When did couples start yapping about their sex lives at cocktail parties?
Not long ago, I was having lunch at the Palm with two girlfriends when half of a well-known Rittenhouse Square couple stopped by the table. Soon, he had squeezed himself into the banquette next to us, and began talking about a recent weekend spent at his favorite country hotel. “We had to book a cottage, the farthest one from the main inn,” he said with a matter-of-fact leer. “My wife’s a screamer!”
My eyes popped out of my head, and I almost choked on my Gigi Salad. Since when is recounting details of your sex life — the sex you actually have, not others’ potential between-the-sheets endeavors — appropriate lunchtime conversation with someone you barely know? Not only did I leave the Palm with the image of the couple’s canopy-bedded exertions burned into my cortex, I realized in subsequent weeks that lots of couples are serving up their own pervy details at breakfast, cocktails and dinners. Is this subject now coed-approved?
My gay friends who live in Center City occasionally wander down a penis-filled memory lane when they reminisce fondly about 12th-and-Spruce threesomes and field trips to New York City bathhouses circa 1973. It’s usually funny — and enlightening — but when they get to brass tacks (at a window table at Rouge), I get vaguely hysterical. Still, I expect it from them. But when parents from Blue Bell dish about their copulatory feats, it’s shocking. One husband recently lauded his wife’s new implants at a birthday party, and a couple shared porno-ish pictures of themselves cavorting in a billowing-curtained suite in the Caribbean. My friend Kathy knows a couple who have explained way too much about their predilection for dressing up as babies, then rolling around on the floor with baby bottles before getting it on. “Blankets are involved,” she says. “And toys.”
“Sometimes conversations lead to bragging — or exaggerating,” says my friend Maurice, who suspects that wine-fueled we’re-so-hot-in-bed couple-talk is mostly apocryphal. I wondered this myself when, at a recent charity event, someone I’d met once before told my husband John and me: “We just went to Paris and it rained all week, so we ate and drank the whole time. And had SO MUCH sex!” In a strange way, though, I kind of admired her openness. Maybe in the age of reality television and Us Weekly, we should all aspire to complete frankness, since we’re lapping it up so eagerly when it comes to celebrities. There’s something freeing about just putting it all out there, I thought hopefully. And it’s a time-honored topic — if you believe HBO, it’s all they talked about in ancient Rome and Elizabethan England.
That said, this all came way too close to home one day when, over a chardonnay at an event at a friend’s house, John whispered something ribald about us to an acquaintance of ours. I almost passed out, and wailed in the car home: “You can’t talk about our sex life at brunch.” I may have gotten used to all the lurid information floating my way, but I’m way too uptight to start dishing it out myself.