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Published October 2012

Yes Yes Yes

Yes yes yes

This widely used and universally understood exclamation has had a lot of coverage in the press lately

The 100th Anniversary of the day described in James Joyce’s Ulysses – June 16th, known as Bloomsday, was celebrated by the BBC with an unprecedented all day broadcast of dramatised extracts from the landmark modernist novel. Those of us who chose to were able to immerse ourselves in the unfolding day of Leopold Bloom, travelling alongside him as complex outer events and elaborate inner commentary intertwined beguilingly.

The long book culminates on the last page with the celebrated soliloquy  by Molly Bloom, as she remembers how she first succumbed to the sexual overtures of our hero, in her final utterance of  acquiescence – “.and yes I said yes I will Yes.”

As a trailer for the Bloomsday broadcast, the Beeb kept the airwaves pulsing for weeks beforehand with Molly’s ultimate, passionate yes yes yes.

Naturally we were very happy to have this mesmerising refrain heard by so many, a prompt we hoped for them to enjoy the pleasures of our particular yes yes yes.

Then just a few weeks ago the death was announced of Nora Ephron, the wise, witty and celebrated author of, among many other things, the filmscript for “When Harry met Sally”. And what did most of the coverage of her life and death use in tribute? Why, the famous faked orgasm scene with “Sally” delivering her crescendoing Yes Yes Yes!  It seemed to be on looptape for days across the media. The thumped table, the perfectly controlled “out of control” hysterical Yes Yes Yes was repeated on all sides. No matter how often you see the Katz Deli scene, it is unfailingly fabulous and brilliantly funny. Indeed the “I’ll have what she’s having” riposte has now passed into common usage.

Then, recently, Naomi Woolf was featured in the Sunday Times with her photo emblazoned with a mega Yes! Yes! Yes! During the course of investigating her declining capacity to fully orgasm vaginally, she discovers that an injury sustained by her lower back 20 years previously has progressively compressed the pelvic nerve, the one that terminated in the vaginal canal. And from the pelvic nerve specialist she consults, Dr Jeffrey Cole, she makes an amazing discovery that accounts for the ways different women experience orgasm. To quote: “Every woman is wired differently. Some women’s nerves branch more in the vagina; other women’s nerves branch more into the clitoris. Some branch a great deal into the perineum, or at the mouth of the cervix. That accounts for some of the differences in female sexual response”

The article is very revealing, throwing new light on the anatomy of the Yes Yes Yes.

Of course we cannot hope to appropriate such a universal expression, but do we enjoy a certain frisson when we hear it so widely broadcast?  Why, Yes Yes Yes!


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