One woman’s secret journal completely changes her marriage in this hilarious and biting memoir — the inspiration for the Netflix Original Series.
School psychologists aren’t supposed to write books about sex. Doing so would be considered “unethical” and “a fireable offense.” Lucky for you, ethics was never my strong suit.
Sex/Life: 44 Chapters About 4 Men is a laugh-out-loud funny and brutally honest look at female sexuality, as told through the razor-sharp lens of domesticated bad girl BB Easton. No one and nothing is off limits as BB revisits the ex-boyfriends — a sadistic tattoo artist, a punk rock parolee, and a heavy metal bass player — that led her to finally find true love with a straight-laced, drop-dead-gorgeous . . . accountant.
After settling down and starting a family with her perfectly vanilla “husbot,” Ken, BB finds herself longing for the reckless passion she had in her youth. She begins to write about these escapades in a secret journal, just for fun, but when Ken starts to act out the words on the pages, BB realizes that she might have stumbled upon the holy grail of behavior modification techniques.
The psychological dance that ensues is nothing short of hilarious as BB wields her journal like a blowtorch, trying to light a fire under her cold, distant partner. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t, but in the end, BB learns that the man she was trying so hard to change was perfect for her all along.
BB's Secret Journal
This motherfucker is killing me.
Fresh out of the shower. He's so close I can smell the Irish Spring on his skin. His hair's all damp and sexy, and his beard scruff is at that perfect length—just long enough to be soft to the touch, but not so long that it hides his perfect chiseled features. And the way his undershirt clings to his biceps and stretches across the hard planes of his chest…I could look at him all night. Actually, I have been—through the corner of my eye. But that's not enough.
I want to touch him.
In the half hour since he plopped down next to me and flipped on the Braves game I've thought of a thousand and one ways to reach over and caress this man. I could lace my fingers through his, or run my knuckles along his rough, square jaw. Maybe I could be playful and walk my mint-green nails up his sculpted abs, then, once I have his attention, I could straddle his damp, clean, hard body and thrust those same fingertips into his wet hair.
But I don't do shit, because I know all it will get me is a sideways glance and a shift in the opposite direction.
My husband is a rock. Not as in, He's so strong and supportive. I don't know what I'd do without him. But more like, He's so fucking cold I wonder if he still has a pulse. Ken has never even held my hand, Journal. Not on purpose, anyway. He has had his hand held by me, while unconscious, but whenever I've tried that move during waking hours, Ken has politely endured the discomfort of human contact for…oh, say, five and a half seconds before smoothly removing his soft, limp flesh from my grasp.
Sex is pretty much the same story. Ever the gentleman, Ken will lie on his back and allow me to have my way with him while he quietly engages in minimal and obligatory petting. (Even when I tried to be fun and reenact the ice cream scene from Fifty Shades Darker. In his defense, I do have to play the part of Christian because Ken obviously doesn't know his lines. And I admit, the white noise of a baby monitor isn't exactly Al Green. And for some reason we never seem to have vanilla ice cream, like in the book. We only have Cherry Garcia, which is pretty awkward to lick off, what with all the chewing required. But still. A little participation would be appreciated.)
Regardless of the level of theatrics involved, afterward I always kiss and cuddle Ken's lean, beautiful, body, trying to squeeze a single degree of warmth from the man-shaped boulder that is my husband. All the while, I can almost hear him counting to himself--one one thousand, two one thousand, three one thousand—before he taps me on the ass. My cue to get the fuck off of him.
At least, that's how it seems.
Ken's problem isn't his coldness—his complete lack of need, want, or capacity for intimacy. Those attributes actually keep our marriage quite stable and drama-free. That, and the fact that the man never does anything wrong.
Kenneth Easton is a lawn-mowing, bill-paying, law-abiding, defensive-driving, trash-toting husbot—a cyborg built specifically to withstand seventy to eighty years of gale-force matrimony. I've never caught him looking at another woman. Hell, I've never even caught him in a lie.
No, the problem with Ken is that he's married to me.
Before meeting Ken, Journal, I'd been contorted into at least seventy-three percent of the positions in the Kama Sutra. I'd shaved most of my head and had all my lady bits pierced before I was old enough to see an R-rated movie. I spent my free time being handcuffed to things by boys with more combined tattoos than a Guns N' Roses reunion concert. Ken simply can't compete.
