Archive for the ‘The Dirt’ Category

Do you remember the days before people needed an app to say “I love you?”  We here at the History of Sex sure do.

But the love letter is facing extinction. New research has shown that just six percent of women and four percent of men still write love letters. Instead, people are turning to more modern methods.  Most modern women and men admit to sending romantic emails and texts – and these days, sexting says slightly more than a thousand words.

Yet women and men are still divided by the wish to hold on to these mementos.  Women are more than twice as likely as men to keep little love notes, but the grand tradition of love letters finds men doing a lot of the pining and penning. So as a tribute to the lost art of love-note-making, we take a look at some famous letters from the blog Letters of Note, which is an incredible archive with all sorts of handwritten letters – some filled with sweet talk – to show us how it used to be done.

Love notes are written for several reasons:  to apologize, say thanks, celebrate, congratulate or de-stress the one you love.  But they often reveal much more than that.  They range from the profane to the sacred yet often anticipate the future.  In “The Great Sex Note”, Neal Cassady  writes to Jack Kerouac about his drunken traveling sex-capades in a style that would later be known the world over as Kerouac’s stream of consciousness, but for which Cassady apologizes – “P.P.S. Please read this illegible letter as a continuous chain of undisciplined thought, thank you…P.P.P.S. Postponed, postponed, postponed script, keep working hard, finish your novel & find, thru knowledge, strength in solitude instead of despair.”  Simple notes can clearly inspire.

Love notes also shed light on a moment in history and reveal its vulnerability and hopeful romanticism – uninhibited by what the future may hold.  As Frida Kahlo wrote to Diego Rivera, “Remember that once you finish the fresco we will be together forever once and for all, without arguments or anything, only to love one another.”  Love notes often express the artistic personality of a famous figure in just a few lines, as in one that could’ve just as easily began its life as a song – Little Girl, happiness is within you….so unlock the chains from your heart and let yourself grow—like the sweet flower you are…..I know the answer—Just spread your wings and set yourself FREE Love to you forever, Jimi Hendrix

There is a temporary but timeless and ethereal quality to love notes that capture a moment just as fleeting as love itself.  They are as photographs – saying something that needs to be said.     They can be statements made by powerful people who felt the need to express some truth in their intensely political lives –  talking of a secret affairs, as Henry VIII’s passionate confusion was for Anne Boleyn in 1527 (while still married to Catherine of Aragon), as he pines for her in a 1527 letter that could be from the drawer of a teenage boy.  They can be grand gestures, revealing a sensitive side to historical figures that we perhaps didn’t know was there – as in Napoleon’s famous love letter to Josephine which reads,

“I am going to bed with my heart full of your adorable image… I cannot wait to give you proofs of my ardent love… How happy I would be if I could assist you at your undressing, the little firm white breast, the adorable face, the hair tied up in a scarf a la creole. You know that I will never forget the little visits, you know, the little black forest… I kiss it a thousand times and wait impatiently for the moment I will be in it. To live within Josephine is to live in the Elysian fields. Kisses on your mouth, your eyes, your breast, everywhere, everywhere.

Unlike the careful steps taken by historical world leaders, love notes were often simply scribbled on whatever their desperate authors could get their hands on.  Thus, the writing of love notes and letters can be seen as the ultimate, immediate expression of men’s fantasy.  Intense, temporary and fleeting.  For the women who kept them for decades – in some cases, centuries – they represent something quite different – intimate thoughts that last forever – how else would they have survived except to be cherished for all their imperfectness?  No one  letter does this better than Marlon Brando who, infatuated with stewardesses, decided to pen this little gem while crossing from NY to LA in 1966 –

MarlonBrando_1 Dear Lady —

There is something not quite definable in your face — something lovely, not pretty in a conventionally thought of way. You have something graceful and tender and feminine (sp). You seem to be a woman who has been loved in her childhood, or else, somehow by the mystery of genetic phenomena you have been visited by the gifts of refinement, dignity and poise. Perhaps you cannot be accredited with all that.

