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October 29, 2011

Sex Quiz 2: The Reckoning





A pair of rabid cornholery enthusiasts,
at least in the World According to Gary


As you may recall, I shared my thoughts with you while going through a sex quiz in this very space a while back. Said quiz was presented by the estimable Tracy Clark-Flory at Salon.

Afterward, I badgered my old college friend Gary into taking the test as well so that we might compare scores. This is the same Gary that I so beguilingly fake-named “Cary” in my second memoir, Summer of Marv—the Cary who effortlessly smooth-talked girls all through college while I watched with the slack-jawed amazement of a primitive tribesman peering into the glow of a missionary’s Bic lighter.

Gary has also served as my primary sounding board during the writing of my books, has designed the covers of all of those books, and has served without complaint as the consiglieri of all things Muggins.

Here's all you need to know about the relationship of Gary and me: If I had ever gotten my skinny white ass on the old Who Wants to be a Millionaire show and had wavered on the answer to, say, “What punctuation mark is commonly used to introduce a list of items,” Gary is the friend I would have phoned at that time. And Gary would have promptly and confidently told me to choose “period,” and despite grave doubts (I am a writer of sorts, after all), I would have placed my total faith and confidence in him out of habit and gotten booted off before the first commercial, ever since which I would have taunted him as mercilessly as I have taunted him lo, these many years, over the hideous tuxedos that he forced me and two other friends to prophylacticize our bodies into for the privilege of standing next to him at his ill-fated wedding.

While Gary was always more polished and accomplished than I at the practice of sex, it turns out that I hold a slight edge on the theory of it—at least going by test scores. Finally, I had defeated him in a sex-related competition. But he wasn’t about to take this indignity lying down. He vigorously disputed some of Tracy’s official answers regarding the percentage of women who have dabbled in anal sex and masturbation and the feasibility of convincingly faking a male orgasm, among others--and don't get him started on the STD-related items.

Consequently, we agreed to meet on Facebook (where I am represented by the mysterious Carlotta Turcotte) to chat these burning issues through.

Here, then, is a transcript of that Clash of Titans.


Gary: Good Evening Carlotta. How are you?

Josh: Actually, this is Josh, horning in on Carlotta. Wow, are we actually chatting? It's my first time! I feel the urge to say something suitably auspicious and slumberous, like "Come here Watson--I need you!"

Gary: This thing can be slow and requires a little patience. By the way, I just heard an interview with William Bennett, Ph.D, who has a new book out, The Book of Man. Anti-Wussie.

Josh: THE William Bennett of The Book of Values fame and "Oh by the way—I'm a gambling addict" fame? I refuse to believe that he subtitled the thing "Anti-Wussie"...

Gary: He didn't. I said, something to that affect. Like the wussitude attitude.

Josh: Ah... Well, Bennett can go do his own book pub. Or, there are other things that I would suggest he go and do, but for the fact that I'm a wussie. We're here today to deconstruct the Sex Quiz recently presented by Tracy Clark-Flory at Salon and our respective answers to it. I want the world to know up front that you scored a miserable 11 out of 27 correct, while I trounced you with a thoroughly mediocre 14 out of 27. How do you account for this, Gary?

Gary: First, because the AIDS thing is not making a lot of headlines these days, and there's less hype about STDs, I didn't do well on those questions. Like, it's not top of [one's] mind anymore because you'd think if someone says he or she is okay, that means okay.

Second, I disagreed with a few questions. Come on. Every woman who I have known who has been married or in a serious relationship has tried anal sex. And certain kinds of anal sex play are accepted. So I think that percentage is wrong.

Josh: I'm tempted to plagiarize Dan Aykroyd and say "Gary, you ignorant slut." We were in our primes at the heyday of the AIDS Epidemic.* It was our generation's equivalent of the Big One, for heaven's sake. How could you NOT know that it usually takes several years for HIV symptoms to show up? I'm just glad I never let you have me...

Gary: AIDS at first was a gay and needle user worry. If you weren't, less chance of concern, so you didn't pay attention to those sorts of facts. Once, after having a few bouts of unprotected sex, I asked my doctor for a test and he asked if I was gay or a needle user, and I said no. He laughed and told me not to worry.

That's a straight guy’s excuse.

Josh: Well, you missed out on a lot of fun, sitting in the waiting rooms of clinics for your results..

.We both blew the one about the percent of women who've had anal sex, as well as the one which required us to estimate the percent of both men and women who have "never masturbated." So, your view is that women are underreporting their experience in both cases?

Gary: [Re anal sex,] yes. Most women will say they tried it but it hurts. Or did it once or twice for a man or woman who really put a spell on them.

[Re masturbating,] yes. You're in bed with a woman and you ask her to play with herself, and nine times out of ten, she will. Toys are huge these days and often toys are given names, like women like to name their men's penises.

Josh: [Sigh...] I'd forgotten how out-of-it and naive you're always capable of making me feel... I suppose that Survey Bias plays a big role in the way people answer these questions. (There's a [correct] scientific name for Survey Bias, but I'll look it up later. I mean, the tendency to answer questions in the way that the person likely to see the results WANTS you to answer them. **)

I mean, if you're a lady, and the person wielding the clipboard is Rick Santorum, you're probably going to deny just about everything, right?

