"Some calls it madness...I calls it HiDeeHo." - Cab Calloway
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Friday, January 10, 2003


Warning: This gets a little too-much-information-y at the end. You have been warned. This is a topic near and dear to my vital being, so read on if you dare.

I got a copy of Parenting magazine in the mail today along with Morgan's Sesame Street. I'm flipping through like I usually do, scoffing at the excess soccer-momage, when I find a two-page spread for something called Avlimil. It's being marketed as the women's equivalent to Viagra. Yes. Okay. I do a little research, as all things sexual and medical fascinate me, and I had a hunch. I go to their site, look at the ingredient list (all botanicals, all with their scientific nomenclature, one of which was misspelled, all of which I recognized) and get a sinking feeling. My hunch was right.

My forays into herbal medicine literature have been pretty extensive, but as for effectiveness? Subpar more often than not. Sure, we get chemotherapy drugs vincristine and taxol from the periwinkle and yew, but the herbs in this mix smack of folklore and placebo.

Here are the herbs in this little pink pill that will "help you reclaim your sensuality:" Sage, raspberry leaf, kudzu, red clover, wax myrtle, cayenne, damiana, ginger, wild licorice, valerian and black cohosh. Red clover is traditionally a male tonic, as is kudzu (leaf? root? they don't specify). Raspberry leaf and black cohosh are traditionally women's herbs, but more for cyclic regulation and uterine/ovarian/menstrual things. Sage? I like that with poultry and for smudging with sweetgrass. Cayenne and ginger, along with a little sesame and soy, are quite yummy and I think topically they are rubefacients and vasodilators. Damiana is the one herb I recognize as being an oft-touted aphrodisiac. Valerian, while it smells horrible, is the one herb I have ever used to any effect, mostly as a relaxing/tranquilizing adjunct to a hot bath before bed. So.

I don't know about this. I think being comfortable with the body nature gave you, being healthy and properly attended to would help a lot more.

I am of the opinion that female sexual dysfunction is a symptom of a greater problem. Unfamiliarity with our own libidos and bodies (for the autoeroticators and lesbians among us), plus the average man's ineptitude (for the hetero/bi women; note I say average...I've known quite a few of them...there are a few stellar examples of on beyond zebra exceptionality but that's none of your business) all contribute. On the site they do list a bunch of things that can also contribute, including the cliche of stress, depression, other medications, hormonal events like childbirth and menopause...does just not feeling like it factor in there somewhere? Why put a pathology on it?

I'm also of the opinion that some people have it, some people don't. There is something missing in some people, male and female, so that they will never be able to have the kind of sex promised in these ads no matter what, no matter who is with them, no matter what they're doing. I think a majority of people are like that. Some people do have it, though, and know what all the fuss is about.

I digress.

This is where it gets personal. If you prefer not to think of Julie this way, stop reading.

In my 11 years of sexual activity with partners and nearly 20 of going it alone, I have learned I AM one of the lucky ones who has it. I have a very deep and abiding interest in sex, and damn if it isn't the greatest thing since sliced bread. It's gotten me in trouble and it's gotten me with child. It's gotten me into and kept me in bad relationships for too long. It was/is the cinnamon and sugar in the apple pie of the good relationships. It was the glue that held a lot of my young adult life together. It's church, communion and the social afterwards.

Knowing that, one can deduce that I resent commercialization and marketing of said sweet-spicy-religious activity. Lately these sorts of aphrodisiac-things have been all over the place and bothering me. We have Climatique and Vazoplex, advertised copiously on the new "women's" cable channels. I think this spate of women demanding Viagra or an equivalent is ridiculous. The way Viagra works would work on women, too. What women think they want is the sex drive and orgasmic capability of a 16-cylinder nymph on Ecstasy, like they think men get. Surprise, ladies! Not every man on Viagra is a satyr. That caliber of libido doesn't come from a pill or a gel or a foam or a goop. It comes from practice. It comes from conditioning. It comes from, in my case, the living world around us. It comes from knowing yourself. It comes from taking the media images of sex and etc. with a block of salt, not just a grain. It comes from having a sense of humor. It comes from EXPERIENCE. Maybe it's inverse sour grapes; I think they're full of crap because I can't imagine a healthier female libido and less inhibited neurovascular response than my own, and this is even after seven or eight years of maltreatment and neglect at the hands (and other things) of dolts (I'm not sayin' how many) who wouldn't know the difference between an erogenous zone and a demilitarized zone. Let it suffice to say, it's not like that anymore.

Now then...
We still have the madonna/whore duality that shoves XXX imagery in our faces and then shames us if we respond to it, and further shames us for supposedly not being as desireable as the porno girls. We still have euphemistic double standards. We have men who base their sex lives on mags and vids and when faced with a real woman have no idea what to do except find an orifice, any one will do, insert tab A into slot B, and be done with it. I am, however, relatively pro-porn, especially once you know what you like. To me, it's like watching a cooking show. You see what's being done, you get commentary, you get some vicarious experience, and you might want to make the dish yourself. The actual sex is like the actual cooking, and most especially the actual eating of what you made. You get the hands-on, you get the practice, you get the sensory input, and the DIY satisfaction. Watching porn with a partner is like eating at a restaurant. Don't make me break that simile down, please. You know what I mean.

More needs to be done to destigmatize women's sexuality. How on earth else are men going to know what to do? How on earth else are women going to find out what they like? I'm all in favor of the old old old traditions of somewhat older, more experienced people educating the younger novices on these matters. Hell, I'd be waiting in line to sign up.

Oh don't even get me started about where emotions come into play. Back to the pie; whereas sex is the cinnamon and sugar, love is the apples and flour and butter and the pie pan and the oven and the knife and the mixing bowl and the gas or electricity for the oven...and my memory of love at first sight is the a la mode dollop of ice cream on top.

