Time for one thing: Solitary Pleasures

How a sexpert relaxes

Published September 2, 1997 7:00PM (EDT)

when the Good Mommies of Salon approached me to write a personal opinion
for their "Time for One Thing" column, they thought they had a sure bet.
Other exhausted mothers might write the quintessential plea for a decent
cup of coffee or wax poetic on the utter loveliness of an afternoon nap.
But someone like me, someone who has written for decades about the
importance of jilling off, could certainly be expected to write an
impassioned editorial on the Significance of Owning a Vibrator -- and what its
daily use means to womankind.

I guess I can. I have two vibrators plugged in next to my bed, as close to
me as my reading lamp. They are my favorites, after trying every model
that ever came into the feminist vibrator boutique I worked at for six

One of them is the trusty Wahl One-Speed, made by a Catholic company in
Chicago, which after all these years, still advises in its manual to "avoid
use on the genitals." HA! The darn thing is virtually useless anywhere
else. I like the Wahl because it is what we in the business call a
"coil-operated" machine, meaning it's virtually silent, very intense and
perfect for sneaky little orgasms that you don't want to draw your entire
household's attention to.

My other love is a Hitachi Magic Wand, and "Magic" is the key word here,
for it was my very first vibrator, and it seemed like nothing less than a
miracle to me that this purring ball of sensation could give me a screaming
clitoral hard-on in less than a minute, then leave me gasping for air a few
seconds later. Before I turned on a Magic Wand, I had been someone who
needed a good half-hour to meet my orgasm, and by then my poor hand was
numb and aching. I didn't even want to ask lovers for oral sex -- they'd
have to be a martyr. (Later on I learned just how many people like to be
hung up on that particular cross.)

Vibrators are liberating, no doubt about it. They bring women up to speed,
literally. They erase the "time differential" between men and women's
sexual response. Once I had gotten over the novelty of coming as quickly as
a spastic teenage boy, I realized the divinity of arousing myself to
sexual plateau and remaining there in bliss, as long as possible, before
I fell off. I learned so much, so quickly, about how my orgasms worked
(now that I wasn't too exhausted and embarrassed to notice them) that I
became a much more skilled lover, with or without my vibrator, alone or
with others. It was like a ticket out of the world's worst small town.

Now is that a testimonial or what? But here's the thing ... I blushed when I
read my Salon editor's suggestion. The horrible truth is that buzzing-off
isn't the one thing in my daily life I make time for. No fucking way.

I know you're shocked.

My lists of "must do this today" are much more indicative of a burn-out case than a sensual woman. I SHOULD masturbate every day; I'm sure it would do
me a world of good, and clearly I would have a smile on my face for at
least a few minutes of every morning -- if I only made the time. But I
don't -- and truly, I can't tell you why. I'll tell you what I do make time for:

  • I must have my graham crackers with butter and jam snack.

  • I must watch my "Law and Order" reruns.
  • I must read my daughter chapter eight of "Heidi" because I'm reliving my "Heidi" infatuation all over again. I want a bowl of goat milk with my graham crackers.
  • I must be alone with the door closed -- alone, alone, alone. I'd give anything for more privacy.
  • I must read travel books about places where I'm not and peruse mail-order catalogs for clothes that couldn't possibly fit me.
  • I must log on to my computer and see what all the people who irritate me are saying in my favorite forums so I can make up all sorts of hilarious responses to them that I'd never actually post. I am so hooked on some of
    these online personality dramas that I can hardly go to sleep at night
    wondering if "UserID Betty" will disown her daughter or tattle on her
    supervisor or confide to her husband that she's cheating on him just like
    she has to everyone else online.

Just reading this pathetic little list makes me want to have a nice clean
orgasm and begin a new day with fresh habits. I wish that everyone would
believe that I did indulge in imaginative sex every 24 hours with a
variety of fascinating lovers and new sex toys direct from the
manufacturer. Someone's got to be a role model, and at least I've made an

But here's the truth: There are certain days that I must buzz off
(or pounce on my lover), no matter what, and they are obviously tied to my
menstrual cycle. Much to my partner's disappointment, when I am not driven
by a hormonal surge, or the occasional romantic inspiration, I often act
like I don't have a body, let alone a sexual appetite. I am much more
comfortable in my head than my "container," and I often wish I could leave
this aching, tired thing by the roadside.

I do not approve of this condition. I feel betrayed by my body's cranks
and pains. I can't believe that now, at age 39, when I know so much about
sex and what I like and how to be the world's most intoxicating lover,
all I want to do is have one more graham cracker and then go to sleep. For
a very, very, very long time.

I have a feeling that when I woke up from such a sleep, unabated by an
alarm, the coffee grinder, the door creaking, the kittens mewing, my
daughter calling, any sort of call at all from any grasping voice -- in
that perfect moment, I would turn my electric blanket on low and bury my
face in my pillow where I can always find my very best fantasies. I'd reach
out to that shelf that my fingers can find blind, I'd grab my little piece
of magic, I'd let out a very big sigh and take a long, long ride, right
out of my mind.

By Susie Bright

Susie Bright is the author of the new book "Full Exposure" and many other books, and the editor of the "Best American Erotica" series. For more columns by Bright, visit her website.

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