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    “Hot Burn vs. Slow Burn”— An Excerpt from Lesbian Marriage: A Love & Sex Forever Kit

    hotburnThe Hot Burn is the quick flare, the instantaneous sexual kindle, the experience we think is worth ruining our lives for. The Slow Burn takes longer to get going. It needs a more intimate, mature knowledge of our lover’s body. It requires patience as the heat gathers and gains force. The great temptation of the Hot Burn is that you race ahead of yourself and seem transformed. Your old self is left behind. You are carried beyond the sexual limitations that have always plagued you. How could you resist it?

    The Slow Burn is mostly ignored because it is compared to the Hot Burn and found wanting; we don’t cherish it because we almost don’t notice it. After the Hot Burn you return to yourself. You come back to the person you have always been in all your sexual shyness, shame, and fear. Back to your serious doubt of your attractiveness. Your body’s repressions and secrets speak up again. The Slow Burn never really gets a chance; before it can develop, we have to face everything the Hot Burn has allowed us to leave behind. Poor old Slow Burn, personally and culturally unrecognized as a possibility of sexual fulfillment.

    You can be sure Tristan and Isolde, who had been drugged into their passion, knew nothing about it. Ditto for Romeo and Juliet, those kids of thirteen and sixteen with their single burning night together. Anthony and Cleopatra, Paris and Helen of Troy, Eloise and Abelard. You didn’t even have to know their stories to know how hot they’d been burning. Did two women together have to be walled in by these old bedtime stories?


    Let’s think: what would have happened to Romeo and Juliet ten years later if they had lived, and lived together? Romeo might be taking off for Padua every chance he got, resenting the time Juliet spent with their children; she might have felt that after a day of kids and the house and her own family, another demand on her for intimacy was just too much. Could she have taught Romeo to caress her tired body to sleep? To give her a sexy foot massage that would have melted her to the bone?

    Lesbian (and all other) sex manuals are filled with suggestions for lovers to get back into the Hot Burn: fill the bubble bath, light the candle, burn your incense, get out that exotic oil, slide your k.d. lang into the CD player. Start with the back rub.

    All this sudsing would be well and good if the attempt to reach a Hot Burn weren’t so misguided. Candles light up the Slow Burn. Think of a sensual, tender flame; a breath moving gently over your skin; kisses lingering in the hollow of your neck; little bites on your ear lobe, and naughty whispers. Nothing asked for and demanded beyond what is there for both of you in the moment. No other goal or pursuit or striving, no effort or labor. Slow Burn is not boredom, but something entirely different. A different kind of passion learned in confessional intimacy. A seasoned passion only a seasoned couple can achieve. A sensual knowledge only you and she can know. Marriage is an excellent place for carnal knowledge.

    Kim Chernin and Renate Stendhal are prize-winning writers as well as relationship experts. After a cross-cultural relationship of 28 years, they are now a married couple. “Lesbian Marriage: A Love & Sex Forever Kit” is their third co-authored book. They follow their own advice most of the time! To learn more about them and their latest book, available on Amazon,  please visit  

    Find their other Bay Times articles here and here.