How to Pick a Lover

Posts tagged ‘Sexual arousal’

“You Don’t Bring Me Flowers”

I remember when you couldn’t wait to love me,
Used to hate to leave me,
Now after loving me, late at night,
Well, you just roll over, and turn out the light.
And you don’t bring me flowers, any more.
—Neil Diamond,  Alan Bergman, and Marilyn Bergman

Women are indoctrinated in the myth of romance much more so than are men. That is Romance with a capital R. They are programmed to want not only sexuality and high-power orgasms but also the specific kinds of trappings which are supposed to signal emotional involvement. They want—and expect—verbal declarations, little love gifts, flowers, perfume, soulful glances, and the holding of hands.

Like A Flower

Photo credit: Cayusa

For many women, no matter how modern they are in other ways, an important part of their existence is the feeling of being loved; and that feeling is conveyed in words and touches and gestures. It is not enough to know, cognitively, that a man loves you. It is also important to feel it. The younger you are, the more romantic you are, and the more you yearn for starlight and roses. If your husband does not bring you flowers or their equivalent, it is only a matter of time until you find someone who will.

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The Apathetic Husband

Never mind “Is there life after death?” That is too abstract. What I really want to Know is: “Is there sex after marriage?”
—Jadah Vaughn

One of George Bernard Shaw’s often quoted sayings observes that marriage remains popular because it combines “the maximum of temptation with the maximum of opportunity.” Usually, Shaw’s epigrams are quite pithy; but in this instance, he is mistaken. A honeymoon might well combine temptation with opportunity, but cohabitation does not, especially if the marriage is of long duration. Familiarity need not breed contempt, but it very often does breed sexual apathy.

My Cheating Heart

My Cheating Heart (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

What was passion in a marriage can become so vitiated, so watered-down, and so dissipated that it is hardly worthy of the name. In some marriages, perhaps in many, the act of love becomes an act of sex and an infrequent one at that. When you have reached the stage where you make love on Saturday nights, and Saturday nights only; when you have reached the stage where you have sex rather than making love, only late on Saturday nights in the dark; and when you have reached the stage when you have sex on Saturday nights only, late at night in the dark and quickly, without words, then you have reached the stage where you owe it to yourself to take a lover. You owe it to yourself, not only for the desolation you experience now, but also for the desolation you will feel when you are old and look back on thirty years of such encounters—one thousand and forty consecutive Saturday nights of minimal fulfillment.

You owe it to the old lady you will become to give her something better than those passionless encounters to reminisce about and then either exaggerate or deny, depending on your perspective.

Sexual Fulfillment: The Erotic Affair

What is it in men that women do require?
The lineaments of Gratified Desire.
What is it women do in men require?
The lineaments of Gratified Desire.
—William Blake, The William Blake Notebook

How is one best advised to proceed in the quest for sexual fulfillment? Although both men and women may ultimately end up preoccupied with the dynamics of sex and love, it seems possible that given differences in socialization and differences in physiology, they reach their quest by different routes. One maxim frequently cited states that among men, sexual desire begets love whereas among women, love begets sexual desire. In the nineteenth century, the French novelist Rémy de Gourmont put it somewhat more precisely: “Man begins by loving love and ends by loving a woman. Woman begins by loving a man and ends by loving love.”

Although many things have changed since then, our cultural traditions are strong enough that this pattern still holds true for many women. For some women, there may be a spontaneous urge of sexual desire, parallel to that which men experience, which is not appeased by masturbation or by conjugal sex. For many others, however, the inclination toward an erotic affair is not so much a generalized randiness as a wish for a man who would inspire randiness. It is not that they are full of desire, but rather that they want to find a man who would make them feel desire. The libido is there, but it needs to be aroused. They suspect, often correctly, that with a different man or a different kind of man or a man who made love differently, they would be much more turned on. Such inclinations may be difficult to reconcile with how nice, ladylike women are supposed to feel; but it is clear that it is how many of them do feel, whether or not they admit it  to anyone else.

