|I’m reading The Kiss Quotient by Helen Hoang. First of all, if you like to read steamy sex scenes, I highly recommend this own voices book. Quick synopsis: Stella, a woman in her 30’s, has a great job, a home of her own and parents who are constantly urging her to get married. Stella has Aspergers syndrome and has had to learn how to act in social situations. She prefers sticking to her routine and is not a “people person”. Dating and sex are not enjoyable to her because she has only had an orgasm by herself. With the prospect of more fix ups and uncomfortable evenings, Stella decides to hire a male escort to teach her how to have sex. Just liked she learned how to have eye contact with people, she comes up with a plan and a curriculum to learn to have sex and relationships. Of course, Stella and Michael, the escort, develop real feelings for each other and the story goes on from there. No spoilers here…read the book.
Yes, this has the makings of another fairytale romance, Pretty Woman in reverse, Cinderella story, but this one is different and worth a read. Being on the autism spectrum, Stella has specific needs. She can’t deal with uninvited touch. Stella always tells the truth and says exactly what is on her mind. She has problems understanding social cues, making sexual advances a world of mystery to her. How does Michael, the escort, begin to teach Stella? Remember, he is being paid to make her feel good. It’s his job. He treats her gently, takes his time and focuses on her pleasure exclusively. Wow! Doesn’t that sound good!
This work of fiction says so much about how we are able to treat others. Presumably it should not take autism or paying for companions to set in motion concepts like consent, understanding, patience, support. However, when reading The Kiss Quotient, one is attracted to the juxtaposition of a male escort who has learned to turn off attraction and just do his job, and how that informs his sense of real care and understanding when faced with a woman who is uncertain about her own consent. Stella does not think it possible for her to enjoy sex. She believes it’s something she has to do so that she is able to find someone to marry and raise a family with. Is this her autism or do many women live their lives with these same feelings?
We are finally beginning to open up conversations about consent and pleasure from a woman’s point of view. This conversation is essential. We no longer accept strength and power as the winner in sexual connections. This is what we are fighting for at home, at work and at the polls. However, there are still so many women right here in the Unites States who have never achieved orgasm. They are taught to be satisfied with a partner who may support them and give them a family. Apparently, orgasms are just too much to ask. WRONG!!
It is time that we teach pleasure and consent to our children and to the many women struggling to find it. Let’s start with:
A partner is a person who listens, takes you for your word, has patience and understanding and mostly is available to learn and grow with you. If a partner isn’t interested in what pleases you, they are not really a partner. Bring it up, negotiate, find help in a coach or therapist or go away from the toxicity so that you are always moving towards pleasure.
- Pleasure is your birthright.
- Nobody knows your body better than you, so don’t rely on anyone else to tell you what should feel good.
- Even if you begin with Yes, you can say No anytime.
- Masturbation is healthy, normal and a good way to find out what pleases you so that you are able to share that important information with a partner.
The Kiss Quotient is fiction. It’s a story about love, sex and autism. But it is also a chance for us to see what it looks like when a relationship is nurtured with acceptance. I won’t tell you what happens and it isn’t really that important. What’s important is the spark of understanding, the value of tenderness and the steamy sex scenes certainly help focus your attention.