Your answer to this question could spare some colleagues a lot of arguing. The husband in question had been requesting sex twice daily, mornings and evenings, and was able to keep that up for more than a year. His wife was not thrilled by all the activity but wanted to keep him happy and so went along with it. Finally, soreness and a few urinary-tract infections prompted her to request a less frequent sex life. They came close to splitting up over that, but he relented and scaled down his demands. The problem is that he now tells anyone who will listen that he isn't "getting anything anymore." His wife replies that two or three times a week should be quite sufficient for a couple in their late 20s to early 30s and that twice a day, as before, is a very high frequency for any couple, irrespective of age.
I have seen data regarding sexual frequency, and you have often stated that absolute numbers are nonsense, because people should do what is mutually enjoyable and not what some book says is normal. A word from you stating that intercourse twice a day is not in the normal range (it certainly is not for anyone we know or have heard of) might get our subject husband off his wife's back on this issue. Unless he is putting on a pretty good act, he really seems to believe that everyone under 30 is doing it twice a day and that he is deprived.--G. M., Washington, D.C.
During the Seventies, sex researchers pretty much nailed sex in terms of numbers. One study asked men how frequently they desired sex. The results: Thirteen percent wanted sex more than once a day; 26 percent wanted it five to seven times a week; 35 percent wanted it three or four times a week; 18 percent wanted it once or twice a week; six percent wanted it two or three times a month; two percent wanted it once a month or less. (The rest of the sample was dead.) A separate study asked women how frequently they desired sex: Thirty percent wanted it once a day or more; 16 percent wanted it three to five times a week; 16 percent wanted it two or three times a week; 15 percent, once or twice a week; one percent, three or four times a month; seven percent simply answered "often" and nine percent said it varied. We tend to rely on numbers when they show the variety of human sexual behavior, not when they indicate norms. Why would anyone want to be normal?
My father tells me there was a time when people used to trade in their old cars after about three years. He says it was due to planned obsolescence. But I've noticed more and more old cars on the road. Are people now trading in with the same frequency as they used to?--A. S., Hartford, Connecticut.
We're sure the spirit is willing, but the dollar is weak these days. People are hanging on to their cars a lot longer now. The average age of a U. S. car in 1980 was six and a half years, and that age is supposed to rise over the next few years. Of course, that six and a half years means that the cars are still on the streets, not that they're still running well.
A few months ago, my friends and I caught Personal Best (and thanks for that picture of Mariel Hemingway in the April Playboy). Our question is this: How did Robert Towne persuade two totally heterosexual ladies to engage in a love scene? I've been trying to get women to do that for years. What was his secret?--F. S., San Diego, California.
Sex advice is where you find it. In an interview with a film critic, director Towne gave his formula: "We prepared in a very special way for those scenes, using a lot of rehearsal and improvisation. And on the day we shot . . . the preparation was all physical. From six in the morning until one in the afternoon, I had them both massaged constantly, to relax them. Then into the steam room. Then into the [whirlpool bath]. Then back to the massage. I told the masseurs to stimulate them erotically, not obviously. When they came onto the set, they were almost giddy. I had them sip half a glass of beer through a straw, to oxygenate the alcohol. They got giddier. During the scene, which I encouraged them to play as loosely and naturally as possible, I even played Boz Scaggs music to them through tiny earphones. I think the scene feels natural." Ah, Hollywood.
I have just purchased a complete new stereo outfit to the tune of $1500. What can you tell me about the effects, good or bad, of hanging the turntable and the speakers from the ceiling? Every-body I ask has a different opinion.--C. F. N., Wichita, Kansas.
Hanging a turntable from the ceiling is a good way to eliminate vibration and shock effects from squeaky floors as well as a lot of foot thumping in the vicinity. The usual method is to cradle the turntable by means of stout ropes crisscrossed under the mounting base and securely fastened to the ceiling. Hanging speakers from the ceiling is one way to save floor space and also get good sound dispersion. For that, use strong chains. Of course, with either of those setups, you will have to cope with the problem of exposed wires, but it may be worth it.
Last spring, the people I work with celebrated a communal birthday party. It turned out that half the office had been born in March. Our resident wit suggested that our parents thought about sex only in the summer; old Maude would get into a bathing suit and Fred would get ideas. Is there any evidence to suggest that summer is the season for sex?--J. R., Chicago, Illinois.
Albert B. Gerber, in "The Book of Sex Lists," gives six factors to indicate that the peak season for sexual activity is late summer and early autumn: "I. A study of birth records shows a very high percentage of babies are conceived in July, August and September. 2. Rape statistics show a peak in the months of July and August. 3. Public-health statistics show that gonorrhea peaks in August. 4. New cases of syphilis (the disease takes six to eight weeks to show) peak in November and December. 5. Sales of condoms peak in late July and early August. 6. Testosterone in the human body peaks in September." There you have it. Personally, we think it's the bathing suits.
I'm one of those people who just do not like to exercise. I don't know what it is: I just hate being tired and sweaty. My problem is that I also like to keep fit. So what I'd like to know is: What is the minimum amount of exercise I'd have to do to keep in reasonably good shape?--L. D., Milwaukee, Wisconsin.
Assuming that all your nutritional needs are being met and that your muscularity is where you want it to be, we can define good shape as cardiovascular fitness. That is, getting to a point where your body can work without overtaxing your heart and lung capacity. Then you are talking about engaging in rhythmic, continuous exercise at least three times a week, preferably on alternate days, for at least 15--30 minutes per session. The exercise you do should be sufficient to raise your heartbeat (pulse) to a level 65 to 85 percent of its anticipated maximum. Subtracting your age from 220 will give you your maximum. Rest periods during the 15--30 minutes are allowed, but don't count them as exercise time. Rhythmic, continuous exercise means such activities as jogging, swimming or bicycling. It does not mean golf or such a stop-and-go sport as tennis, which requires longer to achieve the same effect.
