What is the best and easiest way to open an oyster?—L.S., Cicero, Illinois
The easiest method is to have someone else open it for you, such as the chef at an oyster bar. But that’s not as much fun, and shucking isn’t difficult once you get the hang of it. You’ll need an oyster knife (never use a steak knife or, God forbid, a screwdriver) and a sturdy board. In his classic guide Consider the Oyster, Patrick McMurray suggests placing a damp cloth beneath the board to keep it from slipping. After washing your hands, take your first oyster and insert the tip of the knife into the pointed end. Work it deep into the hinge and then give it a quick twist. You should hear a pop or snap. Pry up the shell to look inside and find the adductor muscle. Scrape that area, and the top shell should separate. Take the bottom shell and turn it 180 degrees so the adductor is closer to your knife. Look for a dark button in the meat and scrape under that to remove it. McMurray notes that French shuckers don’t remove the meat from the bottom shell because that’s traditionally left for the diner, to show the oyster is fresh.
My girlfriend and I met online four years ago. We talk about meeting in person someday, but in the meantime we have fantastic phone sex. She uses a dildo she named after me, and I use a pocket pussy I named after her. After every orgasm she lets out a sexy yawn that seems to be proportional to the intensity of her climax. Do other women do this? And do other couples find phone sex as exhilarating as we do?—D.W., Detroit, Michigan
Yawning when aroused is not unusual. It’s a natural reaction that we imagine is prompted by the same mechanism of relaxation and release that causes people to unexpectedly laugh, weep or sneeze during sex. Wolter Seuntjens, a chasmologist (a scientist who studies yawning) and author of On Yawning, or The Hidden Sexuality of the Human Yawn, says your girlfriend’s reaction is likely the result of an overabundance of the neurotransmitter oxytocin. He notes that the pleasure of a good yawn and stretch has been compared to a mini climax. (He also notes that yawning accompanied by sudden ejaculation has been observed in cases of rabies and heroin withdrawal, but that’s for another day.) One fallacy about a yawn at climax is that it’s a sign of successful conception—clearly not the case here—while sneezing is said to indicate the opposite. In his 1890 book Physiognomy and Expression, Paolo Mantegazza took it further, suggesting that “yawning expresses, especially in women, the need of physical love.” If only! As for phone sex, many couples enjoy it, though perhaps not for four years. What are you afraid of?