Monday, June 6, 2016

This is How You Please a Woman.

(*This originally appeared in Alternet and Salon. I hope I'm allowed to run it my damn self...Um...maybe don't tell anyone about this.)

Yes, everyone knows porn is just fantasy blah blah blah, but for some people, porn is--seriously!-- their primary source of sex ed. Less than half the states require sex ed in public schools and only 19 require it to be “medically, factually or technically accurate”(!) Even when the sex ed is there and semi-decent, there tends to be way too much information on fallopian tubes and little, if any, on what one should do upon encountering a clitoris. People genuinely want to be decent lovers, I think, and scrutinizing porn for love tips can be all kinds of fun, but as a source of actual lady-pleasin' info, it kind of sucks.

“Every technique you learn in porn is wrong. If men are going to porn to figure out to how to please women they're going to be very disappointed, ” says Gail Dines, author of Pornland: How Porn Has Hijacked Our Sexuality. “Everything that makes sex fun--the creativity, mutuality, enjoyment, connection, intimacy--is bled away and in its place is kind of a robotic fucking of women's orifices.”

So, lesson number one: “robotic fucking of women's orifices,” maybe a “no” on that. But with that off the table (at least most of the time...), what you do instead? Great thinkers from Ovid to Master Tung-hsuan to Naomi Wolf have offered their own answers, and there are certain Great Truths that run through them all.

We're getting into the Deep Magic now, my friends. Use it wisely.

Embrace the Erotic Outside the Bedroom
Most men, if you breathe on them or look at them the wrong way, they're ready for action. But for most women, you have to get between their ears before you get between their legs. You have to build the story,” says Dr. Adam Sheck, aka The Passion Doctor.

So build the story. “A man should tell his wife, detail by detail, what he wants to do to her, how he wishes to touch her,” counsels Rabbi Shmuley Boteach in his book, The Kosher Sutra. “Eroticism is the thrilling desire to connect: to know, to explore, to penetrate, and to comprehend. When our lives are electrified by an erotic pulse, all existence becomes illuminated.”

Express Your Desire
According to studies by Marta Meana, president of the Society for Sex Therapy and Research, being desired is the source of a woman's desire. It is “at once the thing craved and the spark of craving,” explains Daniel Bergner in his beautifully written book, What Do Women Want?: Adventures in the Science of Female Desire. So, by all means, let a women that you think her body is insanely hot—so hot you can barely take it--and it's making you hard just thinking about her. (Ratchet this language up or down, filth-wise, depending on the chick.) Tender, respectful love is fine enough but please note that approximately 1 billion percent of romance novels are about a woman inciting a man with a passion so savage and hungry that he can barely control himself. (Spoiler: he doesn't).

Don't Be Afraid to Ravish
The desire to be taken by force consistently sits there, all petulant and non-PC-like, among women's top sexual fantasies. This doesn't mean that women want to be raped, obviously, but it is related to the tip above on desire. Being taken strongly and urgently is a clear physical expression of a male's searing desire for a woman. Bergner describes Meana's take on it thusly: “The ravager, overcome by craving for that particular women, cannot restrain himself; he tears through all codes, through all laws and conventions, to seize her, and she—feeling herself to be the unique object of his unendurable need—is overcome herself.” (See above: plot of every romance novel.)

“For the heterosexual female 'ravish me' fantasy, the man embodies the masculine and takes charge with those masculine qualities to be focused, direct, relentless in pursuing his goal, in this case, loving his woman into 'submission.' This can range from simply initiating sex, to being a little more assertive than usual, to being more aggressive, to being a little 'rough' all the way to role play and using restraints and sex toys,” writes Dr. Sheck. “I’m 6’3″ and around 200 pounds and have found that many woman have simply enjoyed the weight of my body pressing into them and found that arousing. Perhaps that is enough to begin your journey. I also happen to have large hands and usually able to hold both of a woman’s wrists in one of my hands. Even that small step can often be assertive enough to feed into the submission fantasy.” (And if you did not just experience a little unbidden thrill thinking of Dr. Sheck holding you down, well, then that's where we differ.)

