Sex Advice From Poets

Q: The guy I like showed me his poetry, and it’s terrible! What do I do? A: Get out while you still can.

By Kelly Bourdet

David LDavid Lehman

People always joke that the phrase "let me read you some of my poetry" is the best way to lose a girl. Why is that? How can I use my poetry to seduce someone?
The problem is, you are writing too many of your poems with your dick in your hand and the gun still in the back of the toilet where Clemenza planted it.

I’ve written a love poem for my friend, who has no idea I’m interested in her. I want to give it to her for her upcoming birthday but I’m afraid that might be coming on too strong. What should I do?
About yachts it is said, “If you have to ask the price, you can’t afford it.” There is a vague parallel in the case of birthday poems written for women and not given to them, which implies a faintheartedness that is unattractive in the male of the species. Maybe you should work out in a gym or do some manual labor and then see how you feel.

My girlfriend thinks pornography is cheating so I promised to stop looking – but I didn’t. I feel bad for lying. How can I convince her that it’s not infidelity?
Do not try to convince her that porn is okay. That dog won’t hunt. You seem to have painted yourself into a corner here, and the only smart thing you can do is to lie. It’s in everyone’s best interest. She gets to feel virtuous; you get to get off on pictures of Jennifer Love Hewitt naked in a dungeon, and it’s guilt free if you can convince yourself that your raging libido requires such measures in lieu of bonking other dames. It is infinitely easier to win that argument with yourself than to win an argument on porn with your girlfriend.

This guy I’ve been dating is a writer and things have really been going well between us. The problem is that he showed me some of his work last week and I didn’t know how to react — it was terrible! I know it’s a huge part of his life, so I lied and said I liked it. Is this a dealbreaker? I can’t lie forever.
Yes. Get out while you can. Bad poets have an impossible amount of vanity and a constant need for attention. You can either break up with him and continue to praise his palaver or you can continue to see him and end up saying some really mean things to a decent guy. You will save yourself a lot of anguish by making a clean break now – although this could be said, come to think of it, about relationships with partners who are not poets, too. If you do head for the exits, do not divulge the reason. He’ll expect you to say something like, “It’s not you, dude. It’s me,” so don’t disappoint him twice in the same conversation.

My girlfriend wants to cut her hair short, but I really like ladies with long hair. I know it's ultimately her decision, but I think as her boyfriend I should have some say. Am I being a controlling prick?
You probably are a prick, but life’s more complicated than that, and the Zen answer to your dilemma is to watch Hitchcock’s Vertigo, alone, and then cut your own hair short.

I have trouble speaking to women in bars. A simple "hello" always feels abrupt, and yet most "lines" are cheesy. Any advice for how to get things started?
Memorize Keats’s sonnet beginning with the line, “When I have fears that I may cease to be.” Practice reading it aloud until you can speak the lines naturally and have committed them to memory. Once you have successfully done this, move on to the same poet’s sonnet on first reading Chapman’s Homer, his odes on melancholy and on the Grecian urn, “La Belle Dame Sans Merci,” and “To Autumn,” and, for variety and contrast, Shelley’s “Ozymandias” and “Ode to the West Wind” and Coleridge’s “Kubla Khan” and “Work Without Hope.” Once you have memorized these poems and can unfailingly produce them at a moment’s notice, you will be a better man, and questions about breaking the ice and avoiding cheesy lines will cease to bother your teeming brain.

If "The Ezra Pound" was sex position, what would it be?
The step-over toe hold.


Commentarium (17 Comments)

Nov 23 10 - 10:02am

The best comments EVER. "The best way I’ve heard to lose a girl is to blindfold her in the woods and spin her around really fast then leave her there without a compass or a map."? Brilliant!

Nov 23 10 - 11:50am

this was awesome. this should be a regular feature - the asking of poets for sex advice. They give great advice. The first guy was my favorite. "if you have to ask the price, you can't afford it." amazing.

Nov 23 10 - 12:23pm

One of the better ones.

Nov 23 10 - 1:25pm
J. Al

The last guy's joke on Ezra Pound is hilarious.

Nov 23 10 - 2:07pm

I was hoping Essbaum would drop the f-bomb.

Nov 23 10 - 5:15pm

Mark Bibbins is an under-appreciated gem of this city. He should get more airtime here.

Nov 23 10 - 9:18pm
Gina Frangello

Love this! More! More!

Nov 24 10 - 12:58am
Anonymous Iggy

SO glad to see Keats get some love around here. Oh man. "When I Have Fears" is so tits.

Nov 24 10 - 3:28pm

The advice for the guy who can't stop cheating is awful. If he is so stuck on his habit that he would risk his relationships for it then he really doesn't love her. A person deserves to be in a relationship where s/he is cherished and protected. This is not the case for either person. Lying will get your dick cut off and your PC chucked out the window, so lay your cards on the table and bear your responsibility. You owe it to yourself and your partner.

Nov 24 10 - 7:54pm


The guy is not "cheating". He's watching porn. Regardless of your feelings on porn, no reasonable person can expect to forbid their partner to watch porn, even if they say "well, I consider it to be cheating." And if they try, they'll either a) get lied to, as is happening here, or b) lose their relationship over such an unreasonable demand. And why aren't you asking Anti-Porn Girlfriend why she's so stuck on her attitude that she would risk her relationships for it? She really must not love him, huh?

For the record: I think the last time I watched porn was 2009. I'm not a fan. Just sayin'.

Nov 26 10 - 5:46pm
Adam Michael Luebke

Funny! And you give poets a good name. Thank you.

Nov 27 10 - 4:14pm
Marissa Despain

These are terrific. Hit these poets (or others?) up for more advice. We could use it!

Nov 28 10 - 9:32am

Good stuff. Makes me smile!

Nov 29 10 - 9:30am

Hilarious! I want to hear more from them and other poets on this site.

Jan 05 11 - 6:51am

In Stendhal's 1822 classic On Love he describes or compares the “birth of love”, in which the love object is 'crystallized' in the mind, as being a process similar or analogous to a trip to Rome. In the analogy, the city of Bologna represents indifference and Rome represents perfect love: When the journey begins, love departs.

Jun 11 11 - 12:09pm

Fell out of bed feeling down. This has brihgteend my day!

Jun 25 11 - 8:30am

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Google search SlyMaestroFoxx,and send me a friend request on Facebook only,ladies only.
Thanks a lot: SlyMaestroFoxx.