The ART of LOVE: "Oh Baby, You Gotta Know How"
IMAGE CAPTION (upper left):
Erotic carvings from the Temples of Khajuraho, in central India (950 - 1050 AD)
IMAGE CAPTION (upper right):
Erotic carvings from the Temples of Khajuraho
by Michael Castleman
You can make me cry,
You can make me sigh,
But you got to know how.
Bonnie Raitt "You Got To Know How"
The person acting and the person acted upon are different by virtue of the difference between them, but there is no difference in their pleasure, because both naturally derive pleasure from the acts they perform.
The Kama Sutra of Vatsyayana
At least half the people in the U.S. are sexually frustrated, or dissatisfied in some way with the sexual portion of their lives according to the landmark research compiled in the famous Kinsey Report. This is a terrible shame, and a tragic waste of creative, sensual human potential. Sex is a limitless and rewarding area of basic human experience, an area where creative imagination should be encouraged. Sex is similar to dancing: everyone is born with potential; you just have to learn some basic moves. After the introductory instruction, all it takes is time, practise, and above all, imagination.
Unfortunately, but of no particular surprise given the repressive nature of this culture, sex is seen as dirty and unhealthy, while discussion of sexuality and sexual technique is either suppressed and hidden from our natural and healthy curiosity, or hopelessly warped by ignoramuses who masquerade as "experts."
One word about body awareness: the size of one's penis, ass, or breasts, the lack of or abundance of body hair has nothing whatsoever to do with sexual functioning or pleasure. This myth dies hard.
The traditional American sex counselor has been the family doctor or gynecologist. However, medical school trained professionals are often misinformed about all aspects of sexuality, especially female sexuality and gayness. The following quotes from male-written gynecology texts should serve as ample warning that doctors may know less about sex than many ordinary folks.
Dr. J. Robert Wilson is on staff at the U-M Medical Center. From his text Obstetrics and Gynecology: "In the normal sexual act the woman must allow herself to be conquered by the male. This entails a masochistic surrender..." From Dr. Thomas H. Green's Gynecology: "If sexual inadequacy on the part of the wife stems from a fundamental immaturity...or failure to assume the normal adult female role, the gynecologist may be able to help by gradually imparting to her the nature of role...to make herself available for the fulfillment of her husband's sex drive. ..Only by assuming this role can a woman throw off childhood inhibitions and taboos."
Both the above quoted texts are currently in wide use throughout U.S. medical schools, so it is often a good general rule to be wary of your doctor's sexual advice.
"Try a little tenderness.... "
"Kama is enjoyment in the sensual realm through the five senses: touch, taste, smell, sight, and hearing, together with the mind and soul. Kama is the consciousness of pleasure. Kama is to be learned from the Kama Sutra, the aphorisms of love."
Having sex is different from making love. As the phrases themselves suggest, having sex happens to people, like having a hangover, or a flat tire - the actors may or may not be in control of the event. On the other hand, making love is a process of mutual creation and recreation. The process is an ongoing part of the partners' daily lives. Making love means creating an intimate interpersonal space where lovers open up to one another, and discard their shells with their clothes. To make love properly, as is the case with any important creation, you need the proper tools and skills. These are: tenderness, mutual respect, a willingness to both give and receive pleasure, and time. Few lovers make love to full mutual satisfaction immediately, or even after several frolics in the sheets. Love making is like dancing - partners improve and learn from each other as they become more familiar with each others' moves and preferences. No one should feel like a failure because of one, or several, disappointing "performances." You're not under a spotlight. Learn to talk about making love. Work together. Concentrate on your own body, your own pleasure, and your partner's body and pleasure.
"I might drop a hint
How to strike my flint
If you learn to know how.... "
"...one who is well acquainted with the science of love and knowing his/her own strengths, tenderness, and impetuosity, as well as these qualities in the other, should act accordingly. The modes of enjoyment are not for all times or persons, or places; they should be employed only at the proper time, with the proper person, in an appropriate place."
There are but two rules for love-making sex play: try to give the pleasure your partner desires, and communicate to your partner the kinds of pleasure you desire.
Everything is permitted. Nothing is wrong. Anything and everything you both, or all, enjoy is healthy.
Making love deserves your undivided attention. Take the phone off the hook. Relax. Create a block of time for making love. There's certainly nothing wrong with quickie sex if you and your partner enjoy it, but the problem with most lovers is too little time as opposed to too much. "You gotta take your time, you know it ain't no crime if it lasts all night." Many lovers enjoy altering their mutual states of consciousness. Marijuana and alcohol in moderate quantity assist many love birds in feathering the ol' nest. However, barbiturates, opiates and alcohol in large quantities make the achievement of sexual ecstacy more difficult, sometimes impossible.
Both partners should have that loving feeling. Forced sex of any kind is not love. It is rape.
