Toronto Sun

No sex please, I’m British

Valerie Gibson takes her sister to the launch of a book about sex … Oh my!

Toronto Sun, June 27, 2004


Eeek! I squeak, looking up at the writhing images flickering on the bare wall. I grab my sister by the shoulders and turn her sharply around.

Don’t think you’ll want to see this, I smile reassuringly.

She looks perplexed and tries to peer past my shoulders.

What is it that I don’t want to see, she asks a bit sharply?

I decide to be blunt. Um. Porn. I say. A porn movie. Life-size images of people, er, having sex.

I lean closer to her, curious. Have you ever actually seen a porn movie, I ask? Although I already know the answer. My older sister is lots of fun but is, perhaps oddly, considering the life I’ve led and the job I do, very conservative and very prim and proper, especially when it comes to sexual matters. Don’t ask me how that happened.

She sniffs. No, I haven’t and, you’re right, I don’t want to either, and parks herself with her wine against a bar table around the corner from the images.

I sigh. Think it was a mistake bringing her to this. Should have known it would be raw and raunchy.

We are, after all, at the launch for Josey Vogels’ new book Bedside Manners: Sex Etiquette Made Easy , HarperCollins. And Montrealer Josey, now Toronto-based, is a syndicated sex columnist and a very outspoken, frank gal when it comes to matters sexual. A modest approach isn’t her style.

My sister notes that as Josey swings by wearing a huge sparkling neck choker spelling out S-E-X and in a push-up bustier that has her considerable assets spilling out of it.

Heh, heh. My kinda gal.

My sister, however, snorts. She needs to find something that fits her properly, she says.

A bevy of Queen Street West trendies in boots and black drift by. We’re at The Drake Hotel on Queen Street West and I had told my sister, on a visit from England, that this was the new hot and happening spot in T.O. Very funky I said.

Should have known “hot, happening and funky” aren’t exactly words found in her elegant English town vocabulary.

She’s already bemoaning the lack of hors d’oeuvres and wondering aloud what the young, half-naked girl was carrying around in a tray hung around her neck. Were they edible?

No. They’re condoms, I reply. Her eyebrows shoot up.

Very important and sensible ‘cos it promotes safe sex, I point out hastily, adding that giving them away is a very common practice today. I tell her I also gave away condoms on the Cougar Cruise I hosted last year on the lake. I ignore her frown. Gad. The naughty kid sister syndrome again.

But, hey, we’re here because of the book. Let’s check it out.

Vogels has already written four books on relationships, dating and sex and the latest one is intended to fill a gap in these sexually confusing, and frequently mannerless, times.

Let’s face it, good behaviour in the bedroom or in any sexual situation is essential but not always available. And times — and sexual rules — have changed a lot in recent years.

For instance, do you know the basic rules for one-night stands? Or oral sex? Or for a threesome? Or ex-sex?

How about swinging (The Lifestyle), polyamory (multiple relationships but emotionally monogamous to one) or gay and bisexual bedside manners?

Or just plain ‘when do you have sex with a new date?’

Vogels seems to know all the answers and no matter what question your fevered brain might think up in the often murky world of sexual behaviour, she gives blunt, clear and straightforward advice. What’s more, it’s in no-holds barred sexual language (this isn’t Miss Manners and, no, there aren’t any illustrations …).

Read this and you’ll not only be a well-mannered lover, you’ll be able to say you’re truly sexually hip.

Like to see the book, I ask my sister?

Nothing there I need to know for my life, she replies firmly. My turn to raise an eyebrow but she doesn’t elucidate. Pity.

Vogels is by this time setting up for a pilot performance of a “sex variety show” on the Drake’s stage — the next step for television, she says, after hosting her past TV series My Messy Bedroom where Vogels talked down’n’dirty sex with friends.

Time to go, says sis, purposefully leading the way out.

I’ve learned sexual etiquette Rule No. 1. Steer the easily offended away from sex book launches.

Copyright (c) 2004, The Toronto Sun, Sun Media Corporation