How to Pick a Lover

Archive for the ‘Kissing’ Category

The Seamless Seduction

Here is a perfect poem: to awaken a longing to develop it, to increase it, to stimulate it, and to gratify it.
—Honorè de Balzac

When one thinks of the verb “to seduce,” one thinks of it as something a man does to a woman. More stereotypically, you think of an unscrupulous man, perhaps a villain with a pencil-thin mustache, pressing his attentions upon a young and presumably innocent girl. He suggests, “Have some Madeira, my deara”; and muddled by Madeira and soft talk, she eventually fails to resist and he has his way with her.

In a different kind of world, women, however inexperienced, are not as innocent. Women today don’t and need not simply wait for a man to approach and seduce them. Rather, they can themselves select a man they think looks promising and initiate the next stage.

Some men are very indiscriminate and unselective. You can seduce them by the simple strategy of saying, “Wanna fuck?” And they will say, “Of course!” And do so immediately. And when you’re done, you’ll have been, well, fucked. For a man who is the kind of man who is likely to take love seriously, this approach would be, in most instances, a total turnoff.

The kind of man who will be a serious and attentive lover must be approached just as men should approach women: by creating a mood and an atmosphere conducive to the right kind of experience. That means that the communication must be subtle and indirect, with no connotation of obligation, and no suggestion of a need to perform.

Seduction is an invitation, not a command.

The offering of a seductive invitation should be done in such a way that it is possible for the man or the woman to decline gracefully, with neither party losing face. The person who is skilled in sexual matters will never make a pass at someone when the response to the pass is in any doubt. When the time comes to make a definite, unambiguous move, the other person isn’t going to be surprised and his or her reaction is certain to be positive rather than negative.


Photo credit: mattbeighton

Young people make a lot of mistakes in figuring out how to make a pass, how to see one coming, and how to accept or to deflect one. Older people who aren’t too experienced or those who come from a different tradition can also inflict considerable pain and embarrassment on each other because of their inability to “read” signals and passes.

The strategy for avoiding such confrontation isn’t all that difficult. In our culture, there are a number of sexual scripts as discussed earlier in previous posts. Think of the act of sexual intercourse as a kind of theatrical play with the man and woman being both actors and directors. A sexual interlude is a play with an overture at first curtain. It consists of three acts complete with intermissions and ends with a grand finale, followed by a period of denouement.

The sexual script starts with mutual looking. It proceeds, with or without words, to kissing and mutual touching. At each stage, the other person responds with an encouraging gesture (or sound) or a negative one. The skilled lover, male or female, listens to this conversation of gestures, murmurs, and moans and modifies his or her actions accordingly. There should be mutual, if unspoken, consent as to what happens next, if anything.

Because of sexual scripting, the sequence of erotic involvement is generally quite consistent. The man who is seen as a “wolf ” or the woman who is seen as “too fast” is merely someone who has skipped some of the expected steps. The sense of affront this creates may not be for the acts themselves but for the failure to prepare the other person by leading up to those acts in the right way. The actual time frame involved has less to do with the script than with the specific male and female involved. If the two are virgin teenagers who have been kept as innocent and uninformed as possible, it may take months; if they’re sophisticated New York swingers, it may take only a few hours. Since men aren’t as prepared as are women to have someone make a pass at them, it’s even more important that the sexual script be followed and that there be no surprises which might create a sense of threat and discomfort. The gestures involved proceed with very small increments and with great attention to the response they receive, if any. No one gesture should be so obvious that it must be acknowledged in a way which could prove awkward for either party.

If the gesture is declined, everyone should be able to walk away without embarrassment. If the gesture isn’t declined, the sexual interaction should flow smoothly and easily from one stage to the other—right through to the proverbial cigarette afterward.

“All She Really Needs Is…”

The human spirit sublimates
the impulses it thwarts:
a healthy sex life mitigates
the lust for other sports.
-Piet Hein, Grooks

There is an old husband’s tale about what old husbands tend to call “those women libbers,” and the essence of it is that “they’re all frustrated old maids and all they really need is a good fuck.” Albeit misguided, an old husband’s tale, like an old wives’ tale, may have some germ of truth to it.

A full and rewarding sex life is not only good for your complexion; it is also good for your disposition. The contented body predisposes one toward calmness and serenity. Good lovemaking can generate a kind of peaceful euphoria that carries over into other areas of life, creating feelings of placidity and benevolence. Conversely, a bad sex life, or no sex life at all, predisposes either man or woman to a dour, pessimistic, judgmental view of the world. If you are not having fun, there is nothing more infuriating than to watch other people having fun. If you don’t deserve it, neither do they.

Cover of "Healthy Sex (DK Healthcare)"

Cover of Healthy Sex (DK Healthcare)

Whether or not men and women in such a plight are consciously aware of being frustrated, they are more likely than others to view the world with a jaundiced eye. It is not the absence of orgasms that does it. Orgasms are easy to produce or, if necessary, buy. Orgasms are not the point. If orgasms were all that women wanted, vibrator manufactures could not keep up with the demand. Feeling good or feeling bad relates more to the sense of having this vital and revitalizing human experience or of being denied it.

