I got an e-mail last night from an editor/friend out in California for whom I’ve written some magazine articles and…she had a strange and interesting request. Make that a challenge. It’s a potential third-rail topic, meaning that if it’s not handled correctly…delicately, you can get fried to extra-crispy before your fingers even leave the keyboard. The general category is SEX but sooo much has been written about the subject over the years that you would think there’s nothing new to talk about. NOT…
50 Shades of… First off, for those poised with their finger on the delete key, this isn’t one of those articles, indulging in pushing your buttons shamelessly. You have the Fifty Shades of Grey books to do that job for you, plus stacks of others. Nor is this what my wife would refer to as a typical “Cosmo Article”: Eight New Positions!!! Ten Things You Can Whisper in Her Ear that’ll Guarantee You Get Laid! It’s also not for teenagers or twenty-somethings who can skate on youth and the newness of things to have great sex. It’s for adults and more importantly adults who are in a long-term relationship. And here is where the plot gets interesting! Think of a 26-mile marathon. Any idiot can be out in front for that first quarter mile. Let’s see how you hang in there at mile 25.
The Stradivarius: I submit to you that a mature woman is very much like a fine Stradivarius, capable of creating amazingly beautiful music, but only if you know how to play the instrument. A violin has four strings and a bow, but what wonderful magic and beauty can be wrought by an Itzhak Perlman with those four strings: Passion, Lust, Sadness, Anger, Wistfulness, Humor, just with the fingers of one hand and a bow in the other. Quite frankly, a woman is drastically more complicated than any Strad…or even twenty Strads, and the music that can be played on a woman is enough to start a war. Seriously.
The Big Pit into which most of us fall: We learn to play a song or two and with a little practice, guess what: They work! When you’re 30 and you do your cool move it’s “Ooooh baby! You are fantastic!” But then, here’s what happens: Your mate, male or female, learns what works soooo….guess what, I’ll do that again…and again…and again. And it works, and works, but then it sorta works and after a while it’s not working quite so well. We get acclimated, accustomed, and ultimately…bored. To go back to the Strad metaphor, you can’t keep playing the Bach’s Air on a G-string forever. (Yeah, there’s a pun there.)
Betraying My Gender: To be fair to women and to betray my gender a bit, guys seem to be more easily content with the same song, the same meal, over and over…and it shouldn’t be that way. And yet, I think guys, even mature long-married men, don’t realize that making love is like practicing that violin. You have to know your instrument (your mate) intimately but you have to be able to play many varied and highly nuanced songs. At this point, I can imagine a good handful of my guy buddies, shaking their heads and saying something crass like, “Yeah, yeah, yeah. But eventually, you both know where you’re going with it. Eventually you put your thing here and she puts her legs there and five minutes later…it’s over.”
And that’s the crux of the whole thing. Go into any music store and pick up any instrument… a guitar, harmonica, flute, violin, trumpet and try to create a pleasing sound. It’s not gonna happen. You have to practice, but more importantly, you have to engage your MIND creatively.
Here’s an example and for the ultra-conservative, I suppose you can skip this paragraph, though the reality is: There is nothing more sacred or more beautiful than a woman’s body…nothing…and I’ve been a sculptor for close to 50 years. But it is something to be celebrated, not abused.
A good place to start? A better statement would be, a good speed to start at and that would be SLOW. I have a “song” I play in my mind, though it is one of many. In this song, I am a vampire and my loving beautiful “meal” for the evening is asleep and facing the other way. My first interest is the back of her neck, to which I attempt to push away the strands of hair…without waking her. This can go on for a long and wonderful time, just breathing on her neck, in her ear, allowing her to hear the rhythm of my breathing as it quickens and intensifies.
Eventually, the tiniest contact, the tiniest tip of the tongue on the ridge of the ear and then to the exploring. This is only the first string of your Strad….the ear and the back of the neck and there are eleven more. You can do wondrous things with the ear and neck alone. And guess what. The energy, the twitchiness of the ear and neck spreads like a heat, down the neck and farther and farther down, preparing the way. That heat travels to exactly where it should go. For the men who really need the basics, we aren’t talking about seconds here, we are talking minutes, maybe tens of minutes. Itzhak is capable of melting your heart with just one string on his violin. You can do the same with just your breath and the tip of your tongue on a neck, the shell of the ear.
What’s next? The answer to that should always vary, but basically…whatever you did last time…don’t do that again…at least not for a while. There’s no law that says the path has to go directly DOWN. The backs of the knees are wondrous things, toes, the bottoms of feet, the small of the back, the tender inside of the forearm, all great options to the usual progression. The only thing that I recommend highly is…..saliva. There are twenty different ways you can get that saliva from your mouth to…wherever. Be creative. The wetter…the better.
The G-Spot: For us, it’s a little bit like finding the lost city of Atlantis. It’s there, then it isn’t, and sometimes it seems to travel. A traveling G-Spot? Hardly seems fair, but then again the searching is as important as the location. There are, of course, more reliable portions of the anatomy that aren’t so elusive though this is where the music you will create is at its most challenging. Going back to the rules of what makes music is a place to start…and learn.
