An Olfactory Primer of Passions
January 22, 2011

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Can a wife be a mistress? I’m convinced that the two don’t have to live separately, that they can live within the same woman. I’m lucky enough to be married to a guy who refers to me that way and I take that as a real compliment. The thought of having that kind of sexual and sensual power has always been a real aphrodisiac for me. My mother was that sort of woman too, and my father was absolutely enchanted by her. My mother had many rules, but five of them are legendary in my family. I call them “Barbara’s rules for a long and happy marriage” and because it’s Valentine’s Day soon and I want you to have the best and bawdiest evening possible, I’m going to share them with you. You can thank me later!

My mother was an excellent wife and a serious contradiction; a hardcore feminist before her time but as far as she was concerned making my father happy was the most important thing that she ever needed to do and fortunately for me she passed the knowledge on. She taught me to cook well, dress well, entertain and love well. She relished being the “Lady in the drawing room, mistress in the bedroom” and fortunately for me she gave me “The Rules” the day that I married my husband although if you asked him, he’d say that he was the fortunate one and he was forever grateful for her generosity! She pulled me into the bedroom and said “Remember darling, you can support yourself so whatever he gives you, wear it to bed, even if it’s a toaster!”

That is rule number one and by itself could have been the best piece of advice that I ever received from her, but there are four more!

My mother was married for 67 years before she died, and she was still stunning even at the age of 87. She had gorgeous skin and she swore that love kept her young. I’m inclined to believe her because when people ask me why I still look at least ten years younger than my age the answer I give is the same as hers. Never stop learning, never stop primping, and never stop making love. Great sex never fails to make your skin glow! Great food never fails to bring a smart man to his knees and neither does a wonderful fragrance so for God’s sake, don’t smoke. Nothing masks your natural musk faster than a cigarette.

My mother had an absolutely wonderful time being a woman and she was very strong playing successfully in a man’s world. She taught me that there was no glass ceiling in the boardroom or bedroom and she used every bit of her femininity to her advantage. She always said, "Apply your perfume dear, wherever you want to be kissed" and then she'd dab a little bit of Shalimar on her very ample cleavage, making me blush and grin at the same time. My mother was always full of good advice when it came to matters of the heart and I inherited my love of fine perfume, men and fashion from her, as well as bubble baths, sex, champagne and caviar although not necessarily in that order. 

By Beth Schreibman-Gehring

She taught by example and she had a beautiful closet for us growing up, a “dress up” room filled with all kinds of wonderful things that she’d outgrown like velvet capes and gorgeous high heels, shawls and scarves and hats! My friends and I would play for hours and when we’d put together the perfect outfits she’d whisk us into the bathroom and fix our makeup, always finishing with just a touch of her perfume.

I loved the whole ritual, especially the black and burgundy velvet cape that I would always flounce around in, but I’ll never forget her Shalimar. I loved it and still do because it lingers on the flesh like a kiss from a fabulous man, the one who loves you but is at the same time completely fascinated by what he can’t ever know about you. When I talk to young girls these days I’m so baffled by how they tend to spill all of their secrets so quickly and then they wonder why sensual and sexual satisfaction eludes them. It’s as if they treat love as a purgative or therapy session instead of with well deserved reverence, as a delightful and thrillingly slow discovery of each other.  Where’s the mystery, where’s the fun of seduction, the thrill of the hunt? What about delight and enticement? Scented letters that offers an implied promise of pleasure or a long slow kiss that doesn’t need to go anywhere?

What about soft sheets that you’ve taken the time to perfume or a bed tray that’s set with 2 cups, a French Press, buttery croissants and the Sunday New York Times or fresh mango that you've dipped in honey and fed to your lover one piece at a time, to say nothing of the simple pleasures of a bowl of freshly whipped cream. 

Speaking of which, don’t you think that you owe it to yourself and your husband to make your bedroom ready for love? Give him an office, but make your boudoir an affaire de coeur.  Fresh flowers add one dimension of scent, beautiful linens yet another. I’m currently in love with my new micro fleece sheets, because they feel so incredibly soft against my bare skin.  Taste is another important element that shouldn’t be ignored so don’t forget the Kama Sutra Honey Dust.  It comes with a feather duster and smells like fresh flowers and raw honey.  Dusted in all of the right places and kissed away, Honey Dust is a delicious preamble to all kinds of possibility including a lovely perfumed bath after which you can wrap each other in large soft bath sheets and fall back into bed. Softly scented candles are a must and music is essential. The more feminine the room the more masculine you'll watch him become. Never apologize for the obvious and whatever you do, don’t forget the toaster!

