LUST IN TRANS­LA­TION

Elle (Canada) - - Elle - Noreen Flana­gan Ed­i­tor-in-Chief Fol­low me on Twit­ter and In­sta­gram @noreen_flana­gan We love hear­ing from you! Please write to us at edi­tors@el­le­canada.com.

Orgy. I still re­mem­ber the day I fi­nally fig­ured out what that meant. I’m pre-In­ter­net vin­tage, so Google didn’t ex­ist when I was grow­ing up. In­stead, I had to rely on the wild spec­u­la­tions of friends when it came to sex. I re­mem­ber be­ing in ju­nior high and hear­ing chat­ter in the hall­ways about ru­moured or­gies. I had no idea what that was, but the fact that it was be­ing spo­ken about in hushed tones fol­lowed by em­bar­rassed gig­gles led me to con­clude that its ori­gins were sex­ual in na­ture. I was too shy to ad­mit to my friends that I was clue­less. Un­for­tu­nately I wasn’t a good speller, so my furtive at­tempts to look up this mys­te­ri­ous word in the dic­tio­nary proved un­suc­cess­ful: I could find noth­ing un­der “oargee.” (Even if there had been Google back then, I still would have been con­fused be­cause Oar-Gee is the name of a fish­ing lure used to catch Aus­tralian Mur­ray cod.) My other main source of in­for­ma­tion on all mat­ters sex­ual was the health-ex­pert col­umn in my mother’s Chate­laine mag­a­zines. Sev­eral months af­ter first hear­ing this word, I no­ticed a let­ter from a reader ask­ing about or­gies. The prover­bial penny dropped: Orgy meant group sex! I re­mem­ber grow­ing flushed as I read that it in­volved hav­ing sex with more than one per­son. Say whaaaa??? Sev­eral years later, my older sib­lings kindly gifted me with the sem­i­nal fem­i­nist tome Our Bod­ies, Our­selves. It was a game changer. It was first pub­lished in 1971, and its found­ing ed­i­tor, Nancy Miriam Haw­ley, said it was writ­ten so that women didn’t have to de­pend on “so-called ex­perts” for in­for­ma­tion about their bod­ies. To­day things are dif­fer­ent, right? Women now have ac­cess to all the in­for­ma­tion they need to make in­formed de­ci­sions about their bod­ies. Not ac­cord­ing to Dr. Peggy Klein­platz, a renowned psy­chol­o­gist and sex­ol­o­gist from the Univer­sity of Ot­tawa. I was re­view­ing the re­sults of our first-ever State of Sex sur­vey (page 175) with her when she men­tioned that she was up­set that none of the 2,000+ re­spon­dents said they use ei­ther a di­aphragm or fe­male con­dom. “We need to be en­cour­ag­ing women to take con­trol of their own vul­vas and vagi­nas,” she said. “The di­aphragm is a su­perb con­tra­cep­tion method with no side ef­fects; so is the fe­male con­dom.” An­other thing that both­ers Klein­platz is pop cul­ture’s role in our un­der­stand­ing of sex­u­al­ity. “A lot of stu­dents ask me about 50 Shades of Grey or Masters of Sex. They’re en­ter­tain­ing, but they’re as rep­re­sen­ta­tive of re­al­ity as Game of Thrones. Peo­ple feel even more de­fec­tive now be­cause there’s so much ap­par­ent pub­lic open­ness about sex­u­al­ity. In real life, peo­ple feel more in­ad­e­quate, if any­thing, by virtue of the fact that they can’t talk about sex com­fort­ably with their own part­ners.” In this month’s is­sue, I in­vite you to ex­plore our sur­vey re­sults, which you will find through­out the book. I hope they spark hon­est, open dis­cus­sions that aren’t as ex­ag­ger­ated—or fic­tional—as fish­ing tales about catch­ing some elu­sive Aussie fish.

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