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[Editor’s note — At Nerve HQ, we have certain traditions. Some of them, like the new-employee “spanking machine,” die a lawsuit-related death. Some persevere. Around Mother’s Day, we like to force employees to call their moms, ask for explicit sex advice and record the conversations. Last year, everyone flaked except one brave soul. That has also become a tradition. This year, the last person standing was our VP, Alisa Volkman.]

Asking my mother for sex advice was oddly appealing. Maybe that’s because I enjoy applying shock therapy to our relationship. For years, that steel magnolia struggled valiantly to instill “good Southern values” in my two sisters and me. Clearly, she believes she has failed, because she misses no opportunity to call us “three curious and liberal women.” Loosely translated, this means “flexible sluts, well-versed in multi-positioned premarital sex, who apparently know nothing about cows and milk.” — Alisa Volkman

[Phone rings.]

Alisa: Hey, mom.
Alisa’s mother: I don’t believe it. Let me faint.

[Good-natured laughter.]
I can’t believe there’s static on the line. I’ve been on the phone so many times today, and there was absolutely zero static. Now you call, there’s static.

Does this say something about our relationship?

Just kidding. I’ll call you right back.
Okay . . .

[phone rings]

Alisa? Jesus, that makes me so angry. It’s been going on for months.

Listen, I’m calling about a project for work.
Honey, you’re going to have to talk really loud.

Okay, I have a work project I wanted to talk to you about. You know how Mother’s Day is on Sunday?
No kidding . . . really?

Yeah, and I’m calling, um . . . about sex advice.
About what?

Sex advice.
Tax advice?

Alisa, you’re going to have to talk really loud, darling.

Oh, sex! I thought you were talking about taxes. There, it went away. [Suddenly the static is gone.] Sex advice? From me?

Okay, go ahead.

Well, um, I didn’t really prepare any questions.
Is this a poll or something in your office?

[laughing] No, we’re all just interviewing our moms.
For what reason?

To get sex advice.
Oh sure. It should be the other way around. Moms should be getting sex advice from their daughters . . . who are sexually active.

Well, do you have any tips for me?
I doubt it.

Or any advice you offered me a long time ago. Like, do you remember when you first told us about sex? Um, did you ever tell us about sex?
Uh, I don’t remember. I think you learned about it on your own at school and from your friends. The only thing I ever told you was, “Don’t have sex until you’re married.”

Do you still feel that way?
Of course!

Do you think my sisters and I have broken that cardinal rule?
Well, of course you have.

How do you know?
Oh, Alisa. Well, Lori [Alisa’s older sister] got so offended when Philip’s father was asking Lori and Greg about their relationship and when they were going to get married. And he says to Lori, “Well! Why buy the cow when the milk’s free?”

Right . . . ?
And that’s how I feel. Why should your boyfriend ever marry you if he’s getting the sex without a commitment?

So your best piece of advice is, “Why buy the cow when the milk’s free?”
Right. Why get married and take on a whole bunch of responsibilities when you’re getting exactly what you’re getting before marriage?

[teasing] Okay, so the cow is sex and the milk is marriage?
No, honey. In another words, “Why should your boyfriend buy you . . . “

Oh. So I’m the cow, and the milk is sex.

Well, okay. But since he’s already had the milk, any advice you can give me?
Well, it’s too late now! You didn’t follow my advice years ago.

Now that I’m sexually active, do you have any tips?
Yeah, use protection.

Mom, let’s try for more romantic advice.
Use protection and don’t get pregnant, because you’re not married.

Okay, Mom, now we’re getting there. Did you ever find there were things that men . . . or Dad . . . didn’t like, so I can be the most . . .
Aleeesa! This is so weird. You’re so weird. Like I said, you know more than I do. I’m sure you’ve done it more ways than I ever did.


You were never the wild sort?
I was never in the . . . “Sky” . . . What is it called? . . . “Mile High Club.” And you probably are.

You were never in the Mile High Club?

Did you ever think about it?


None of the pilots tried to convince you to try it?
No, that’s gross. Doing it in the bathroom on an airplane? Alisa, I’m sure you’ve done it in every which way possible in every location possible . . .

And you never did?

It was always for the bedroom?
Of course.

Okay, so your sex advice is, “Only have sex after you’re married and only in the bedroom”?
I’m not saying that! You’re asking me what I did, and I’m telling you.

No, I’m asking for advice.
Well, I can’t give you advice if I never did those things!

Okay, so you’re never found it more enjoyable in different rooms of the house?
[laugh] . . . No . . .

[laughing] No . . .

You didn’t believe in christening every room?
[laughing] No, no, Alisa. Come on, you’re being so silly. Um, let me tell you before you have to go . . .

Has our interview ended?
Yes, our interview has ended.

But Mom, you gotta leave me with some good-hearted sex advice!
I don’t really have any, Alisa. Like I said, you know more than I do.

Well, one last question. Did you, um, ever mess around with your girlfriends?
Oh God! Alisa! Heavens, no! Listen, you need to interview your father. He was the one who was sexually active with Lord-knows-how-many women.

Well, we’re interviewing our mothers because it’s Mother’s Day.
Well, you should interview your father when Father’s Day comes around. I mean, he could write a book.

So no last advice for our readers?
You’re putting this in, what, a magazine?!

Online. We’re just offering tips from our moms.
Okay, I just gave you one. Why buy the cow when the milk’s free.

But then after you start having sex, any good advice you can offer?
[laugh] Not really.

Not really . . . Alisa . . . this is so . . . why do you keep laughing?

Because you’re making me laugh. You don’t have even one piece of advice.
Like what?!

I don’t know. Like any good tricks of the trade.
[laughing] Tricks of the trade? Like I said, you know fifty times more than I do. I’m sure you’ve tried every position possible.

And you haven’t?!
No, not as many positions as you probably have.

So you only believe in the missionary position?
I’m not telling you what I believe in.

Because you’re shy?
No, just because I’m not going to share that with you.

Okay. Two more questions. What do you think of women who have sex before marriage?
What do I think of them? Well, nowadays it’s accepted. But when I grew up, girls that had sex before marriage were considered sluts and whores.

What do you think about where I’m working?
I don’t really know a thing about where you’re working.

You haven’t been online lately?
No, I haven’t been to the library lately. What is the address again?

Yeah. . . .

Have you heard anything about it?
Uh-uh. Only what you’ve told me, which is not much. 

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