 29, 2014

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In Kate Monro’s new book, “Losing It: How We Popped Our Cherry Over the Past 80 Years,” she picks up where Nancy Friday left off, letting a wide range of people tell their stories of how they lost their virginity, smartly bookending each with historical and cultural context. It’s a fascinating book that shows, to put it one way, just how far we’ve come. Two weeks ago we excerpted the story of a husband losing his backdoor virginity to his wife; today, Monro shares the story of a feisty 91-year-old who spoke openly to Monro about topics that were once very unspoken.

Edna

from “Losing It” by Kate Monro

My mother came with me on this first part of my journey as we drove north towards Yorkshire to interview a dear family friend, Edna. Finding older people to interview was a challenge. The social conventions of Edna’s generation decreed that subjects of a sexual nature were strictly off limits. A ‘lady’ would never talk about such matters! Talking to Edna confirmed that all the old clichés were true. According to her, one would never say that that one was ‘going to the toilet’. One would only ever refer to ‘brushing one’s hair’ or ‘powdering one’s nose’.

But as with my mother I often detected, if not anger, then certainly regret at the constraints placed upon these women and their natural inclination to really live life… 

But it was all changed now, and women of ‘a certain age’ almost universally leapt at the opportunity not only to set the record straight, but to break free from the past. ‘You must interview me as well,’ said a woman in her seventies when I called to arrange an interview with her husband. ‘My generation weren’t brought up to talk openly about virginity and sex.’ 

Speaking to me appeared to be a small act of rebellion for this generation of women. If nothing else, I got the impression that they wanted to help women of my age – and those younger than me – to understand why our lives are so much richer now. We didn’t get all this freedom overnight. Someone had done the groundwork.

I hadn’t seen Edna for a long time and I had no idea how lucid she was going to be, or indeed, how candid. At 91-years-old, she was to be one of the oldest people to be interviewed for this book…

‘How are you?’ we asked as we arrived at her bungalow. 

‘I’ve got one foot in the grave and the other on a banana skin,’ she quipped as she teetered across the room to say hello. Ninety-one she may have been but she was as sharp as a tack… 

I mentioned the many reasons that people had for talking to me and Edna was not backward in coming forward. She was naturally outspoken; however, there was more to it than that. She was eager to tell me about the sexual mores of the day but she also had a personal message to impart about love, and ultimately, about friendship. The latter was particularly important to her because she and Henry were married for over 50 years. This would be her last chance to share this information because she passed away within six weeks of telling me this story:

The First World War was already a year old when I was born in 1915. Both of my parents were involved in it so I stayed with my grandmother in the countryside. She had big boobs and feather beds and I loved it. I used to get into bed with her in the morning in this feather bed, and the boobs, and that was my first few years of life.

Eventually my mother gave up war work and we went back to live in Manchester where I had been born. One day I was playing and a man passed around the house and I didn’t know who he was. My mother was sitting on the table and she had had her hair cut. She used to have beautiful hair and she had an Eton crop and she was smoking a cigarette and he came back and found this woman who he had left with lovely long hair and didn’t know what a cigarette was, sitting on the table, smoking a cigarette and reading a newspaper. That was my father. My little brother was born nine months later.

Though I had two brothers, I never knew what a man looked like until I got married. Now, how my mother kept the two brothers from me, with one bathroom, has always been an enigma. You’d have thought I would have had an idea, but I didn’t. Sex was a forbidden subject. And going to the lavatory was a very private matter and that’s how it was. My mother never gave me any advice. When I started periods, she just said, ‘You’ll have these once a month and don’t let your brothers know’.

Eventually, as I grew up, I left school and got a job as a receptionist in a hotel in Mayfair. I used to meet lots of chaps and I hung onto my virginity. It was taken for granted that I would. Some of these chaps would grope around but I had had this austere sort of childhood and no one was going to get too near me. Men fumbled and tried to find their way through like the prince did in ‘Sleeping Beauty’ and he had to get through all those brambles and everything. Well, they never got that far with me.

