Nymphomania and the Oversexed Woman

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“Oh my God!” she exclaimed, “She’s such a slut!”

“Be careful how you use that term,” I said, getting way too philosophical for such an early Sunday morning. “It’s a fine term if you’re using it subversively, but if you mean it in the way that patriarchy has intended it then. . .”

“What the hell are you talking about?”

“Yeah, I guess it is too early for this. I’m beginning to sound like Lo. You’re right. She’s a slut, but she’s my slut and I love her.”

Not long after I said this, Lo staggered up the stairs.

Lo and I said our good-byes and hopped in the car before most of the other party-goers had woken from their slumbers.

On the way home Lo asked about my conversation with Erin. I told her about it and again she too put the question to me, “Daddy, do you think I’m a slut?”

“Yes, Lo, I do.”

“Good.”

When we got home we took a long hot bath together and then we got into bed, hung-over, tired, and ready to collapse.

Lo held me close and she asked me, “Daddy, do you think I’m a nympho?”

I was contemplating the question and before I formulated an answer, Lo had already fallen asleep.

I slept too, for a little while, but I got up and something about the strange weekend on the beach, the party, all of Erin’s persnickety questions, and Lo’s quiet wondering as she drifted off got me thinking again about that touchstone (if outdated, prejudiced, paternalistic, patronizing, and profoundly benighted) book, Nymphomania: a Study of the Oversexed Woman, by Albert Ellis and Edward Sagarin. I grabbed the book off my shelf and read the last few pages again:

A few women seem to reject social condemnation, and hold high self-esteem while asserting their rights to a free sex life. For these women, one writer (Hirsch, Arthur H., The Love Elite, New York, Julian Press, 1963) utilizes the phrase, ‘the love elite.’ A woman who belongs to this group, Hirsch contends, understands that she is free; and the love elite woman is capable of accepting responsibility with freedom. She makes her own distinction between the rational and irrational demands of society:

In love and in sexual relationships she demands to be free. She has asserted her equality with the man — has rejected once and for all an inferior ‘second sex’ status. She accepts no authority determining her use of her body or mind. Her affections and her intimacies henceforth will be freely bestowed — or not bestowed at all.

Thus she is sometimes at odds with society’s values — values still based upon a time when woman was subordinate. Because she has gone beyond society’s values — truly risen above them — her ‘indiscretions’ may lead her into difficulties. But if difficulties arise, they are less catastrophic because she knows, or believes that the values of society — not her own — are at fault.

America and the Western world must still make long strides toward the emancipation of women. Such emancipation will not exist until a female has the right to choose to have lovers as a man so chooses, and until she lives in a group that does not inflict upon her the notion that she is a fallen woman when she loves freely.

A few women suffer from nymphomania or compulsive promiscuity. But many many more suffer from lack of sexual freedom, from condemnation of their free lives, and from pressures to survive and retain a healthy self-image in an unegalitarian atmosphere. When sexually alive women are fully accepted, and are not considered over-sexed trollops, much of the anguish will be relieved. This will be a great stride toward implementing the progress made in the last century in regard to economic and political liberation of woman.

As I reread this uncharacteristically insightful passage, I thought about Lo and Erin. I also wondered why this Arthur Hirsch and his book, The Love Elite, is nowhere to be found. I’ve done extensive research and have yet to get my hands on it. Is it a conspiracy? While pondering these things, Lo sauntered into the living room, naked, and curled up next to me and snuggled under the throw. She saw the book in my hands. I read the passage to her and said in response to her question, “Lo, to some you might be a nympho, but to me you really are an example par excellence of the love elite.”

[Excerpt from “The Love Elite” found on mysexlifewithlola.com]

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Just your average nymphomaniac next door. I love fan mail: downloladown@gmail.com

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