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When It Comes To Sex, Women Know Best

All men have to do is listen to what women say about sex.

If men made love the way most women prefer, both sexes would feel more sexually fulfilled—and many relationships would improve out of bed as well as between the sheets.

If men made love the way most women prefer, women would receive the leisurely, playful, massage-inspired, whole-body sensuality every sex survey shows they value for erotic enjoyment.

Meanwhile, if men made love the way most women prefer, men would enjoy more aroused, more enthusiastic lovers, and more reliable erections and better ejaculatory control.

All men have to do is listen to what women say about sex, and let go of the idea that sex should proceed like it does in pornography.

Women's Biggest Complaint About Men As Lovers

In survey after survey, women, especially young women, complain that men, especially young men, make love in a manner that's too rushed, too mechanical, and too narrowly focused on women's breasts and genitals. In many women's experience, too many men view sex as a headlong plunge into intercourse. That's porn-style sex. It can be summed up by the phrase, "wham, bam, thank you, ma'am."

The breasts and genitals should certainly be included in lovemaking, but every major sex survey agrees that most women prefer a shift away from genital fixation toward lovemaking based on slow, playful, whole-body massage for at least 30 minutes before any attempt at intercourse. Most women consider the entire body, every square inch, one big erogenous zone, and can't understand why so many men explore only a few corners and so briefly. Many women resent men for rushing through sex, and as a result, get turned off to lovemaking.

Men's Biggest Complaint About the Way Women Make Love

Menwhile, men's biggest complaint about the female lovestyle is that many women simply aren't interested. They need to be wined, dined, and coaxed into bed, and when they get there, they take little or no initiative, and fight men's advances, which men resent.

Many men also feel deep sexual self-doubt. The women on TV, in the movies, and certainly in pornography are all very interested in sex and participate in it enthusiastically. Men think: If the woman in my life isn't interested, there must be something wrong with me. But instead of asking women what's wrong, men often internalize what they've experienced from the sex media: Their penises must be "too small" to provide women adequate pleasure. Surveys show that most men are convinced their equipment doesn't measure up. Many men also worry about coming too soon, or erection problems, or not coming at all.

A Truce in the Battle of the Sexes

Since the mid-1960s when research by William Masters, M.D., and Virginia Johnson led to the development of modern sex therapy, it has become abundantly clear why so many couples' love lives are more agony than ecstacy. The rushed, mechanical, all-genital lovestyle most men learn at the curbside, in the locker room, and from pornography ignores women's real need for gentle, sensual extended erotic touch, and contributes significantly to men's sex problems. Men learn that except for a few quick swipes at women's breasts, the only part of the body that counts is between her legs. Men should listen to women: The whole body is one big erogenous zone.

In fact, after mutual attraction, leisurely, playful, whole-body, massage-inspired caressing is the single most important ingredient of high-quality lovemaking. Sure, genital fondling and oral sex are part of great sex. But so are foot massage, back rubs, finger and earlobe sucking, scalp, face, and back-of-the-knee caresses, and gently kneading the flesh from head to toe. In addition, the wham-bam approach not only confounds women, it also hurts men. It's a major contributor to erection problems, premature ejaculation, and problems with ejaculation.

Men's sexual miseducation is not their fault. Young men feel tremendous pressure to know the ins and outs of sex, as it were, so they'll be able to lead their young and presumably sexually naive girlfriends in intimate explorations. Few parents discuss the details of erotic technique with their sons, and school-based sex education is all about sperm, eggs, sexually transmitted diseases, and (occasionally) contraception. Even the best school-based sex-ed programs communicate not one iota of information about the critical importance of whole-body sensual caressing. So young men fall back on the only resources available to them—other clueless young men, and the sex media, which largely ignore sensuality, and instead, feature men with elephantine penises (the main reason why just about every many is convinced his is too small) pounding away like pistons in overdrive. It's a classic case of the blind leading the blind.

The Key to Great Sex

It's also why sex therapists need not fear unemployment. Sexological research has made many startling discoveries, but none more important than this: The key to great sex is leisurely, playful, whole-body caressing. How leisurely? Very. Song lyrics endlessly gush about making it last "all night long," but for many men, all sex is a "quickie." Sex therapists spend a good deal of their time urging men to slow down, then slow down more, and learn that the best sex as an extension of whole-body mutual massage. Singer-songwriter Michelle Shocked put it well: "If love is a train, I think I'll ride me a slow one. Let's ride all through the night making every stop."

When men drop the wham-bam attitude and begin to appreciate the pleasure potential of such secret pleasure spots as their calves, shoulders, chests, and ears—along with everyplace else—some amazing things begin to happen. Women start to enjoy lovemaking because they're getting what they wanted all along—creative, nonmechanical, whole-body intimate sharing. And because lovemaking unfolds more slowly, there's plenty of time for women to become truly aroused and take some sexual initiative.

A slower, more sensual style of lovemaking is also a major ingredient in sex therapy for many male sex problems. When men adopt the sensual lovemaking style most women prefer, they find it much easier to learn voluntary control over ejaculation. Many erection problems clear up. And those who have difficulty ejaculating are more likely to enjoy release.

Dude, when it comes to sex, women know best. They want you to slow down, so slow down already. Forget genital preoccupation, and learn to appriciate whole-body caressing and massage.

When men make love the way women prefer, men have fewer sex problems, women enjoy sex more, and both men and women feel more loving toward one another and more erotically fulfilled.

Selected references:
Miller, AS and ES Byers. "Actual and Desired Duration of Foreplay and Intercourse: Discordance and Misperceptions in Heterosexual Couples," Journal of Sex Research (2004) 41:301.

Mohn, T. "The Spa Experience as Tuneup: Reports Discover That Men and Women See Massage Differently," New York Times, 5-31-2005.

NewScientist.com. "Scientists Reveal the Secret of Cuddles." 7-28-2002.

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

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