The absence of physical love erodes the soul and dulls enthusiasm. Your skin gets skin hungry, your dreams are troubled, your temper is sharpened, and your body feels malnourished. You may not have a lean and hungry look, but you will have a hungry one, and you will be more dangerous. Dangerous in the sense that you will feel alienated and isolated from the people around you, and your zest for life may be greatly diminished.

Among other things, making love well, with satisfaction and pleasure, dissipates irritation and petulance. It induces a sense of centeredness and benevolence that is difficult to duplicate. The afterglow is like that of a good meal, but more so; like that of a hot bath, but more so; like that of a massage, but more so; like that of a bottle of wine, but more so, and without the hangover. The afterglow is not only difficult to duplicate, it is difficult to do without—especially if you are among the privileged few who know what you are missing.

And so the old husband’s tale may be true after all. Sometimes, a satisfactory sexual interlude does render you less acrimonious. Without resolving basic discontents, it does make you more placid and therefore more patient and reasonable.

Making Love To, Making Love With

Maria's Lovers


One can know nothing of giving aught that is worthy to give unless one also knows how to take.
—Havelock Ellis

The great lover, when or if you find him, is a man who takes seriously the experience of making love to a woman.

When he is with you, you are the center of his experience and you have his complete attention. He listens to your breathing; feels your hands, your body; and—by a blend of intuition, experience, and trial and error—has the uncanny ability to somehow know what you want now and what you want next and where and how and for how long. Marvelous.

The great lover concentrates on making you feel good, on making you have an orgasm, without demanding that you spend so much effort showing passion that you are distracted from feeling it. This kind of lovemaking is a gift to you.

It is the kind of cherishing and communication that is meant in the wedding prayer when the groom pledges, “With this ring, I thee wed; with my body, I thee worship; and with all my worldly goods, I thee endow.” Unfortunately, many husbands are more willing or able to give worldly goods than to give this special kind of lovemaking. Some never give it at all; some only give it sometimes. When you do experience it, you recognize it as a present that is better than show tickets, better than a new dishwasher, better than the proverbial dozen roses. Attentive lovemaking is the ultimate gift of caring.

Being made love to is great. The next best thing is a man who can let you make love to him. I doubt that, in this case, it is always more blessed to give than to receive; but it is also a benison, and it is different and in its own way rewarding.

Not all men are comfortable with this kind of role. They need to be taught, sometimes, to lie back and enjoy it, to be passive while they are being pleasured, and to let someone else take responsibility for the staging of lovemaking and control the timing and the sequence of events.

Maybe it is because past generations associated being passive in bed with not being masculine. Maybe it is a sense that no nice woman could possibly enjoy that; and so while they could be made love to by a hooker who was later paid, they cannot feel good about being made love to by a nice woman whom they respect. No matter the reason, most men can eventually be taught to lie back and enjoy something that has so much intrinsic appeal. But then . . .

Best of all, for the very lucky, is the level of mutuality when you and he can make love with each other. Then there are no favors, no largesse, no performer, and no audience. Instead, there is a kind of reciprocal dance in which there is not one person who leads and another who follows and, if there is a lead, it moves back and forth from one to the other. Maybe that leads to the celebrated mutual orgasm; most likely it does not, but that does not matter. Because both of you do climax eventually, the lovemaking process is, at least, as important as the achievement of orgasm. Or as John Prine says in one of his songs, “The going is as important as the getting there.”

Sometimes, it is more important. To have someone with whom you can make love is indeed to be blessed even if the relationship does not last and even if the lovemaking is a rare event.

Making love with someone does not just happen as spontaneously as is often portrayed on television and in the movies. It needs a certain kind of attitude and requires the availability of time, space, and attention—all of which must be planned for and made a priority. Amazingly, many people do not have this as a life goal, even people who have been there and should know better.

Love and Kisses


French Kiss

Self explanatory – no caption needed (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

There’s a line between love and fascination
That’s hard to see on an evening such as this,
For they both give the very same sensation
When you’re lost in the magic of a kiss.
—Ned Washington, “My Foolish Heart”)

Be sure to trust the kiss when picking lover. A kiss may feel magically romantic, or sloppily slobbery, or blissfully gentle, or perhaps too rough and toothy. It can either escalate or kill a relationship. No wonder, so much fuss has been made about kissing. Who kisses whom? when? where? how? How precisely does he feel? Do his lips and tongue feel? Kissing occurs in 95 percent of human societies and is believed to have been first recorded in Vedic Sanskrit texts around 500 BC in India.

Little kids think that the real self, the essence, is to be found in the tummy. For adults, however, the real self is found in the head, behind the eyes, and most of all, behind the mouth. In a recent study, 59 percent of men and 66 percent of women said that they had become attracted to a person only after they had kissed the individual. Whereas, 50 percent of men and women reported in another study that their initial attraction to another person ended after the first kiss.

