June 19,1998

Sexual Semantics

The orgasm has replaced the Cross as the focus of longing and the image of fulfillment.

Malcolm Muggeridge

If I had to pick a single issue that is more confusing than any other, it would be what our culture(s) expect of males with regard to their sexual performance. A man is expected to be a "gentlemen," in the sense that he treats a woman as a potential wife. On the other hand, he is expected to be a "stud," who is prepared to perform sexually at the drop of a suggestion. He is expected to look like Arnold Schwartzeneger and behave like Jimmy Stewart. In short, the ideal male should be a cross between a stud horse and Mr. Rogers.

Most adolescent males will have an erection at the mere thought of a female. Watching the sexual activity of dogs is a sure fire stimulant. He will also have an orgasm with little more stimulation than a dream.

Learning to control orgasm is something that a man who wants a sexually happy wife should learn. However, if his control is too good, he might deprive himself of the release that his own orgasm provides. In other words, a good sex life is in a large measure a matter of timing in an activity in which excitement and spontaneity play an important role. People talk about the quality and quantity of sex without having much of an idea about what is meant by either standard. Adding to the confusion, a male is expected to satisfy both himself and his partner at the same time.

When a man does not get sexually excited, he assumes, if he is a male chauvinist, that his partner doesn't excite him. If he is a modern man, he may think that there might be something wrong with himself.

Take a minute and think about that word "excitement." It is not hard to conjure up images of things exciting. Think now, about the antonym to "excitement." That word is "boredom." It's simple enough: things that are exciting are usually not boring and things that are boring are usually not exciting.

I have heard people proclaim that their sex lives, after 30 years of marriage, are better than they were at the beginning. How do they accomplish this? The answer is simple: they lie. It is often true that when people get to know each other better, that their sex lives do improve; but 30 years is pushing it.

Many years ago I knew a young man whose whole life was sex. He had the modern equivalent of a harem of experienced women. The last time that I talked to him he declared that he was impotent. After hearing what he told me about his women, I thought that any man would lose it after a while. He was bored. And why not; doing the same things, saying the same things, and looking at the same women. It's no surprise that men who act in pornographic movies look bored with the whole business. Even their penises are bored. That's because they themselves are bored. Who wouldn't be?

It has been known since long before antiquity that the best sexual stimulus for a man was an excited woman. That is still the perfect aphrodisiac. Fantasy works too, provided that you haven't use the same fantasy for too long.

I heard about a woman who said to her husband, "After 20 years, I know every inch of your body. I know what you will say and what you will do. What's to get excited about?"

A man may acquire a new woman. That will change things for him for a while. However, while the woman is different, he remains the same. If he doesn't get bored by his companion, it is inevitable that he will bore himself. And, as I said earlier, the antonym of "excitement" is "boredom."

Many men believe that the drug Viagra will change their sex life; that this erection pill will rejuvenate(make young) them. And it will, just as a belief that ground up rhinoceros horn will. As long as they believe that it will, it will. Once they lose faith, things will sag again.

Am I saying that there is no fountain of youth, nor is there any remedy for time? Yes, that is exactly what I am saying.

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