Wake-up call from a naughty mommy
THERE'S something odd about discussing sex over the telephone with a complete stranger at 8 in the morning. Odd, and slightly naughty.
But I remind myself that I am a professional. And if there is sex to be discussed, then I'm the guy to do it, regardless of what time it is.
"Vacation sex is always the best because there's no dishes," says Heidi Raykeil, who incidentally is on vacation on the Big Island at the time of the call. Now the conversation is on the verge of getting very naughty because, frankly, nothing is quite as big of a turn-on as having no dirty dishes.
Raykeil is used to being naughty. She even wrote a book about it called "Confessions of a Naughty Mommy," which is why I'm talking to her. It's important for us to talk about sex together because, in the world of column writing, it's what we pros call "a quickie." A titillating column based on a single phone call. It doesn't get any easier than that except when the state Legislature is in session.
Heidi's reason for talking to me is to push her book and, I suppose, be able to write off her trip to the Big Island as a professional tax deduction.
OK. So I'm being used. But it's not like there are any whips and handcuffs involved. Alas.
HEIDI is something of a tease because as much as the title of her book suggests a literary version of the TV show "Desperate Housewives," it's actually an account of how she lost her libido after giving birth to her daughter four years ago and then found it again. It was under the couch, with a baby rattle and the TV remote control. Actually, she found her libido on the Internet, where she began an online column called "Sex and the Suburbs." Writing under the pen name the Naughty Mommy, Heidi discussed the impact having a child has on a married couple's sex life and was surprised at how many people, husbands and wives, joined in the conversation.
I try to think how I would feel if my wife discussed our sex life on the Internet. I bet Heidi's husband was thrilled with her splashing her lack of libido all over creation.
"When I first started writing a column online, he chose not to read it, he didn't want me to censor myself," she said. "He ended up getting a lot more action out of the whole thing. He was pretty happy with the end result."
I blushed, but since it was a phone call, she couldn't tell. See, the thing is, her husband, J.B. (those are his real initials), had no problem in the libido department. His libido was strong as a stallion. It was she who was pooped all the time from taking care of little Ramona.
AFTER discussing sex drive-related issues with several hundred strangers over the Internet, Heidi had an epiphany: "I need to get money from all these guys."
I made that up. What she really thought was that if libido loss is that big a problem with couples with newborns, maybe she should write a book about it. And she did. The publication of "Confessions of a Naughty Mommy" initially was met with energetic and widespread indifference. But then she ended up on the "Today" show discussing her lost-and-found libido with Ann Curry (Katie Couric doesn't do libidos), and the book immediately moved from 79,000th on the Amazon best-seller list to 25th.
Our conversation was edging dangerously away from sex talk, and so I snapped it back into place, asking about life in Seattle, where she lives.
"Swinging is big in Seattle," she said. "There are key parties."
Now we're talking! Key parties, for those of you too young to know, were popular in the 1960s. You go to a party, and everyone puts their car keys in a bowl. At the end of the party, keys are drawn at random, and wives go home with whomever's keys they draw. Seattle had about 75 days of rain in a row recently, which could explain the need for diversions such as key parties.
But Heidi, despite her "naughty mommy" title, doesn't engage in such frivolities. Her thing is to help married couples regain their sex lives without bringing in other players off the bench.
I could tell you all the hot hints she has for keeping a marriage fun, but then you wouldn't buy the book or read her columns at the Web site literarymama.com.
My call with Heidi ended. She hit the beach while I had a cup of coffee and felt a vague need for a cigarette.
, the National Society of Newspaper Columnists' 2004 First Place Award winner for humor writing, appears Sundays, Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays. E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org