Signing off from ‘Sex’

When I started this column nearly a decade ago, the gay-marriage battle had just been sparked in Massachusetts with the Goodridge case. A guy named Mitt Romney was our bigoted governor. And I was writing under the brilliant pseudonym of “Jeannie,” lest I lose my day job as a legal reporter writing about the gay-marriage effort being stonewalled by a guy named Mitt Romney.

I trepidatiously published one 1,500-word column about my obsession with Vegas strippers in a magazine then called Stuff@night, which was the size of a kitchen table. The day it hit newsstands, I opened my email to find it stuffed with outpourings from like-minded perverts, Bible-thumpers urging me to find religion, and average readers thankful for a laugh and a window into an otherwise foreign lifestyle.

Thus began an adventure that would take me to cuddle parties, fetish fairs, orgasm workshops, and bondage lessons — and through countless relationships with women who fell victim to my pen. Always my goal was to normalize rather than fetishize sexuality, even when it may have seemed fringy to me. And I worked to achieve this with a tone both sarcastic and (hopefully) insightful.

Fortunately, I had great creative liberties with STUFF and its parent company, the Phoenix Media/Communications Group. And I never hid my true self as an out lesbian writing not solely about the “gay community,” but about things that plague us all as sexual creatures. For that freedom, I thank the amazing editorial staff at the helm.

In my near decade of writing this column, I’ve seen the marriage and retirement of Sex and the City’s Carrie Bradshaw (oft credited with spawning positions like my own) as the bawdy Girls of a younger generation take over TV’s sexual landscape. I’ve watched many of my own friends go from sexually voracious 20-somethings to settled cohabiters to married with children. I’ve even witnessed my gay cohorts go from living “alternative lifestyles” to oohing and aahing over dishtowels and diaper creams at their showers.

In that same time, I’ve had my heart cracked and repaired countless times and enjoyed the luxury of using my relationships as a testing ground for material. I mean, how many times do you get to ask for a spanking in the name of research?

I’ve seen pop-culture icons like Ricky Martin, Cynthia Nixon, and Anderson Cooper come out, and nearly every major network now has a show featuring gay characters. I’ve seen gay marriage ratified in eight states and get a nod from the White House. I’ve teared up watching two lesbian military members mark the end of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell with a shipside lip-lock. And I’ve cracked up as those once-illicit bondage classes that I used to attend now become populated by horny housewives fixated on Fifty Shades of Grey.

No matter what your persuasion, you can’t deny the sexual progress. And yet, as I sit here penning my final column for a publication that will soon represent another of the media world’s mergings, some things are still painfully the same.

We are three months away from both the nine-year anniversary of the Goodridge decision and an electoral showdown between a party that has embraced change and one led by a guy named Mitt Romney who would like to turn back the clocks on equality.

If there’s anything I’ve learned from the hundreds of columns I’ve researched over the years, and from the thousands of letters I’ve received from readers far and wide, it’s that we are far more alike than different in our desire to be loved, no matter how we choose to express it.

Word counts shrink. Minds expand. And change, no matter how uncomfortable it may be at present, is an incredibly powerful force. Embrace it. I am.

Thank you all for joining me on this unbelievably exciting, eye-opening, hilarious, and heartfelt journey through the sexual sphere. It has been an experience like no other!


Jeannie Greeley is a freelance writer signing off as sexual scribe. You can keep in touch with her by writing to jeannieg@comcast.net or by Googling her. (She’s still into that.)