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

Photo credit: Wikipedia

Casual sexual encounters may provide a certain excitement or may gratify a desire to seduce or to make a conquest. However, the thrill or newness is often counterbalanced by a certain awkwardness and self-consciousness not unlike what people experience in their first encounters. As one woman put it: “The first time with a new man is always a bit like the first time ever.” If everything seems right, the best you can usually hope for is the exultant conviction: “This could be the start of something big!” The second time may be better, the third time better still.

The most exceptional erotic experiences are often the result of a long-term evolving relationship in which increased awareness of each other’s body and responses improves rapport and empathy and moves the encounter to a higher and higher pitch. There is time for experimentation and time to incorporate what the experimentation teaches you about what works best for you both. It is in a developed relationship that one can best hope for that special magic where an erotic experience approaches a transcendental one. In this instance, practice may not make perfect, but it does make for better and better and better. And yet . . . there is also the Coolidge effect.

A Woman’s Quest for Fulfillment

Until it is generally possible to acquire erotic personality and to master the art of loving, the development of the individual man or woman is marred, the acquirement of human happiness and harmony is impossible.
—Havelock Ellis

The discovery of female sexuality and the description of the potential pleasures that were involved was touted with considerable publicity. Women were portrayed as being as capable as men of passionate sexuality. They were described as able to experience strong desire and ecstatic orgasmic release. All of the women’s magazines, both the cheap pulp ones and the expensive slick ones, offered the same promise: “It can happen to you!”

The Art of Loving

The Art of Loving (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

These days, every time you go to your corner convenience store for milk and eggs, you encounter displays of soft porn magazines—and some not-so-soft—which show women apparently enthralled with sexual feeling and delighted with their sexual prowess. This propaganda tends, by implication, to create very high expectations. Women begin to wonder about themselves and to wonder how their actual experience compares with their potential. “Is what I am feeling an orgasm? Am I having enough orgasms? Are they the right kind? Do I have a G-spot? Where, oh, where is it? What’ll happen if I find it?”

Even if you find your sexual relationship with your current boyfriend or husband to be tolerable or acceptable or even pleasurable, you may still wonder, “Is this all there is? Am I missing something.”

And many of you are right to ask such questions. You are missing something.

Next post: “All She Really Needs…”

Women Turning On: The Big O

When modern women discovered the orgasm, it was (combined with modern birth control) perhaps the biggest single nail in the coffin of male dominance.
—Elaine Morgan, The Descent of Women

Once it was finally established that women could have orgasms and that even good women could have good orgasms, there began an intensive search for the Big O. We became less concerned with “does she or doesn’t she have sex” and more concerned with “does she or doesn’t she have orgasms.” The tone of many discussions divided women into two classes: those who were sexually aware and those who were frigid. It was as if sexual feeling was something a woman did or did not have, the way she did or did not have blue eyes or big breasts, and the lucky ones were those who happened to have it. Frigidity was a problem in the woman.

Orgasm Inc. - The Strange Science of Female Pl...

Orgasm Inc. - The Strange Science of Female Pleasure (Photo credit: k-ideas)

It was then discovered that frigidity was perhaps in the situation, not in the woman. If women could have orgasms and had a right to have them, then it was the obligation of the man to give them to her. His task was to please her, and if she was not pleased, it was somehow his fault. A common saying of this time was: “There are no frigid women, there are only women with incompetent husbands.” In some ways, this attitude has not changed all that much as evidenced in an episode of Seinfeld, in which Jerry learns Elaine faked her orgasms while in a romantic relationship with him. He feels emasculated by Elaine’s revelation and accuses her of “sexual perjury” and having orgasms “under false pretenses.” To restore his wounded masculinity, Jerry begs Elaine for another sexual opportunity to prove he is capable of giving her an orgasm.

Sex under these circumstances, evaluated in terms of an important but vague criteria for satisfactory performance, became a difficult and rather joyless task. It was especially threatening for the young and inexperienced boy who was justifiably worried that he might not do it “right” and would thereby fail to meet his partner’s expectations. Thinking along these lines, a curious double standard evolved. The man was considered proficient if he could delay orgasm for a long time: the woman was considered proficient if she could accelerate it.

