Maggie Arana and Julienne Davis (of Eyes Wide Shut fame) have written a very controversial book, Stop Calling Him Honey and Start Having Sex, that has people talking around the world – especially after being featured recently on CBS Early Show, Today, and on British TV. The London Times recently heralded the authors as “The New Gurus of Married Lust.” After years of research, they discovered the surprising everyday habits that can sabotage our sex lives, and calling each other “honey” is just the beginning.
Unlike so many relationship authors, Davis and Arana have actually been in this situation and that is why they wanted to write this book – to share with the millions of women who might have lost the desire to have sex with their spouse that it’s not that difficult to get that spark back. Sex is the glue that keeps a relationship solid and, without it, even if you are best friends, good parents and a great team – if you’re living like roommates, your relationship is at risk from failure.
Challenging the status quo, Arana and Davis have found that it’s the everyday things we say and do that can sabotage our sexual chemistry – something that all of the other self-help books seem to have overlooked. While other books recommend date nights and sexy lingerie, Stop Calling Him Honey…and Start Having Sex! looks at the subtle and powerful ways we dull our desire for each other and offers groundbreaking advice to solve this too-common dilemma:
• How terms of endearment can hinder your sexuality
• How sharing everything including bathroom habits is not good for a relationship
• Why couples need to argue more, not less, and the best ways to do it
• How maintaining a sense of separation will keep you both together
• Why feeling sexy doesn’t hinge on having the perfect body but rather on how a woman feels about herself and how she projects those feelings to her partner.
This sex self-help book is revolutionary, humorous, easy-to-read and inspiring with practical advice that gets to the core of why your sexual desire diminished in the first place and how to get it back easily and permanently.
Arana and Davis provided us with a Q/A on why they wrote this book, why they believe sex is important, and a peek inside some of the chapters of their hot book.
1. What made you decide to write this book together?
Well, we never thought we’d write a self-help book on sex! It’s not something that we planned. But, we’ve both previously been in long-term relationships where the sex had gone kind of stale. Since Julienne was in Eyes Wide Shut, the content of that film started us thinking and talking about what that indefinable thing is that keeps the sex hot in a long-term relationship. Later, when Maggie’s own long term relationship failed because of a dormant sex life, we had an epiphany about why these once great relationships can go wrong–even when the partners still love each other and still get along great. We realized that when two people live together, they can fall into bad habits of getting too comfortable with one another. That’s when the attraction starts to fade. And these bad habits seem to always start with the word “honey.” Hence…our title.
2. How did you go about talking to other women and couples about this?
Well, usually there were a lot of cocktails involved! It started off by talking with our close friends when we went out at night (don’t worry we changed all the names to protect the guilty!) And then it progressed to our family members. We continued on from there and over the years we talked to basically anyone and everyone we met or worked with when the opportunity arose–even down to total strangers on blog sites and craigslist. Ain’t the Internet grand?!
3. Did every couple you talked with call each other “honey?”
No…they usually started with “honey” or “hun,” but for some people, they got really creative! You wouldn’t believe some of the silly names that partners call each other. “McMuffin Poopen Cakes” was our personal favorite. And it’s interesting to note, that every time we found that they were calling each other these kinds of names, they were not having a great sex life. The positive thing, though, was that once they stopped using these names for each other and started doing just some of the things we talk about in our book, their sex lives and their relationships got better. That was really gratifying for us, and that’s when we realized we needed to share this with the world and write this book.
4. Why do you think that sex is so important, especially if a couple is getting along fine?
Sex is the glue that keeps a couple together. We don’t care how well a couple gets along with each other, if they aren’t having sex… it’s going to go wrong somewhere down the line. This goes for people who may still have sex, but it’s either infrequent or just totally uninspired. Sexuality is an important part of our humanity…and if it’s not addressed within the relationship, it will express itself somewhere else–with someone else. And we want to keep people together! There are so many consequences, pain and sadness when a good relationship goes bad. We want to help people avoid that from ever happening. We met so many couples who were great friends and loved each other deeply, but at the same time, weren’t sexual with one another anymore. In some cases, there were some serious affairs going on, and at home they were behaving more like brother and sister. Not a good thing.
