I was watching Good Morning America the other day and they were interviewing one of the cardiothoracic surgeons featured on the new hit TV series, Hopkins (better known as the real-life Grey’s Anatomy). He was talking about his personal relationship with his wife, and they were on the verge of their marriage falling apart, ready to file for divorce, but then something happened. Though I don’t know the details and I am sure they made many attempts to save their marriage over the years, he had an idea that seemed to work this time … they decided to ‘go back to the basics’.
The basics of beginning to date: what made them fall in love in the first place, the excitement of holding hands for the first time, the butterflies before your very first kiss, you know, the ‘basics’. I thought about what he had to say, and I couldn’t have said it better myself. And simply put, that is what I tried to cover in my book, the basics.
Sex Education Film Circa 1960’s
As I think about the basics, I think about going back to the beginning. When I was an adolescent, people didn’t talk about sex. My Sex Ed course (similar to the video above) involved a lesson on what a period was and how to put on a pad. I can’t even recall learning information on the male anatomy. As far as sex was concerned, I clearly remember my mother telling me that the only thing I should know is not to have intercourse until I was married. If I got pregnant before I was married I would be an embarrassment to the family, not to mention my father would kill me. Literally, I thought my father would kill me!
There was no talk about Sexually Transmitted Diseases. There was no information about how to have intimate relationships when you ‘grew up’. I remember reading a Cosmo article with a girlfriend of mine. We laughed about what we read and then took it to my grandmother to ask her questions.
We asked, “when you make love, what is most comfortable?”; she responded, “Oh girls, the best advice I can give you is to just pull your skirt up over your head so that you don’t have to watch.” It was like women were victims and had no control.
We then asked “What do you say when you are doing it?” with that she responded, “Oh, don’t say anything at all and try to get it over with quickly”. I remember wondering, was it that bad? It sounded borderline abusive.
You have to remember back then, the internet didn’t exist. Friends had stories from older siblings or cousins and we thought we knew it all. My friend Leslie told me once that her grandfather always told her, “Every generation thinks they invented the blow job”, and come to think of it, he was right. I remember learning about what oral sex was from a friend of mine who told me it was the ‘new cool thing to do, and if you wanted the boys to like you, you had to do it!’.
Needless to say, there is good information and there is bad information. There is information that is right for some and wrong for others. The most important thing is knowing you and figuring out what is right for you. Because even though Carrie, Charlotte, Samantha, and Miranda were all friends in the city, I am pretty sure they all wanted different things in their relationships. Every woman is different and we need to embrace it.
In my book I talk about going back to the basics. Figuring out what it is that turns you on, self-exploration, knowing your body and your desires – because ultimately until you know that information, you can’t have a healthy relationship with anyone!