Finding the Doorbell


"What's all the buzz about? Finding the Doorbell is an honest and straightforward guide that is both easy and delightful to read."
— Chris F. Fariello
Director, Institute for Sex Therapy


The Best Medicine

by Edie Thys Morgan

Our first research mission for this book took us to our small-town bookstore where, upon leaving, I was relieved that none of our neighbors had seen us camped out in the sex section. As I passed the unusually long line of customers waiting at the register and was eyeing the door and a clean escape, I saw Cindy lean in toward the store manager: "Just thought you should know, the sex section is all out of order," she said softly. "What section?" he answered loudly, in a bid to liven up his morning. "The SEX SECTION!" she yelled, backing away as every head turned to look at us. Outside, she smiled an apology to my red cheeks. "Sorry, but I'm your medicine."

The inspiration for this book came from Cindy's one-woman show, "Finding the Doorbell," in which she describes, among many other intimate details, her first orgasm. The consequence of this event was not only her own sexual awakening, but also, with subsequent investigation, her realization of how few sexually active women were having orgasms on a regular basis. Cindy found this shocking, sad, and nearly criminal. Oh, the missed opportunities! Throughout her life, Cindy has devoted her energies to many things — sports, coaching, teaching, parenting, innkeeping — but her constant underlying mission has been to advocate for "better sex for the people." Not wilder sex or kinkier sex, but the kind of mutually fulfilling sex that brings couples the sense of connection we all crave. Given Cindy's complete lack of stage fright, together with her athletic, theatrical mode of storytelling, a one-woman show seemed the best way to deliver the message.

When it comes to everyday sex banter, Cindy and I are at opposite ends of the spectrum. Whereas she, the youngest of seven, grew up with too much exposure and information, my Puritanical upbringing included exactly zero communication about sex. Despite growing up in free-lovin' California, my vocabulary included "sex" only as it cropped up in the suffixes of distant New England towns. I managed, through two childbirths, to avoid saying the word vagina, ever. This is not to say I did not have or enjoy sex, I just didn't have the tools or the slightest motivation to talk about it. When Cindy met me, she had unwittingly connected with an anonymous yet significant component of her target audience — the Silent Majority.

As our friendship matured, I started saying vagina tentatively in private settings, and when Cindy created her show, it became clear that I could not only be a writing partner but also a barometer for the Silent Majority I represented. As we analyzed feedback from Cindy's adult audience, we realized that many people's open sexual communication stopped after college. Even in good relationships, life goes on, you get busy, and sex is not the top priority. We go into a new relationship expecting that good sex — "good" meaning fulfilling to each partner — will always be there, like a 24-hour mini-mart around the corner. And of course it is, at first. But, if you don't give that mini-mart enough business, the hours get cut back, and eventually the selection dwindles until it's barely worth the detour.

The more Cindy and I talked to people, the more we realized that there was a widespread, unspoken but nonetheless urgent, desire for a return to full service or at least some service in the bedroom. Sex, by itself, may not be something we openly consider a priority, especially as we become overwhelmed by the day-to-day time demands of work, kids, and family. But sex, as it represents an emotional and physical connection, cannot help but be a grounding force in our relationships. It's not like we forget about sex — we are reminded of it on every prime-time TV show and corner newsstand — but we do forget (or are afraid/ashamed) to honor its true value and then it becomes another item on the to-do list. The less we connect in our relationships, the harder it becomes to connect, and hence the spiral into the Silent Majority. As any forty-year-old Puritan knows, talking about sex is awkward. But humor, used judiciously, kindly, and in the spirit of universal cluelessness, is the proverbial spoonful of sugar. It can defuse tension in a charged area of many relationships and ease the communication that fosters more fulfilling sex lives.

The anecdotes in this book are culled from interviews with adults of all ages and both genders: deer-in-the-headlights college freshmen embarking on their sexual voyage; to Alpha-male singles under pressure to "know what women want;" weary parents who struggle to recapture their mojo; experienced retirees who have shed their inhibitions; and people who wrestle with the age-old questions like how much sex is normal, and what really constitutes good sex.

In taking the covers off other people's intimate experiences we offer perspective on what is normal but also provide practical advice and guidance to a simpler and better sex life. Exhaustive sex info is out there — graphically, mind you, in books, on TV, and on the Internet — but most of us are not getting it. Why? "Great sex" books overstep the sexual expectations most people have, with pictures of people who look like they are trying to devour each other, and advice about toys, porn, and gizmos. Most working parents don't have the time or secure storage for such accessories, let alone the motivation to study an encyclopedia on a natural act that can be done by teenagers in the back of a car. Frankly, three-hour orgasms, 365 positions a year, and driving your man or woman wild is a proposition so daunting as to be a buzz-kill. We do not promise scientific "proof" of any of our theories, but we do promise, at a minimum, lots of laughs and a chance to from others in a comfortable way.

What we all have is a unique montage of sexual knowledge and skills in our personal toolbox. We hope the conversations in this book will unclutter, augment, and reorganize your toolbox. This book feature a hands-on, gear-free approach to sex. It's because that's enough in itself or at least a starting point for the more ambitious.

Despite our differences, Cindy and I both spent our youth immersed in sports with uncensored access to the male world, and now share an adult network of wise women and men who talk freely about sex-related issues. W have developed an acute awareness of the positive power and healthy attitude that comes with openness and levity about sex. We're working, raising kids, trying to keep our relationships healthy, and seeking to make sex an important part of our lives without it dominating our identity, time, and brain space. We're a lot like everyone out there, but one of us talks about it, a lot, with everybody, and the other takes good notes.