Query That Rocked: For Women’s Health

In my Renegade Writer survey, many readers asked for examples of query letters that worked. So here’s one I sold to Women’s Health a few years ago. Notice that I included quotes from a couple of experts and that I gave a few examples of the kinds of tips I would provide. If you have any questions about this query, post them in the Comments and I’ll be glad to answer.

Dojo Mojo
Martial Arts Techniques to Kick Up Your Sex Life

Men often expect their lovers to be gymnasts in the bedroom — but it’s even better if they’re martial artists. Women’s Health readers don’t have to be able to throw someone over their shoulder to get the benefits of martial mattress training — in “Dojo Mojo: Martial Arts Techniques to Kick Up Your Sex Life,” I’ll tell readers whose only contact with martial arts is watching kung fu movies how to use elements of karate, tae kwon do, and other fighting arts to put the moves on their husbands. For example:

* Use your voice. In karate, it’s called a “kiai” — a yell that focuses your energy, gives you power, and scares away attackers. In the same way, making noise makes you more powerful in bed (though it WON’T scare your sweetie). “When you hold back sound, you hold back sexual energy,” says Ava Cadell, Ph.D., a sex therapist in Los Angeles and a black belt in shotokan karate. “Making sounds lets your partner know you’re having a great time — it’s validating. It also releases sexual energy from way down in the gut so you’re able to feel a full body orgasm.”

* Practice libido bushido. “Bushido” literally means “the way of the warrior,” and part of practicing bushido is keeping focused on the task at hand. “Sure, the kitchen needs to be cleaned and the laundry needs to be done, but a true warrior stays in the moment and doesn’t get distracted,” says Jennifer Lawler, Ph.D., a black belt in tae kwon do and author of Dojo Wisdom: 100 Simple Ways to Become a Stronger, Calmer, More Courageous Person. “In a fight, it’s deadly, and in the bedroom, it makes you quickly lose steam. Once you’re in the mood, make it a practice not to think of the other chores or worries awaiting you.”

* Keep eye contact. Martial artists keep eye contact while sparring to prevent giving away their next move and to get in tune with their sparring partners. Use this same technique to get in tune with your man. “Eye contact enhances intimacy, which is a deeper form of lovemaking,” says Cadell. “I suggest eye-gazing. Hold eye contact as much as possible during the entire experience. This will keep the two of you in a place of union and help you tune into each other through the eyes.”

Other martial arts moves to use in the bedroom include using your hips for power, being flexible (mentally as well as physically), practicing “no-mind,” and tightening your muscles at the end of a move.

I’m a brown belt in shorin ryu karate. Martial arts are hot these days — 12 million people in the U.S. are into martial arts and kickboxing, including Taryn Manning, Paula Abdul, Carmen Electra, Courteney Cox, and David Arquette — and sex, well, sex is always hot. May I write “Dojo Mojo: Martial Arts Techniques to Kick Up Your Sex Life” for you?


Linda Formichelli

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5 comments… add one
  • Chanize

    What an awesome and clever query, Linda. I love it. Heck, I want to read the article!

  • How difficult (and how time consuming) was it to track down experts to quote? Do you have any advice for getting expert quotes for queries?

  • Thanks Chanize!

    Sarah, it wasn’t that difficult in this case. Jennifer Lawler is a friend of mine, so of course that was easy. To find Ava Cadell, I believe I put out a ProfNet request asking for sex experts who were also involved in the martial arts. (ProfNet — http://www.profnet.com — and Help a Reporter Out — http://www.helpareporter.com — are free services that help reporters find sources.)

    I wrote an article for Writer’s Digest a few years ago on where to find the best sources. If you send your e-mail address to me at lindaformichelli@gmail.com, I’ll e-mail you the article.

  • Dawnz Hensley

    Wow! Where can I find the article?

    • Thanks! I’m afraid I’m not sure where to find the article online…I did a search and didn’t find it. It appeared in Women’s Health several years ago.

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