So, why, you might be wondering, did a slutty little punk like me go and marry someone so straight-laced?
It was because of them. Because of the way my adrenaline spikes and my pupils dilate in a fight-or-flight-or-fuck response every time I smell the sickly sweet musk of Calvin Klein's Obsession for Men. Because of the way a pierced bottom lip makes me want to take up smoking again. Because of the way a full sleeve of tattoos makes me want to hitch a ride on a tour bus and leave everything I worked so hard to achieve in a gutter at the side of the road. Because my nerves were fucking shot by the time I met Ken, my heart was riding in on fumes, and the stability and security and sanity he offered was a soothing balm to my spent scorched soul.
Those inked-up men-children from my past might have been ferocious lovers, but they couldn't keep their dicks in their pants, their asses out of jail, or a positive balance in their bank accounts to save their lives. Ken, on the other hand, was just so…safe and responsible, so easy. He wore Nikes and Gap T-shirts. He owned his own home. He jogged. His criminal record was as ink-free as his freckled skin. And, to top it all off, he had a degree in…wait for it…accounting.
I might have overcorrected a bit.
Don't get me wrong. I love the shit out of Kenneth Easton. He is my best friend, the father of my children, and we are actually ridiculously happy together. Or, at least, I'm happy. I am. Really. You can be bored to tears and happy at the same time, right? They call those happy tears. Happy, bored, oh-so bored, tears. Ken is pretty anhedonic and deadpan, so it's hard to tell how he's feeling. I choose to think of him as happy, too. But let's be honest. Ken may not really have feelings.
What he does have is a Captain America–style square jaw with a subtle cleft and a permanent five o'clock shadow. And enviably high cheekbones. And aqua eyes hooded with espresso-colored lashes, and sandy-brown hair that is just long enough on top to do this cute little flip thing in front. His physique is lean and muscular. His sense of humor is dry. He is brilliant, self-deprecating, and tolerant of my bullshit.
The man is at least ninety percent perfect for me, but lately, all I can think about is the less-than-or-equal-to ten percent that's missing: passion and body art. Two things I need to mourn and move on from in order to protect my lovely, monotonous marriage.
But I can't.
Tattooed bad boys are like a drug I can't quit. I devour antihero romance novels like they're an essential food group. My iPhone runneth over with the songs of a thousand breathy, angsty, tattooed alt-rockers, ready to fill my head at the press of a button whenever I need to escape. My DVR is brimming with mysterious vampires, renegade bikers, hedonistic rock stars, and zombie apocalypse survivors—alpha males into whose ink-covered arms I can run whenever things around here get a little too…domestic.
And do you know what I realized during my escapes to these imaginary dystopian societies and fictional underground fight rings? I know these men. I dated these men—the super intense skinhead turned US Marine turned motorcycle club outlaw, the ex-convict/underground hot-rod racer with the devil-may-care attitude, the sensitive guy liner–sporting heavy metal bassist…
I had them all, Journal. How did I not see the parallels between my fantasy men and my ex-boyfriends before? And I call myself a psychologist!
In fact, Knight, my high school boyfriend, is probably the reason I became a psychologist in the first place. Fucking psycho. I'll tell you about him tomorrow. Ken's going to bed, which means I only have about a five-minute window to get in there and pounce on him before The History Channel lulls him to sleep. Wish me luck!
BB's Secret Journal
Knight, Knight, Knight. Where do I even begin, Journal? Being Knight's girlfriend was a lot like being a kidnapping victim with Stockholm syndrome. I had no say in the matter--Knight decided I was his, and nobody said no to Knight. But over time, my fear of him morphed into friendship, and I actually grew to love my captor, psychopathic tendencies and all.
Knight was a skinhead. Correction: Knight was the skinhead—the only one in our sprawling suburban Atlanta tri-county area, to be exact. He was so incredibly angry that none of the other angry-white-male subculture groups at Peach State High School would do. The jocks were a little too gregarious. The punks, although sufficiently violent and vandalous, had a bit too much fun. The goth kids were just pussies. No, Knight's rage was so consuming that he had to choose the one subgroup whose image screamed, I will fucking curb-stomp you and then rip off your arm and beat you with it if you so much as breathe the same air as me. Knight was so successful in his mission to intimidate that he remained a subgroup of one throughout high school.