My final opinion is this: Great sex won't come in a pill or anything else you can buy from late-night TV, but I suppose you already knew that.

posted by Julie Neff  # 1/10/2003 04:04:00 PM

There is nothing more dangerous than a small man with power. We've seen that before - Die Fuhrer, Il Duce, Napoleon Bonaparte, Tommy in Goodfellas...

This guy scares me, and not because he's eccentric. North Korea is scaring me. I was a mere elementary schoolgirl when I first learned to fear weapons of mass destruction. Now 20 years later, only nominally irrational fear twists my gut when I hear about this on the radio. Reminds me of the pebbles falling before a landslide.

I'm not alarmist, though. I get the distinct feeling this guy is bluffing.

I love my new job. This is a piece of cake.

posted by Julie Neff  # 1/10/2003 08:08:00 AM


pot brownies Your New Year's Resolution Should Be: Make Mom Pot Brownies

Thursday, January 09, 2003

Here is a stream of consciousness...I wouldn't drink this if I were you.

Yesterday was the seventh anniversary of my death day. Working on year eight now. Yep...glad they brought me back. Very glad. Never taking diphenhydramine again. Ever. Oh, and happy posthumous birthdays to Graham Chapman and Elvis Presley. Squeak! Good Goddamn futon, shut up! I need 50 fabulous desserts like I need another hole in my head. I think I'd rather have a bonsai Scheffelera. Now wouldn't it be cute to have bonsai creatures too? Eensy-weensy mini creatures to live in your ceramic dish with the lil' rocks... Once upon a time, under the shade of a little tree, there lived a tiny hedgehog named Henrietta Woogga and a mini-dormouse named Cedric Willybutton. Run with it!!! Sitting on the counter is naughty indeed. No wonder I don't let Morgan do it. I think you are a whale-mask-wearing type, eminently so. No one is going to wipe their ass with MY perfume! We should have people throw beets at our wedding. We have to eat those avocados soon or they'll go bad. Physical therapists are the best dictators in the world. I don't want another layer of upholstery, so maybe YOU'LL have to eat the avocados. Pant, swoon...my family back in medieval and Renaissance England were probably owlers. Avez-vous besoin de laines? J'ai des laines! That clementine-almond cake will be made again, as I have the recipe from Nigella Lawson. Now THERE'S someone to go all crushy on...a Jamie Oliver-Nigella Lawson sandwich...they wouldn't show that on the Food Network! How can I stop Morgan from thinking John Basedow is the perfect man? Expose her to Emeril, with whom she is now enamored. Bibbity-bobbity-BAM! Give her a break, she's only "five-and-a-HALF." It's a short jump from superhero to fitness model to Gaaaaah-lick to liking Nick W. because he looks like the pilot of the Serenity. Fox can kiss my peasant Anglo-Slavic arse, and they know why. Whatever happened to Batman? Now there's a hybrid man...Basedow, Batman, Emeril, and Wash. Uh, yeah. I think I can leave that one alone. Good Gods, think of what the children would look like with THAT as the father and a mini-me as the mother. Eeegh! Don't even get me started on Sissy and Jellybean and the Chink. Oh, nonono. Hellfire and yam nation. Tom Robbins should SO write a book about me...or maybe you should. Make me a denizen of that far-distant opulent beacon of civilization, with the pumpkins. Or maybe I should. It'd have to be written on an egg roll wrapper in sumi, deep fried, sprinkled with soy and rice vinegar and eaten. It'd be a short book. You live, you die, you do stuff in between. And we come now full circle because my life has been thus: You live, you do stuff, you die, you come back, you do more stuff. Kind of like Buffy.

Well, that was fun.

Give St. Distaff all the right
Then bid Christmas sport goodnight
And next morrow everyone
To their own vocation.

Happy St. Distaff's Day, all you working girls.

Monday, January 06, 2003


I drive to the way-far-west side of Madison this morning for my training at Amphion and to get my computer. Here it is. A Gateway E-series with a flat LCD monitor, Windows (garg) XP and a fun fun fun transcription platform on which I previously made boocoos of money. I loaded up my expander file, with which I can type "CPX20" and I'll get a whole physical exam which is worth about $20, and I'm all set to go. Takin' care of business, as they say. My extended break is over and my shoulder is back to the grindstone, or however that phrase goes. I don't mind so much.

People driving west on the Beltway in the morning, are you out of your fucking minds? Worst. Driving. Evar. I said the traffic wasn't bad when I talked to Josh and my mom. It wasn't. What few cars there were on the road this morning, though, were driven by homo-suicidal maniacs (that's not to say homosexual suicidal maniacs; I mean homocidal and suicidal, but homosuicidal sounds cooler to me) wacked on crack, speed, PCP and probably pine-scented air freshener spray. Jesus, Buddha and Lo Mein Noodle! Am I ever glad I don't have to commute that far. My work commute consists of bed-bathroom-chairinfrontofdeskinbedroom. Aahh...luxury.

Josh and Mo played tic-tac-toe today, and Morgan was using Granny Weatherwax-style headology on him. Good girl. You'll be a fine tu'penny-ha'penny hedge witch someday kiddo...just like your ol' ma.

...it seems like I'm just ramble-spouting now, you're right. For once, I'm more or less at peace with the world, myself and my current place in it. Reading Tom Robbins. Preparing to play a fortune-telling superhero gypsy. This whole Iraq-North Korea thing? Fuggedaboudit. Not worth mentioning. More of the same gaseous rumblings from the rest of the more-or-less civilized world. Ha ha, ho ho and hee hee.

It's officially six months today.

...a cat's-eye glare, eyes on fire
to pools of deepest amber
I've circled my castle around with briar
still you have found my chamber


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