At a recent restaurant dinner party, an acquaintance of mine embarrassed all of us at the table by returning three bottles of wine. Each time, he had a different complaint; one had a "gritty" taste, another was "too sweet." This was a very good restaurant and the waiter did not complain or bill us for those bottles, but still I think my acquaintance was out of line. What do you say?--P. O., New York, New York.
You're lucky that the three extra bottles of wine weren't on the bill. There are only two reasons to return a bottle of wine: one, if the wine is brought already opened; two, if the wine has turned to vinegar. If your grandstanding friend didn't know what he was ordering, he should have left the job to someone else, such as the sommelier, rather than turn a simple cork-sniffing ritual into a fullblown wine tasting. Some people go their whole lives without ever returning a bottle of wine. Three in one night says more about the taste of the man than about the quality of the wine.
I took up bowling about a year ago, more for the social aspects than to become an expert. However, I find I'm pretty good at it. The problem is that I seem to be better on some lanes than on others. I thought all bowling alleys had to be constructed the same, so what accounts for the difference?--R. B., Indianapolis, Indiana.
Discounting the beer-per-frame factor and the short-skirt-in-the-far-lane factor, you may have run into some of the "sweetened" alleys found on the amateur circuit. It seems that alley owners often find it a good business practice to oil the centers of their lanes to guide the ball into the pocket. Higher scores result in return business. And if the oil doesn't do the job, some have been known to trim three or four ounces off the weight of the pins for a little more action. This is common throughout the industry but only on the amateur level. When you make it to the pros, the officials make sure that the alleys are up to snuff and the pins are the proper weight.
My girlfriend and I are having a small lovers' quarrel. She says that when we have sex, whoever's on top ends up working harder. As proof, she cites the traditional advice that doctors give male heart patients--let the woman mount the man. not vice versa. It seems to me that both positions are about equal. What do you say?--E. C., Detroit, Michigan.
Well, for one thing, we tend not to view it as work--whoever's on top. As for the free medical advice, that may be based on a misconception. A team of researchers studied the pulse rates and blood pressure of couples making love. Their findings: "With the man on top, mean maximal heart rate was 114 beats per minute. With the man on bottom, it was 117 [a level comparable to climbing several flights of steps]. With man on top, mean maximal blood pressure was 163/81 mm Hg; with man on bottom, it was 161/77 mm Hg. The lack of significant differences suggests that either position might be satisfactory for the postcoronary patient." If you are looking for a way to settle the argument, adopt the following rule: The first person to hit the mattress gets to play the woman.
I've seen many turntables advertised as having low-mass tonearms, yet the arms look as heavy as any others to me. Are they supposed to be made of a special material, or have I misunderstood the term low mass?--L. B., Little Rock, Arkansas.
The term mass as it applies to tonearms means, essentially, effective mass, or the weight of the tonearm on the pivot. It has more to do with geometry than with actual weight, since the effective mass can be changed by changing the point of the pivot. Having a low-mass tonearm is not significant in itself, since the weight of the tonearm must be added to the weight of the ridge; the total will change the effective mass of the whole system. The real secret is in matching cartridge with tonearm. Most of today's better cartridges are of the high-compliance type and are suited to lowmass tonearms. Match them and fear not.
Despite the fact that I exercise regularly, my muscles are always sore the day after. I've heard that using a heat rub before exercising can help loosen them up. Is that a good idea? Is there anything else I can do to help relieve the soreness?--M. P., Atlanta, Georgia.
Pushing your body beyond its normal day-to-day activities will result in some soreness, no matter what kind of shape you're in. Weight lifters consider it a normal part of their sport, saying, "No pain, no gain." Heat rubs may help you warm up faster, but they can also fool you. You may not be as warm as you feel. If tendons and ligaments aren't sufficiently stretched, you can easily find yourself in the fetal position. In addition to warm-ups before exercise, fitness experts also recommend that you do a good bit of stretching after exercise. It can help to cut down on morning-after pains.
I have been following with great interest your series of letters on fellatio, since receiving a good blow job is by far my preferred sexual activity. While the letters have addressed many aspects of good fellatio, none has talked about the good old "deep throat." While I have never seen the movie or experienced the technique, I have had many a fantasy of my partner's performing deep throat on me. I have not yet broached the issue with her and feel I need some information before I do. First, is it a real technique or is it just "movie stuff"? If it is real, how does one go about learning to perform deep throat? I would suspect that much systematic practice of specific graded steps is required. Moreover, I would guess that you have to have a good idea of what you're doing so that nobody accidentally gets hurt or scared, gasping for air.--R. N., Huntsville, Alabama.
When "Deep Throat" first came out, we consulted a professional sword swallowed--who swallowed real swords--for his tips. Here is the advice we gave a woman writer almost nine years ago (my, how time flies when you're having fun): "1. Throw your head back as far as it will go. This opens up the throat and allows you to accept an elongated object without gagging. Lying on your back with your head over the edge of a bed is the most comfortable way to maintain this position. 2. Hold your breath (impractical in this context; we suggest you breathe through your nose. Linda Lovelace says she breathes around the penis on the outstroke). 3. Practice with a blunt object before you try a real sword. (Linda says it was three weeks before she believed she could eat the whole thing.)"
All reasonable questions--from fashion, food and drink, stereo and sports cars to dating dilemmas, taste and etiquette--will be personally answered if the writer includes a stamped, self-addressed envelope. Send all letters to The Playboy Advisor, Playboy Building, 919 N. Michigan Avenue, Chicago, Illinois 60611. The most provocative, pertinent queries will be presented on these pages each month.