Sex Tips From Male Novelists

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Vivienne Woodward


Vivienne Woodward lives in Philly and works as the events coordinator for an indie bookstore. She can often be found drinking too much coffee in the sunny spot on her couch and over-identifying with fictional characters. She enjoys collecting hobbies, dancing to radio pop, and rearranging the book stacks on her side tables.

Hear ye, hear ye, young ladies of Christmas present! This holiday season, are you looking to recreate the romance of a pre-internet age? Let us take a visit to wordsmiths of Christmas past for a reminder of some of the classic sex tips of yore. Take heed, young lasses, of these timeless lessons from some of our literary forebears.


On female desire:

“But when a woman decides to sleep with a man, there is no wall she will not scale, no fortress she will not destroy, no moral consideration she will not ignore at its very root: there is no God worth worrying about.”

―Gabriel García Márquez, Love in the Time of Cholera

On being prepared:

“Sex, whatever else it is, is an athletic skill. The more you practice, the more you can, the more you want to, the more you enjoy it, the less it tires you.”

―Robert A. Heinlein, The Cat Who Walks Through Walls

On foreplay:

“You keep runnin’ that mouth and I’m goin’ to take you back there and screw you.”

―Cormac McCarthy, No Country for Old Men

On pornography:

“A perverse nature can be stimulated by anything. Any book can be used as a pornographic instrument, even a great work of literature if the mind that so uses it is off-balance.”

―Anthony Burgess, A Clockwork Orange

On fetishes:

“Of all sexual aberrations, chastity is the strangest.”

―Anatole France

On dry spells:

“It’s all overrated, man. Sex is only a great thing if you’re not getting any.”

―Charles Bukowski

On safe sex:

“I believe if men could fuck with warm hearts, and the women take it warm-heartedly, everything would come all right. It’s all this cold-hearted fucking that is death and idiocy.”

―D.H. Lawrence, Lady Chatterley’s Lover

On how to be appealing to men:

“I love doubt in a woman. It’s nearly as sexy as determination.”

―Irvine Welsh, Filth

On fear and intimacy:

“Alas! the love of women! it is known To be a lovely and a fearful thing.”

―Lord Byron

On whether men and women can be friends:

“A woman can become a man’s friend only in the following stages—first an acquaintance, next a mistress, and only then a friend.”

―Anton Chekhov, Uncle Vanya*

That seems extreme, anyone else care to weigh?

“Love between man and man is impossible because there must not be sexual intercourse and friendship between man and woman is impossible because there must be sexual intercourse.”

―James Joyce, Dubliners

On sexually transmitted diseases:

“Like all real heroes, Charley had a fatal flaw. He refused to believe that he had gonorrhea, whereas the truth was that he did.”

―Kurt Vonnegut, God Bless You, Mr. Rosewater

On using sex as a weapon:

“When you make love to a woman, you get revenge for all the things that defeated you in life.”

―Philip Roth, The Dying Animal


There you have it, ladies! Go forth and prosper in all future sexual endeavors with this baker’s dozen of sex tips from none other than some of our greatest male novelists.

*Ed.’s Note: Fixed to correctly attribute the quote to Uncle Vanya (not Three Sisters)