To lie with words is easy, but to lie with kisses is an unusual art. Those not familiar with the mores of commercial sex workers are surprised to learn that, often, a prostitute will do anything sexual that a john wants her to—except kiss him. She views sexual intercourse with kissing to be a more emotionally intimate activity than sexual intercourse without kissing. The mouth, being closer to the real self, is shared with more reluctance and is given with more meaning, not so much for its potential for sexual arousal as for its psychological import. Women are, however, more sexually aroused by kissing than are men.

A man can fake a lot of things—bravery, wealth, power, influence. But he can’t fake great kissing. Only a man who does it with unassuming honesty and romantic readiness can achieve great kissing. He is someone who values the pursuit for what it is: a pleasurable end in itself, not a means to an end. Pay attention to how he kisses you as well as to when and where. Does he savor your skin? Does he wait for your response and your encouragement, or does he grind on regardless? Remember, many men use kissing as a means to an end—namely, to gain sexual access. Just as kisses can reveal the real self, they can also reveal ineptness and a lack of awareness of you and your feelings.

There are few things sweeter than the right kiss at the right moment, and there are few things more oppressive than having to endure a suffocating and slobbering mouth that relentlessly obliterates your own.


The Need For Love

To live without loving is not really living.

If so many of the delicious, delectable enticements of taking a lover and having an affair turn out to be tasteless or leave a bitter aftertaste, why do so many women continue to embark on so many adventures year after year? Probably for the same reason people buy lottery tickets. Because when the affair does live up to your hopes and expectations, or when you win the lottery, it is, in fact, well worth the gamble. It is every bit as wonderful as you imagined it would be.

I know it's not Valentine yet but I'm full of ...

Photo credit: Wikipedia

To love and be loved in return may not solve all life’s problems, but it does make them easier to bear. Loving and being loved puts a bloom on your cheek and a spring in your step and hope in your heart. It makes ordinary, everyday events seem like fun, and it transforms extraordinary ones into truly joyous experiences. You feel more confident, more energetic, and more optimistic. You take more delight in the pleasures of the world and are more tolerant of its trials and hardships.

Love is not a panacea. It does not cure cancer or stop inflation or prevent war. It does not stop you from growing older. It is, however, the world’s best palliative; and by lessening the pain of living, it increases enjoyment of life. No wonder poets have, for centuries, been waxing eloquence on these themes. No wonder so much of your time and attention and energy is taken up, one way or another, in the quest for the kind of lover who can open up this cornucopia of feeling and delight.

Women in Contemporary Relationships

I think we can all agree that romantic relationships have changed dramatically over the past 50 years.

A mere two generations ago relationships and marriage were rather vanilla. Couples were heterosexual, of the same race/ethnicity, religion, social/economic and political background – so much for diversity. Also, marital roles were fairly circumscribed – men were the breadwinners and women the homemakers. There were shared expectations about sex roles for men and women, which were primarily based on what constituted masculine and feminine behavior. Premarital sex was taboo – at least for women. There were “good” girls and “bad” girls, and I don’t think I need to tell you what made a good girl good or bad girl bad. In any given couple, the man was usually older, taller, better educated, and financially better off than the woman.  All things that defer more power to the man than the women. Few women worked outside the home. And when they did, it was to supplement her husband’s substantially larger income.

Well, so much for the good ole days. Today’s relationships run the gamut of the rainbow – heterosexual/gay, interracial/ethnic, interfaith, binational, older women and younger men, couples from widely different social, economic, political backgrounds. Women have full fledged careers and they are financially independent. For women, being a virgin – or almost a virgin – is no longer a prerequisite to marriage.  All in all, women today have a range of options and opportunities that far outstrip those of our grandmothers or even our mothers.

It all sounds wonderful.  However, as we enter the second decade of the 21st century, many of our social values that govern love, sex and marriage remain markedly different for men and women in many ways. While both men and women may openly and freely engage in the pursuit of love and sex, how they reach their quest is not always the same.

"The world turned upside down" (gend...

“The world turned upside down” (gender-role reversal) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Our cultural traditions are strong and differences in the socialization and physiology of men and women remain a reality. And unfortunately, or fortunately – depending on your personal views–many traditional sex roles remain deeply embedded in modern-day relationships – straight and gay. When these traditional roles collide with the realities of modern day – which they often do – couples find themselves in conflict.

While contemporary relationships may be much more rewarding than the those of our parents and grandparents, they are also much more complex and difficult.

Through this blog, I want to explore the relatively new emotional and sexual freedoms that women have gained through their struggle  for equality and freedom of sexual expression in contemporary relationships – including a woman’s option of having a lover(s) if she so chooses.

Each week I will post some specific thoughts about women in contemporary relationships for comment and discussion. Hope you will join in on what I believe will be a fun, enlightening and rewarding blog.

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