Too much of a good thing can be wonderful.
-- Mae West
I’ve been reading some literature on women’s sexuality and I’ve come across some interesting findings. For too long, mainstream research has dealt almost exclusively with how often and how successfully young (but not too young), white, middle class, able-bodied, heterosexual couples consummate the act of sexual intercourse. Following a male bias, it almost exclusively isolates sex as physical and intimacy as emotional. It focuses exclusively on a few inches of mucous membrane in which achieving orgasm is described in terms as if it were mountain climbing, complete with ropes and hammers.
What this leaves out is what newer research shows and what women have been telling us for too long: what’s most important about sex, I have heard woman say countless times, is a sense of connectedness.
I would like to summarize some of what I’ve been discovering, but that will have to wait. For today, I want to elaborate on some findings via a personal experience.
Perhaps some of my readers remember an incident I reported regarding a former lover’s difficulty with sex. I had written that she had developed a tension in the body that was centered in her genital area and which made sexual penetration extremely painful for her. Eventually, working together, we were able to ease that tension, resulting in a sexual opening or awakening for both of us. For her, it was liberation from strict and repressive morals, for me it was the dawning of an awareness to the range of women’s sexual responses.
My friend, who I will call Pandora, was raised in a strict, conservative, and religious home. At the time of our relationship, she was 30 years-old and recently divorced. Her only lover was her former husband, part of a marriage of nine years.
I was in my mid-twenties, during the height of an era of sexual liberation and exploration. I discovered early on, that women would be more open to me if I were honest about my intentions and open to my emotional life. Pandora, though conflicted, took me as a lover, though she had mixed feelings.
Looking back, I can better understand how we were able to open to one another and reduce the tension that made sex so painful for her. The first time I attempted to enter her, it was almost impossible. She was tight to the point that sexual penetration was almost impossible. She cried the first time -- partly because of the physical pain, partly (she later intimated) because of shame.
As we came to know one another better, she related a sexual history that made it easy for me to understand her sexual unease. She grew up in a family in which sexual pleasure was considered sinful. As a result, she was a virgin when she married her husband. Her husband controlled almost all the aspects of their sexing. She would wear what he told her to wear. The lights were turned to the level that he liked. They had to have sex like clockwork at a certain day of the week at a certain time. For Pandora, sex meant only one thing: a responsibility -- mad rush to orgasm for her husband.
With me, because of my natural curiosity and penchant for exploration, sex was a little different. I wanted (as I have always wanted) her to “open” to me -- to be fully present surrendering the deepest recesses of her sexuality to me.
Yes, I have issues.
My desire to be engulfed by her cunt compelled me to talk to her, hold her, and kiss her in places she had never been kissed before. Oftentimes, especially in the beginning of our relationship, we talked more than we fucked. When I told her that many women don’t respond to sexual penetration alone, she was shocked. She didn’t believe me. All her life, she was taught and experienced sex from a male-dominant point o view that caused her confusion when she didn’t respond in the way her husband wanted her to respond.
And it wasn’t that he didn’t kiss her, or didn’t perform cunnilingus on her -- he did. The thing with Pandora was that it seemed that everything about the sex act was geared toward achieving the big “O.” She needed to be related to, to be utterly complete fucked. My willingness to talk to her openly about sex (I used to love to tease her by using “vulgar” terms, such as “pussy,” “cunt,” “cock,” etc.) served to open her up. And her sexual exploration became the erotic ground on which we built our sexing. We would visit sex shops and browse through them, looking at and laughing at the different toys. I would explore her body, and slowly, she came to trust me enough to tell me what she liked and didn’t like.
Eventually, Pandora took charge of her own sexual awakening and once she opened to me, there was no holding back. I still remember the moment her pussy yawned open for me, hot with sexual desire, slippery with her want. I think she yelled something out, I don’t remember what, but we laughed about it later. I would often tease her that we had created a monster.
Pandora would explain that all her life, she was trying to conform to what she know saw as a male model for sexual pleasure and when she “failed” to conform to that model, the message was that there was something wrong with her, that she was frigid, or sexually defected. What she discovered, was that what was missing from her sexual life was a sense of connectedness. When she eventually took control of our sexual exploration, she became my guide for the map of her body. This was a liberation for both of us.