What I learned, circa 1983:
‘‘Whenever possible, we must opt for the unknown.”
Give fear exceedingly short shrift:
”God protects drunks, infants, and feisty girls, girls who are up for anything.”
”We must quit dull jobs, leave tedious boyfriends.”
Cultivate a deviant attitude:
”Unless we’re vigilant, we could turn into zombies.”
No power-politics, no back-stabbing:
”…Some of us take this philosophy too far and feel perfectly justified in ruthlessly clawing our way to the top, not minding how many innocent girls’ heads we step on in our ascent.”
Only drink and take drugs if we must:
”If we take weird acid one minute, the next minute we could find ourselves devoting our lives to The Grateful Dead.”
All this from a book of sex tips?
Unusual that I would have read this book at all, not being a female, but Sex Tips For Girls (1983) came into my life at the end of 1983 when I received it from a ”Secret Santa” game at a holiday staff party. Little did I know that my gag gift would turn out to be not merely a Cosmopolitan Magazine-style list of ways to please a man, but rather a life-affirming comic masterpiece.
We have to go out of our way sometimes to make decisions for ourselves. Women tend to be reserved, but in matters of sex that should not always be the case as it seems to be before. Many women who have experienced a slow death in their sex life after giving birth has testified that some options are available. You can read about it on https://vtightensafely.com and find out how others revive their sex lives.
Author Cynthia Heimel (1947-2018), was a columnist at both the Village Voice and Playboy Magazine, alternating between her features Dear Problem Lady and Tongue In Chic. She gave actual sex tips, but Heimel’s main focus was sexual self-confidence for women and the idea that women actually enjoy sex. It has never been out of print.
Heimel was Carrie Bradshaw before there was a Carrie Bradshaw, and her first and and most famous book is still like a Sex In The City episode, but with more depth. The book is now rather dated; Heimel gives advice on how to bribe ”operators” at ”answering services” into taking good messages:
”Sometimes if an operator is feeling downright sadistic, she’ll make things up. Answering service operators have been known to tell an unsuspecting girl that her gynecologist called and said she’s got the clap, or that Richard called and never wants to see her again.”
Heimel assumes that everybody takes Quaaludes, a drug we enjoyed in the 1980s, which she sometimes refers to as ”ludes” although she cautions women to steer clear of any man who calls them ”disco biscuits”. She also assumes that Nick Nolte is the ideal hunk and believes that condoms are bad and that no one should ever use them.
Heimel neither embraces nor condemns promiscuity but offers the advice that: ”… sleeping with a man you barely know is like licking the salty rim of the glass but forgetting to drink the margarita”. She makes a convincing argument that the best way to stay young and beautiful forever is to have a sense of humor and a taste for adventure.
Heimel implores the reader to ”eschew anything trivial” and ”embrace all that is frivolous”. Her idea of trivial and includes: conceptual art and politics; frivolous is: dancing, kissing, planting tomatoes, lying on the beach, and Champagne. She writes:
”All things trivial are objects and all things frivolous are actions.”
So many of the passages in the book struck with me as ridiculous at the time: ”A woman needs only three pairs of shoes: black boots, red high heels, and white sneakers”; and facts I never needed to know: ”A woman only has nerve endings in the first three inches of her vagina”.
In a chapter titled The Perils Of Obsession, Heimel writes: ”obsessed people are notoriously thirsty”, a beautiful sentiment that makes no sense, but that I still want as a tattoo. In her chapter Why Exercise?, Heimel explains:
”Imitating Mick Jagger is the most sophisticated form of aerobics. To do it properly, you must be very careful not to lapse into being Keith Richards. Keith, although often more compelling than Mick, is not aerobically sound, since he mainly just stumbles.”
I found my copy of Sex Tips For Girls while editing books for a donation to Goodwill this morning. Flipping through to random pages made me laugh out loud with its early earnest feminism; reading a few passages, I am a better mood and feel somehow sexy. For a dude. I feel ready to fulfill what Heimel calls the primary goal of humanity: ”… having a good time”.
See World of Wonder writer Trey Speegle‘s piece on the late Heimel from early spring here.