I was in love several times, deeply in love. I was going to commit suicide when it ended but I decided not to in the end. Also my father was ill. We thought he had cancer but he actually had TB. He contracted it in the trenches during the war. It lay dormant and took a hold of him when he got older. I used to visit him in the hospital and he would write me these wonderful little poems. I was in love with a man from Peru at the time so there would be a little poem entitled ‘My friend from Peru’ and another time it would be something else. Anyway, he died, just before the Second World War.

Although I was engaged to the chap from Peru, there was no familiarity at all in those days, a kiss goodnight and that was it. Eventually, he went back to Peru and I was to go out to Havana and get married to him. In the meantime, I met Henry and fell in love with him and we decided to get married. Unfortunately, how it worked out with dates, our wedding day, 12 January 1940, was also the anniversary of my engagement to the chap from Peru and all these roses arrived and my mother was absolutely furious. She said, ‘What are you going to do with them then?’ and I said, ‘You put them on Dad’s grave’. So that was that and Henry and I got married.

Before our wedding, I would go up to London at the weekends when Henry was free but we always had separate rooms. One night he did come into my room and got into the bed and things could have gone on from there, but with my austere upbringing I knew that this wasn’t right so off he went. I had half lost my virginity; when I say that, I’d been fooled around with and manhandled by previous boyfriends but when I got married, that was when I really lost my virginity.

I was frightened on my wedding night and when I saw how he looked, I laughed. I’d never seen anything so funny. In spite of having two brothers I didn’t know what a man looked like. My mother had never told me anything. She never said anything about what would happen when I got married, I had to find out by myself. On the first night, I might tell you, I thought ‘this is much ado about nothing’, but then I got to quite like it.

In days gone by virginity was a commodity that was sold. Today virginity is a very cheap thing. On the one hand, I don’t think the ideal thing is to keep yourself pure and meet the right man and save yourself for marriage, I don’t believe in that at all. But I feel sorry for young people now because they’re taking their young days and making the most of them but I think there is going to be a regret later on. I don’t think poor girls setting out for an evening’s boozing and then all finding a one-night stand is a good way to start.

I think it is very likely that if you’re in love with someone and you’re not married, that it can happen in a natural sort of way; that happens. But to go out with the intent, that you’ve got condoms in your bag, I don’t like it. The whole point about marriage is that you grow into a deep friendship. You grow older together and you become deeper friends. Henry and I were very deep. We were very good friends.

 

“Losing It” is available now on Amazon.com



Top 10 (Unintetionally Dirty) Classic Ad Slogans

April 30, 2013

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1. A little dab’ll do ya. They were talking about Brylcreem, but every time we hear this we remember it’s time to stock up on lube.

2. Let your fingers do the walking. We think we’ve probably co-opted this Yellow Pages slogan pretty much every time we’ve written about the importance of a little handwork during intercourse. Just look at how erotic their logo is (above) — it’s practically obscene!

3. Where’s the beef?. Yes, women — even elderly women — want and need quality sex.
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The Super Bowl 2013 Commercial Kisses

February 6, 2013

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It wouldn’t be the Super Bowl without a bunch of sex-filled commercials to excite, offend or turn off. Kissing is still the sex act of choice for advertisers (thankfully), so here’s a round up all the big, bold and (only sometimes) beautiful Super Bowl ad kisses.*

GoDaddy.com’s “Perfect Match”
If you’ve seen or heard about any Super Bowl commercial, it’s this one from reliably tasteless GoDaddy, created by their female(!) chief marketing officer and starring their female spokesperson Danica Patrick. In previous years, they’ve relied on women with careers (police officers, TV interviewers) suddenly becoming strippers or on the stereotypical “bimbo” having a wardrobe malfunction. None of that this year (thank heavens for small mercies). No, this year GoDaddy decided to offend with the suggestion that people can’t be both sexy and smart, that all beautiful women are dumb and need a smart man to get by. Then they added gorily juicy horror movie sound effects to the kissing, just to make it that much more cringe-inducing. Somehow, their ad exec manages to deny the ad’s sexism with a straight face in this interview with Forbes.

How Not to Kiss Like a Zombie and Other Helpful Kissing Tips

Old Milwaukee’s “Bus Kiss”
This ad — starring a mustachioed Will Ferrell in a tank top making out with an older Asian woman on a bus — aired in only three cities, but it’s gotten national attention for its weirdness. In the category of awkward Super Bowl kisses, this one is FAR superior to GoDaddy’s. With kissing that’s passionate and even tender, the couple seems genuinely into it. Unlike the GoDaddy stinker, this ad you cannot look away from.

