How to Pick a Lover

Posts tagged ‘Eroticism’

Beware of the Hard Sell

With women worth being won, the softest love ever best succeeds.
—Aaron Hill

One of the joys of life is that sexual arousal and anticipation are “green energy”.  They are both constantly renewable resources. The person who has turned you on once will very likely turn you on tomorrow and the next day. Unless his regiment really rides at dawn, or his ship really sails with the tide, a love affair is seldom really an emergency that must happen immediately. No matter what Elvis says, sex is never “now or never”: it can wait. If a man is so hot to get laid right now, one way or another, he presumably can arrange it as the “rosy-breasted pushover” isn’t yet an endangered species.

It's Now or Never (song)

Photo credit: Wikipedia

The man who presents you with an ultimatum on your last chance to go to bed with him is, in effect, saying that he isn’t going to waste any more time on you unless you put out. That is unless you pay him back for his invested time and effort by putting out right now. Think about it—unless you are a working girl—do you need that kind of attitude?

And if you say no again, and he stalks away muttering, “Stupid cockteasing slut,” what have you lost? Better to know that kind of bottom line while on your feet than to hear it when you’re flat on you back. The man who does not want to spend time on you beforehand isn’t going to want to spend time on the afterglow either.

The hard sell may not be a bad strategy for doing business, but it is bad business for a friendly love affair. The now-or-never approach is dangerous and counterproductive, whether it’s for sex or for vacuum cleaners being
sold door-to-door. If the relationship is worthwhile, it will continue to be so while you think it over.

Unless, of course, his regiment really does ride at dawn.

Sex For The Joy Of It

In real life, women are always trying to mix something up with sex—religion or babies or hard cash; it is only men who long for sex separated out, without rings or strings.
—Katharine Whitehorn, Man’s Ideal Woman

Back in 1913, H. M. Swanwick speculated in The Future of the Woman’s Movement that women of the future would have men on only honorable terms—“love and liberty and mutual service”—or would go without. Nearly a hundred years have now passed and the projected future has presumably arrived, but many women are still settling for other terms as well. Many women, but not all of them.

If you can, pick a lover because he is the kind of man who turns you on and for no other reason. If you can pick such a lover, then determine the time and the place where you will make love. If you can pick such a lover, then share with him a mutually responsive and guided experience. If you can do all this, then you have a chance to enter the erotic world in the full sense of the phrase. And if you are very lucky, then you have a chance to explore the other limits of the realm of the senses.

If you think sex is not all that wonderful, then you’re not doing it with the right man.

 

Putting Up With Putting Out

There are two things one should never do from a sense of duty, and the other one is to read a book.
—Richard Needham

Consider this cautionary tale.  A young woman I know was on the road trying to live as cheaply as possible, but by no means interested in casual hook ups, was  offered the opportunity to spend the night on a yacht and thereby save a hotel bill. Since the man in question was a friend of a friend and was by all accounts a respectable and benevolent guy, she took the offer at face value and showed up, backpack in hand.

She was enjoying the tranquility of watching the sun go down over the harbor and listening to the gulls when she suddenly realized that the captain of the boat considered that with overnight guests, he had a kind of droit du seigneur as far as all women were concerned. She could have screamed rape, but there was no one to hear, and she could not swim very well. Besides, the captain was quite sincere in his assumption and genuinely surprised at her reluctance.

“Well,” he said, pulling down the strap of her bra, “why did you agree to come out here then?” “Because it was a place to stay.” “And so it is,” he said, pulling down her other strap.She was surprised, confused, and helpless enough that, as they expressed it in Victorian novels, he “had his way with her.” She left the next day at dawn after a sleepless night, feeling bewildered and a little soiled, but a lot wiser. [As an aside, this may be what Paul Ryan and many other misguided Republican legislators consider “non-legitimate rape.”  To be clear, any time a woman’s freedom to chose whether or not she wants to have sex is violated – for whatever reason – it is rape.] If women’s sexual inclinations were assumed to be the same as men’s, with her wanting and needing the same kind of sex to the same degree that he does, the entire structure of male-female relationships would have to be rewritten.

The sexual revolution has led to many changes, but it has not yet altered this fundamental premise. Both men and women recognize, on a fundamental although implicit level, that for most people most of the time, she is not as sexually driven as he is. Even if she does enjoy having sex (and often she doesn’t) and even if she does have orgasms and cries out with delight (and often she doesn’t), she still doesn’t ordinarily enjoy it as much as he does. More importantly, even if she enjoys it as much, she doesn’t seem to need it as much.

We now classify women not so much in terms of whether or not they are sexually active but in terms of why they are sexually active. Good girls, and good women, are compensated for their sexuality by love and affection, by dances and dinners, and eventually, by marriage and children. Bad girls, and bad women, are compensated more directly by presents or favors or cold cash.

