I was flipping through an AARP Magazine the other day when I was stopped by a full-page ad that featured the photograph of a man who appeared to be licking the neck of his giddy female companion. An overline in red said, “Sex. It’s Never Too Late to Learn Something New.”
I turned the pages back to the cover to be certain I was looking at a magazine for pleasant old people and not some erotic journal that catered to the terminally horny, which is to say guys who walk around with their flies half zippered and women who just recently discovered the visual qualities of their mammary glands.
What intrigued me about the ad, in addition to the guy licking the woman’s neck, is that it was selling videos featuring 26 sexual positions demonstrated by “real people,” which I guess would exclude actors, in scenes that “leave nothing to the imagination.”
“What’re you looking at?” my wife Cinelli said walking unexpectedly into the room.
I turned the page quickly and said, “Oh, a piece on some, uh, educational forums being offered in San Antonio.” It was on the back side of the sex ad page.
“You’re going to Texas?” she asked.
“Well, no, not right away but you never know.”
“Are you sweating?”
“No, I mean, yes, I don’t know why.”
“Does reading about Texas make you nervous?”
I couldn’t think of a good answer so she just shrugged and left the room, leaving me to ponder the 26 positions.
I can recall maybe two or three I’ve known about. The rest, I guess, hadn’t been invented during the time of my intense interest. They were probably still in the hypothetical stage in a dingy Berkley lab where the sex microbe was first isolated in 1962 by an unfrocked U.C. professor who specialized in female reproductive organs.
The AARP is generally oriented toward people over 50 and the idea that oldsters might try a position that requires athletic skills they no longer possess is frightening. A man of 80, for instance, attempting a particularly difficult position runs the risk of falling off his partner and breaking a hip, or, even more humiliating, suffering a muscle cramp and not being able to climb off without assistance. I can hear him cry, “Help, I’m on my girlfriend and can’t get off!”
Unwilling to buy the videos, I am left to my own erotic fantasies to imagine what the 26 positions must be like. I envision Number 8, for instance, to be the Bat Position, involving a man and woman doing it while dressed in black and hanging upside down from the ceiling flapping their arms. Eating insects and mice would be optional.
Number 14 might be the Bicycle Position, during which both participants pump their legs wildly while shouting French obscenities, fantasy-playing that they’re competing in the Tour de France. This requires a high degree of coordination to prevent legs from becoming entangled and collisions occurring.
For advanced couples, there is Position Number 21 that requires the presence not only of the primary duo, but also of a steel worker, two nuns, three dancers and a duck. One of the nuns drops into a fetal position, the duck is tossed into the air and…
“So that’s why you were sweating.”
Cinelli had wandered into the room again and was glancing at the ad next to me on the desk. “’Better Sex for a Lifetime,’” she read aloud. “’A visual encyclopedia of stimulating sexual fun!’” She turned to me: “Taking a little trip down memory lane are we?” then whispered, “Just don’t expect me to do it under water. You can’t hold your breath that long. Maybe while space jumping? Or spelunking in the Grand Canyon? I’ll think about it.” She winked and left the room.
I can visualize all kinds of possibilities, some of which would be outlawed in the Bible Belt but not in New York or California where whimsical notions of new wave sexual behavior continue to be explored. Just recently, a supermarket tabloid reported that Lindsay Lohan and an unidentified male companion were arrested while naked and engaging in erotic activity in the middle of the Hollywood Freeway. They were cited for creating a traffic hazard and sentenced to 30 days of community service in a shop that sold adult toys.
Sex is dirty, as Woody Allen once remarked, only if it’s done right. I see nothing wrong with two lonely, and possibly sleazy, old people getting together for consensual pleasures while watching a how-to video. One often finds want ads in many of the dirtier senior journals such as, “Wanted, filthy woman over 50 to enjoy grubby sex with a retired CPA from Wisconsin.”
What I can’t quite visualize, even with my distorted sense of wonder, is what Position Number 26 might entail being the Ultimate Entanglement of two people in heat. I hope that it has something to do with clowns and tumblers and perhaps balloons for the grandchildren, so that even if it doesn’t work out it can at least be fun.
It makes me sweat just thinking about it.
Al Martinez is a Pulitzer Prize winning columnist for the Los Angeles Times, author of a dozen books, an Emmy-nominated creator of prime time television shows, a travel writer, humorist and general hell-raiser. Try him. He’s addictive.
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