Focus on Goalless Touching
“The whole sexual experience can be totally enjoyable, but most men and women are taught to go straight for climax. We educate guys to enjoy the whole ride,” says consultant Robert Kandell, who coached men at Onetaste, where “orgasm” is defined as the entire sexual experience beginning at the first thought of making out with someone. He offers a metaphor: “The climax of a symphony is the cymbals crashing at the end, but that’s not the main draw.

What is “the whole ride”? “Non-genitally focused sexual behavior, referred to popularly as 'foreplay' a broad category of activities which are usually undertaken with the goal of increasing one’s own and/or one’s partner’s sexual arousal and pleasure. These activities can include, but are not limited to, kissing, stroking, massaging, and holding anywhere from one part to the entirety of a partner’s body,” writes Dr. Adena Galinsky, in a woefully unsexy passage.

Not only do you miss out on plenty of fun if you skimp on the “non-genitally focused sexual behavior,” you increase the odds of squelching orgasm or arousal, according to Galinsky's recent study. Just don't call it “non-genitally focused sexual behavior” and you should be go to go.

The More Time You Put in, The Hotter It Gets
The mid-7th century sex manual “Ars Amatoria of Master Tung-hsuan” advises much “dalliance before penetration.” “He presses on her slender waist, he caresses her precious body, he whispers endearing words and engages in passionate discourse,” writes the Master. There is extensive stroking, loving gazes, and deep rich kisses until the Jade Stalk rises “standing strongly, pointing upwards like a a lonely peak towering high up in the Milky Way” and the Cinnabar Crevice becomes “moist, exuding a rich flow of secretions like a lonely well springing up in the deep vale.” Even when it gets to the point when the man is kneeling between his lover's open thighs, Jade Stalk in hand—and it's pretty clear what's going to be going down--he continues to tease and woo, letting his member “play about in this portal” while continuing his impassioned speech, sucking her tongue and stroking her belly, breasts and labia.

In another Ars Amatoria (The Art of Love) the Roman poet Ovid counseled lovers of 2 A.D. to take their time in love, too: “If you will listen to me you will not be too hasty in attaining the culmination of your happiness. Learn by skillful maneuvering to reach your climax by degrees. When you are safely ensconced in the sanctuary of bliss, let no timid fear arrest your hand. You will be richly rewarded by the love-light trembling in her eyes, even as the rays of the sun fitfully dance upon the waves. Then will follow gentle murmurs, moans and sighs, laden with ecstasy that will sting and lash desire.” Sigh.
Whether You Think It's a G-spot or Not, Try Stroking It.
"Find her 'sacred spot,' then hang out there far longer that you think is necessary," writes Naomi Wolf  in Vagina . While scientists are still dithering about whether there is a G-spot or not, Tantric masters have been in there stroking said "sacred spot” and making the ladies come. Carefully, slow stroking of the spot--which is part of the whole neural tangle, but can also be considered to be sort of a back end of the clitoris--is highly effective at making women purr for you. In one study researchers gave 89% of their female subjects orgasms by "systematic digital stimulation of both vaginal walls." This despite the lab conditions and calling it "systematic digital stimulation of both vaginal walls."

Don't Lock In to A Successful Sequence of Moves
A systematic approach in which a man “politely lets himself into the vagina, perhaps waiting until the retraction of the clitoris tells him that he is welcome, is laborious and inhumanely computerized,” writes the ever-blunt Germaine Greer in The Female Eunuch. “The implication that there is a statistically ideal fuck which will always result in satisfaction if the right procedures are followed is depressing and misleading.”

“You want to be present. You want to feel what you're partner's feeling, you want to sensitive to the amount of lubrication, to the engorgement of the labia. And from there, you know when to be rough, when to be aggressive, when to pull on hair, when to smack things, when to be kind,” says Dr. Sheck. “It's really a tuning to the body.”

A Well-Fucked Woman Kind of Loses It (And That's Good)
“Feminine sexual excitement can reach an intensity unknown to a man. Male sexual excitement is keen but localized, and—except perhaps at the moment of orgasm—it leaves a man quite in possession of himself; woman, on the contrary, really loses her mind; for many this effect marks the definite and voluptuous moment of the love-affair, but it also has a magical and fearsome quality,” writes Simone de Beauvoir in The Second Sex.