Her Sexuality: His Sexuality

Show business is like sex. When it’s wonderful, it’s wonderful. But when it isn’t very good, it’s still all right.
—Max Wall, The Listener

Its true that the sexual revolution has led to an increased permissiveness regarding many kinds of sexual encounters, including relatively casual ones. The so-called new morality, however, doesn’t yet take into account all of the implications of the discrepancies between male and female patterns of sexual response.

Even if 90 percent of young women are now orgasmic and proud of it, there remains another fact of life to be taken into account. The sexual response patterns of most women are different from the sexual response patterns of most men. This difference may be innate, or it may be simply due to different socialization patterns. Whatever its origin, it is nonetheless real.

Generally speaking, men tend to be more sexual creatures than do women. His sex drive tends to be stronger than her sex drive; his sexual urges are more frequent and more urgent. The differences that men and women experience in erotic desire are most pronounced when you compare the rapacious enthusiasm which is often characteristic of teenage boys with the reticence often characteristic of teenage girls.

Most young women may very well seek love or affection or contact comfort; but they are, for the most part, less driven by the overt need for sexual release. While recent studies have shown that teenage girls have sex almost as often as teenage boys, they do so for very different reasons. Teenage girls are far more likely to have sex to please their boyfriends or to experiment or because of peer pressure or because they want to feel loved, whereas teenage boys are far more driven by an overarching physical desire for sex.

For the most part, men are more easily turned on than are women. Alex Comfort, the noted British sexologist, observes, “Male sexual response is far brisker and more automatic. It is triggered easily by things—like putting a quarter in a vending machine.” At seventeen, a young man may be turned on by anything vaguely suggestive although he may not be able to do anything very effective with all his erotic energy.

The discrepancy in sex drive tends to be less pronounced when you compare older men and women. With age and with lowering levels of testosterone, the male sex hormone, a man’s sex drive becomes less compelling. With experience and perhaps with resulting loss of inhibition, a woman’s sexual responsiveness may increase with age. She may be more of a sexual creature at forty-five than she was at fifteen or at twenty-five. In spite of this rapprochement, however, for most men compared with most women, sex per se is more compelling and important.

It starts with her beauty in my eyes, it moves...

Photo credit: Wikipedia

Differences in sex drive also relate to differences in sexual satisfaction. For men who are potent, which is most of them, achieving an orgasm is seldom a problem although postponing one may be. In contrast, for women, having an orgasm is something that has to be learned, and it is not always easily achieved. Except for the very lucky, doing what comes naturally just doesn’t work.

A woman, especially an inexperienced woman, often needs a longer time and a particular frame of mind to be able to achieve an orgasm. She needs a lover who is patient and sexually skilled enough to provide the right kind of stimulation. With time, she becomes experienced enough to know what she wants and comfortable enough to tell her partner what works for her. Most often, she also needs a partner whom she trusts enough so that she may feel psychologically secure.

Viewed from this perspective, the shopping list of a woman’s sexual “needs” is, in fact, quite extensive. Without all of these components present all at once, having sex may not be all that appealing to her and, on many occasions, she would really prefer not to have sex at all.

The British comedian Max Wall may think that, for him, “when it isn’t very good, it’s still all right.” But legions of women would disagree. For them, when it isn’t very good, it can be annoying, intrusive, degrading, painful, or just plain boring.

The Love Factor: The Need For Affection

The greatest happiness of life is
The conviction that we are loved,
Loved for ourselves, or rather loved
in spite of ourselves.
—Victor Hugo

It is convenient to view the emancipation of women as part of the sexual revolution and to consider the changes in women’s role in terms of the undeniable changes, which have occurred in her expectations regarding her own sexuality as well as that of men. While these changes have raised the consciousness of a generation in terms of their potential for erotic fulfillment, sensuality is only one part of what women want from men.

If you are considering taking a lover, you may be looking for love as well as for companionship and perhaps for adventure. When you evaluate a particular man in terms of the pros and cons of becoming involved with him, you might want mainly to have sex. You also might want mainly to be loved or to be less lonely or to be less bored. In the best of all possible worlds, you probably want eroticism and love together, with a man who is also an interesting companion. Which need comes foremost in your mind depends upon your own personality and upon the circumstances in which you find yourself.