Dear Em & Lo: My Boyfriend Hates Kissing

Bell’s “Viva Young”
Apparently, you’re never too old to party: an elderly gang busts out of the retirement home to pull an all-night rager, including dance-club makeout sessions and bathroom stall hookups. Again, unlike the GoDaddy ad, this commercial is not gross, it’s inspiring! Who, no matter how old, could argue with the tagline at the end “Viva mas”? We hope we’re still kissing like that at 80. Hell, we hope we’re still kissing like that at 45.

Dear Dr. Kate: When Should I Tell a Partner About Oral Herpes?

Audi’s “Prom”
Initially, we loved this John-Hughes-esque ad: high school boy is heading off to prom dateless, but Dad gives him the keys to the suped-up Audi and this gives him the courage to make a move on the prom queen. It’s a romantic underdog story…until you think about the kid totally taking the girl by surprise and planting one on her without her consent. Then it becomes a bit sexual-assault-y. Like, hey, even cute sensitive loner boys can become sexual aggressors and take what’s rightfully theirs from passive girls if they just drive the right car! Of course, the prom queen doesn’t pull away — she’s into it — so we’ll just imagine that she gave him her blessing in a note passed to him earlier that day in AP Calculus.

Wise Guys: How Do Men Feel About Their Girlfriends Kissing Other Women?

Budweiser’s “Brotherhood”
There definitely seemed to be something more going on between this man and his horse besides grooming and feeding, if you know what we mean. The kiss is quick, but we swear there was tongue!

Poll: Do You French Kiss When You Wake Up?

*We did not include blown kisses like in Hyundai’s “Stuck” or licks like in M&M’s “Love Ballad” or half-second pecks like in Coca-Cola’s “Cameras”.

KISS WITH KINK: GET THE BEST VALENTINE’S DAY PRESENT OF THIS YEAR!



Make Your Pro-Choice/Sex Ed/Gay Marriage/Equal Pay/Obama Ad Now!

October 11, 2012

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Ad Your Voice 2012 is giving all you creative types out there a chance to create a cool political ad that could help defeat Mitt Romney in November.  Send them your ads – gut-splitting, fist-shaking, tear-jerking video shorts between 30 and 60 seconds long – in support of Obama-Biden. The deadline is October 22nd, but the sooner you get it to them (by next week if possible), the better chance you’ll have of getting some real support behind it. Their panel of luminaries, led by Bill Maher, Scarlett Johannson and the award-winning producers at Park Pictures, will review the ads. If they think your video has what it takes to help get Obama reelected, they will offer you a $10,000 honorarium and work with you and a top director to make the ad primetime-ready for wide distribution on TV and online.

Remember, GOP Super PACs are amassing close to a $1 billion war chest to support Mitt Romney – many times more than what pro-Obama Super PACs hope to bring in. Which means Democrats must learn to fight above their weight class. We can’t hope to out-fundraise Rove and the Koch brothers, but we can out-message them. Get shooting!

In a few weeks, whether you’ve submitted a video or not, you’ll be able to vote on your favorite ones. Share them with friends and family, encourage them to “like” their favorite videos via Facebook or vote for them on AdYourVoice2012.com, and just keep spreading the word. Because every view can mobilize a vote for Obama’s reelection! In other words, every view can save reproductive rights, secure marriage equality, educate our kids, and help women get paid the same as men for the same work.

If you need inspiration, watch the 25 greatest unofficial political ads ever created. 

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Super Sketchy But Awesome Condom Campaign of the Week

December 2, 2011

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We’ve all had our share of dubious Facebook friend requests — that regrettable one-night stand you’d almost succeeding in forgetting, your former therapist, your ex, your mom. But what about a Facebook request from your unborn child? A bunch of guys in Brazil were recently friend-requested by babies with their own name, plus the “Jr.” suffix. It turns out that these friend requests were actually from a condom company.