Irrespective of your gothic aspects, you have passed something on in terms of your expression, mien and general comportment that is unusual and rewarding.

It’s been a pleasant if brief encounter and I wish you well and I hope we shall have occasion to cross eyes again sometime.

Best wishes

Marlon Brando            

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The Dirt

Posted on: December 10th, 2012 by Madison Lake No Comments



Hitting the streets to get some answers…



Hanukkah is here and Christmas is fast approaching.  It is the season for giving and receiving, staying where it’s warm, and long nights.  This week, I asked people about the most memorable gift they’ve exchanged with a partner.  Here are the results…

Regina’s college boyfriend was a huge stoner from Humboldt County, one of the biggest marijuana growing communities in California.  “He used to give me a pound of weed for every special occassion,” Regina said.  “I would make batches of brownies to give to my friends.  Does that count as re-gifting?”  Regina said the hardest part of their breakup was having to pay for her own weed.

Cady got married very young and knew it was time to get out of the relationship with they exchanged Hanukkah gifts.  She had been married to Aaron for two years and splurged to buy tickets to Hawaii for New Year’s Eve.  “And what did that cheap a–hole get me? Eight carnations, for each night.”  She filed for divorce a month later.  Currently, she is dating a very nice man she found on JDate and he is very generous.

Karen did not have to think about her answer.  “My boyfriend and I were long distance for about a year and this past Christmas, he showed up at my door with two huge suitcases and told me the rest of his stuff was coming in the mail.”  It was, hands down, the most romantic gift she’s ever received and the two are talking marriage now.

Damien loves that no matter what his girlfriend buys him, she’ll also buy a piece of “f-cking filthy” lingerie to celebrate later.  “She’s not big on fancy underwear so it’s a huge deal that she does this for me,” Damien said.  “I never asked her to do it, she told me she’s ok with putting that stuff on a few times a year.”

What’s the most memorable gift YOU have received?

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The Dirt

Posted on: November 26th, 2012 by Madison Lake No Comments



Hitting the streets to get some answers….



It’s a question as old as…well, as old as the telephone.  Or perhaps it started with the first love letter.  Regardless, it’s a question that has stumped people for a while.  From the guys in Swingers to Cher Horowitz in Clueless.  How long do you wait between getting the number and making the first call?

Rachel thinks this is very tricky.  “I want to feel like the guy wants to call me but too soon and it’s desperate,” Rachel said.  “Desperation is NEVER attractive.”  She thinks a lot depends on how you met and the vibe you had going.  If it was just talking at a party, the guy can wait a few days.  “If there was a heavy petting session, he better call the next day!”

Monica likes guys who call right away.  “My boyfriend and I met a mutual friend’s birthday party and he called me the next morning to make plans for that afternoon,” she said.  “Sometimes, you know right away that you want to hang out and get to know that person and it’s stupid to wait.”  Monica and her boyfriend have been together for 4 months now.

Ross thinks the agony of waiting to call a girl has not been exaggerated at all in films.  “It’s a f–king nightmare!” Ross told me.  “That’s why I love when women ask for my number, the ball’s in their court and I don’t have all that stress.”

Chandler disagrees and goes for the standard 3 day rule, come hell or high water.  “It’s part of the social contract, you wait three days and call,” Chandler explained.  “If either party breaks the contract, it’s weird.  I’d have to really like the girl to not be weirded out.”

Phoebe and Joey were the first couple I’ve ever interviewed for The Dirt and it was funny to hear them tell their meet-cute story.  They met through friends and Phoebe texted him the very next day.  When they went out on their first real date, Joey tried to tease her about it and she said “F–k you!  It was a text, doesn’t count!”  He really liked the way she “didn’t take any sh-t from me” and they’ve been dating over a year.

What do YOU think?

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The Dirt

Posted on: November 19th, 2012 by Madison Lake No Comments



Hitting the streets to get some answers…


This week, I was inspired by the brilliant Tippy’s column listing the essential steps to increase a woman’s sexiness.   I was dying to know what women did to make themselves feel sexy before a date.  We’ve covered the hair removal situation but what else is there that women do to prepare for battle?

