LUST IN TRANSLATION
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.