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Was Sex really that good?

Carrie Bradshaw. A girl can’t write her own sex column without typing in the shadow of Candace Bushnell’s character, the curly haired authority on love and sex. But it makes me wonder, was Sex [and the City] really that good for real women?

When I first started watching the show, I was a teen and enraptured with the fashion, and my early sexual awareness made me feel relieved to hear sex talked about in the open. (When you’re learning how to do it, you want to hear all about it, right?) I mean, Erica Jong’s Fear of Flying — which opened the doors for women to talk about sex frankly — had been out there since my parents’ generation, but that book didn’t appear in my life until years later when I was ready to explore Monogamy. Sex was like reading Seventeen when you were 12 and Cosmo when you hit 17.

Looking at Sex now, with the eyes of a twenty-something, I can’t help but feel sorry for the Manolo Mafia’s state of affairs. The adolescent pleasures of the show have turned into a sort of cautionary tale about the search for love and sex. All — bar Samantha — get screwed over time and time again, enduring endless hardship because they’re not simply using the guys for sex or money.

The girls are afraid or unwilling to really talk to their men, assess what they want from them, then assess their compatibility for that endeavor before they jump in the sack. They seem blinded by the possibility of love without asking if that’s what they want (and can get) from that man. Carrie gives us a flicker of this strength and common sense when she walks out on the “amazing orgasm” Jazz Man because he’s basically a tween with zero attention span in love with his toys (read: instruments, but I’m sure a lot of you might fill the blank with “X-box”).

It wouldn’t make great dramatic fiction, but if these girls had a screening process whereby they devised, say, five questions to assess the suitability of their mate (You could start with “Does he turn me on?,” “Does he make me laugh?” and “Are we intellectually compatible?”) and were very mercenary, Big wouldn’t have turned into innumerable episodes of agony.

Though we never see Samantha really “screen,” she never stops her zipless fucking unless he’s worth it. And as soon as her feelings say otherwise, she’s out. Remember Richard the hotelier? The fear of him cheating on her again overwhelmed the joy of their relationship and out she walked, taking care of herself like a good girl should.

I’m not advocating rampant promiscuity. Nor will I try to convert you to my kinky corner over the course of these columns, but I will do my best to lay out as many possibilities for pleasure as I can dig up, all with the attitude that you, as I said, deserve exactly what you want and shouldn’t pause for anything but the best. After all, sex is supposed to be fun (safe and consensual).

So, ladies, follow your feelings when it comes to the boys, and until a non-agonizing Big turns up, I’ll keep you up to speed about all things sexy and maybe unlock the doors to the gardens of desire…from erotic films and toys to How-Tos. Happy reading!

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