Read the rest of this post on SUNfiltered



The Marlboro Man Is Wearing Spanx

November 4, 2011

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Spanx, for the uninitiated, is a line of slimming lingerie. Got a body part that’s a little bumpier or bulgier than you’d like? Chances are, Spanx makes a product to smooth it over. Spanx have long been one of Oprah’s “Favorite Things” and celebrities rave about them. Okay, female celebrities rave about them. But we have yet to hear Brad Pitt or Robert Pattinson admit that their physique is aided and abetted by supportive undergarments. Because most fans, we’re guessing, don’t want to know that Brad Pitt is wearing Manx (seriously, that’s the name of the version for men). It’s perfectly acceptable for women to gab, conspiratorially, about what comes between them and their Calvins — but men are supposed to find all that stuff “girly,” right up there with diet soda and gossip magazines. For the record, let it be stated that we have no idea if Brad Pitt has ever worn Manx. We’re just talking hypothetically here.

And hence the marketing dilemma for Spanx when it comes to their male products. Dr. Pepper got around a similar issue by joking that their new diet soda — men are renowned for avoiding the word diet — is “not for women.” But how do you convince men that they should be just as insecure about their bodies as women? Actually, scratch that — we’re pretty sure there are plenty of men who are just as insecure about their bodies as women. Rather, how do you convince men that it’s socially acceptable to spend money on a product — and then wear said product — that sculpts and defines their un-sculpted and ill-defined body? Answer: You make him feel like a superhero! That’s right, because when Superman wears a leotard it’s not girly, right?

Read the rest of this post on SUNfiltered



In Praise of the Quickie (And Quickie Erotica)

May 13, 2011

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photo from Got a Minute? 60 Second Erotica

Conventional wisdom would have us believe that all women need extended foreplay — at least 30 minutes’ worth — to get anywhere near an orgasm, which may be one reason why quickies aren’t embraced more. The thinking goes that women, on average, take a lot longer to get in the mood and a lot longer to reach orgasm than men. But just ask any woman who masturbates on a regular basis and she’ll probably tell you that she can climax in mere minutes on her own. In fact, studies have found that during masturbation, men take an average of two to three minutes to reach orgasm, and women are right behind them at just under four minutes.

Enter the book Got a Minute? 60 Second Erotica. It’s jam-packed with super-short erotic stories, for those times when your sexual attention is lacking. Skim one of the stories between hitting the snooze button and your second alarm, then hit snooze one more time for an actual, honest-to-god quickie. And if you’re the kind of person who sometimes finds erotica, well, a bit cheesy, then these stories will be over before your inner literary snob has time to kick in!

Read the rest of this post on SUNfiltered



A (For Lack of a Better Word) Refreshing Anti-Rape Campaign

August 12, 2010

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The Tumblr blog Bitter Buffalo said it best: “What’s this? An anti-rape campaign that focuses on preventing rape instead of preventing women leaving the house? Holy crap it’s Christmas.”

Read the full post on SUNfiltered



Old Spice Guy, How Do We Love Thee? Let Us Count the 183 Ways.

July 20, 2010

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He captured our hearts this past winter with his first breakthrough ad that had him going from shower to ship to white steed all in one take. At the end of June, he was back with another ingeniously absurd one-shot commercial, an awesome upping of the stakes of the first (log rolling? check! jacuzzi busting? check! flying? check!). And just last week, Old Spice Guy launched 183 — yes, 183! — individual video responses (all available on YouTube) to various Tweets he’d received from both big names and no names alike (e.g. Ellen DeGeneres, Starbucks, Alyssa Milano, Huffington Post, George Stephanopoulos, Demi Moore, Gillette, the list goes on and on and on). It’s hard to get worked up over being manipulated into giving away free advertising for a major corporation when it’s so damn entertaining!

Read the full post on SUNfiltered



Ad Agency Makes XXX-Ray Commercial for Medical Supply Company

June 22, 2010

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The German ad agency Butter recently released a series of award-winning print ads — “Pin-Up Calendar 2010″ — for Eizo, a medical supply company which apparently specializes in medical imaging. While it effectively shows the quality of their radiographs, it also entertainingly pokes fun at the whole porn genre: You can see everything! Check out that hot coccyx! What’s disturbing is the fact there are certainly people out there who will find this not so much humorous as genuinely titillating. You can see each “month” here.

This post is a part of Sundance Channel’s Naked Love Blog
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