Why you should care
Birds do it, bees do it, let’s do it…let’s talk about sex. Three stories from OZY on everyone’s favorite topic.
Decades before fantasy football, 40-year-old author Nancy Friday started her first book with her own football fantasy: a lurid description of a happenstance encounter with another fan under a blanket in a freezing stadium filled with a roaring crowd as legendary Colts quarterback Johnny Unitas storms the field toward the end zone, the blanket-bound horseplay escalating to a frenzied peak as Johnny U. breaks the goal line. Touchdown!
It’s hard to believe that not so long ago, the existence of a woman’s private sex life was a debatable proposition. That is until 1973, when Nancy Friday’s unabashedly erotic tome My Secret Garden forever transformed the unmentionable “prurient interests” of women into a legitimate female interest in the prurient.
Sex sells, particularly when you sell it yourself. Which is why, despite a flurry of brilliant fall books on the way from Hilton Als, Elizabeth Gilbert and Stephen King, the biggest trend on bookshelves is the post-coital reaction to E.L. James’ Fifty Shades of Grey. With 70 million copies sold worldwide, Fifty Shades is the fastest selling paperback of all time — and every publisher wants a piece of the action.
Beyond the implications for taste or what’s happening to the national libido, the market impact of Fifty Shade s goes hand-in-glove with the explosive growth of self-publishing. Which leads to what’s really kinky about this new trend: how it’s changed publishing.
The female condom is the only woman-initiated method that protects against both unwanted pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections like HIV. This is crucial in parts of the world where women don’t have as much negotiating power in sexual relationships — they don’t have to rely on men to take action. (The female condom may even offer extra protection on the STI front by covering part of the external genitalia.)
Outside of the developing world, people who are aware of female condoms at all tend to think of them as clinical curiosities. An informal survey of sex-savvy women drew responses mostly ranging from “Weird” and “Why?” to “Do they work?”, with only a few experienced voices declaring them “roomy” and “different.”
We have to wonder: Would a radical image makeover help bring female condoms more into the mainstream? If this were a tanking household product, what would corporate America do?