Better than sex

I posted this on Facebook:

Helping an author come up with the perfect book title is better than sex.

I think the responses revealed more about other people than they do about me.

Yes, I love my job. One of the best parts of that is working with authors. One of the best parts of that is a 90-minute session I do with the author and another person or two in which we brainstorm titles and subtitles. It feels like magic — I listen carefully to the author describe what they thinks the book is about and pick out words, which we riff on. Ideas lead to other ideas. We also have to avoid titles that other people have already used.

There is some ineffable quality to this quest, which tends to go all over the place until, in almost every case, it leads to a shining, golden, perfect answer. It’s driven almost entirely by instinct and intuition.

Everyone is smiling and glowing then. I’ve told the author who they are. It really does seem like magic. And when it comes to collaboration, it really doesn’t get any better than that . . . and in only 90 minutes!

But better than sex?

Here’s what you think about sex

I knew people would rag on me. Sure enough, I got comments like these:

Maybe you’re doing it wrong.

TMI, Josh, TMI.

Hmmm. Maybe you need some time away from editing??

50 Shades of Nope

You’re either doing one thing REALLY right or the other thing REALLY wrong.

You’ve been quarantined waaaaaay too long

I think we need to talk to your wife.

Umm, no . . . it isn’t.

Pretty sure you should get out more.


No statement in the history of man qualifies as more “nerd” than that one, bro.

I thought this was pretty funny.

Everyone had to make sure that I knew that sex is great, in their experience. It’s against the rules to say anything is better than sex, because if you said that, somebody might think your sex life wasn’t that good. I’d crossed some kind of line by even bringing it up — even tongue in cheek.

Sex is complicated, and as I’ve now learned, talking about sex takes us all back to some teenager state in which we have to make sure everyone knows it’s the pinnacle of existence, and of course, we are having it and it is great.

You know what? Lots of things are better than sex.

A great and intimate relationship is better than sex. Frankly, if the sex is good and the relationship is crap, then leaving is better than sex, literally.

Creating something enduring and inspiring in your life is better than sex. Lasts a lot longer, too.

Social justice. I’d trade sex for that, if we could somehow get social justice for everyone. It would be selfish not to.

You say it’s not fair to compare sex, an (admit it) relatively short-term experience, to things that develop over years and years?

OK, then, is an incredible meal better than all sex — including sex that’s not very good?

What about that moment when your child starts talking in sentences? That’s pretty awesome.

Or when you find out you’re now cancer-free. Would you trade that moment for sex? Really?

Sex is a terrific thing. I’m glad most of us got rid of our hangups about it and can enjoy it with people we love, or think we might be interested in loving. It’s a pretty awesome thing to have.

But if sex is the best thing you can think of, you’re not thinking very hard.

And as for me — yes, I really enjoy that moment when a perfect collaboration comes together. That book title is going to be awesome for a long period, it’s going to make that author very happy. And we magicked it into being somehow.

I probably shouldn’t have compared it to the act of love. But why are my friends so intent on straightening me out about how great sex is?

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  1. Hi Josh,
    Thanks – I needed a laugh today. This is so funny – and your points are so true. My parents were married for almost 63 years when my father passed on and I’m sure that their relationship involved much more over the years to be able to last so long. Intimacy rates so much higher than sex!

  2. I agree with you. I’m 65 and lost interest in sex a few years ago. I came of age in the ‘70s, so I’ve had my share of partners, kinky and otherwise. Now? I’d rather read a good book, or listen to beautiful music, or take a refreshing nap.

  3. “But if sex is the best thing you can think of, you’re not thinking very hard.”

    Another opportunity for a play on words?

  4. I do a lot of ESL academic editing, and I feel the same way turning an author’s clunky sentence into something elegant. It is usually a matter of finding just the right word. It’s certainly better than a lot of the sex I’ve had.