NYC Sex Therapy Diary:  “Juego” and Women’s Sexual Desire

NYC Sex Therapy Diary: “Juego” and Women’s Sexual Desire

Photo credit:  Pedrosimoes7,  via Creative Commons. Eleventh in a series of articles loosely based on the new book A Billion Wicked Thoughts by Ogi Ogas and Sai Gaddam Eros, Self-Love, and the New York Times In 2009 an article by Daniel Bergner appeared in the New York Times Magazine concerning new research into women’s sexual desire.   The article carried a statement that women’s desire is “dominated by the yearnings of self-love, by the wish to be the object of erotic admiration and sexual need.” A couple of weeks after the Bergner article came out, I was having lunch with a female colleague, a fellow sex expert.  The subject of the article came up. “The one thing that upsets me,” she said, “is Bergner writing that female sexuality is narcissistic.  I mean, haven’t women been through enough with labeling?  Now they have to be told that their sex drive is narcissistic?” As I mentioned in “The woman in the mirror,“ I think narcissistic issues are at the core of most sexual pleasure for both men and women.   But there do seem to be differences. Although both men and women derive much pleasure from being admired, it’s chiefly in women that such admiration can sometimes directly fuel erotic desire. Think about it — A woman can lavish much praise and attention on a man, take him out to lovely dinners, buy him thoughtful gifts, and generally treat him royally.   He may appreciate all these things very much.  But they won’t make him one bit more sexually attracted to her. If a man were to do these things for a woman, though, under...
The Year in Clinical Sexuality, 2010

The Year in Clinical Sexuality, 2010

As we get ready to close the books on 2010, I would like to express my gratitude to  family,  friends, and colleagues for your support and encouragement over the past year.   And to all my patients for your trust and confidence.   May we all merit much happiness in 2011. In ending the year,  here’s my rundown of 2010’s most blog-worthy events in the field of clinical sexuality     New Books and Other Happenings Sex at Dawn, the breakout volume by the previously-unknown writing team of Christopher Ryan and Cacilda Jetha, took a sledgehammer to conventional evolutionary sexual psychology  (See my interview with lead author Chris Ryan).   Some thought Sex at Dawn might help promote a more relaxed, European-style attitude towards non-monogamy in America.  In “Will Sex at Dawn influence sex therapy?” I argued that this was probably wishful thinking. This summer,  SEC staffers were caught surfing porn at work. In my blog,  “Men and Their Computers, Alone Together,” I wondered whether the traditional Jewish laws of Yichud might be applicable to whether a man should ever be alone with his computer, unsupervised.  I also contributed a piece to an Italian magazine on workplace infidelity – and how to avoid it. In “Contemporary Sexuality and the Brazilian Wax,” we discussed the modern disappearance of young adult women’s genital hair — and in the process had a dialog with Kinsey researcher Dr Debra Herbenick on the subject. A new book, The Nine Rooms of Happiness, sought to teach women the occult male art of compartmentalization.  I reviewed it, and also briefly interviewed my 9-year-old daughter (she’s since turned 10) on the subject of “What Does a...
Sex Therapy and Twilight: Eclipse

Sex Therapy and Twilight: Eclipse

  Growing up, you come to learn that you’re not the center of the world — that the people who love you also have other concerns.  But eros is primitive, and your erotic mind is a poor student.  It remains fixated on an image of pure, absolute attention from an adoring other.   The power of that image remains undiminished as erotic fantasy throughout your life. In my neighborhood in New York City, it’s not fashionable to read Twilight.   But as a sex therapist, I felt I needed to — and I was glad I did.   It’s erotic fantasy that works.   That’s why it’s such a huge hit. For those of you who haven’t read it or seen the movie series, Twilight is the story of a young teenage woman, Bella, who falls in love with her fiendishly handsome biology lab partner Edward.   Along the way she discovers that he is a vampire, and that he loves her at least as much as she loves him – in the same all-consuming, obsessional fashion.   It’s romance in a grand style. In an earlier blog, “Twilight and the Art of Foreplay,” I discussed how Edward’s capacity to give Bella his absolute focused attention is so fascinating because in the average heterosexual woman’s experience of men it is so rare.   Women typically give much more attention to their men than they get in return.   One married woman I know had to stop reading Twilight because it was too painful to reflect on the absence of an Edward in her life.   Edward’s attention to Bella is absolute – once he meets her, she becomes his entire...
Twilight, and the Art of Foreplay

Twilight, and the Art of Foreplay

  Foreplay.  Women traditionally complain they don’t get enough of it. Often this gets interpreted as being due to a woman’s needing more physical stimulation to get fully aroused.  OK, maybe sometimes that’s the issue.   But I don’t see it as the essential thing.  The physical aspects of sex rarely are. The essential thing is this:  Foreplay represents the one time when a woman can get a man’s full and undivided attention. That is, if it’s good foreplay.  In good foreplay, she is his entire focus.   She feels his desire for her, and his arousal.    She feels his heightened interest in the small details of her body, made more intense by  his anticipation of even greater pleasures ahead. Having your partner’s complete attention – a very important part of sex.  One of the most important parts.   It’s in every romance novel since Jane Austen.   The heroine meets a man who attracts and puzzles her.   She spends the novel trying to figure him out, only to discover that he is crazy in love with her, and that he has spent every second since they first met thinking about her.    And that he can’t stop thinking about her.    Because she’s just that fascinating. One reason this basic formula is so appealing is that in the average woman’s life it is so rare.    The average heterosexual woman has been sorely disappointed by the fact that she thinks about the men in her life much more than they think about her.   Usually she has more capacity for sustained attention than a man does.    Men tend to be oblivious. Good foreplay, like...