Gary: Right. I didn't like the answer about abstinence because the fact is, it is taught in churches, on college campuses and in private schools. Government funding is not really required for 100 percent national teaching. It's done without it now.

That was a trick question.

Josh: Hmm... I was going to attack you on that item next, in fact. The answer choices for the abstinence-only education question consisted of four variations of "Yes it works" and one rather polemical "No, it doesn't." You know more about the funding aspect of it, so I guess I have to excuse your selection of an answer indicating that it works. I just thought that the answer was obvious because the correct one was so different from the others.

It's similar to the one about which group is the fastest-growing group with HIV. Four of the choices are just synonyms for "gay guys" and the other is "African-American women." So, duh.

Gary: The question asks for a definition of abstinence-only education. Not, do you agree or disagree, or if it is working or not. The questions was: What is it? Not, What is government doing?

Josh: Let's move on to an even more contentious issue. I refer to Item 7: "How many men have faked orgasm?" I chose 10 percent. Correct answer is 25%. You went with "None—dudes can't fake it and don't have to." So, which is it? They can't? Or just don't have to?

Gary: How really can a man fake an orgasm? There is a body fluid involved. After a man cums, usually a woman goes to the bathroom to clean/wipe herself. It's hard to imagine a man grunting and moaning and then jerking to fake it with nothing coming out. I trust most women will know if the man is faking it,

Josh: A-ha! We've stumbled onto a sexual area in which I am actually more experienced than you are. Don't ask me for details, but my instance involved Viagra and a condom. Moreover, I had achieved satisfaction not so long beforehand.

The thing with Viagra is that it will get you started but is no guarantee of getting you to the goal line. (Trying to think of an NFL QB that I can compare to Viagra in that regard, but I don't follow the sport that well any more.) Anyway, I want to continue the story but why don't you type something first?

Gary: You're too young to be taking Viagra if you're all stiff and no go. But, my hat’s off to you for your acting skills. I thought the porn question was a good one because it helps drive people to these websites. Me? I'm out of touch with the popular websites.

Josh: OK, I see. You don't want to hear the rest of my hilarious faking-a-male-orgasm anecdote. I have bored you, just as I bored my partner on that occasion when the intercourse just drearily went on and on and on...

But I don't have much time left for this chat and did want to touch on the websites. The correct answer to the most-visited porn site [question] was LiveJasmin.com, which neither of us got. So, you've never gone there, either?

Gary: No, but I'll check tonight since I am curious.

The question was like, do you drive a BMW, a Mercedes or a Jaguar, when in reality you drive a Chevy and there are a lot of Chevys out there. The writer maybe mentioned those Websites to have some sort of “in” with them.

Plus, porn is so niche-based these days that it's hard to imagine someone going to a general porn Website. You like handjob websites and can find them.

Josh: I don't know. I have more faith in Tracy than that... Evidently, at Live.Jasmin you can pay to have a lady do stuff for you on screen in real time. Frankly, it doesn't hold much allure for me.***

I've been fairly faithful to Asian Porn Movies in recent months. It's free, but they have the site rigged so that a separate window for one of their sponsors opens stealthily and automatically, behind the main window. As a result, you find yourself watching some benign Asian porn while you hear this screechy voice demanding that you get your credit card ready and make an appointment. "Who is this mean Caucasian lady, and why is she yelling at me??" It's very off-putting, IMHO.

Gary: One thing about the free websites is that the porn industry is losing money to them and there is a push for people to stop using them. The porn stars have bills to pay, families to feed, etc., and want to earn the income deserved from their sex acts for our pleasure.

Josh: Point taken. But I'm wary of paid sites because they usually set things up for automatic renewal payments at 3- or 6-month intervals rather than just sending you an expiration warning. And I find that sleazy.

Yes, it's the porn industry and all, but still: too sleazy.

Well, I've been doing all the questioning and shit-giving. As time winds down, do you have anything to wallop me with from your end?

Gary: Not really. I enjoyed taking the test and it will be helpful in future conversations, like dropping those little sexual tidbits that still make the ladies blush. It's all good.

Josh: Excellent. I'll throw an edited version of this up on my site sometime this weekend. You've proven an invaluable ally yet again, Gary! God bless you.

Josh, signing off--or whatever one says to end these things.

Gary: See you!




* In the actual chat, I typed “AIDS scare” here and almost immediately regretted it. Used as a noun, “scare” tends to connote some ginned-up paranoia that never had any basis in reality—cf. “the Red Scare” or “the Trump for President Scare.” AIDS, back in the Eighties and Nineties—and, indeed, today—was never a mere “Scare.” That was one egregious brainfart on my part, and I just had to edit it out of the transcript.

Apart from that change, all my edits of the chat transcript are mechanical—i.e., a cleansing of the grammar and spelling and such.




** It’s Response Bias, actually. But since you patronize this site, you probably already knew that.



*** As a description of LiveJasmin.com, that's probably about as on-the-mark as calling the Internet "a series of tubes." If you take nothing else away from this interview, remember the rule: Never trust a couple of old fellers to explain anything new to you.