One regretable outgrowth of our cultural preoccupation with Freudian psychology is the erroneous belief that there are only three distinct and discrete, "errogenous zones:" the mouth, the ass, and the genitals - and that's it. Let the entire body become your sexual playground. Skin everywhere from the crown of your scalp to the bottoms of your feet can enhance loving excitation.. To enjoy love making to the fullest, take care of your body: eat well, rest, and above all, exercise. Many lovers like to exercise together. Watching one another's bodies in motion can, itself, become arousing: dancing bicycle riding, scampering about the Arb can all serve as tasty appetizing to a hot orgiastic meal. Many lovers like to bathe or shower together before and/or after a love feast. Nude body massage is an increasingly popular method of total body stimulation. Don't forget the nipples, fingers, toes, and head, all of which are very sensitive to touch, and warm and cool breath. Be careful about the size and sharpness of your fingernails and toenails. Women should not douche frequently, nor should they use any of the so-called "feminine sprays." These products often unbalance the delicate bio-chemical environment of the vagina, and cause irritation, possibly an allergic reaction. Learn to appreciate your partner's natural aroma. Love smells fine.
One final word about body awareness: the size of one's penis, ass, or breasts, the lack of or abundance of body hair has nothing whatsoever to do with sexual functioning or pleasure. This myth dies hard.
"In the pleasure room, decorated with flowers and fragrant perfumes, they should carry on amusing conversation, and may also talk suggestively of things not to be mentioned in society generally. They may sing, play musical instruments, and persuade each other to drink. "
"The one should apply ointment with his/her own hands to the body of the other, some pure sandalwood ointment or lotion if some other kind. "
Make your love bed seriously and equip it for maximum comfort, convenience and pleasure. Keep both soft and hard pillows handy, the soft ones for your heads, the hard ones to support backs and pelvises. Mirrors can be great fun, as can candles, music, and colored lights. Keep a towel or some tissue within easy reach for mopping up love's little spills. Skin creams and lubricating ointments have become quite popular. Be careful, however, because many people have sensitive, allergy-prone skin. Make sure you can live and love with your lotion. The cheapest love lubricant is saliva, an easily accessible juice to which few are allergic. Natural vagina secretions are also useful and fun, though these take time to begin flowing.
Adequate lubrication cannot be stressed enough. As a general rule, assume that all non-lubricated internal exploration is painful. Get into the habit of lubricating beforehand, as a prelude to internal stimulation. In heterosex, men are often blithely unaware of the real pain their lovers experience. Women are often reluctant to mention it for fear that their partners will blame them for being "hung-up" or "unresponsive." The solution is: lubricate before you penetrate anything, and it's often a good idea to lubricate during massage. If pain persists, say so, then see a physician.
Vibrators are currently becoming a hot item. There are two basic varieties of vibrator: the phallic kind, usually battery powered, which is available in thicker models for vaginal penetration, and thinner models for anal stimulation; and the palm-of-the-hand type, usually cord powered, for stimulation of the total skin surface. Vibrators are sold at drug and department stores. If you don't see them on display, ask.
"Whatever things may be done by one lover to the other, the same should be returned by the other. "
"An ingenious person should multiply the kinds of sexual congress."
Everyone masturbates, and sexual therapists agree that far from discouraging the practice like many families and religions do, masturbation should be encouraged. So why fight the urge with foolish guilt? Don't sit on your hands - use them!
Do unto others what they do unto you. Take turns. There should be no distinction between the "active aggressive" person in a love relationship and the "passive submissive partner. Lovers should trade off giving pleasure and receiving it, taking the lead and being led. Don't be afraid to guide your lover's hand(s), mouth, tongue, and/or feet to the sensitive places that excite you the most. Flow with your pleasure, lose yourself in it. Then send your partner into the pleasure realm, merge into the enjoyment you give. Sit up, lie down, roll around, stand - there's no limit to the number of tantalyzing positions lovers can discover and invent. Everything you both permit each other is permitted. Nothing lovers find satisfying is wrong or unhealthy.
As always, it is of paramount importance to be familiar with and to respect your partner's idiosyncrasies. If he/she objects to being touched or fondled in a certain spot, stop doing it. Discuss it later, perhaps, if you're really into that move, but don't annoy one another in the heat of passion. There's plenty of time to talk things through after your climaxes.
One important reminder as you probe and caress
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The Art of Love
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your lover's flesh: don't put a finger, toe, mouth or vibrator which has been in or nearby someone's ass into anyone's vagina. The bacteria that normally live in a healthy ass can cause infection if transported into the vagina. This need not deter vigorous anal play, however, - you've got ten fingers, why not use them all?
Sodomy, fellatio, cunnilingus, pederasty,
Father, why do these words sound so nasty?
Masturbation can be fun.
Join the holy orgy Kama Sutra, everyone!
Everyone masturbates, and sexual therapists agree that far from discouraging the practice like many families and religions do, masturbation should be encouraged. Your own body is a virtually limitless instrument of fun, satisfaction and pleasure. So why fight the urge with foolish guilt? Don't sit on your hands - use them!
Lovers can masturbate themselves in private or in each other's presence. You can masturbate one another, or combine self-stimulation with hand-jobbing your partner.
