Wilt Chamberlain, Bob Newhart, and other ’70s Stars Reveal: “What Makes a Woman Good in Bed”


What Makes a Woman G.I.B.?

Author: Wendy Leigh
Date: 1977
Publisher: Signet
Discovered at: The Second Best Thrift Shop, Astoria, Queens

The Cover Promises: That being “good in bed” is such a naughty new idea that it demands a cute acronym. Also: That there’s apparently no reason to aim for being “great.”

Representative Quotes:

First I interviewed medical professionals. I asked them questions such as: Is there a superior cunt? Can a gynecologist tell if a woman is good when he examines her? … Do some vaginas taste better than others? (page 6)

Doc Severinsen: “I think in some cases a nice, tight pussy is not a bad thing, but the response matters just as much.” (page 62)


An intrepid journalist and ghostwriter, and the biographer of such notables as Swayze, Schwarzenegger, Zsa Zsa, and that one cranky sister of Madonna’s, Wendy Leigh had just the right mix of ambition and celebrity-obsessed guilelessness to spend 1976 asking everyone in Hollywood “What makes a woman G.I.B.?” As she puts it, she did this for one very important reason: because Warren Beatty thought the question was stupid.

She tells the story in the introduction of What Makes a Woman G.I.B: She once approached Beatty at the Beverly Wilshire, those swank digs where–as she dishes in her first paragraphs–she often hung out and was routinely propositioned. Leigh approached Beatty, who appeared “very suntanned in a white suit.”

Then, being Leigh, she hit him with a question: “What makes a woman good in bed?”

Beatty’s response: “What makes a woman good in bed? I think that is a terrible question.”

And he walked away.

Being a savvy author-person, Leigh knew that anecdote couldn’t go to waste. And not being especially generous in her estimation of her readers’ intelligence, she claims that she was “pleased because I totally agree with him. I have always thought that the question, ‘Are you good in bed?’ is terrible because of the insecurity and desire for sexual conformity it creates in women.”

That, she insists, inspired her to write this book. Because she agreed with Warren Beatty that it’s dumb to ask “What makes a woman good in bed?” Leigh had no choice but to ask everyone she met “What makes a woman good in bed?” and then publish the results.

First she talked to a gynecologist, who told her:

“I don’t get clues about a woman’s responsiveness when I examine her. I am in a lot of trouble if I do. Women come into my office and say ‘I hate these examinations.’ I say, ‘If you liked it, you’d have to leave.'”

Then, because it was the ’70s and she felt obliged, she talked to feminist lawyer Carol Downer:

“Learning to like a penis and dislike their own sex organs is a cultivated taste that women develop over a period of time, just as people learn to appreciate classical music.”

Yes, loving the penis is exactly like loving classical music. One way to tell the difference between the sexual expert and the novice: The expert does not applaud until the penis is all the way done.

After that, she talked one of the few men who has taken it upon himself to make women better:

Steve Zax, plastic surgeon:

“If I, as a plastic surgeon, could create the ideal woman in bed, she would be five-feet-six-inches tall, she would weigh 115 to 120 pounds, and she would have soft skin, open eyes–regardless of color–a bust that is ample but not exaggerated, smaller rather than larger hips, a quick, smooth body. She would have an eagerness about her.”

He has an eagerness, too–to never go 30 seconds without mentioning he’s a plastic surgeon.

But enough with these no-names! Let’s get to the real reason we’re all here: To imagine what it would be like to find ourselves in the sack with a Match Game‘s worth of ’70s stars.

The most interesting responses break down into four groups, some of which overlap.

1. The “G” in “G.I.B.” should stand for “girl.”

Roger Moore:

“A woman is good if she doesn’t argue.”

Oliver Reed:

“A woman is good in bed if she accepts the fact that she is going to be fucked. She is the receiver, the vessel, and provided a woman understands that she is going to be penetrated, that she will always be fucked, than a man can have a proper sexual relationship with her.”

Charles Aznavour:

“Young women, teenage, are best. I prefer them. I am not at all homosexual, but I like boyish women, unformed, not exactly finished. Every man has a Pygmalion ego, or a mother complex. For my Pygmalion ego, I like to have a teenager in bed. For me, a woman is good if she knows nothing, and is open to everything.”