Unity has to play the right music as she gets ready for dates.  “I have a play list with a lot of soul, like Otis Redding and Curtis Mayfield, that I put on while I put on my make up,” Unity said.  It puts her in the right mood and at the same time calms her nerves. “There’s something about Otis Redding especially that makes me feel so relaxed and ready to meet someone.”

Diana has special date bras.  “Even if I have no plans for anyone to see it, I have to wear a sexy bra,” she said.  Diana invests in good undergarments from Felina and La Perla and says you can’t put a price tag on a good bra.  “I have b-cup breasts and an excellent bra will make them look like c-cups,” Diana explained.  Diana said she spent her 20s and 30s in ill-fitting bras and it wasn’t until she was older that she learned the importance of proper cup and band size.

Pamela doesn’t feel date-ready unless she’s wearing lipstick and high heels.  When she said high heels, I laughed and showed her last week’s History of Sex and she agreed that it does change the way she walks and she loves the way her legs look.  The lipstick is just as important and crucial to making her feel confident and sexy.  “The mouth and lips are important to stress when you’re trying to seduce someone,” Pamela said.

Deborah told me her secret but made me swear up and down not to use her real name nor any identifying information.  “Before a date, I masturbate.  I feel loose and I’ve already had a good time.”  She admits that the thought occurred to her after watching a movie where a male character got rid of pre-date jitters that way.  “My grandmother used to say, what’s good for the goose is good for the gander and so I tried it and I felt more relaxed on that first date than ever before.”  She’s been dating a guy for about 6 months now and sometimes they’ll have a quickie before leaving on a date night.

What do YOU do to feel your sexiest?

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The Dirt

Posted on: November 12th, 2012 by Madison Lake No Comments


Hitting the streets to get some answers…


A few weeks ago, I asked people what their deal breakers were.  The answers ranged from differing political parties to offensive thumb jewelry.  This week, I set out with a more positive goal: what is it that drives you wild?  What seals the deal no matter what else is going on?  I got some interesting answers…

Jessica is a sucker for a well-dressed man.  “When a man looks like he spent a good amount on his clothes, it’s a major turn-on,” she said.  “It shows he cares about himself and it looks sexy as hell!”  Jessica’s knees wobble when a man’s suit looks like it cost a couple grand and she can’t control herself when a man a well cut blazer.  “It’s something that has happened since I turned 35 but now, I can put up with a lot for a man in a gorgeous suit.”

Elizabeth, on the other hand, loves a smart guy.  “I love it when a man is really smart, so smart that he’s cocky about it,” Elizabeth said.  She thinks that kind of intelligent arrogance is the sexiest quality a man can have.  There are dangers in it, too.  “I’ve dated some huge douche bags because of this,” Elizabeth explained.  “When you’re attracted to arrogance, there’s going to be trouble.”

Enid’s loins are set on fire by women with lots of tattoos.  “I find tattoos so sexy and it says that this girl isn’t afraid to express herself…and she’s into a little pain,” Enid said.  Her last girlfriend had a sleeve on her left arm, a huge design on her back, and a calf tattoo.  “The best is when a girl has a tattoo in a place usually covered by clothing,” Enid went on to say.  “It’s something secret between the two of you.”

In the same vein, Lila loves men with lots of piercings.  Like Enid, she lists confidence and pain threshold as part of the appeal.  She also loves a well-read man.  “I read voraciously, so when I meet a guy who knows authors, it’s hot.”  She said her dream date would have pierced tongue, nipples, and eyebrow and would take her to a library.

Dana thinks men who can build furniture are incredibly sexy.  “There’s something almost biological about how hot I get for a guy who can build something with his bare hands,” Dana said.  “It screams ‘I can protect and provide for you!’ and appeals to my inner cave-woman.”  Dana is baffled by this, as she feels she is a sophisticated city woman but sometimes nature overrules logic.

What do YOU think?

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