Some people think that when they become involved in an ongoing sexual relationship that they will lose the urge to beat off. They don't; then they feel guilty and confused about it. There's no point to these doubts. Your partner probably has a hand in his/her pants, too.
In fact, frequent masturbation is often recommended for women who do not achieve orgasm as often or as soul-rockingly as they would like, and for men who have lost the ability to sustain an erection through ejaculation.
Masturbation in the context of ongoing relationships continues to be satisfying and heavenly. After all, you know exactly what you like, not to mention your favorite timing and the pressure you prefer.
Many lovers find that watching each other masturbate heightens their arousal and brings them closer. You can also pick up some tips on your partner's preferences by careful observation of his/her masturbation style.
When you love me right
You'll hear me holler,
- Bonnie Raitt
The appropriate sounds are the cooing sound, the sound Phat (the sound of bamboo being split), and the sound Phut (the sound of something falling into water), and at the end of congress, sighing and weeping sounds.
- Kama Sutra
Have you ever wanted to explode into frenzied laughter when social circumstances forced you to suppress it to a frustrating nervous titter? Love making ideally should be as vocally unrestrained as a soul-jumping belly laugh. Of course, depending mostly on your housing circumstances, and/or other people considerations like housemates or kids, high volume sex play may be more or less practicable. But even behind thin walls, the sounds of love are music to both lovers' ears. Often this is especially the case during oral love, when your partner's eyes are preoccupied elsewhere. If privacy permits, really let go, and whoop it up. See if you don't have more fun. Love making while camping in the wilds is often a good place to romp and holler.
Aw, help me, please, doctor, I'm damaged...
- Rolling Stones
Many people suffer from frustrating, tormenting sexual problems. Among women, a common problem is: "I don't feel anything." This problem can be overcome with the aid of Getting in Touch, one of the five "Yes Books of Sex." Written by women for women, the authors guide a woman step-by-step through a simple process of exploring her own body, learning all the responsive areas, finding out what feels good, learning to relax and experience pleasure. Masturbation can help any woman have orgasms.
Among men, the most common sexual problem is premature ejaculation, or coming too fast. How fast is too fast; It's an individual thing - coming before you and your partner want to should be your point of reference. But, You Can Last Longer, another of the "Yes Books" illustrates how to overcome premature ejaculation. It explains the simple Masters and Johnson squeeze technique with which the famed sexual research team has achieved virtually a 100% "cure rate" for this frustrating complaint.
"Yes Books" can be obtained for $1.95 each from Multi-Media Resource Center, 540 Powell St., San Francisco, Cal. 94102. The Free People's Clinic media room contains a complete set which is available for public perusal. The Clinic has already had several "Yes Books" stolen. Please leave them for other people to use.
I've never engaged in this kind of thing before...
-Bob Dylan "Highway 61 Revisited"
This article can barely tickle the surface of human sexuality and sexual pleasure. Where can lovers turn to find life affirming sexual suggestions?
The "Yes Books" are a good place to start. The Masters and Johnson books dealing with human sexual response and human sexual inadequacy are difficult to digest because the dynamic duo insist on writing in doctor jargon. However, decent transformations of these books into accessible paperbacks are available: Ruth and Edward Brecher's Analysis of Human Sexual Response, and Jhan and June Robbins' Analysis of Human Sexual Inadequacy. Neither book is perfect, but both are informative, supportive, and reassuring. Masters and Johnson also have a new one due out later this month, The Pleasure Bond (Little, Brown & Co.) which is supposed to translate the original into more readable language.
After these, the sources deteriorate rapidly. The bestseller, The Joy Of Sex, contains some interesting suggestions, but its thorough sexism is difficult to take. It is demeaning to women, and it includes bisexuality in its "problems" section. It is not worth $5.95. The same for most so-called marriage manuals. They generally read like Dear Abby, and inevitably contain such questions as: "Is masturbation physically harmful; how prevalent is it?" both of which are asked and answered in hopelessly befuddled seriousness.
So, on to pornography, both books and films, Pornography has always been and continues to be a sticky subject. On the one hand, porn does stimulate sexual imagination, and therefore it has a progressive dimension. On the other hand, however, it's so cheap, trashy, sexist, and unreal that it insults the intelligence of its audience, and porn profits generally fill pockets many people would rather not help stuff.
Some folks deal with this situation by sticking to so-called "soft" pornography, otherwise known as erotic art. There are some fine books of Hindu and Chinese erotic art which improve with candlelight. Also there are the two New York Erotic Film Festivals - Number One is softer, less hard core than Number Two. This fare is still generally sexist, but it tends to be somewhat more palatable than the average Art I offering.
The Kama Sutra, quoted here, is interesting, but strange, too. In some ways, it is very progressive, as the quoted passages have, hopefully, demonstrated. However, it is not of our time, place or mind - it contains fully six chapters on how a man should relate to a courtesan.
How-to books, pornography and erotic art can supply some valuable suggestions for creative sexuality. However, the imagination still reigns supreme as the fountainhead of inspiration. So, to lovers everywhere, more power to the imagination!