Alternative activities

 

‘Who can tell …
What the Hell …
Women want?’

 
So runs the men’s chorus from Act Two of The Merry Widow. And indeed quite often it is pretty difficult for males to understand what females want — at least, in the bedroom department.

But a new study by Professor Jane Ussher, of the University of Western Sydney, will bring enlightenment to a lot of men. She has discovered that many women of a certain age are very happy with what is termed ‘non-penetrative sex’. In other words, they often prefer to be erotically fondled rather than have coitus. Ussher claims: ‘The foreplay reminiscent of youthful days can bring a lot of pleasure, often lasting longer than sex focused on intercourse.’

Whether she is right or not, her findings will be welcomed by men who are beginning to have a little difficulty with their erections, and who are not quite sure whether they can always maintain penetration. The pressure to perform is taken off them a little.

Professor Ussher also makes the valid point that over a certain age, some woman may find penetration painful. For that reason, the Prof also recommends the use of artificial lubricants.

She also makes a case for employing sex toys as an alternative to intercourse. These days of course vast numbers of women do own vibrators. But we do not recommend that when setting out on a first date you should pop one in your handbag — they tend to make a bit of a racket if they accidentally switch themselves on.

When two people are in a relationship, there is much to be said for mutually agreeing that sex won’t always be penetrative, and that sometimes the repertoire will comprise other activities.

As an example, in the files of our Harley Street therapy practice there is the case of Jemima (not her real name), an elegant and extremely successful corporate lawyer. She consulted us because she had been unable to form a successful relationship since her divorce, seven years earlier.

What concerned her was that all the men she dated seemed to think that the main purpose of the evening was simply to get her horizontal as a prelude to swift penetration. ‘And as a rule,’ she complained, ‘they ejaculate far too soon, leaving me frustrated and cross.’

Not surprisingly, that had also been the characteristic sexual strategy of her former husband, who appeared to have learned at boarding school that the correct sexual behaviour towards a woman was to get inside her as fast as possible, hump away, and then roll over and say goodnight.

After Jemima had had a few consultations with one of us, it became evident that when choosing a date, she was unconsciously selecting males who had the same rather apelike tendencies. Fortunately, once she was alerted to this she was able to change her attitudes, and to start picking men who had a less aggressive approach to sex. Furthermore, she developed a habit of saying to the men she liked: ‘We’re going to have such fun tonight — but without intercourse. Trust me, you’ll love it!’

The result was that she embarked on a series of relationships in which kissing, fondling and non-penetrative sex were the main features of each evening. Often the excitement was heightened, despite there being no coitus. As Jemima said: ‘It reminded me of those happy youthful days when I was still just about a virgin.’

When we last heard of Jemima, she was settled with a nice surgeon and happily heading towards matrimony.

Of course it is undeniable that for the majority of men and women, the ultimate object of sexual dalliance will always be what the Italians call la penetrazione profonda. Nonetheless, in almost any sexual relationship the couple would do well to make time for the gentle arts of touching and petting.

As Hermann Hesse says in his novel Siddhartha: ‘So, she gently taught him that one cannot take pleasure without giving pleasure, and that every gesture, every caress, every touch, every glance … has its secret — which brings happiness to the person who knows how to wake it.’

Finally, we stress that Professor Ussher’s findings are very good news for men who are slightly anxious about their penises — about size or perhaps waning capabilities. Remember, chaps: that woman in your arms — whether she is a new love or an older one — can be wildly thrilled by your intimate, romantic language and your digital or lingual skills.