June 23, 2015

Source: Shutterstock

What I don”€™t know about sex can fill a book. (Literally!) But somehow, contrary to the natural order of things, I became more naive as I entered my fifth decade.

For example: Back in 2010, Toronto Life ran a salacious profile called “€œThe Secret Life of a Bay Street Hooker.”€(Americans, read in “€œWall Street.”€) In the middle of reading it, I pointed to one paragraph, stuck it under my husband’s nose, and uttered four words I”€™m proud to boast I”€™ve very rarely said to him before or since, regardless of the subject at hand:

“€œWe”€™re not doing that.”€

Here be the graph:

There are some things most men want, she explains, but aren”€™t comfortable asking of their partners. Asked to elaborate, she looks coy, then lowers her voice and tells me that she does “€œa lot of anal work”€ with her clients. This is an erogenous zone most women overlook in men, she says: “€œI have a little strap-on I sometimes like to put on, and they”€™re totally into it. I”€™ve only ever had one client turn me down.”€

My husband’s bug-eyed, shaken-head reaction was the same as mine. (Hey, sexual compatibility is vital in a happy marriage, right?)

But I still felt stupid.

“€œEven as a carnal bumpkin, I wasn”€™t entirely unfamiliar with the notion that some heterosexual males were into, er, prostate play.”€

Even as a carnal bumpkin, I wasn”€™t entirely unfamiliar with the notion that some heterosexual males were into, er, prostate play. My meager knowledge was acquired at arm’s length, via blessedly brief pop culture encounters:

Shortly after 9/11, I saw Dennis Miller perform at a remote Ontario Indian casino (“€œIt’s great to be wherever the fuck I am…”€). About the 72 virgins promised to Muslim terrorists, Miller said he was less than impressed by that reward. “€œOne or two would be okay,”€ he joked, “€œbut at some point you want to get a finger up your ass.”€

Then there’s Sir Ben Kingsley’s indelible performance in Sexy Beast (2000), playing the anti-Gandhi, a gangster named Don Logan. Staring into the middle distance, Logan recalls a one-night stand, and says with less-than-convincing disgust:

During what we were doing, she tried to stick her finger up my bum. I nearly hit the roof, you can imagine. I mean, what have you got to think of a woman who’d want to do that?

So until I read that Toronto Life piece, I had no clue that somehow”€”in the interim”€”mundane, matter-of-fact male sexuality had progressed (if that’s quite the word) to include apparently impossible-to-resist wearable fake penises.

I then shared the call girl’s comments with my Facebook friends. To a man (and woman) they expressed surprise and disgust.

Now, you might object that they weren”€™t likely to have any other response, and you could be right. However, the point is, that 2010 article was my first clue that the “€œstrap-on”€”€”despite the negative reaction of everyone I knew, and it being one of the tackier and more ridiculous-looking sex toys (which is really saying something)”€”was penetrating the mainstream (or at least the cult-stream).

Because the thing is: What I don”€™t know about sex I make up for in my admittedly less thrilling (or lucrative) expertise in trendspotting. I correctly discerned at the start of 2014, for example, that the baby goat was poised (atop a horse) to overtake the sloth as “€œthe new panda.”€ (Pro tip: Brace yourself for the spring 2016 Nehru jacket revival…)

But as so often happens, I was five years ahead of my time. It wasn”€™t until last week that New York magazine’s vaunted Vulture.com declared 2015 “€œthe Year of the Strap-on.”€

Their female writer takes it for granted that you already know that the use of such playthings is referred to as “€œpegging”€ (but of course!). Sadly, her faux-breezy prose betrays someone whose urbanity was only recently acquired and is all a bit of a Sally Bowles pose:

Take this scene from the first episode of Netflix’s Sense8: Nomi (Jamie Clayton) and her girlfriend Amanita (Freema Agyeman) are having thrilling, headache-curing sex. I’m no prude, but even I was surprised to see a dildo splash on the ground. Brava.


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