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“Well, what does sex mean to you?” he asked. I laughed. Kyle repeated the question, “Seriously,” he said.

We were young and 20, saddled up next to each other in my twin bed. The metallic frame chirped as he propped up on his elbow and stared at me. I stared at my ceiling, the textured drywall, the swirls in pale green. My bedroom in Pittsburgh was different from my bedroom at home where my mother and I had painted the walls a bluish green, sycamore.

“You’re tense,” Kyle said and then began typing his coarse fingers along my forearm. When I took his hand in mine and guided him to softer longer strokes, he pressed harder.

It was only our second date but I felt as if I were always playacting with Kyle, like I had to adhere to a script. In the past, when I’d told people that I had never had sex before (not for religious reasons, just because), it was never a big deal. But Kyle seemed to think that it was, which was why we had stopped. It made me nervous. I had sprung it on him; that much was true. Surely, I owed him that. More… “Geography”

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I couldn’t figure out why I was having such a hard time concentrating on Daphne Gottleib’s anthology Fucking Daphne. Instead of writing her sex memoir, Gottleib asked the men and women from her past to write it for her. The result is a collection of true stories and fantasies about her sexual past, and I was bored out of my mind. There was certainly enough that should have kept me interested — Daphne fucking in a cemetery, Daphne choking a man in a San Francisco bathroom, Daphne sleeping with the girls in her writing class. Then halfway through the book, Colin Frangos used his contribution to refuse to participate. He explains:

I’m not against sex, or even sexy stories. But it pales in comparison with the excitement of discovering what it means to be alive and under your… More…

As if it wasn’t bad enough being born a feudal peasant. Not only did you have to put up with a lifetime of squalor, toil, and gruel, but your landlord would elbow in on your wedding night. Before any peasant marriage could be consummated — so legend holds — the blushing bride had to be delivered up to the castle, where she would be forced to sacrifice her virginity to the brutish master. Often referred to as the droit de seigneur, or seigneurial right (although more properly called the ius prima noctae — the “right to the first night”), this custom has been denounced for centuries in romance novels, operas, and Hollywood films including Mel Gibson’s Braveheart as a symbol of medieval barbarism. But there has long been doubt as to whether the lurid marriage rite ever existed.

One diligent French scholar named Alain Boureau has gone through the evidence piece… More…