Rule Number Two? If you return the gifts he selects for you, remember that the next wife will undoubtedly love them!

I’ve always kept a bit of mystery in my marriage and preparing myself for an evening of intimacy reconnects me with the ancient tales of the sacred prostitutes of Isis who spent hours preparing themselves in their temples to receive the passions of strangers who were coming to worship them. I am fascinated by the stories of those women and I can easily imagine myself spending hours brushing my hair, bathing in cream with rose petals and sacred oils, perfuming and preparing myself for that sort of wanton passion. I’m presently the keeper of many wonderful bottles of perfume, but Shalimar is still one of the sexiest that I own followed closely by the hypnotically spicy Opium, another of my old and glamorous “go to” perfumes. Both are wonderful and neither will ever fail to arouse when used with a certain je ne said quoi.

Shalimar always seems to captivate anyone standing within six feet of me and I’m pretty convinced that it’s because it smells like freshly baked cookies, breast milk or melted chocolate. It’s full of vanilla, bergamot and benzoin with hints of buttery leather and the strangely sweet seductiveness of orrisroot. I love that when I wear it I feel absolutely gorgeous and ready for love.  Shalimar is edible in the most carnal sense of the word.

Truly when you think about it, the best places for perfume are the places where we are naturally warm, a little bit here, a little bit there. I will let you use your imagination, but remember that because heat naturally rises, perfume will happily create a veil around you that is subtler than if you just grabbed the bottle without care and sprayed it everywhere. That’s what it’s meant to do! There’s nothing that bothers me more than when someone walks past and their fragrance fills my nostrils for at least a minute afterward.

Beautiful fragrance is expensive and should be applied with care, because it’s pretty sacred stuff in my opinion.  If you use it sparingly and intentionally you will not have to use nearly as much and it will last ever so much longer and be that much more enticing. Think of a beautiful spring violet whose perfume isn't noticed until you lay in the grass and inhale deeply.  

This process applies for men as well and both sexes should think ankles, thighs, breasts, wrists and definitely on the pulse points just behind your ears. I love putting just a bit of vanilla on my hairbrush, leaving my hair softly scented. I think of perfume as the only accessory that I can't ever leave the house without, (perfume and Chanel lipstick to be more accurate) but I love that only I can know exactly where I’ve spritzed it, tantalizing to be sure, like wearing a gorgeous bra and garters that peek coyly from underneath your very businesslike suit. Beautiful perfume is meant to be shared, but remember that it should always be used subtly. Try wearing your perfume as an invitation instead of an announcement and I think that you'll be very pleased with the result that brings! Which brings me very quickly to Rule Number Three!  Never start something that you’re not going to finish!

Perfume isn’t meant to cover up your natural scent, it’s meant to enhance it.

Too much strong perfume will confuse a man, because he’s looking for you and to really know you he’s inhaling you and tasting you through all of his senses, which brings me to Rule Number 4.

A gorgeous and very well paid lady of the night told me once just how much a man is willing to pay for pleasure, because so many of their wives refuse. Learn to give as good as you get is my motto! If you’re the squeamish type , don’t be afraid to ask him to wear a cologne that you love or take a bath or shower with him.  A man who smells simply wonderful is his own best aphrodisiac! This same lady told me that bathing together was another ritual that a man really loves but that they told her that their wives didn't want to be naked in front of them.  Kissing too…it's amazing how many men paid her to just make out with them. I was amazed. For the record? Perfecting a delicious striptease will give you tons of body confidence and make both of you very happy. Trust me! You CAN do this!

Last but definitely not least is Rule number 5, involving the mature gentleman who may need a little coaxing and a bit of extra persuasion from time to time. If he’s tired or stressed then the thing to do is offer a seductive bit of distraction.That’s where the bubble bath comes in and a gentle massage with a warming vanilla oil and a demitasse full of chocolate mousse. 

Learn to say scandalous things in French using your sexiest Deneuve accent. Forget the champagne and instead feed him the mousse with your fingers. Things should progress very quickly after that and those silly little blue pills need not apply. 
Trust me…. In his 80's my father was still a very happy man.

Wishing you all a Happy and passionate Valentines Day……

Beth Schreibman-Gehring

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