Sexuality, Simmering, and the B Train Back from the Beach

Sexuality, Simmering, and the B Train Back from the Beach

Photo credit:  pedrosimoes7 via Creative Commons   A Train in Motion On the B train, one hot summer Sunday afternoon. I’m bringing my children and a few of their friends back to Manhattan, after a long day at the beach in Brooklyn. There’s a young couple standing near the exit door, sharing an ipod headset. Each with an earpiece in one ear — the two of them tethered together by the cords of the headset. She’s leaning against the wall, sweat-soaked in a T-shirt and shorts. He’s a few inches shorter, wearing sandals, beach clothes, and long hair. His hands are resting lightly on her hips. Her arms are draped over his shoulders. They seem entirely absorbed in the music, the motion of the subway car, and each other. Their eyes, half-shut, are out-of-focus, dreamy. They’re both wearing goofy, crooked smiles – as if sharing some silly secret. They look as if they might easily miss their stop. Amidst the noise of the children, and the rocking and bouncing of the subway car, it would be easy for this couple to pass unnoticed. But there is something about them that holds my attention. A certain aura. It’s sex, of course. Their goofy smiles, their dreamy manner. Definitely sex. They’re fully clothed, standing up and doing nothing obviously improper, but definitely enjoying a long moment of sexual arousal on the trip home from the beach. Turning away self-consciously, I realize I’m not the only one watching this couple. The young children are oblivious, of course. But all the adults in the car are clearly aware of what’s going on. Everyone is stealing...
Contemporary Sexuality and the Brazilian Wax

Contemporary Sexuality and the Brazilian Wax

  Photo credit:  pedrosimoes7 via Creative Commons Does She, or Doesn’t She? “When I was teaching the class of fifteen-year-olds and it was time for the girls to ask their questions of boys, they wanted to know this:  ‘Do you prefer girls who have a little hair or a lot of hair?’  I thought they meant hairstyles, as in long hair versus a shorter cut.  But I quickly realized that they were referring to the boys’ preference for a lot or a little pubic hair.   The boys resoundingly responded, “No hair at all!”  — Louann Brizendine, MD.  The Female Brain.  New York:  Broadway Books, 2006, p. 39. In the future, when the sexual history of our times is written, it might be concluded that one of the more interesting events of the early Twenty First Century was the disappearance of young women’s pubic hair. Whether by shaving or by waxing, it’s clear that many if not most young women are choosing to go hairless, at least some of the time. What’s this all about?   And is it good for sex?   One Giant Leap How different things were, just a few decades ago.    Back then, most men spent their teen and young adult years trying to see as much female pubic hair as possible.    As one 50-something colleague put it,  “When Playboy began showing  pubic hair in the 1970’s, it was as exciting as Neil Armstrong walking on the moon.   This younger generation . . . shaving  – I just don’t understand it.” Maybe we’re not supposed to understand it.   Our kids prefer hip-hop, no matter how much Rolling Stones we...
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...