Last night, while I was smearing peanut butter on my English muffin and scanning news tidbits on my i-Pad, I ran into another of perhaps twenty articles written by young people about how to be : a great husband, a great wife, great in the sack, great at…well…somewhere, it starts getting a little weird. I pushed my i-Pad across the table to Pamela. She scanned it and asked, “How old is the writer?”
I checked. “She’s 27”, I said, at which point we both began laughing. Now this is not a terribly new concept. When anyone gets a handful of gold records or a choice part in a hit movie, suddenly they’re dispensing advice on anything from “How to be a GREAT parent” when their baby is still four weeks old, to How to Make GREAT Budget Meals! by Gwyneth Paltrow or some such person with a bank account with a one and a whole slew of zeros.
The question quickly comes down to: Who is actually an expert…particularly on the subject of sex?
The cold hard fact of the matter is, no one really needs to be a sex expert (sexpert) at age 16 or 17. At that age, sex is NEW, your partner is NEW and your body parts are set, like little hedonistic land mines to explode at the slightest touch. At sixteen it seems, at least to people who’ve grown up and become adults, that all of them weigh about 100 pounds, have legs like gazelles and boobs that point toward the sky. Touch a spot here or there….everything is a G-Spot.
Later, in your twenties and thirties, you begin seeing articles by couples who’ve managed to make it through three or five, or even seven years of marriage, and they are busy at their computers, giving advice to people on how to have a long successful marriage. The answers they give are to younger people who write in,”I’ve been married fourteen months…and the magic has gone out of my marriage. It the same old, same old…”
If I may indulge in a metaphor, it’s a bit like the newbie Army private, just learning how to put the parts of his gun together. Then he fires at a paper target and concludes that he’s a soldier. Really? Or the sixteen year old, who’s just gotten his learner’s permit and thinks that he can drive rush hour in Boston or D.C. in a snow storm. There are tricks and things you have to learn. And it takes time.
Same with sex….only…. it’s WAAAAY more complicated. No matter whom you’ve married, you become accustomed to their “smile”. If a spouse can get used to their mate in a handful of months, what happens over a handful of years? And then, let’s get to the big leagues. What happens over a handful of decades? I’m tempted to use the punchline from an old joke: A guy orders lobster…gets a lobster with one claw. Waiter says, “Lobsters sometimes fight.” Guy says, “Okay… Bring me the winner!” That’s what people wanting advice on AMOUR might keep in mind. Bring me a winner, someone who’s been married for a bit!
To dig even deeper, unlike any other field of endeavor: when you can riff on your Martin guitar without looking at the strings, tipple the keys on a Steinway, or make a three-point landing in a crosswind, with sex, right at that point where you get it down to a science, you’re cruising fast toward a major-league pothole.
The reality is: even the best, most exotic and prop-laden sex technique eventually becomes the old standby, at which point, one or the other concludes that “we’re just going through the motions,” followed quickly by, “Do you still like me? Do you still love me? Do I still turn you on?” A bit of advice: If you know the answers…don’t be coy. Don’t hesitate. These are questions which must be answered instantaneously. Shouting the answer is also acceptable. The answers are: YES!!! YES!!! and Hell YES!!! And then work from there.
50 Years… When Pam and I met, we were teenagers. Pam was a ballet dancer without a single ounce of fat upon her. Boobs pointed skyward and you could bounce a quarter off her ass…and it would go pretty far! Sex was easy, incredibly so. But even back then, one or the other, or perhaps both of us, adopted some rules for encounters. They’ve worked for close to five decades.
You might give them a try if you haven’t already. Rule One: No critiques in the bedroom. None. No finding fault, no comments, no verbal directions whatsoever. Really? Yes. Truth is, you can chronicle the amount of talking we’ve done in 50 years of lovemaking on the side of one index card. In the bedroom, we are only two animals, two creatures, mating, grunting, giggling, growling, sniffing, moaning, breathing heavily, panting, going Mmmmm… that sort of thing.
One time in college, a girl I was dating assumed the role of a traffic cop at a busy intersection: “Hey, a little faster there…nope too fast. Slow down. When I said move in circles, I mean bigger circles, littler, faster, slower.” Although I do remember the name of this gal, I’m still trying to forget it.
Rule Two: Need to have a meeting of the minds? Some things need to be ironed-out? Of course this happens. It should happen, however, hours or days later, and preferably when you’re out to lunch. And there’s a way to say it that doesn’t destroy the other person. One of us will say something like, “As we’re maturing in our lovemaking, I’m finding it takes me a little longer, or…I find I like it a bit rougher…or softer, or can we mix it up a little. Wanna make out in the back seat? I’ll resist. You persist.” Stuff like that. Communication is important. The time and manner in which you communicate is even more important.
Rule Three; Empathy: Some spouses feel like Mother Nature let them down. “It’s not fair! I had a 19″-inch waistline and 36-C cups!” Or, “it’s not fair! I used to have more hair on my head…and not so much hair on my back.” The rude reality of life is that every single one of those perfect teenagers walking to school, is going to go through the identical arc that life threw at you. In that regard, life is fair.
The saving grace: Fortunately…. Fortunately… Fortunately… The absolute best sex in the world is a result, NOT of how much you weigh, or if you have any wrinkles, or even how long you’ve known each other… it all comes down to how the ganglia are firing between your ears…not your legs. More bluntly, it’s your brain that gives you the magic, not your neat parts.
Handfuls of people reading this will sigh and say, “Yeah….sounds good. Real hard to do, though.” That is where your knowledge of your own brain, your memories, your fantasies kick in. Everybody has different quirky images they use. Yours will differ….God I hope so.
But by way of example, and attempting to keep things abstract and thereby tasteful, for reasons unknown, I fantasize about the possibility of getting caught. Pam and I are dating again and we’re upstairs in her bedroom…and her mom is calling us down to dinner. Oh, God what to do? Go for it! Or….Pamela really used to be a camp counselor at Camp Tegawitha in Jersey. Tonight, Pam is my counselor tucking me in. Or, a variation, I’m a counselor and it’s raining like buckets and Pam shows up at my sleeping bag, soaked to the bone. She has to crawl in for her very survival. Or….here’s a strange variation. I’m dating some bimbo from way back and Pamela, as she is today, is the bimbo’s mother. I’m hitting on Pamela…but in her role as a taboo and unapproachable icon. Works for me.
It’s okay to imagine stuff, scenes, naughty details… Pamela truly loves vampires… something I can approximate with great zeal. To quote an old song by the Four Lads, “Brother you can’t go to jail for what you’re thinkin'”
Yeah, having sex is easy at seventeen or twenty-seven, or thirty-five or even forty-five. But it gets more complicated. Time to use your brain…and your empathy.