Deborah Ross: No pet name ever leads to the bedroom

If you ask me...

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If you ask me, while it is popular to sneer at self-help books – indeed, my own Women Who Sneer At Self-Help Books Too Much has never been out of Amazon's top 870,000 – I am wondering about the latest. This is Stop Calling Him Honey and Start Having Sex: How Changing Your Everyday Habits Will Make You Hot For Each Other All Over Again by Maggie Arana and Julienne Davis.

I should confess I have not read the book itself – a recent trip to the time bank showed that I'm much time-poorer than I thought; where does it all go? – but I think the gist is as follows: resorting to pet names is a bad habit which erodes individual identity and leads to a sexual desert.

Or, as I put it to my own husband of 22 years: "Hey, Tosspot, this must be why we are not having hot sex all the time." He did not disagree. He said: "You may be on to something, Pig Face." We did not have hot sex that night or any night thereafter. So, personally, I'm beginning to think there may be something in this after all.

This will, I know, come as a surprise to my many fans, as well as the followers of my blog: Ladies, What Self-Help Book Shall We Sneer at Today? They may even argue that Stop Calling Him Honey is only "familiarity breeds contempt" dressed up as something else and then padded out to 216 pages with, probably, anecdotes, testimonials, a "relationships expert" from daytime TV, plus whatever else happens to be passing.

As it is, my Women Who Sneer is beautifully padded out with a chapter called Things To Do When Not Sneering which, among other diversions, offers a recipe for rack of lamb and the rules for Mahjong.

But this time? It does seem to be true. Or, as I later said to my husband: "Are you quite, quite sure you don't want hot sex, Stinker?" "I am quite sure, Fatty," he said. See? Pet names are passion-killers. End of.

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