All About Sex

The best sex ever

Advanced Sexual Techniques for World-Class Lovers

Embrace leisurely, playful, massage-style caresses from head to toe.

Everyone knows what goes where. And everyone knows that it feels most satisfying when the people share an emotional attachment, ideally love. But plenty of people who love each other have sex that ranges from blah to lousy. Why?

Quite often because one or both lovers ignore a key ingredient of great sex--leisurely, playful, massage-style caresses of the whole body, from the scalp to the soles of the feet and everything in between.

Novice lovers typically focus on a few places--the genitals and women's breasts. Advanced lovers know that every square inch of the body is a sensual playground, that the entire skin surface can revel in sensual touch, and that when lovers postpone genital sex and caress each other all over for an extended period (try 30 minutes), subsequent genital play feels more arousing and orgasms feel more intense and pleasurable.

Most women understand this intuitively. Compared with men, women are more tactile and instinctively appreciate sensual touch and massage. Unfortunately, many men focus on only a few corners of the body and largely ignore everything else. But believe me, guys, if you embrace leisurely, playful, massage-based, whole-body sensuality, you'll enjoy sex more--and your lover will be much more responsive, enthusiastic, and complimentary.

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Touch is the Only Sense We Can't Live Without

The skin is the body's largest organ. When massage-style caresses excite it--all of it--anxiety melts away, mood improves, and pain subsides, all of which enhance sex. Sensual massage from head to toe is critical to women's sexual responsiveness. Without extended, whole-body massage, many women find it difficult or impossible to become sexually aroused, let alone have orgasms. In addition, leisurely, playful, whole-body massage helps prevent and treat men's sex problems, notably rapid ejaculation and erection difficulties.

Human beings can live without sight, hearing, taste, or smell. But deprive infants of loving touch and they die. That's what happened at the close of the 19th century when some leading infant-care experts insisted that cuddling babies was "primitive." Hands-off infant care was embraced by many educated, wealthy Americans determined to greet the new 20th century with the latest scientific wisdom. The staff of many orphanages also stopped cuddling infants on the advice of these so-called experts. However, this message did not trickle down to poor, less educated women, who continued to hold and hug their infants.

By 1900, pediatricians were reporting a strange new disease, failure to thrive, that caused healthy infants to lose weight and die. It was epidemic in orphanages, and also struck infants in affluent families. But poor families were unaffected. Eventually, physicians identified its cause--lack of cuddling. When parents and orphanages returned to "primitive" infant care, the kids thrived. Today, child development experts agree that infants cannot be held and cuddled too much.

Failure to thrive has never been documented after infancy. But the fact that lack of touch can lead to death for even a brief period shows how important it is. Think of touch as an essential nutrient transmitted through the skin. Cuddling and massage are deeply nurturing and relaxing. They are also fundamental to fulfilling sex.

The skin contains two types of touch-sensitive nerves. Pain is transmitted through nerve fibers that trigger release of stress hormones. But the skin also contains C-tactile fibers that respond to pleasing touch and stimulate release of other hormones that produce feelings of relaxation and well-being. Gentle massage stimulates release of oxytocin, a hormone linked to attachment and to sexual arousal, pleasure, and orgasm.

Why Many Men Resist Massage-Based Sex

Unfortunately, many men feel skeptical about the role that whole-body massage plays in great sex. Their doubts stem, in part, from the fact that as they leave childhood, many men "lose touch" with touch. Men slap each other's backs, but few share gentle, affectionate touch the way women do.

Another reason has to do with the single most compelling source of male sex education, pornography. The sex in porn is 95 percent genital. Now, there's nothing wrong with enthusiastic genital sex. But what men learn from porn--and it's one of the top destinations on the Internet, some 15 billion pages--is that sex is all about the genitals and only the genitals.

Finally, we have the unfortunate term, "foreplay," which implies something that happens before the main event, intercourse. Many men engage in perfunctory foreplay and then rush into intercourse without understanding how necessary extended massage is.

Rushed foreplay represents a fundamental misunderstanding of how women--and men--respond sexually. Most women prefer extended, playful, whole-body massage that includes their breasts and genitals--but is not fixated on them. In fact, to experience sexual arousal, most women absolutely need extended, whole-body caressing.

Rushed foreplay is also a one-way ticket to men's sex problems, notably premature ejaculation. Many songs rhapsodize about doing it "all night long." But with rushed foreplay, many men don't last two minutes. The reason is that the penis works best in the context of whole-body massage. If all the erotic attention is focused on the penis, the little guy can't take the pressure, and ejaculation happens quickly. Extended whole-body caresses distribute sexual arousal around the entire body, which takes the pressure off the penis. It still becomes highly aroused--in fact, more so--but because men are aroused from head to toe, the penis is under less pressure, which helps men last longer. (For more on curing premature ejaculation, see my article on lasting longer.)

Men skeptical of whole-body touch might change their minds after a professional massage--not what's offered at massage parlors, but a nonsexual, 60- to 90-minute massage by a certified massage therapist. Professional massages can introduce men to slow-paced sensual pleasure. My advice to skeptical men: Make love shortly after a professional massage. I bet your penis behaves better, and your lover becomes more aroused and responsive. My advice to women: Give your man a gift certificate for a professional massage with the promise of something even better afterwards.

Replacing rushed foreplay with leisurely, playful, whole-body caresses is probably the single most woman-pleasing change men can make in their lovemaking. And once men get used to it, they usually find that extended sensuality--30 minutes of gentle touch before you reach between her legs--also enhances their own sexual pleasure.

Not "Foreplay," Loveplay

Now, back to "foreplay." Forget it. Instead, think of every moment of sex as "loveplay." Foreplay implies linear lovemaking, first kissing, then the man's hands on her breasts and between her legs, then intercourse, then it's over.

In contrast, loveplay is more creative. You might light some scented candles, and have a glass of wine and listen to music while gently holding each other, kissing, and stroking each other's faces, necks, and arms. Next you might feed each other little snacks as you undress, caressing each other some more. Then you might shower together, and dry each other. After that, you might repair to bed, turn on some music, and lie face-to-face, kissing, lightly caressing each other. Then, you might suckle each other's nipples for a while. Next, you might trade foot massages, and after that, fondle each other's genitals for a time, and then treat each other to oral sex. After a while, you might have intercourse, then uncouple and feed each other some more snacks, while continuing to kiss and caress one another. Next, you might return to oral sex or play with a vibrator or return to intercourse, but in s different position. And on and on.... None of this is "foreplay." None of it comes before anything else. It's all lovemaking. It's all loveplay.

Many women wish men would learn that sex feels most satisfying when it involves the whole body. The genitals are certainly important, but so is everything else. The entire body is a sensual playground. Great sex excites every square inch of it.

San Francisco journalist Michael Castleman, M.A., has written about sexuality for 36 years. more...

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