Wilt Chamberlain:

“I usually prefer a woman who is not so experienced, as I think I am a little different from the average man, I like to have a chance to be more of a teacher to a young lady, and she is usually more susceptible to teaching if she doesn’t know anything herself.”

2. Women should take charge by submitting.

More Wilt Chamberlain:

“I think a woman has the right, as I do, to refuse anything in bed, but I demand a good reason why she has refused.”

More Oliver Reed:

“I don’t think a woman would ever refuse something I wanted in bed. But I think that a woman is probably less good if she asks for what she wants in bed. A woman always wants to be dominated in bed, but is afraid to admit it … A willing slave is always warm and humble and submissive and happy to be a slave–and being that is what makes a woman good in bed.”

James Darren (from TJ Hooker!):

“A woman is good if she doesn’t spit the appleseeds in your face afterwards.”

Bruce Dern:

“Personally, I like a woman to be a whore in bed.”

Omar Sharif:

“French girls are not pretty in my opinion– the standard of beauty in France is much lower than in England–but French girls do an enormous amount with what they’ve got. They have a way of cuddling a man’s sexual parts, of really loving them. … French girls are totally the woman, compared to, for example, the American woman, who’s rather aggressive and domineering. The French woman never puts herself on the same level as the man sexually–a woman can’t do that.”

3. It’s How a Woman Is Born:

Isaac Hayes:

“There are some women who are physically perfect– not body-wise, but in their genital area: the texture and location of the vaginal canal. Not necessarily tightness; it can be the fatty tissues in the walls of the vagina that add a lot. … I find the common-looking or unattractive women are much better in bed than the very, very attractive women. It seems as if the beautiful women are too hung up on their outward appearance. Whereas the woman who is not so attractive and knows that all she has is herself and her body is not inhibited by, ‘I wonder if I will get my makeup running down my face, or my hair will get messed up?'”

Sonny Bono:

“Good bloodline, background, and breeding.”

Barry White:

“To me, some of the greatest women are Leo women, Gemini women, Libra women, Taurus women, and Capricorn women–it’s in their makeup.”

4. Fine, Wendy Leigh, I’ll Say Something for Your Stupid Book if You’ll Get Away and Let Me Enjoy This Awesome Hollywood Party, and Maybe Also My Words Might One Day Give People Hope After Charles Aznavour Bums Them Out

John Wayne:

“What makes a woman G.I.B.? Being there.”

Lily Tomlin:

“Let’s talk about life, don’t let’s talk about sexist questions. Let’s talk about what makes an amoeba good in bed. The main trouble is that women have to get the approval of the ruling class, which is the white male. Men always expect you to suck them, but they don’t suck. Anyway, I hate the phrase ‘She sucks.” Most of us have or do. Newborn babies do, and most of us in our lives, including John Updike, have sought through the decades to find someone who would or does suck.”

Gene Wilder:

“The very question insults me. … Everyone should realize there is no answer–no A, B, C, or D–that makes a woman good in bed. The strongest force working for sexual pleasure anytime I have made love to a woman was when an honest affection existed between the woman and myself.”

Bob Newhart:

“You are probably asking one of the least experienced men in the world. I would suspect love makes a woman good.”

Newhart, Tomlin, and Wilder are the exceptions, of course. And since Jack Nicholson, Ryan O’Neal, Elliott Gould, and Jimmy Connors all give such safe, generic answers, what stands out in Leigh’s book is the very thing she attested to hate about the question, “Are you good in bed?” Answer after answer, all presented in the book without comment, a portrait emerges of just what a woman should be, according to the Hollywood celebrities Leigh insists are “the sex symbols universally desired by women.”

That ideal is teensy and busty, barely legal and empty of experiences, born under the right sign and with a vagina richly deposited with pleasurable fats, raised to believe that under no circumstances should she ever say “no.”

Remember, even this guy knew this was dumb:

“BOO HOO HOO, WHY MUST I HAVE ALL OF THE SEX?” –Warren Beatty, People Magazine


Other Studies in Crap columns you might enjoy:
Ladies, Fail Your Families With the Housekeeping Board Game From a 1963 Family Circle

The 17 Best Bits from Your New Favorite Sexy Hobo Vintage Paperback

Here’s the NSFW Sex-Ed Book That Teaches Elementary Schoolers to Masturbate on the Tetherball Pole