Bust-ing out

Zine shows straight girls the path to true horniness.

Published January 16, 1998 5:12PM (EST)

I just got something rather tasty in the mail. It's my new copy of Bust, a zine for smart straight women, with its glossy color cover showing a Jacqueline Susann-type vixen in a pink baby-doll nightie eyeing the camera authoritatively as she gently clutches the nipple of a supplicant young man who lies, draped in a chest-baring silk kimono, beneath her. He's got those do-what-you-will-with-me bedroom eyes and the look on her face says, "Don't think I won't!"

The headline of this marvelous little role reversal reads: "THIS IS GIRLS ON SEX -- ANY QUESTIONS?"

Oh my, yes, I've got plenty of questions, starting with the obvious one: "Is this the dawn of the Straight Girl Sex Revolution?" Because baby, I am ready for it, and my bisexual/lesbo marching boots are just about worn out from leading the crusades.

Until Bust, there has been No Such Thing as a straight women's journal devoted to female sexual satisfaction. On the contrary, heterosexual women's media lives are defined, as Bust editor Celina Hex describes it, by "the confusing message that sexual satisfaction and sexual attractiveness are one and the same. If we just cut all the fat from our diets, go to the gym three times a week and wear the right lingerie, we'll be able to attain sexual nirvana. Of course, that's not how it works."

Some of you may quibble with me about Bust's precedent setting, and point out that Playgirl magazine has been in circulation since the 1970s. Even if I counter that this particular periodical is not on the bedside table of a single woman I know, you might also be quick to point out that some women are not above gathering near the water cooler to pass around the latest "Buns" calendar, which features an array of male posteriors.

Well, bully for them. The media at large has given women some latitude in recent years to publicly take a gander at and praise the male physique, but I have to say that's not something straight women fought for and won. Instead, these are crumbs fallen from the gay liberation battle-table. Gay men have been promoting the male body in the mainstream -- through fashion, music and advertising -- while lesbians are the ones who pioneered all those intense little study groups to provide a theoretical framework for women enjoying pornography. I'm not saying gay men are all erotic visionaries, nor have the majority of lesbians put "sexual revolution" at the top of their to-do lists. But it honestly is true that sexual minorities have been the ones stoking the coals for a renaissance in erotic culture and conversation.

It's the same thing with vibrators, a bonus to straight women, but one for which they have been loath to lead their own parade. I was really happy to see the editors of Bust in this issue -- both of them vibrator-doubters in the past -- come forth with candid clitoral memoirs to document just how much their orgasms and sexual expectations have been changed by electrical power.

"'I'm getting these breast implants for myself,' is the standard explanation given by women who are about to undergo the surgeon's knife," writes Celina Hex. "But I say if you really want to do something for yourself, go get yourself a vibrator. If as many woman bought themselves vibrators as they do breast implants, the world would be a better place."

Still, Bust has not tackled the issue of vibrators outside of masturbation, and I suspect that they wonder whether you can bring your favorite sex toys to bed without driving your man away.

The only men who are going to be "driven away" by sex toys in the marriage bed are the ones who just cannot stand to see a woman have a screaming, drooling, gasping-for-air orgasm, probably while she's simultaneously pushing herself all the way down on his cock or begging him to bite her neck/nipples/what-have-you. Yes, that sort of man, the kind who likes a woman to be seen and not heard during lovemaking, will definitely not appreciate vibrators!

Sometimes I want Bust to gallop a little faster, to take that romance and coyness and flush it all away. When one contributor to this issue discussed birth control alternatives, she repeated the package description of a Reality "female condom" (a plastic baggie-type thing that women insert in their vaginas) but said she couldn't provide a first-hand report because, basically, she found the thing just too weird. Come on! A fearless birth control article would have straight girls trying out EVERYTHING on the market and reporting real-girl results without fear or favor. Unwanted pregnancy is one of the biggest hassles and anxieties in a het woman's sex life -- there's no call to be dainty.

More often, though, I'm thrilled to see Bust publishing stories on topics heretofore unmentionable by ladies who lunch and supermodels who starve. The article in Bust that most epitomizes this new trend is a dynamite essay by "Lady J" called "How to Be as Horny as a Guy: Learn Why Guys Are Walking Woodies and Use Their Secrets!"

Of course the title is a retro-goof, but the subject matter is dead serious. Women always feel like we're the last to know about our own sexual feelings; we're either late bloomers or early to bed with a headache. We often envy men their comfort in being aroused, and their ability to be aroused quickly. Women don't get turned on as fast or frequently as men by nature, but that differential is quickly turned upside-down by our intensity and endurance once we have the right itch scratched.

So many women don't even know where that super-aroused feeling is located in their bodies. A "nice" girl doesn't even SAY the word horny, let alone allow her erotic feelings to get the best of her. Our feminine upbringing has not only made our body image a source of misery -- it's also bound our libidos as tightly as an ancient Chinese girl-child's foot.

So, I know, you want the goods -- how can women become as horny as the next guy? I insist that you read the entire article for yourself, but I'll tell you one thing I'm adding to my New Year's resolution list: "Every time you go to the bathroom," advises Lady J, "touch your clit. Hey -- boys touch their penises! Tell me that doesn't change their attitude just a little."

A little or a lot, Bust is offering a long overdue attitude readjustment to the usual straight women's magazine diet of "rules" for catching men and lying to yourself. When I first got this zine, co-editor Betty Boob told me their rag was "strong enough for a man, but made for a woman." I certainly hope they have the strength to persevere in launching an erotic revolution for hip chicks and straight feminists that undoubtedly will trigger an avalanche of sweaty debate.

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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