The woman rewrit­ing the bed­room rule book

The Daily Telegraph - Saturday - - Front Page -

I’m sit­ting op­po­site a sex coach in the tea room of the Man­darin Ori­en­tal in Knights­bridge. Sex coaches, I can re­veal, look like Thomas Hardy hero­ines. They have milk­maid ringlets and tanned skin. Lau­ren Brim, 31, lives in LA and has flown all the way from Cal­i­for­nia to tell me about her new book, The New Rules of Sex, a rev­o­lu­tion­ary 21st-cen­tury ap­proach to sex­u­al­ity, re­la­tion­ships and love.

This is not your av­er­age re­la­tion­ship man­ual. Lau­ren sleeps with her exes, she likes three­somes, she’s bi­sex­ual and she’s on first­name terms with all sorts of isms – Bud­dhism, shaman­ism, hyp­no­tism, Tao­ism. A dancer by train­ing, she has per­formed with the Ra­dio City Rock­ettes, New York’s high-kick­ing dance troupe, and worked in an Aids clinic in Africa, where she was almost eaten by croc­o­diles.

The New Rules of Sex is part of the cur­rent zeit­geist for sexsat­u­rated books that took off with the global block­buster Fifty Shades of Grey. Like EL James’s best­seller (be­fore it got snapped up), the book is self-pub­lished and sex­u­ally ex­plicit. But there the sim­i­lar­i­ties end. This is not a work of erotic fic­tion but a non-fic­tion book de­signed to give women per­mis­sion to ex­plore sex out­side the con­ven­tional bound­aries of mar­riage and monogamy. “Women are so in­sis­tent on part­ner­ship and mar­riage,” says its rad­i­cal-think­ing au­thor, “be­cause cul­ture gives them no other for­mat for sus­tained and so­cially ap­proved sex­u­al­ity and love.”

The book opens in Paris. It’s a balmy evening and Lau­ren is dressed in a “peach sum­mer dress” that rip­ples across her body “like bed sheets”. She is an ex­pe­ri­enced in­ter­net dater, she tells us, who has dated “the full spec­trum of French men”. Be­fore we can feel sorry for Lau­ren – All those dis­mal dates! All those dead ends! – she drops her first bomb­shell. Lau­ren’s in­ter­net ad­ven­tures in­cluded a three­some with a Rus­sian woman who was “al­ready naked” when she ar­rived at the apart­ment.

“Lau­ren,” I say. “I have to ask you about the naked Rus­sian woman on the open­ing page of your book. Did you run away?”

Lau­ren reaches for a cu­cum­ber sand­wich. “It took me a long time to warm up.”

I won­der if it’s too early for a gin and tonic.

Lau­ren’s story goes like this: aged 27, re­la­tion­ships “sud­denly came to a stop”. Faith­ful, monog­a­mous males be­came as rare as Su­ma­tran rhi­nos. “I looked around and saw there were many sin­gle peo­ple around me, all of them at­trac­tive, tal­ented and in­tel­li­gent peo­ple,” she says. “Some of them hadn’t been in a re­la­tion­ship for years.”

“Ah!” I say. “We have the same prob­lem in London and friends tell me things are no bet­ter in Rome, Barcelona and Tokyo.”

“One of my good friends hasn’t had sex for 12 years,” says Lau­ren.

“Is she very mis­er­able?” I ask, even though this type of drought strikes me as per­fectly nor­mal.

“No,” says Lau­ren. “She has a dog.”

In­stead of buy­ing a pet like her friend did, Lau­ren de­cided to take a string of lovers. “I don’t be­lieve in putting your en­ergy into wait­ing for the per­fect part­ner to come along,” she says. “I be­lieve in look­ing at what’s there.”

Graphic ac­counts of Lau­ren’s sex life are in­ter­spersed with brief en­tries on ev­ery­thing from why Samoans are more sex­u­ally lib­er­ated than we are to how eat­ing chilli pep­pers pro­duces oxy­tocin, the “bond­ing” hor­mone. It’s a dizzy­ing read. One mo­ment Lau­ren (a trained mid­wife) is telling us about the virtues of us­ing doulas dur­ing child­birth, the next she is kick­ing off with an X-rated pas­sage about sex in the pas­sen­ger seat of a truck.

The un­der­ly­ing mes­sage is that sex – in all its myr­iad forms – is nat­u­ral, nor­mal and hu­man, but there are mo­ments read­ing the book when I feel em­bar­rassed on Lau­ren’s be­half. “I wanted to share my not-pretty side,” says Lau­ren. “I thought it was im­por­tant not to put my­self on a pedestal.”

Lau­ren stud­ied hu­man­i­ties at the Univer­sity of Cal­i­for­nia, Los An­ge­les and grew up in a Christian house­hold in Orange County. Her grand­fa­ther drove around in a minibus with the words from John 3:16 in­scribed on the side. Lau­ren doesn’t go to church any more but be­lieves in a “divine cre­ator of this uni­verse”. She has never had a Bri­tish boyfriend but finds other cul­tures “sexy”. lib­er­ated if we weren’t lum­bered for half the year with coats and um­brel­las?

I won­der where she’s off to next. Not the Rem­brandt ex­hi­bi­tion, that’s for sure. But isn’t all that bed­hop­ping a bit ex­haust­ing?

Lau­ren smiles. “Sex is re­ally en­er­gis­ing. What’s tir­ing is dat­ing.”

Lau­ren has a web­site, Healthnow.am, that’s de­voted to holis­tic sex­ual ed­u­ca­tion for women, in­clud­ing ad­vice on fer­til­ity. She also of­fers “sex­ual and spir­i­tual coach­ing” via Skype to clients in the United States, Bri­tain, Aus­tralia and Canada.

The New Rules of Sex, by Lau­ren Brim, is avail­able on Kin­dle on Ama­zon.co.uk for £4.89.

Open minded: Lau­ren Brim doesn’t be­lieve all her en­ergy should be de­voted to look­ing for Mr Right

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