No Tricks… If you’re trying to decide whether to become shocked or offended by straightforward talk about a wondrous part of life, that may be a problem unto itself. Truth is, my wife and I are still highly active and very much in love and have been that way for 45 years. If you want to be offended by good advice from a couple who have managed to successfully navigate challenges for this long, there’s not much I can say or do. The goal of the article is to provide some basics and a philosophy so that YOU and YOUR mate can learn to play beautiful music together. That’s it. No tricks. And, keep in mind, that my wife is also my editor and this article, like every other one, is a form of collaboration. It really is.
Vibrators and Your Mate: I was amazed to learn that vibrators are the most common household appliance in America. More common and more ubiquitous than the toaster, the coffee maker, or the electric toothbrush. They are #1. There is a simple reason for this: Unlike men, whose orgasm is a relatively quick and straightforward thing, women’s are more subtle and more elusive. Last time I checked, women don’t have a lot of nocturnal orgasms just lying there asleep. Certain machinery has to be started-up, turned-on and put into motion. A vibrator can do that…most of the time. My mate’s assessment of vibrators is simple and eloquent: Yes, it gets the job done. Yes, there’s physical release but it’s a really poor substitute for the real thing. Pamela likens it to when we’d visit her parents’ house and they’d pour us a cup of “coffee.” We’d get a cup of warm water, a packet of Sanka, a packet of Sweet & Low and a packet of Coffeemate. Stir it all up (the Sanka doesn’t dissolve completely and you end up chewing it) but yeah, okay, it’s a cup of coffee…sort of. Instead, grind some coffee beans, pull out a little fresh cream, some Jamaican cane sugar and you have a cup of COFFEE. There is a difference. (Same for men, by the way. There is nothing on the planet that beats cuddling up to the one you’re in love with and ….making LOVE.)
But… and here is an interesting BUT for Men. That little purple or pink or lime green bobble in your wife’s dresser drawer is not the enemy and it’s not your competition. To go back to that Stradivarius metaphor, it’s another string on the violin. It’s an adjunct, not a replacement. Think of it as Itzhak Perlman playing Prokofiev’s powerful Romeo and Juliet and right at the climax, his violin is plugged into an amplifier. Wow….. You still need Itzhak doing the playing, but the results (once in a while) can be pretty spectacular.
A Hint to Women: On the subject of vibrators, on the flip-side of the argument, you really, really, really don’t want to make your husband or boyfriend’s first meeting with a vibrator to be one of those 16-inch giant purple phaluses. You get intimidated? Well, so do we. When you’re dragging out that first candidate, make it one of those tiny innocuous eggs, something that looks like nothin’. It’s only fair and this small attention to detail will be greatly appreciated. In fact, leave Giant Purple Steve hidden away completely. There are a few things we really don’t need or want to know about.
If you’ve read this far… If you’ve read this far, you know there was no subliminal motive at sneaking in some purple prose in this article. Most of my friends read this column and I have to face them the next day, week, month. The point of it is to realize that every square inch of your mate’s body is fair game. EVERY inch and there is not a no-man’s land. That’s where the Strad becomes a creature of extreme beauty, nuance and challenge. Under the arms…wash off the Ban Roll-On first. It makes your tongue feel really weird. The under arms are highly erotic, and a place to be mastered.
Pillows and Positions: Pillows always make a good thing better…sometimes much better. No need for explanation and the more the merrier. It’s impossible to have too many pillows. Positions? I think like some of the Yoga positions, some of them seem gratuitous…a couple downright dangerous. Trapeze bars? bungee straps? I can’t do that kinda stuff anymore. Actually, I never could.
God (or Mother Nature) gave you ten fingers, a nose, a tongue, as well as all your obvious organs. Itzhak wouldn’t think of not using some of his strings on his Strad. To play beautiful music, it often requires many combinations of many fingers, toes, tongues, etc. to play the song. Good music isn’t played automatically. Ya gotta practice. You gotta see what works.
Timing: We’re really goin’ heavy on this music metaphor today, but it’s a useful tool at the moment. Timing is EVERYTHING. In music and in SEX. Usually it’s best to start slow when playing your “Strad” but, like some of your very favorite musicians, you have to be brave enough to pause as well. Songs have what is known as a bridge. You need to be brave enough to break away from the main theme…give it a rest so that it can re-sensitize…and then return. Speeding up, slowing down… in Reggae, the beat is inverted from American music…all on the off-beat and that’s wonderful. You can do that in the sack as well. Timing Timing Timing.
Between Your Ears vs. Between Your Legs: There’s an old song, Standing on the Corner Watching All the Girls Go By, and a highly pertinent verse in the song: “Brother, ya can’t go to jail for what you’re thinkin’.” It’s true. The nibbling on the neck, the vibrator pulsing away, the fingers and toes are all strings and bows and hands and fingers for the express purpose of playing……………..know what the punchline is???………..your mind. It’s your mind that gets turned on first and best. That’s what makes the music soooo good. You set the stage inside your mind. It’s your right, not your wrong. If Pamela confuses me with Zorro with a mask and cape, or Count Dracula, or Tim Olyphant, Hugh Jackman, that’s okay. Ya can’t go to jail for what you’re thinkin’. Just keep your mouth shut. It’s called decorum.
If you’ve managed to get through this article without becoming shocked or insulted, bravo and brava for both of us. Sex is a wonderful, wonderful thing. It takes practice and loving your own Stradivarius.
P.S. The X-rated version of this article is available upon request…fifty cents extra for the paper bag.