I could be at a quilting fair and inevitably I would be standing with my back pressed against some batting, discussing the finer points of someone’s sex life.

The Doctor Is In by Nikol Hasler

Photo by Kat Berger

“People really do these things?” She whispers as she barely grazes a pink glitter strap-on with her fingertips and I consider a three pack of the new vibrating condoms on the market. I can’t see much point to getting them in flavored, as a vibration in the throat seems less than comfortable. This shop, which is less than half a mile from my house, carries only a tiny taste of what is available on the toy market, but their movie rentals span a sizeable warehouse with all sorts of specialty genres. Having not even made it past the edible lingerie, I am reconsidering our day trip and thinking we should get only the essentials and get the heck out.

She had been cutting my hair in my kitchen when the subject came up, as it always seems to with me. I’m not complaining, really. I don’t mind hearing about how difficult it has been to get the new girlfriend to really let go of her inhibitions. I am genuinely interested in the way certain positions seem to cause my friend a lot of abdominal cramping. I don’t bat an eye when the voices lower and I am on the receiving end of classified nakie-time information. It’s only when I consider that I am the only one that these people talk to this way that I start to wonder what it means about me.

I used to beat myself up over it. I would come away from a girl’s day out at the antique stores, having freshly discussed the alarming raise in the instance in STIs in middle schools and this old, nun voice would creep up on me. “There you go again! You harlot!” fussy old Sister Stodge would lay into me. But then the sister would have her own questions about masturbation. Even the characters chastising me in my head really just wanted to dish about the one subject I seem to just draw people into a comfort zone over.

I am a total sex geek. I’m not a know-it-all, and I’m so tired of defending myself against the uppity folks who believe one ought to have an education in something before opening one’s mouth, but that isn’t to say that I am not learning new things all the time, or that I have a foot in the door of the sex industry. All I am is a woman with an interest and the ability to get people to say things out loud that they usually keep clammed up in their panty drawers.

“Yes, people do these things,” I say.

I smile, handing her a pair of crotchless panties as her eyes widen and she carefully tests the openings of panties on hangers. As a freshly married recent graduate of a Christian Missionary College, I expect more resistance to the items I put into her hands. Had we not just discussed the effects that her new medications are having on her libido, and had her mother not called her twice in the last hour to see if she is making a grandbaby yet, that resistance might have come.

That night, as I settle in with my stack of reference materials in search of the best way to help fluffybutterfly92 in Middle of Nowhere, America, figure out why her boyfriend can’t seem to keep an erection, I wonder about my friend as she tries on her new attire for her husband. Am I just some pervert in her eyes now? Will things be strained next time we get together for coffee? Was she just being polite by joining me at the store, and what was is like for her to see me in my element, recommending the kind of lubricants that would help her create lubricant of her own? I don’t have to sit long with those thoughts before my phone is flashing a new text message.

“When do we go back? He likes the socks with the bows!”

I adjust my glasses on my nose, pat myself on the back, and think there may be a place for a bad girl like me after all. *

Nikol Hasler, mother of three recently transplanted to New York City, is a sex geek because she feels uncomfortable talking about anything other than sex. MTSS

Kat Berger is photographer in Milwaukee and is a geek for roller derby because she likes to skate and tackle. ellagraph.com