Sex and Sexability: Tips for the Literary Lover

Never break character.

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  • Every Tuesday, have sex with an elderly man with a disarmingly positive outlook on life. Address him as Morrie, no matter what his name is.
  • Crash your plane in the desert. Come to know the long, burning ache of prolonged solitude. Allow -- even encourage -- a fox to die. Draw a snake. Spend three days exploring the body of a wandering naïf. Despair at your inability to communicate even the simplest of your thoughts to another living person; weep at the poverty of speech. Cover every flower you can find with glass and threaten a tiger; it's The Little Prince, and you will never again know the quiet pleasure of a loving companion. Have sex with the drawing you made of that snake earlier.
  • Have sex with a lion. Have sex with a witch. Long hopelessly for a wardrobe you cannot afford at a secondhand shop. Have sex with the lion again, only this time it's not the same, not now that you know what you're missing in not being able to be with the wardrobe. The witch stops taking your calls; you hear through a mutual friend she thinks you're emotionally unstable and cold in bed. Silently agree with her.
  • Sink into your most regressive self -- give in to every selfish, tribal, racist impulse that slips across the hateful, shallow transom of your mind. Have children intermittently; let them raise themselves. Push away everyone who was ever kind to you. Let nothing hold you back in your feverish quest to make money. Wear hoop skirts and call everyone "darlin'." Seduce your best friend's husband, then watch her die. Avoid introspection at all costs. Promise yourself you'll reevaluate your choices "tomorrow." When tomorrow finally comes, there is nothing left to do but die. You're Scarlett O'Hara and you're beautiful.
  • Have sex with a giant bug, the biggest you can find. This works for Metamorphosis and also The Phantom Tollbooth.
  • Vow to have sex every day in the coming month. Join an online forum designed for keeping you accountable for having sex at least once a day for the whole month. Update your Facebook status to reflect your commitment to daily sex-having for the entirety of the month. Ask that your friends bear with you and understand if you're unable to honor normal social commitments during this month full of sex. Buy 30 days worth of prophylactics; display them prominently on your coffee table.
  • Your partner is Watson and you are Holmes. Deny all overtures for sex. Deny them repeatedly, claiming the act would only distract you. Ingest cocaine. Finally agree to have sex, but demean his intelligence both during the act and afterwards. Find more cocaine. There will never be enough cocaine to make you forget it is impossible for the two of you to ever truly connect, as he is unable to keep up with you mentally and you see no value in feeling empathy. Buy a large black dog and fake your own death, in whatever order you prefer. Decide you are only capable of feeling physical attraction to waterfalls and the sensation of awe. Become a hoarder, but only hoard greatcoats. Solve more crimes. Solve everything. Solve yourself. Disappear forever -- disappear retroactively. Never exist.
  • Move to your family's Minnesota lake house. Yell at cats. Ignore all attempts at human contact. Stop yelling at the cats -- it wastes precious energy that you need to finish building your Cat Trap. It's Freedom and you're Walter. Never have sex again. Cats, cats, cats.
  • Was Steel Magnolias a book? They probably had some ghostwriter churn one out after the movie did so well. Find a picture of Dolly Parton and have loud, frequent arguments with it in front of your window. Drink improbable quantities of orange juice while shaking violently. Be fragrant and willowy whenever possible, but make sure you can still be smelted using the Bessemer process. Find Tom Skeritt. Take his kidney. Have sex with him if there's time, but the kidney's the important part. Make sure you get the kidney.
  • Become intimate with a piece of liver. Serve it for dinner. It is Portnoy's Complaint. Later, write a thousand novels. Set all of them in New Jersey. Announce you're retiring from intimacy with pieces of liver. You're Philip Roth and you're a genius. Assemble all the pieces of liver you've ever masturbated on or with or into and take a long, slow look at them. Get in a fight with Wikipedia somehow; you're Philip Roth and everybody else is garbage and imaginary.
  • Have sex with farmers. Have sex with Alton Brown while he's filming one of his Welch's grape juice commercials. Have sex when you're angry. Have sex with Henry Fonda. It's The Grapes of Wrath and you're disgusting. Henry Fonda was an American icon and is also dead. Let him rest in peace.
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Mallory Ortberg is a writer based in San Francisco. Her work also appears on Gawker, The Awl, and The Hairpin. She is a writer and proprietor at The Toast.

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