How to ruin your sex life

Twelve anti-erotic tips for the puritanically inclined.


Susie Bright
June 12, 1999 8:00PM (UTC)

Last week I got a phone call from a popular women's magazine asking me to contribute a tip for their upcoming feature, "How to Improve Your Sex Life in 30 Days." I logged onto the Well later that same day and posted a message about it in the freelance writers conference. "I always get asked the same questions by these women's magazines," I wrote. "I wish someone would ask me how to RUIN their sex life in 30 days."

Salon's own Table Talk host, Mary Elizabeth Williams, quickly posted her response: "Who needs 30 days?" How right she is! In that spirit, I've devised a list of a dozen libido-killing strategies that any female seeker of the sex-free lifestyle ought to be able to accomplish well before a month is up.

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Perhaps you're one of millions of American women who will look over my advice and say to herself: "But I've already done all this!" If so, then congratulations, and don't change a thing. Consider this tip sheet just a little something for the sisters who haven't yet figured it all out:

1) Don't admit your sexual desire

Single gals, go ahead and play the dating game all you want -- the important thing is to never admit that you have a sexual interest at stake. Shop for the perfect marriage, but make sure that all your efforts are for romance, God's will or the greater good of humanity. Follow "The Rules" manual page by page, and rest assured that none of it will make you hot, horny or sweaty. If you make the right match in the proper state of sexual ignorance, you may elude the clutches of lust altogether.

Some of you who have already been around the block may have dabbled dangerously in sexual pleasure. It's time to straighten up and fly right. You're a wife and mother now -- do you want people to think you're some disgusting slut? If you don't have a headache by now, start sniffing glue.

2) Stay indoors

This is one of those subtle but sure-fire strategies to shut off unwanted outbursts of sensuality. You don't want to feel the sun on your face, remember: It's cancerous. Flowers will activate your allergies. Fresh air and exercise may wake your clitoris out of its coma. And if you're the type to stand in the middle of a storm singing "It's Raining Men," there's really nothing we can do for you.

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3) Throw your diary in the trash

Self-reflection is a one-way ticket to erotic speculation. One moment you're innocently recording your dreams, and the next thing you know, your pen is taking off on an illicit fantasy. There you are, being sexual without even taking your clothes off! It's time to stop "expressing yourself," and begin expressing a little self-restraint.

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4) Blame it on the kids

This is a tip for the parents among you. If you haven't ceded your connubial bed to your children by now, you are obviously under the mistaken impression that there should be some standard of privacy in your home. You don't want your kids to think that you actually do the deed, do you? Don't make them SICK! If the stork was good enough for grandma and grandpa, it's good enough for you.

5) Remember: Your body is disgusting

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Take off all your clothes and look in the mirror while standing directly under a fluorescent light. Notice any flaws? Of course you do -- make note of them out loud and in writing. Now put your clothes back on and begin a new habit of mentioning those flaws to your family, friends and acquaintances every single day. Extra points for imposing your self-deprecating remarks on total strangers.

6) Go on every crazy diet you ever heard of

While you were surveying your figure in your mirror, I'm sure you noticed one indisputable fact: You are grossly overweight. I don't care where you tip the scales, the fact is, you're a fat pig. Get cracking, and start that cabbage soup diet. There's enough liquid protein enema solution for everyone. If you've only flirted with anorexia and bulimia before, it's time to get serious. Did you know self-starvers and bingers don't ever have orgasms?

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7) Get religion

Embrace a faith or philosophy that demands that sexual desire be sacrificed to achieve a higher goal, whether that goal is enlightenment or a place at the head of the line at the pearly gates or a televangelist's fund-raising campaign. Tired of old-fashioned churches? No problem, plenty of New Age disciplines are just as repressive. Find one of those cults where no one gets laid except for the old codger at the top. (Just make sure you don't take a wrong turn into any pagan bacchanals.)

8) Don't play with yourself

Enough said.

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9) Buy something

Did you know that every erotic urge can be efficiently repressed by a rigorous round of retail therapy? Don't hesitate to buy things that are advertised as something that will make you feel sexy. These unsatisfying purchases will simply titillate you into buying more and will never, ever, result in you having any actual sex. Shake your moneymaker!

10) Covet what you can't have

Assume an envious position. The more you pout, the less chance you have of noticing any opportunity that does come your way.

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11) Give yourself a label and stick with it

Stop fighting stereotypes and start advertising yours. When you're certain you know exactly what box everyone else fits into, you're less likely to ever get out of your own.

12) Don't talk about sex

Talking about sex honestly with other people makes most of us uncomfortable -- so get a clue, and stop trying to have that conversation! Talking about sex leads to thinking about sex -- and before you know it, you're back to step No. 1: thinking that you might like to have some someday! Cut it out. When you've finished reading this article, by all means don't mention it to anyone.

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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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