The Coolidge Effect

One day, President and Mrs. Coolidge were visiting a government
farm. Soon after their arrival, they were taken off on separate tours.
When Mrs. Coolidge passed the chicken pens, she paused to ask the man
in charge if the rooster copulates more than once each day. “Dozens of
times,” was the reply. “Please tell that to the President,” Mrs. Coolidge
requested. When the President passed the pens and was told about the
rooster, he asked, “Same hen every time?” “Oh no, Mr. President, a
different one each time.” The President nodded slowly, then said, “Tell
that to Mrs. Coolidge.”
-Gordon Bermant, Psychological Research: The Inside Story

The Coolidge effect is used by sexologists to describe, among animals, the phenomenon of male re-arousal by a new female. One wonders if, perhaps, most of the sexologists in question were male because it does not seem to have occurred to anyone that the same effect may be apparent among women. For most women, the quest for fulfillment involves, in part, a quest for long-term relationships. The crux of the issue, alas, is what is meant by “long-term.” There is no doubt that for most couples who have sexual rapport, the quality of that rapport increases with the passage of time. That process may take weeks or months or, for some, years, depending on how often they make love and with what intensity.

There is also no doubt that except for the most fortunate and exceptional couples, the quality of sexual rapport eventually peaks and, from that point on, tends to decrease with the passage of time. As a man and woman become more and more familiar with each other, the excitement and the erotic tension of their first encounters is diminished. The response patterns become too predictable. As the sexual experience becomes routine, there is a loss of intensity. They can still feel pleasure, but they are less likely to feel ecstasy.

National Lampoon's Joy of Sex movie poster

National Lampoon’s Joy of Sex movie poster (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The idea of sex with a nice, affectionate, but totally familiar old husband may produce a state of profound sexual apathy. There is no antipathy, but neither is there much interest.

The decline in erotic enthusiasm can be minimized and delayed by incorporating a wide variety of sexual techniques and by using different props and locations. Eventually, however, there may be a sense that one has experienced all of the experiences possible with a given partner. Even the most enthusiastic lovers can become jaded with each other. The idea of making love with a different man, a strange man, may be much more appealing than making love with a familiar lover.

By any objective criteria, a prospective lover may have no more to offer than the current one and, indeed, may actually be less attractive. However, the appeal of a stranger is that he is strange. Sometimes, in seeking sexual fulfillment, you want nothing more than what you have experienced with one man; but you crave the added stimulus and excitement of experiencing it with a different man—a man who arouses curiosity and is still mysterious.

Discovering Female Sexuality

The man’s desire is for the woman; but the woman’s desire is rarely other than for the desire of the man.
Samuel Taylor Coleridge,
Specimens of the Table Talk of Samuel Taylor Coleridge

In Victorian times and, indeed, well into the twentieth century, the dominant view of sexuality in the Western world was the Puritan Christian view. Sex was considered to be evil, albeit a necessary evil. Sex was evil not only in and of itself but also because it caused other evils. It was a sinister force to be denied, sublimated, and suppressed as much as possible. It was an impulse to be controlled through both the law and the moral codes associated with Christian marriage. The drive for sexual expression was believed to be a masculine trait, and the problem in controlling sexuality was viewed mostly as a problem of repressing the lust and lasciviousness of men.

The History of Sexuality

The History of Sexuality (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Most men in the Victorian era believed that most women did not have sexual feelings. More amazing than that, most women seem to have believed it as well. Sexual involvement for women was not supposed to be intrinsically enjoyable, at least not for respectable women. Good women were believed to be sexually motivated only by the desire to please their husbands, or at least to appease them, and by the desire for children alongside a sense of Victorian duty. We now laugh at those by-gone days when mothers advised their soon-to-be-deflowered daughters to “lie back and think of England.” Thinking of England wasn’t a ruse to get the virgin to dissociate from what was happening to her; it was a strong reminder of her duty to populate England and, particularly within the aristocracy, to provide “an heir and a spare” so that the land holdings remained in the family and increased its prestige and wealth. Bad women, who were whores or fallen women or women of the demimonde, were motivated by money or other kinds of exchange for their sexual favors.

The tradition of sexual repression began to be modified by major thinkers writing at the turn of the twentieth century. Havelock Ellis had a major impact with his seminal work Studies in the Psychology of Sex. The writings of Sigmund Freud placed the libido at the center of human experience and interpreted a wide range of behavior in terms of sexual impulses. Bertrand Russell expounded a philosophy of sexual expression and challenged Christian tradition with the publication of his controversial Marriage and Morals. By the time the Roaring Twenties started to roar, the secret was out. Men were sexual creatures but so were women. Sex was not all that bad; in fact, sex was a creative force. Rather than acceptance of an ideology of sexual repression, there arose an intensive quest for an ideology of appropriate sexual expression. Rather than being viewed as an evil, sex came to be seen as a positive force valuable not only as an end in itself but also as a means of contributing to personal growth and development.

Sadly, even with all the positive changes, the freedom of sexual expression continues to face strong opposition as we enter the second decade of the twenty-first century—as witnessed by the impassioned crusade of Evangelical Christians to ban premarital sex and demonize same-gender relationships

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