How to Pick a Lover

Posts tagged ‘making love’

Sexual Fulfillment: On Knowing What You’re Missing

One can find women who have never had a love affair, but it is rare indeed to find any who have had only one.
—François, Duc de La Rochefoucauld, Maxims

The Roaring Twenties

The Roaring Twenties (Wikipedia)

For many women for many decades, the repression of sexuality appears to have been amazingly effective in preventing them from enjoying sex. The denial of erotic response, sometimes to the point of sexual anesthesia or a complete absence of sexual feeling, was possible in part because of the pervasive cloak of ignorance and secrecy which surrounded human sexual response in general and female sexual response in particular. Whether due to differences in physiology or hormones or conditioning, it appears that a woman, more than a man, has to learn to develop her erotic potential. She has to be, as they used to say, awakened. However, once a prince has come and kissed her and the Sleeping Beauty has opened her eyes, the arms of Morpheus, the Greek god of dreams, are no longer the arms she dreams of lying in.

As the Roaring Twenties started to roar, people went around singing a ditty which asked the critical question: “How you gonna keep ’em down on the farm after they have seen Paree?” How indeed!

 

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“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.

Picking a Lover: The You and Me That Is Us

Lovers seldom get bored with each other because they are always talking about themselves.
—François, Duc de La Rochefoucauld, Maxims

It is nice to have a lover who talks. It is even nicer to have a lover who talks to you and with you about himself and about you and about the two of you together. A lover who talks about both Love and Life, with a capital L. He does not have to be a great philosopher; but it is gratifying if he is a man who has, at least, examined his own life, has thought about the relationships in it and what they have meant. Having reflected on that, he will be able to be equally reflective about a possible relationship with you.

Talking with a lover is especially important because the role of lover is a relatively new one and consequently is more ambiguous and unstructured than that of husband or boyfriend, for example. The two of you have the freedom—and therefore, the necessity—to make up your own rules. Talking about feelings is both a way of creating and of expressing them, and the experience becomes more real and more memorable.

The stereotype would have it that women want to talk and men want to get on with it: get drunk, get laid, get back to the game. Perhaps many do just that, and many will chat you up for the quite deliberate purpose of getting you to lie down.

Latin Lovers (1953 film)

If you can find a lover who can talk and who likes to talk, you have found a man who can help you grow and a man who, perhaps, can also be a friend. I do not suggest that constant analysis of interpersonal dynamics is necessarily good. Analysis, yes; constant analysis, no. It is also important to recognize that if positive words can create a mood, then negative words can and will destroy it. If you are about to make love or are making love or have just made love, the last thing that is needed right then is clinical analysis. The more clinical the conversation about who did what to whom and about what should have been done, the more you distance yourself and your partner from what you are feeling. You become self-conscious and objective rather than free and spontaneous. It is important for lovers to discuss the clinical aspects of their lovemaking. Being able to do so openly and honestly greatly facilitates sexual adjustment. Such postmortems, however, should be held while dressed and seated upright in the living room, with no immediate intention of putting theory into practice.

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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