I’ve been a quiet advocate of having healthy, open conversations about sex since, I guess, around 2012.
I’m fortunate to have many close friends I can comfortably talk with about, pretty much anything related to, sex and sexuality.
I think outside of that group though, I’m inclined to hold back a bit. Especially if I feel the person is more sexually conservative and might be uncomfortable if I launch into a detailed story about a recent wonderful sexual experience.
It’s not too challenging to freak people out and probably a good idea to apply a little considerate censorship sometimes.
That said, I have some stuff I’d love to share. I’m absolutely experiencing some fear around putting this out, but the deeper feeling in my gut tells me it should have a net positive experience.
“The moment that you feel, just possibly, you’re walking down the street naked, exposing too much of your heart and your mind, and what exists on the inside, showing too much of yourself…That is the moment, you may be starting to get it right.” — Neil Gaiman
A Change of Perspective
What happened in 2012?
That year my perspective on sex changed in a small but significant way.
I read Tim Ferriss’ book, The 4 Hour Body: An Uncommon Guide to Rapid Fat Loss, Incredible Sex and Becoming Superhuman.
Two chapters were particularly interesting (for some mysterious reason). The 15-Minute Female Orgasm-Part Un and The 15-Minute Female Orgasm-Part Deux.
Part Un essentially explains the technique used in a practice called Orgasmic Meditation.
Orgasmic Meditation, or OMing, involves a woman lying on her back, in a comfortable setup called the nest. Her legs are butterflied open, and she is naked from the waist down.
Her partner, fully clothed, sits comfortably and stimulates the clitoris, very gently, with a lubricated finger tip for 15 minutes. The focus of the Orgasmic Meditation is the point of contact between the fingertip and clitoris for the duration of the practice (not trying to reach orgasm).
I’m leaving a mountain of information out in that tiny description. This video explains in detail how to OM.
Sex as a Skill (albeit an artful one)
That technique significantly improved the love life of my wife and I. Most importantly though, I started looking at sex as a learnable skill, or maybe more as a learnable art. Not something just inherited, learned by experience, or unconsciously learned through movies, TV, glossy magazines, and of course porn.
I expect resistance to actively learning to improve sex resides mostly with guys (at least from my experience as a heterosexual guy) and some books I’ve read. Like we’re expected to know how to “satisfy a woman”.
In Betty Dodson’s book, Sex for One: The Joy of Selfloving, she talks about her experience exhibiting a collection of her erotic artwork, “four life-sized classic nudes, two males and two females, all joyfully masturbating to orgasm”.
One of the pieces showed a woman using a vibrator, which Betty says made several men hostile and competitive. “One stud said emphatically, ‘if that was my woman, she wouldn’t have to use that thing’”
Betty Dodson goes on to say:
“one important insight I had, was that women were more willing to share sex information than men. At the gallery, women talked about their fears and hang ups, and they asked lots of questions. Men were less open. They mostly made jokes and acted cool. Somehow men were supposed to have gained enough sexual expertise to teach women about sex. But having to project a masculine image at all times kept them from learning. If you already know all the answers, you can’t ask questions. I concluded that women have to lead the way to sexual freedom and expression.”
The Best Sex Book Ever
If I were to recommend a starting point for sex education, it would be Emily Nagoski’s book, Come As You Are: The Surprising New Science that will Transform your Sex Life.
Regardless of how experienced or knowledgeable you think yourself to be, I strongly believe the world will greatly benefit from everyone reading this book.
It is the most powerful work on sex I’ve ever read. It focuses mostly on female sexuality, but in doing so sheds much light on the differences and similarities of men’s also.
Emily uproots long held misconceptions with new science and psychology, delivered in an amazingly entertaining way.
The two concepts introduced in the book that were most mind-blowing for me were the “Dual Control Model” and “nonconcordance”.
The Dual Control Model
In chapter two, The Dual Control Model, Emily introduces the “missing piece” of the sexual response puzzle. Not only do we have sexual accelerators, but also, sexual brakes.
This idea seems super obvious when read, but can be paradigm shifting for many, including myself, who thought hitting the accelerator, turning on, was most important when it comes to sexual arousal.
The message is, it doesn’t matter whether you floor the accelerator if the brakes are on.
The Dual Control Model was created at the Kinsey Institute in the 90’s. It consists of two parts.
