Page 37

Pleasures of Life Dept.

Nurse Whoopee

Everyone needs a little nudge in the art of romance. Valda Ford is here to give it to you.w

By Maria Johnson

When it comes to

Photograph by lynn donovan

the workings of the human body, Valda Ford knows what she’s talking about.

Ditto romance. So it was natural for Ford, a registered nurse who does dinner programs for people who want to add zest to their sex lives, to branch into writing romance novels. And that’s how Sins, Secrets & Lies, a self-published 94-page paperback quickie, was born recently. “She watched him walk in from across the room,” the book begins. “Though the room was large, she immediately identified his frame, his walk, his air. It had been more than a year since we last saw him. Their circumstances had not changed. She was still engaged to the man her parents had picked for her so very long ago.” Mmm hmm. We know where this is going. Or do we? Practicing what she preaches, Ford takes her time, lingering on the power of suggestion, talk and mutual respect as precursors to satisfying sex.
“Sex without romance is porn,” says the 59-year-old Ford, a High Point native who’s been around the world, and the block, a few times. Crowned homecoming queen at Andrews High School in 1972, she went on to be twice married, twice divorced and twice a mom. Her younger son died as a baby, and Ford’s questions about his medical care prompted her to go to nursing school, launching a career that has taken her to Saudi Arabia, the U.S. Virgin Islands, Sri Lanka, Sierra Leone, Ghana and Omaha, Nebraska, where she taught college students and worked as a diversity expert. She returned to High Point in 2011 after her son, Alphonso, asked her to come home. Long a speaker on leadership and health issues, she started doing educational sessions called Sex is Not for Sissies! after speaking to 800 women at a hospital-sponsored event in Cincinnati and being approached by a 74-yearold widow who had a new, younger boyfriend and wanted sexual advice. The Art & Soul of Greensboro

“I said, ‘You think he’d be a stud?’ She said, ‘I think he would be.’” Ford dispenses information in a dinner-and-a-show format at hotel ballrooms and event centers. Forthright, funny and factual, she asks audience members to write their intimate questions on index cards. She answers the anonymous questions after dinner, with an eye toward increasing sexual knowledge and fun. “I believe that great sex and safe sex can go together,” she says. Always fascinating with storytelling, Ford wrote romantic audio snippets, had them recorded by a velvetvoiced man, and posted them on one of her websites, sexisnotforsissies. com, to help female listeners slip into a more playful mindset. “The majority of women I know have multiple obligations, and getting themselves from worker-mother-philanthropist into the role of lover might take a little nudge,” Ford says. She promises a sequel to Sins, Secrets & Lies, and maybe even a name for the female protagonist, who is simply “she” in the novel. The reason? So any woman can think of herself as the main character in a story that fuses mild erotica with Ford’s technical know-how. The result is never clinical, though this may be the only bodice-ripper you’ll ever read that contains the word cervix. At the same time, Ford, who holds a master’s degree in public health, plans to invite men to her next Sex is Not for Sissies!, a suggestion made by the male videographers and sound technicians who have heard her talk. Women, too, have urged her to make the sessions coed. “They say, ‘Let the guys in. They need to learn this stuff.’” OH Maria Johnson is a contributing editor of O.Henry. Ford’s next Sex is Not for Sissies! is scheduled for 6—9 p.m. on March 8 at the Technology Center of the Piedmont Triad, 510 Hickory Ridge Drive, Greensboro. For more information, go to or call (336) 870-5571. The cost, with dinner, is $35 for singles/$65 for couples. March 2014

O.Henry 35

March O.Henry 2014  
March O.Henry 2014  

The Art & Soul Greensboro