5. What makes your book any different from all those other sex self-help books out there?
It’s funny, because we’ve read a lot of these books, and frankly they made us want to smash our eyeballs out! So many of these books were so academic and cerebral, that they were such hard work to even get through. We didn’t quite get why mentioning the word “neo-cortex” is so important with helping people to start getting it on again! With that kind of talk, there was no way we wanted to have sex after reading those books! We wanted to approach our book as the kind of self-help book we wanted to read. One that was easy to understand and offered practical and simple solutions that got to the core of why people loose their desire for each other in the first place, rather than just putting a band-aid on the problem. I mean, who wants to go on a “date night” or try doing it on the kitchen table with the newest sexy lingerie, when your brain is not into it because it’s been in “honey” mode all the time! It just feels stupid. Our book is not only practical but it’s also revolutionary. Who would’ve thought that seemingly harmless terms of endearment could be such sex killers? No other book has ever talked about the co-relation between these everyday habits and the lack of sex.
6. You mention in your book that people should argue more, why would you say that?
One of the things that kills sexual desire is when couples become too entwined with the same interests, the same opinions, and sometimes even the same way of speaking. They become two halves of a whole, and not two separate people anymore. You’ve got to have friction in the relationship to create a sexual frisson. Disagreeing with one another now and then is good–it keeps each partner interested and on their toes. And, it’s also a great way to flirt! But, we do mean playful arguing, and “keeping the fights clean”, as Kevin Bacon so aptly said. We tell people how to argue with their partner… the do’s and don’ts.
7. In one of your chapters, Close The Bathroom Door, you have some very interesting and hilarious scenarios there….are those really real?
Well, believe or not, they are real! Most of these stories were told to us after a number of those cocktails had been consumed–you know… when people tell you everything! Although these stories are really funny, many sexual relationships were seriously damaged by some of these going’s on in the bathroom. No one ever talks about this stuff in other self-help books, but it’s such an important issue. More sex lives are ruined in the bathroom than you might think. It can hurt the attraction and the mystery that couples initially shared with one another. And once you’ve seen poo coming out of your lover’s bottom…it kinda changes things.
8. So how is not calling your partner “honey” going to change things in your relationship? It’s just a word, after all.
Actually, words are very, very important! They have a lot of impact on how you view each other and also yourself–especially when they are repeated day after day after day! “Honey” takes away each partner’s sexuality and individuality. It’s a totally androgynous word. And this doesn’t help those feelings of sexuality for your partner…you just keep taking that away each and every time you use those kinds of words. But our book is not about just a single word–if that were the case, we wouldn’t have written it. In the first part of the book, we talk about all those things that couples need to stop doing. Then in the latter part, we explain how couples can now really communicate with each other, once they’ve ‘cleaned house’ of all those bad habits. That’s when things get really interesting. There are so many things we do in our relationships that sabotage our sexuality. We point these things out and then show people how to get those sexy feelings back again. And, without a lot of confusing therapy speak. We are simply being really practical in our approach. So many other books try to be too cerebral about it, and let’s be honest here, sex is primal more than anything else!
9. What do you say to couples who do call each other “honey,” or some term of endearment…and they say their sex life is fine?
They may be fine for now, but it’s just a matter of time before those terms of endearment start seeping into their subconscious. Then, before you know it, you are looking at your man, not as the strong, virile man that you once wanted to have sex with, but as your cuddly, teddy-bear friend whom you tend to spoon with rather than want to have sex with. Once you start using honey, you’ve opened the Pandora’s Box of non-sexuality, and the longer you keep that open, the more your sex life is going to diminish. And did you really sign up for celibacy? We think not.
10. And have you applied your theories to your own relationship?
Of course! We had to do all these things in our own relationships first before we took a chance on telling others to do it. “Honey” and the like has become such an institution though… this term has been used even as far back as the 1300’s. We understand that something like this seems so ingrained in our society that it’s hard to take away, but we contend that just because everyone has been calling each other honey for centuries, doesn’t mean that it’s right or good for your relationship. Once we stopped these practices in our own relationships, we began to feel more sexual-our men seemed more masculine to us, and as women, we felt more feminine. The change happens organically–you have to let it wash over you. It works. We just want to share that with the world.