Betty of The 52 Seductions

How open are you about your sex life? Would you be willing to tell your friends? Your family? Your neighbours? And what do you expect of your sex life several years into a long-term relationship? Dwindling passion? Or constant surprises?

The 52 Seductions

Betty Herbert

Betty Herbert

The 52 Seductions by Betty Herbert chronicles the true-life story of a married couple who rise to the challenge of taking turns to seduce each other every week for a year.

We are delighted that Betty has chosen to share more of her personal story with The Ladygarden Project.

Here’s what she had to tell us:

Going public

I worried about talking publicly about my sex life for about five minutes before I realised it was fine! I’m naturally quite unembarrassed to talk about sex or the body, so writing was an immediate relief: I had an outlet for all the stuff I wanted to say, but which wasn’t acceptable in polite company. I also felt politically driven to talk honestly about sex in long-term relationships, because I was pretty sure that we weren’t the only couple who had lost their spark, but I was frustrated that this was so hidden.

The reactions I got immediately confirmed my instinct – not only did it do me good to talk about my sex life, but lots of other people were grateful I was talking about it, too. In particular, readers seemed to like the fact that I don’t romanticise or sentimentalise marriage – I tell it straight, and I never pretend we’re perfect or have it all figured out. No-one has.


We often assume that men are totally at one with their sexuality, but the vast majority of people who write to me privately are men. They’re baffled and hurt when sex dies in their relationship, but sometimes lack an outlet where they can discuss it. I was once sent a link to a big sex chat room, where a man had posted to say that his wife didn’t want to have sex with him anymore, and was this normal? All of the respondents said, ‘No, mate, you’re on your own. My wife’s hot to trot.’ I can’t imagine how isolated that man must have felt. So I’ve always tried to be man-friendly, too.

Having a joyful sex life

My top tip is stay conscious! Great sex isn’t about using novelty items or developing an amazing technique; it’s about engaging with your partner in that moment, and responding to them. The truth about long-term sex is that there are only so many different ways of doing it, but if you can communicate intensely with your partner, it will always feel fresh.

The bigger picture

I used to be very anti-porn and furious about the sexualisation of women in the media, but now my frustrations flow in the opposite direction. I think that women are locked in a conspiracy of silence about their sexuality, and how varied and vibrant it is. In women’s magazines, we fall too easily into the same old, ‘we only have sex to stop those damned men complaining’ patter, and it’s holding us back from expressing our true desires. We’re also all too keen to disapprove, for example of women dressing ‘sluttishly’ or engaging in anything vaguely kinky. I’d like to see a more tolerant, open and honest discourse on female sexuality, so that we can begin to give each other permission to have fun. As long as we’re consenting, what we do in the bedroom is not political.

How do you celebrate being a sexual woman?

I’m not sure I do! I don’t really think about it in that way. I just try to make sure I listen to my own yearnings and don’t try to squash them.

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1 Comment

  1. Well done Betty Herbert and thanks to The Ladygarden Project for giving me an insight into this fascinating book and it’s author!


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