The whole task was made more difficult by the folk belief that if men and women did everything correctly, they would achieve not only orgasms but simultaneous orgasms. Anything short of this ideal was some kind of failure. No wonder Andy Warhol concluded that “sex is work!” It was not until the sexual revolution of the sexy sixties that we came around to more enlightened views.

The sexual freedom of the sixties was fostered by the introduction of the Pill and the freedom from worry that it granted. It was accelerated by the seminal work of William Masters and Virginia Johnson in Human Sexual Response. Their laboratory study of female sexuality finally produced real data to dispel speculation.

Masters and Johnson established that all (or nearly all) women were capable of sexual feelings and of sexual feelings leading to orgasm. They further established that an orgasm is an orgasm and that the clitoral kind is no more or less real, or more or less mature, than the vaginal kind. More important than these clinical insights, Masters and Johnson taught
us that each individual should take responsibility for his or her own sexuality. The man was not held accountable for the woman’s failure to have a climax; the woman was not held accountable for his failure to become erect. Instead, the sexuality of each individual was defined as something unique to the person, stemming from his or her background and experiences and an aspect of life with which he or she must come to terms. Frigidity and impotence were renamed merely “sexual dysfunctions” and were considered something that should and could be cured.

The new perspective on sexuality minimized performance aspects and stressed sensuality and mutuality. The women’s magazines stopped talking about whether or not women could have orgasm and went on to talk about how women might have multiple ones. Increasingly, it was possible to define sexual encounters not as obligatory tasks to be performed but as opportunities for shared delight. Women were finally becoming empowered to take a more active role in their own sexual pleasure—feeling comfortable enough to touch themselves, to guide their partner’s hand, or to tell their partner what felt pleasurable.

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.

 

“Not Tonight, I Have a Headache”

Several excuses are always less convincing than one.
—Aldous Huxley, Point Counter Point

Another version of the need for patient impatience occurs with more established couples. It was not so long ago that both professional and lay commentators on the social scene remarked on a very common marital dilemma: the husband’s desire for sexual intercourseexceeded his wife’s desire. As a consequence, she showed considerable ingenuity in creating circumstances in which she could tactfully avoid his advances. Wives who were not sexually inclined had a lot of headaches. They had to finish the ironing. They were concerned about the possibility of waking the baby or of being overheard by older children. When all else failed, they were simply too tired.

Not tonight dear. I have a headache!

Not tonight dear. I have a headache! (Photo credit: jbguess)

That was then.

Today, with a new and heightened sexuality being a characteristic of many young wives, it may happen that the husband must protest that he is too tired. Or that he has a headache.

The truth is that when and if the feeling is there, desire conquers the tiredness. In fact, being tired—or fevered or ill or anxious or worried—can add its own sensuality. Lovemaking under such adverse psychological conditions
may not be as focused or as intense, but it can be consoling. It can provide, at least, a temporary distraction from real problems.

When sex is working well between a couple, then having sex is not just one more damn task to be done before the day’s work is over but a reward and consolation. If you do have a headache, at least, perhaps the rest of your body can feel well or, if not well, at least better. This, of course, does not apply to real illness or to very serious distress. Headaches, maybe, but not migraines. Fevers, maybe, but not fevers of 104 degrees.

One kind of man to regard with some skepticism is the lover who can make love or who wants to make love only under the most ideal conditions. He must not be too busy, but not too bored; not too tired, but not too manic. It must not be too warm and not too cold; not too bright, but not too dark. There must be some wine, but not too much; some serious conversation, but nothing too heavy. And so on.

Such ideal conditions are, of course, desirable, but all possible combinations of what is ideal do not come along very often. If a man really savors your body, he will do so in spite of other distractions rather than using the distractions as an excuse.

A man with a headache one night is unfortunate; a man with a headache seven nights in a row is trying to tell you something. He is transmitting the same message of indifference and/or rejection as is the proverbial housewife
who covers herself with cold cream and goes on ironing relentlessly until two in the morning when she feels it is safe to go to bed because she can hear her husband snoring.

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