What A Girl Wants(2)

By: Jamie Sobrato

The Sex Factor had touched a nerve among twenty- and thirty-something women, and it had encountered dizzying success, spawning a nationwide movement of women saying no to sex with their boyfriends. That might not have been so disturbing if it weren’t for the legion of angry boyfriends left alone in their beds.

Jane had heard from more than her share of them. In fact, her hate mail rarely caused her to laugh these days.

She entered the studio and sat down in a chair across from Jax Reed. Twenty pounds overweight, with long, greasy blond hair and perpetual sunglasses, he was the epitome of a guy with thwarted rock-star dreams.

He nodded a greeting while an assistant talked to him about upcoming segments, and Jane adjusted the headphones the producer had given her until they were comfortable.

“Today we’re talking to Jane Langston, columnist for Excess magazine and author of the controversial book, The Sex Factor. Hey, Jane.”

“Hi, Jax.” Jane tucked her hands between her knees to keep from fidgeting, and reminded herself to breathe.

She could handle this guy. Although she didn’t admit it often, Jane listened to The Jax Reed Show while she was reading her e-mail in the morning. And she’d imagined a thousand times how she’d respond to him if she were ever on the show herself. He loved to turn everything into a conversation about sex, the raunchier, the better. Jane knew the trick to handling Jax was never to let him shock her, and to play along with his game.

In his usual fashion, he skipped over the pleasantries. “Okay, given the message of your book, I gotta ask—are you a lesbian?”

“Not last time I checked.”

“Hmm, too bad.”

“Sorry to disappoint.”

He looked her up and down. “You’re pretty cute, you know. Ever thought about having sex on the radio?”

“What makes you think I haven’t already?” Jane said, hoping she sounded braver than she felt.

Jax snickered. “Touché, but anyway, go ahead and give us a summary of your book, just in case there’s some hermit out there listening to the show who hasn’t yet developed a case of blue balls thanks to you.”

“If any guy has blue balls, he has himself to thank. The Sex Factor is simply a realistic look at sexual roles. I think I’m just the first person in a long time to be honest about how sex can ruin a relationship.”

Jax wiggled his eyebrows. “Baby, I can show you how sex will make a relationship.”

“I’ll bet you could.” She laughed. “But seriously, since the sexual revolution, women have learned to believe that we should behave like men with regard to sex, that we should want no-strings-attached sex, that we shouldn’t use sex to gain power in relationships, and I argue that the opposite is true.

“Given that men are led around by their penises, a woman’s number-one strength in any romantic relationship is her ability to give or withhold sex, and if we give sex freely, we essentially give away our greatest power.”

Jax burped into the microphone. “Okay, I’m not disagreeing with you there. Problem is, my listeners aren’t getting laid. What’re they supposed to do about that?”

“Um, get over it?”

“Ooh, harsh. I’d like to hear what some of my listeners have to say to that. We have a caller on line one. It’s Carl from Fort Worth. What do you say, Carl?”

“Yeah, Jax. I love your show, man! And I just gotta tell this Jane chick, what’re you thinking? My girl says she can’t have sex with me any more until I start meeting her emotional needs or some garbage.”

Guys like Carl were what had led Jane to decide celibacy wasn’t such a bad idea.

“So find out what her emotional needs are and meet them. How hard is that?”

“Damn hard when I’m not getting any action in bed.”

Jax cut in. “Carl, you’re boring me. Next caller is Tom in Dallas. How’s it going, Tom?”

“Yeah, Jax. I just want to say to all the guys listening today, if your woman brings home that sex factor book, burn it! Use it for toilet paper! Whatever you do, don’t let her read it!”

“Okay, that was Tom, and he needs to make a trip to the convenience store for some TP,” Jax said as he hung up on him.

Aside from one woman who called to thank Jane for writing The Sex Factor, the calls went downhill fast. By caller number eight, Jane was starting to feel a little unnerved.

“Bryan, you got anything new to say to Jane here?” Jax said by way of introduction, skipping pleasantries at that point.

“I just want to tell Ms. Jane Langston that I’ve read her book, and I think she’s very, very wrong,” a disconcertingly calm voice said.