Sex therapists agree that the most satisfying, most deeply erotic lovemaking involves slow sex--leisurely, playful, massage-inspired, whole-body sensual touch all over. But sometimes there's no time for it, and sometimes lovers want fast, rip-your-clothes-off quickies. Sex doesn't always have to be elaborate. Seven-course banquets are wonderful, but every now and then, fast food hits the spot.

Quickies can be fun, but they're also fraught with erotic peril. For lovers of all ages, they risk leaving one partner, or both, frustrated and unfulfilled. Fortunately, with a little forethought and planning, the perils can be minimized, and the joy of quickies maximized. Here's how.

Quickie Quicksand

The upside of quickies--fast, furious fun--is also their downside. They don't allow much warm-up time, and warm-up is critical to both erotic arousal and sexual function. That's why the best, most satisfying sex is leisurely, playful, and slow. Scant warm-up time means that many people--most women and older men--can't become aroused.

Arousal is rarely a problem for men under 40. Young men become aroused quickly. The situation is very different for young women, who often complain that young men are as hot as fire before they've warmed up at all, let alone enough to enjoy sex. Older women also need time to become aroused, and after 40, so do men as instant arousal fades into the past, and men discover that it takes effort to become turned on. Hence, the old saying: What young men want to do all night takes older men all night to do.

Sexual function is not a problem for the vast majority of young men, who can raise an erection at the drop of a zipper. But it's a different story for men over 40, whose erections rise more slowly, if at all. Sexual function is also problematic for women of all ages. It takes time for young women to feel open to genital sex, and this continues throughout life. In addition, as women age, quickies become less comfortable. The reason is vaginal dryness, which becomes common in women over 40.

Finally, for most lovers of all ages, the intensity of orgasm is typically a function of the time spent making love, so don't expect your best orgasms from quickies.

Checklist for Satisfying Quickies

On the other hand, quickies can still be fun. Here's how to make the most of them:

Make them as sensual and playful as time allows. As you tear each other's clothes off, as much as possible, savor kissing, hugging, whole-body massage, and whispered words of endearment. The more sensuality you include in your quickie, the more satisfying the sex is likely to be.

Heat up the anticipation. Start warming up for sex before your rendezvous. If you have to travel to enjoy your brief tryst, call or text beforehand and declare how eager you are to play, and how much your lover excites you. That way, by the time you fall into each other's arms, you've already begun to feel aroused.

Value the setting. You may not have much time, but that's no reason to jettison a sexy ambiance. Arrange your quickie to include music, fragrance (perfume or flowers), tasty little munchies, and perhaps massage lotion.

Use a lubricant. Most, but not all, young women produce enough natural vaginal lubrication for comfortable intercourse--assuming sufficient warm-up time (around 30 minutes). But they may not produce enough quickly enough for comfortable quickies. Meanwhile, after age 40 or so, menopausal changes suppress self-lubrication in older woman. The result is that for many young women and most older women, quickie intercourse is uncomfortable and possibly even painful. For quickie sex, commercial lubricants are necessities. Lubes also help men. Applied to the penis, they increase the pleasure of genital touch, and they help older men raise erections.

Consider sex without intercourse. Even with a lubricant, quickie intercourse can be uncomfortable. Fortunately, there are many marvelous ways to make love that don't involve inserting an erection into the vagina. Handjobs, oral sex, and sex toys can make all the difference when you don't have much time.

Keep a vibrator handy. Speaking of toys, the faster the sexual pace, the more difficult it is for women to have orgasms. Vibrators come in very handy. Vibrating penis sleeves can do the same for men. For a wide selection of vibes and sleeves, visit a sex toy site, for example, MyPleasure.

Orchestrate surprises. Variety is the spice of life. That goes double for sex and triple for quickies. Most couples develop sexual routines that may become ruts. Erotic novelty is arousing. Quickies present opportunities to try new moves.

Savor afterglow. As much as time allows, hold each other, kiss, and whisper words of endearment. If you must part immediately afterwards, try savoring afterglow by phone, texting, or email.

Have I forgotten anything? What's been your experience with quickies? And what would you suggest to make the most of them?

You are reading

All About Sex

How to Discuss Sex With Your Children

Child and teen sex education resources are deeply flawed.

Are Sexual Lubricants Safe?

New findings: Lubricants may damage cells and increase sexual infection risk

The New Erotic Frontier: Sex in Nursing Homes

Until recently, nursing homes frowned on sex. Now, increasingly, they smile.