First, I come across this book. The title is in slick, black, bold type roughly the size of a twin bed, printed crisply on a glossy white dust jacket.


That's the title. The subtitle is: The Facts, the Acts & Your Feelings.

I have nothing against this no doubt well-intentioned book. In fact, it has some artful illustrations.

A day later, I find myself reading a magazine article which declares that Hollywood has finally taken on the big taboo: homosexuality. At last, it says, they're starting to make sensitive, realistic movies about gay people.

Fine. I can hardly wait for the opening of "Bob & Darryl & Ted & Alex," which is not really the name of a film but an admittedly surly joke born of my satiety.

When, I ask, is Hollywood going to start making sensitive, realistic movies about the rest of us semisexuals?

That's right: The time has come for us semisexuals to come out of the closet -- even if the only thing we were doing in there was hanging up shirts.

It appears that some kids growing up nowadays don't even know the rudimentary definition of a semisexual -- which, as you and I know, is a man or a woman who occasionally does NOT think about or engage in sex, and not only still breathes normally but also smiles a few times a week, and gets some work done.

I must confess that I have nothing against sex. Occasionally I feel as if I have mastered it, instead of the other way around. But, please--I just don't want to talk about it, hear about it or read about it every waking minute of my life. I have enough trouble with the non-waking minutes.

We semis have got to pull the wagons into a circle, or whatever, and we'd better do it soon. The world is conspiring against us. Or perspiring against us.

If I watch television for more than three consecutive prime-time hours on any given night, for instance, I find myself praying that someone-- anyone --will feign a headache. Not a chance. When was the last time you heard a television character use the old "Not tonight, I have a . . . " line?

Instead, they're apt to say, "Hey, great. You want to pick up the hip boots and tapioca, or shall I?"

When every commercial tells you how nifty your skin should feel, your jeans should fit or your breath should smell--who feels like, say, reading or writing? Has anyone you know recently acquired sex appeal by finishing a term paper?

The box in the living room knows: If you want to get someone's attention in 1981, you don't whisper. You bend over.

I happen to like Valerie Bertinelli, one of the younger stars of "One Day at a Time." But what is she doing on every other cover of Us magazine? And is that a handkerchief or a pair of shorts? I mean, do I have to like her that way, too?

I started reading Us magazine in desperation, in case you wondered, because everyplace else I looked I ran into Jim Palmer and his freshly air-brushed Jockey briefs.

People are constantly mistaking us semis for the kind of people P.T. Barnum said are born every minute.

Gary Gross, for instance, the photographer who took pictures of Brooke Shields in the nude at age 10 -- amazingly, with the written permission of Teri Shields, mother of the now-famous model. A New York judge banned Gross from selling the photos, and this -- not surprisingly -- upset Gross. "I earn my living by taking and selling photographs," he was quoted as saying. "My photographs of Brooke Shields are the most valuable I own."

I bet they are. I'll take 10.

Sex sells. Everybody knows that. It sells America books (The Joy of Sex, The Hite Report, Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Sex, plus every ton of words Harold Robbins and Judith Krantz can forklift out the front door).

It sells America toothpaste and jeans, football, fade cream ("What's a woman to do?"), just about everything but privacy. (Remember privacy?)

Sex -- or certain folks' preoccupation with it -- now seems to be selling America the Moral Majority. And wait till you see their jeans commercials.