When a lover stimulates a woman properly, it sets off all kinds of chemical tomfoolery. A lover who suckles a woman's nipple, for example, will set off a release of the bonding love chemical oxytocin and she, perhaps without quite realizing why, will favor that lover over another. When a woman is fully relaxed, open and receiving pleasure she can enter sort of a trance state. And when a woman has an orgasm, she gets a heavy dose of opiates--the regions of her brain involving self-awareness and inhibition going dark. "This can feel to the woman involved like a melting of boundaries, a loss of self, and, whether exhilaratingly or scarily, a loss of control," writes Wolf. If a man gives his lover a deep, deep orgasm, the kind where it feels like his cock is hitting some deep emotional/physical/spiritual place within, a woman can have a profound experience. Some women will feel an exquisite rapture, some will burst into tears, and 100% will take that dude's call next time around.



Anonymous said...

This is wholly true. My first knowledgeable lover arrived when I was around 45. I thought I was great. At about 8 minutes -- more than my wife ever wanted -- I was about to come, and she pulled away saying 'no, you don't!"

Then she kept me busy with the stuff in this column this and other nice things for about 40 minutes. The long-deferred climax, when it came, was a jolt to my nervous system like a thunderbolt from Zeus.

Walker Thornton said...

I love this article--and the compilation of experts and books... I may have to go find those ancient texts.
This is perfect educational reading for any man....

Spiffy McBang said...

A very good article, as always. But damn, when you know this stuff and you're single, it's pretty much the most depressing read in the world.

Anonymous said...

I think the fact that this is helps unlock Deep Magic is something that shouldn't be misunderestimated. Yes, a woman is more likely to take your call, but she's also more likely to be bummed out if you don't call. Maybe it's just sex, or maybe feelings got unlocked.

But this also reminds me of a (truly awful, sexist, machismo, evil, wrong) joke guys (including me) used to tell each other back in college.
Q: Why do women have orgasms?
A: Who cares?

Most of the time we did care ... but sometimes it was just a mutated member entering her quivering quim.

DrAndrea said...

love this, probably one of my favorites of yours ever :) well said :)

Donald said...

Quite good. And a good reason to call for submissions from the readership!

in bed with married women said...

Spiffy, that is bitterly unfair 'cause my intel tells me there's a ton of general NOT-this happening.

Anonymous--dig your illiteration.

dr. andrea--aw, you are the best, sister.

Donald, it's always open.

OldGuy said...

Dudes, and Dudesses, Ms. IBWMW has it nailed. I wish I had the clue that our priestess has when my wife was still with me. If you are male, give her all the love she deserves. If you are female, explain to him what he needs to know.

Love to all,

Old and decrepit

in bed with married women said...

OldGuy, thanks! we need one of these from a dude as well!

Anonymous said...

I am not the sharpest knife in the drawer, but this column has answered a question I have long pondered. In trying to woo my dear Miss N., I have been less than successful. Not owing to lack of effort, but due to Ignorance. I would ask her "what do women want?"
Miss N. he would hand me one of her romance novels,.... "read this".
Usually the sex scene therein could best be described a date rape. I pointed this fact out to Miss N.
"No you don't get it. She WANTS him to ravage her"
"How does he know that? The story reads like he simply rapes her"
"No she gives off hints! He knows that she wants it"
"What hints? How does he know?"
"Her eyes, you idiot"
and on and on.
NOW I read IBMM and see that basically the man must start the idea of a romantic evening some hours in advance. He must woo her by detailing a plan and slowly revealing it some hours in advance and then if she is into his plan she will signbal her approval. If there is no approval, he must either CHANGE THE PLAN or else place his ship into drydock and await inspiration.
Do I have this about right?

Spiffy McBang said...

Anon: I am 100% with you on a lot of romance scenes reading like rape. I've said that the difference between the night of your life and a sexual assault charge is whether or not she likes you; I have without question lost out on opportunities because I refuse to push up against that line. And I'm fine with that, because much more often than not, if it's not clear she's into me, she isn't. So, with my possible biases acknowledged, I'd say your approach is the morally correct one.