“Sexual Excitation System (SES) is the accelerator of your sexual response. It receives information about sexually relevant stimuli in the environment—things you see, hear, smell, touch, taste, or imagine—and sends signals from the brain to the genitals to tell them, ‘Turn on!’…
Sexual Inhibition System (SIS). This is your sexual break. ‘Inhibition’ here doesn’t mean ‘shyness’, but rather neurological ‘off’ signals.”
With this model, if trouble is experienced with any phase of sexual arousal, you can look at in two ways. Is there enough stimulation on the accelerator? Is there too much stimulation on the brakes? And the common mistake is thinking more acceleration is needed, when most often the solution is less brakes.
We do not always need more cowbell.
Lubrication is Not Causation
Chapter six, Arousal, begins with this story:
Okay, so Henry and I were messing around and I said, “I’m ready, I want you”, and he said, “No, you’re not wet, you’re just humouring me”. And I said, “No, I’m totally ready!” And he didn’t believe me because I wasn’t wet. So… should I see a doctor? It it hormonal? What’s wrong?
If you’re having pain, see a doctor, but otherwise you’re probably fine. Sometimes bodies don’t respond with genital arousal that matches the mental experience. Tell him to pay attention to your words, not your fluids, and also buy some lube.
This revelation is a game-changer.
When men are aroused, they get hard. When women are aroused, they get wet. Right? Not necessarily. Emily calls it genital nonconcordance.
A man generally has a “50 percent overlap between his genital response and subjective arousal”. Women generally have 10 percent. Knowing this can take massive amounts of pressure off both partners, and remove a sense of being broken in some cases.
As guys, being soft does not have to mean the end of that sexual escapade, or does not always mean one can’t begin. And equally, a woman who is wet is not always in the mood.
Also, lubricant becomes, not a solution to a problem, but a powerful sexual experience enhancer.
Again, I highly recommend reading the book, I’m giving super short notes on entire chapters that are incredibly well written and supported by studies and personal experience from clients of the author. And a vast range of other topics are covered in the book.
I’m open to questions, comments, and criticism on all of this if you want to share.
I continue to learn. Most likely I’ll learn something new in the future which will re-shape thoughts I’ve written here.
I decided to put these ideas down after reading Come As You Are. Thinking, “people need to read this book!”.
From there I started making notes and realised I wanted to talk about all things sex I find interesting, enjoyable, and beneficial.
That list is way too long for one post though. To compress some of those ideas, here’s a shortlist.
Another quote from Come As You Are:
The fact is, it’s not the size of the boat, and it’s not the motion of the ocean either. Women just vary. Despite what you’ve learned from movies, romance novels, or porn, in reality less than a third of women are reliably orgasmic with vaginal penetration alone, while the remaining two-thirds are sometimes, rarely, or never orgasmic with penetration alone.
That means, for a guy, lasting longer, and thrusting more, doesn’t cut it most of the time. Emily goes on to say, “intercourse is not a very effective way to stimulate the clitoris, and clitoral stimulation is the most common way to make orgasm happen”.
You can watch Betty Dodson talking about penetration and “clit stim”, in Her Life of Sex & Art Part II.
And this wonderful three minute animation is worth the time.
Again, check out Orgasmic Meditation.
What is sex?
The first image for most is penis in vagina sex. But removing that concept as the definition, and not making that the end goal of any sexual encounter can be very freeing.
For men, if you haven’t already, try this. Help your partner to reach orgasm, but then do not receive one in return. Even just once. It can be more challenging than expected.
For me, Tantra brings meditation to sex. Breath, focus, observing thoughts, all bring a more present state, closer partner connection, and deeper appreciation of all sensations.
The Multi-Orgasmic Man
A book by Mantak Chia I’m currently reading.
Books I Love
- Come As You Are
- Sex For One: The Joy of Self-Loving
- Extended Massive Orgasm: How you can give and receive intense sexual pleasure
- I Love Female Orgasm: An Extraordinary Orgasm Guide
- Sex At Dawn: How We Mate Why We Stray & What It Means For Modern Relationships
- Men Are from Mars, Women Are from Venus: The Classic Guide to Understanding the Opposite Sex
- The Truth: An Uncomfortable Book About Relationships
Videos and Documentaries
- The secret to desire in a long-term relationship – Esther Perel TED Talk
- Rethinking infidelity … a talk for anyone who has ever loved – Esther Perel TED Talk
- Betty Dodson: Her Life of Sex & Art Part I
- Jaiya & New World Sex Education
- After Porn Ends (Netflix documentary)
- Hot Girls Wanted (Netflix documentary)