Desert cristal

Thank You

In Sex Drive by Stephanie Theobald1 Comment

I would not have been able to make this three month trans-American trip or last year’s without the help of a core of what I call my “Masturbation Fund Friends.” These are the people who put me up for free in their often space-sensitive apartments in various parts of the USA meaning that I could write and research Sex Drive without landing myself in massive debt or having to scrabble around writing advertorials about Stannah Stair Lifts for the few British newspapers that still pay journalists.

I have often been overwhelmed by the generosity and kindness of these friends who not only believed in my project but showed it in kind – in a variety of beds. In order of visits, the MFFs include the writer Mishelle Shepherd in her on-tap cocktail shack in the middle of Texas. Thanks for the home-made mozarella and the magic dragon. Here she is reading Lisa Luxx’s new poetry anthology, Polyphonic Scars:



Thanks to Gina “Colada” Buhl my “Lesbian pilot friend” as I always describe her proudly to my mates. Cheers for taking charge of the controls on our mini road trip from Texas to Phoenix, Arizona.

Gina mug

And what a great Saturday night, partying with your family around the magnificent Saguaro cactus trees which apparently only grow in Arizona. Thanks to your stone-lover bro (below) who gave me a crystal and cut a groove in it so it wouldn’t fall out of my Betty Dodson magic necklace. It was in Denny’s in Arizona (above) that Gina pointed out that it might not be wise to exclaim loudly in public, “I love crystal!” given its Breaking Bad connotations round those parts.

Gina Bro

Here’s that crystal on holiday two months later, high on a mountain in the Mojave desert:

Desert cristal

Thanks to San Francisco’s most brilliant water engineer, Beth Goldstein for letting me stay for years in her apartment while she had serious, proper-job madness going on. Thanks too for opening my eyes to the wonders of Bay Area candy confectionary. A big shout to her partner Shawn Blevins for her tips on sex party dressing (even though we turned up to the “under-30s” night by mistake), the low-down on lesbian hankie etiquette and her endlessly inventive use of the English language. Hella miss ya, gurrrl!!!!

Thanks to them both for humouring me here by reciting  the Pledge of Allegiance on Superbowl Sunday.

shawn beth

Americans have to say this pledge every day in high school, so they think it’s weird when I get all excited by it. But it sounds really sexy to me. Get that last line: “One nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.” You don’t get that rhythm (or hand movements) in “Our father who art in heaven.” The Pledge of Allegiance reminds me of the Funkadelic album, “One Nation Under a Groove.” Also, it makes clear that Americans, like the French, are “citizens” and not the more BDSM-sounding “subjects” that we Brits are.

Thanks to Tutu’s dad, Rod in LA, for putting me up in his fancy schmancy new guest room in Venice Beach. He’s lived here since the 1980 when everyone used to say, “Why on earth would you want to live on Venice Beach?” Thanks for all the pizza and for introducing me to prime time TV shows such as Castle and Lucifer. You reminded me that some people can actually revel in the fantasy of TV drama and not sit there like a bitter and twisted writer, cringing and shouting cynical comments at the TV screen whenever a bit of rubbishy dialogue comes on. I also learned that back in the mainstream, there is now a massive market for “feisty” female heroines which bodes well. I look forward to the screening of my show “Sex Detectives,” based on the Grey’s Anatomy-style sexuality detection of Betty Dodson and her former lawyer side kick, Carlin Ross. Given the current changing sexual climate, I’m thinking 2018 as premier date.

Here Rod’s son, Scott, being a wag in front of a sign he has installed in the window of his Culver City apartment (people now say “Why on earth would you want to live in Culver City?”).

Scott Mong

Thanks to flat-sharers Steph Rafanelli and Lara Hoad, also in Venice Beach, for letting me crash on their couch when I was homeless and testing out female Viagra for the Sunday Times. Here’s Rafa getting her concept dinner ready for the guests I was to do my court jester thing at.  “Wow man, it feels like Ecstacy when you drink booze. Pass the red wine over.”


Here’s Lara with guest Jackie Ido, a French actor who can put on a good American accent and is now starring in an ABC series called The Catch, a detective-y show produced by Shonda Rhimes.


Rhimes, I read on the American Airlines in-flight mag, is the new power house black chick producer in Hollywood. She came up with Grey’s Anatomy. I should probably send her a copy of Sex Drive. Here’s what she said about unintentionally coining the word “Vajayjay.” It was because the censors were worried that the word “vagina” had been used too any times in the series. Rhimes said afterwards:

“We can [say vagina] and we do, but we had reached a point, at some point in I think it was season two of ‘Grey’s Anatomy,’ where I think they had said we had used it too much or something,” she told Gross. “And I really had a problem with the idea that we couldn’t use it because we had an episode where you could say ‘penis’ 17 times or something… but you could only say ‘vagina’ a certain number of times before somebody just had a heart attack.”

I’ll be gentle with Rhimes when I’m pitching Sex Detectives  and conveying Betty’s line that “The vagina’s the goddam birth canal!” Oh for the Brave New World when people understand that women have a multi-part genitalia system, the most important bit of which is the clitoris.

Talking of Brave New World, thanks to Olivia de Haulleville, Aldous Huxley’s niece who lives in the high desert. Thanks for the shipping container shack and the talks about orgasm which reassured me that someone was even more “out there” than me on the subject. She has a great theory about orgasm and peeling an onion. No, I’m not revealing what that is yet.

olivia smile

Thanks to VS for helping me understand the highs and lows of a modern-day Midnight Cowboy existence in LA.  Especially memorable was the night on the blow-up lilo on the kitchen table in her “sleazy-sexy” sublet in Silverlake. We were both a bit Dustin Hoffman and a bit John Voight at the same time. Here is VS in a car park in downtown LA. This is the kooky way they get you to remember which floor you are on in a Californian multi-storey car park:


Thanks to Karin “Nasty” Nassif as Tutu used to call her best friend, for chucking her son out of his room in Ventura and giving it to me. And who would have thought dog walking could be such fun?

karin booze

Thanks to Meg and Jenn in Masschusetts. The memory of that sex shop and that walnut and sundried tomato vegan ‘meat’ still lingers. Meg and Jenn possess the art of knowing how to have a good time over the age of 45.


Thanks to Jo Walters and Lisa McNulty in New York. Lisa is a theatrical impressario at the Manhattan Women’s Project Theater who has the distinction of having recently relieved Gina Gershon from one of her productions because of “creative differences.” Wow! And Jo, a hot shot journo at the Guardian in NYC, is the only person in the whole of New York city to have supplies Branston pickle, oatcakes and cheddar cheese in the house.

A monumental thank you to Garth of “Garth’s Place,” my secret place to go and experience what I imagined heaven might look like when I was a kid at the convent. Garth doesn’t like having his picture taken (hooray, old school!) so here’s a shot of the view instead:

garth thanks


  1. Mishelle

    Your company and camaraderie always a welcome addition to my idyllic TX fairyland 🙂 I won’t forget the Tarot readings and my dogs won’t forget your nubile morning yoga poses. On your next visit, fresh honeycomb, new herbal strains, a menopause short story for you to critique, and the best duck confit you can taste on any continent. I’m doing menopause research now, writing a new story, I’m gonna need you I’m pretty sure.

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