The Yellow Notebook
Sex. The difficulty of writing about sex, for women, is that sex is best when not thought about, not analysed. Women deliberately choose not to think about technical sex. They get irritable when men talk technically, it’s out of self-preservation: they want to preserve the spontaneous emotion that is essential for their satisfaction.
Sex is essentially emotional for women. How many times has that been written? And yet there’s always a point even with the most perceptive and intelligent man, when a woman looks at him across a gulf: he hasn’t understood; she suddenly feels alone; hastens to forget the moment, because if she doesn’t she would have to think. Julia, myself and Bob sitting in her kitchen gossiping. Bob telling a story about the break-up of a marriage. He says: ‘The trouble was sex. Poor bastard, he’s got a prick the size of a needle.’ Julia: ‘I always thought she didn’t love him.’ Bob, thinking she hadn’t heard: ‘No, it’s always worried him stiff, he’s just got a small one.’ Julia: ‘But she never did love him, anyone could see that just by looking at them together.’ Bob, a bit impatient now: ‘It’s not their fault, poor idiots, nature was against the whole thing from the start.’ Julia: ‘Of course it’s her fault. She should never have married him if she didn’t love him.’ Bob, irritated because of her stupidity, begins a long technical explanation, while she looks at me, sighs, smiles and shrugs. A few minutes later, as he persists, she cuts him off short with a bad-tempered joke, won’t let him go on.
As for me, Anna, it was a remarkable fact that until I sat down to write about it, I never analysed how sex was between myself and Michael. Yet there was a perfectly clear development during the five years, which shows in my memory like a curving line on a graph.
When Ella first made love with Paul, during the first few months, what set the seal on the fact she loved him, and made it possible for her to use the word, was that she immediately experienced orgasm. Vaginal orgasm, that is. And she could not have experienced it if she had not loved him. It is the orgasm that is created by the man’s need for a woman, and his confidence in that need.