Here's the difference, though, between the situations I'm referring to and the one you're describing: I don't make a move because I need more communication that such a move is desired. Unless I'm missing something dramatic from your account, you're actively receiving communication about what she wants you to do. I understand what she's pointing out to you looks rapey, but as you said, it's not the specific actions of the guy, it's the fact that there's no apparent way for the guy to know she wants him. You could do the exact same things without having to concern yourself with that, because short of saying, "Read this book and do those things," it would be hard for her to be clearer that she is ok with you acting that way.

Obviously being aware of how she's reacting to what you do is important; no matter how perfectly you know what she wants, there's also the matter of when she'll be into it. Sometimes, especially when you're in this phase of trying to get things right, you just gotta try, then lay back if she's not feeling you at the moment. If you're trying to talk sexy to her and get her warmed up for later, you'll hopefully get an idea of where she stands by the time later comes. Should the desire for spontaneity overcomes you, then you need to keep your aggression at a level where you can still be aware of how she's reacting. But there is nothing you "must" do to get her going. There is only knowing your partner and her tendencies, and communicating well enough to perfect how you can use that knowledge to please her.

One last thing: don't forget about yourself in all this. If she wants something, try it, but if you find that you're not comfortable with it, do not feel compelled to continue. For example, if trying to ravish her per the romance hero method makes you feel like a creep, talk to her and work out a way that she can get what she wants while also finding a way for you to be ok with it. If she wants you to take her when she looks at you a certain way, but you can't tell what that is or you feel uncomfortable acting just on that basis, then that's not good enough and you guys need to negotiate a better method for her to show that she's up for it. Tell her (if this applies to you) that, sure, maybe being fucked senseless on the power of a glance is super hot for her, but having her tell you how badly she wants you to fuck her is hot for you, too, and you have as much of a right to get revved up as she does.

Life is no more a romance novel than it is a porn flick; if you can't be her Fabio, then she can make some concessions to help you get as close as possible, or she can pout and not get anything she wants. Or you can keep trying to figure out how to make her happy. To be honest, though, pointing at a book and saying "look at the hints" is a bullshit way to clue you in to what she wants, because A) it's a story designed with a specific outcome, and B) reading the hint is a shitload easier than noticing it in the context of everyday life. If that's really all she does to communicate her desires, then you deserve, and should insist on, better information. If she's any kind of a grown-up, either she'll do a better job explaining, or, if what she's talking about sounds good but she's genuinely unsure how to put it into clearer words, she'll accept experimenting and discussing what works (or doesn't).

If she can't even do that... best of luck.

Jill Hamilton said...

okay, spiffy, love your deep thinking on this and

spiffy and anon, i have so been thinking about this and consent and such and think perhaps i'll get off my ass and maybe write something up about it. the impetus was that i wrote a sex tip for cosmo about waking someone up with a bj. several people commented that that was rape. i reworded it for less rapiness, but it's all super interesting to me.


Spiffy McBang said...

You've probably heard this at some point, but Dan Savage has the most logical take on consent I know- if you've had some level of intimacy with a person, that creates a level of implied consent where that person should feel reasonably free to try engaging in acts you've done in the past, and if you're not interested, you tell them no. Running on the assumption you're naked in bed with the person you're trying to wake up with a BJ because you have, at some point in the past, fucked, that would fall under the implied consent standard.

If people want a stricter standard of consent than the above, they should be clear with any partners about that and not suggest it apply to everyone. I mean, realistically, how often is someone being awoken with a BJ by somebody they're not already pretty comfortable with? It's like the letter of the law versus the spirit, and this is a case where just about everyone is fine with the spirit. Calling it rape or sexual assault in a comments section doesn't help anyone, and it diminishes real, traumatic assault by assigning the same term to both.

Anonymous said...

I read Savage Love also, and the women who have been assaulted are EXTEMELY quick to apply the "rape" tag on any male aggressiveness.
I brought this topic up once with a third party. The woman I wrote to suggested that I bring up this "consent conundrum" with my love, and ask for clarity, or else options we might consider to explore.
I did so, and on that occasion my love got very defensive and immediately asked whether I was suggesting that she allow me to "see someone else on the side". I backtracked and swept away the whole question and my "opportunity" was ruined for that night.
When I reported my results to the woman who recommended this idea, she said "Well you were not supposed to bring this up when you were alone and about to get intimate!" Well, this is about the only time that My Miss N. discusses intimacy;...when we are about to be intimate. argh.