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The Great Sex Secret! Why Orgasm is not overrated

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Why do some couples get bored with sex after a few months while others continue to enjoy making love throughout their adult lives?

The conventional but fictitious wisdom is that the way to stave off sexual boredom is variety — that “great sex” consists of different positions, different techniques, different routines, different times of day, different venues, different perfumes, different condom and colors.

In the early stages of a romantic relationship lovers are full of passion and excitement and often experiment with lots of different positions and approaches and explore their likes and dislikes. As they get to know each other better they tend to settle into a routine — certain preliminaries and a specific way of reaching orgasms, with occasional variations. This is a crucial point in a sexual relationship. Are both partners having satisfying orgasms when they make love? If a couple’s routine leaves one partner sexually unsatisfied (and it’s almost always the woman), there is trouble ahead. These lovers may confide in their friends that sex has become “boring,” but boredom is not the real issue.

The nub of the matter is a lack of deep satisfaction for the woman, which robs lovemaking of mutuality and depth, and may affect her partner’s level of satisfaction as well; men may be more sensitive to the subtle dynamics of sex than we suppose. Without the deep satisfaction of mutual orgasms, there’s a tendency to focus on sexual behaviors that by themselves can seem repetitive and even tiresome. It is boring to go through the same routine week after week if it doesn’t culminate in good mutual orgasms.

The hypothesis here is that if we interviewed couples who have become “bored” with sex and asked the right questions, we would find that they do not have a good technique for mutual orgasms. Conversely, if we interviewed couples who have been genuinely happy with their sex life for several years, our prediction would be that at some point they discovered a good sexual finale and continued to use it, perhaps with variations, over time. But doesn’t using the same mutual-orgasm approach get monotonous? Strangely enough, it doesn’t. People don’t get tired of having orgasms together any more than they get tired of eating good food. The analogy with food works on a number of levels.

  • Our appetites for food and for sex are basic drives that build up over time. When we’ve had a fine meal or a good orgasm, we feel mellow and satisfied and our drives are temporarily slaked.
  • Both types of hunger are influenced by quality: when food or lovemaking is mediocre, our appetite goes down; when the meal or the sex is good, our appetite increases.
  • If we’re extremely hungry or haven’t had sex in a long time, we are less fussy about the finer points of cuisine and lovemaking.
  • With both food and sex, we can have too much of a good thing: with food we feel sick to our stomachs; with sex, we get exhausted and sore. In both cases, our appetite disappears, and we have no desire to eat or make love for a period of time. But the basic drives are still there, and before long, they’re back.

But the food/sex analogy breaks down in one area. Although we can get great enjoyment in the course of eating and making love, what truly quenches our sexual appetite and leaves a sense of deep gratification and closeness is not all the foreplay; it’s the orgasms. The kissing, hugging, different positions, techniques etc., can be great fun, sharpen the palate and heighten sexual arousal, and even boost the eventual level of gratification — but unlike the courses of a good meal (which are the meal), foreplay activities are a means to an end; it’s the orgasmic finale that really hits the spot. The quality of this final stage of lovemaking is what delivers the lasting physical and emotional payoff. Getting that part right is the key — a point that sex books and videos rarely emphasize. How do lovers know if they have found a good mutual-orgasm technique? There are several ways to tell:

  • First, does it deliver a satisfying climax to both partners during a lovemaking session?
  • Second, is it acceptable and comfortable for both partners?
  • Third, does it still work on a Friday night when both partners are pretty weary? (Let’s face it: most couples with children have limited options for private lovemaking time, most of which are times when they’re not fresh and well-rested.)
  • Finally, does it continue to work for both partners over the years?

These questions may be the best indicators available to loving couples as their relationship moves through the years. If they are honest with each other, they will know the answer to the first and second questions quite early on. They’ll get the answer to the third question as life gets busier and they’re more exhausted on weekends, and the answer to the fourth will become apparent after a few years. If they’re always “too tired” for sex on Friday night and sex is becoming “boring,” it’s a sure sign that the couple needs to go back to questions one and two and find a different route to mutual orgasms that really works for both of them.

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