As a lesbian who hasn’t been in a relationship with a man since the late 80s, I can’t speak with the same authority on their fun-bits as I can about a woman’s. However, unlike hairspray usage and shoulder-pad size, it’s probably safe to say not much has evolved in certain areas since I last swung
a bat for that team. That is, I assume women possessing superhuman grip-strength and excessively calloused palms aren’t currently in such high demand they’re beating men off with sticks. Nevertheless, in this discussion I’ll be relying primarily on my greater and more recent experiences rather than sweaty, fumbling memories from over twenty years ago. But the question of why we’re so touchy about our touching skills is by no means limited to women.
I’m referring specifically to touching of the nether regions … our pleasure centers, if you will. Those baffling and mysterious labyrinths, navigable only with the most intense concentration, focus, training and advanced GPS devices – at least when it’s that of another which we’re traversing. For many, if not most, years of experience have taught us to push our own buttons and pull our own poles quite efficiently. Whether it’s all in the wrist or a matter of digital dexterity, we’re masters of manipulation when it comes to getting ourselves where we want to go. Finding our way around another person’s parts is an entirely different story.
But what perplexes me isn’t that we don’t always know what to do, it’s the expectation that will – especially in the initial stages of a relationship. We are talking about complicated pieces of human equipment, each one uniquely calibrated to the needs and preferences of the individual. You shouldn’t expect to be able to reach into your bag-o-tricks and find the secrets to satisfaction right away; yet when the reliable sleight of hand that works so well on your own magic box doesn’t produce instant gratification for your partner, you feel that you’ve failed. And her palpable frustration at your earnest attempts to coax a spark from the smoking ruins of the encounter only increases your sense of inadequacy, until you both give up, fighting back hot tears of shame and despair.
Or so I’ve heard …
Of course, anyone who’s ever leafed through a women’s magazine knows that the answer is obvious – communication! Just tell your partner what you do and don’t like and voilà! problem solved! There have been Tips For A Better Sex Life lists and articles since magazines got glossy pages; and while some things change (sexting is so passè, this is the year of the spanking) communication gets trotted out almost without fail. However, while people are more than willing to have sex soon after meeting, they remain hesitant to communicate about their needs beyond “Ow! Get off my hair!”
But I have a solution.
Until people reach the point in a relationship where they’re barking orders at each other like Marine drill sergeants and getting out Sharpie markers to draw helpful maps and diagrams on the area between their navel and knees, they typically prefer to direct their partner’s actions through a series of sighs and moans, grunts and groans. The interpretation of which is hit and miss at best, since a sounds of satisfaction are often indistinguishable those of exasperation. But what if we could learn to become fluent in this language? To discern the minute difference between an “Ahhh …” that says I’m almost there! and one that means Dammit! I was so close! The problem is that we are forced to learn these often-subtle cues under great pressure; and we only know how we’ve done when our partner either slaps a gold star on our forehead or rolls away saying, “Just stop! It’s not gonna happen.”
Since people are obviously resistant to letting one another know what is and isn’t working using everyday language, I propose that we use these non-verbal utterances in everyday situations in order to become more familiar with their various meanings – I like to think of it as a Sex Sound Immersion Program. So when you’re with the person you’re dating, you’d simply replace the words normally used to express pleasure and displeasure with the sex-sounds indicating whether your partner’s technique is leading toward a warm afterglow or a burning resentment.
For instance, while in the car on the way to dinner you ask your date if she’s warm enough and she replies, “Mmmmm!” You’re not sure what this means so you turn up the heat, she fans herself with her hand and says “Ohh…” That’s too hot, you think and flip the A/C on. “Ahh!” she says, settling back in her seat. You smile smugly. Damn you’re good! Women are always satisfied with your temperature settings! Suddenly she sighs and reaches into the back seat for her sweater, saying, “It’s okay, I can just keep myself warm.” Your face flushes with embarrassment as you stammer an apology and promise it will be better next time.
A few more awkward attempts to adjust the adjust the climate controls are followed by reassurances from your date that the ride was good for her anyway, and you arrive at the restaurant. After dinner you’re enjoying dessert and ask her if she’d like to taste yours. She replies with a guttural “uhhh” and the forkful of Chocolate Mocha Fudge Suicide Decadence Cake hovers between you. Then she leans in and you excitedly move to share it with her; but she tilts her head so you adjust the trajectory of the flatware a little to the left. You pop the gooey deliciousness into her waiting mouth and she sighs, “Mmmm!” She seems to like it so you ask if she wants another bite and she murmurs “Ohh …” You slowly fed her another morsel and she closes her eyes, savoring it. “Is it good?” you ask, “Do you like it?” “Oh God,” she says, “Yes!”
You mentally slap a gold star on your own forehead. Nailed it!