For centuries the male sex-role has been that of initiating sexual activity and persuading the female to accept his sexual advances and co-operate in his subsequent sexual activities. Put simply, the male has the active sex-role, the female the passive sex-role.
This identification as active or passive, which has been brought about by complete ignorance of or incomplete understanding of the nature of male and female sexuality, has had a tremendous influence on the sexual functioning of male and female, and is still the source of feelings of sexual inadequacy in both sexes, which lead to sexual malfunctioning.
In the other compartments of living, discrimination between men and women has largely been based on the difference in physical strength of the male and female.
The man hunts, goes to war, performs the heavy manual tasks because he has the superior muscular strength and powers of endurance. Somewhat strangely, his superior physical strength the male has equated with superior intellectual qualities, so he has allocated to himself the direction of business operations, and other spheres of productive activity.
While it is true that his superior skill for physical stamina fits him for soldiering and heavy manual tasks, in the last three-quarters of a century women have been proving that they possess intellectual qualities which fit them for certain spheres of activity on equal terms with men.
Naturally men have resisted the encroachment of these spheres by women, but they are now in retreat on several fronts. But whatever the merits or demerits of the arguments which men have used to make for themselves a male-dominated society, the sexual relationship is, and always has been, the one sphere of human activity in which superior physical strength is not a valid argument for male sexual superiority.
Certainly the internet has provided a forum for male pick up artistry to develop – it’s a mostly misogynistic form of sexual seduction, if not coercion.
Lovemaking and intercourse are no more arduous physical undertakings for women than they are for men. This being so, the allocation of active and passive sex-roles has no logical basis.
More than forty years ago I arrived at this conclusion as a result of my own marital sexual experience, when I persuaded my wife that she had an equal right to intitiate sexual activities and to be the active partner from first caress to orgasm whenever she wished.
I made only one stipulation which was that if she assumed this equal right, she also had to assume the equal responsibility that went with it, to make herself as skilled in the art of practical lovemaking as I tried to make myself; in other words, that she should make love to me to give me as much physical pleasure as I tried to give her when I took the active role. I am now firmly convinced that this interchange of sex-roles is one of the great preventatives of sexual boredom in marriage.
It then occurred to me that what was so clearly a great asset in my own sex-life could also benefit any other couple who adopted our sex-behavior pattern.
I was not so presumptuous as to imagine that we were the discoverers of the workability of this interchange of sex-roles, nor that we were the only couple conducting our sex-lives in this way; but I did know from my counselling that it was not widely realized that the traditional sex-roles were capable of being interchanged nor how beneficial it could be to the promotion of sexual happiness.
Though I appreciated that in the sexual atmosphere of the late ’50s it was a fairly revolutionary idea, I decided, nevertheless, to put it before the public.
Certain events had already persuaded me to write about sex in a way that was different from all other sex advice, in that it would be directed almost exclusively to the woman instead of to the couple, and it occurred to me that this would be a good forum in which to expound my ideas on the sexual equality of men and women.
So my thesis: The sexual relationship is an equal relationship with equal responsibilities for both partners. Specifically the wife should not be the permanently passive partner in the sexual relationship.
If at any time she feels she would like to indulge in intercourse, and her husband gives no sign of making any approach to her, she should not hesitate to take the initiative herself. In this way she can procure for herself what she does not yet possess in the sexual aspect of her marriage – equal partnership.
Many men, and some women, have been so conditioned in their sex-role identity that they find it impossible to vary from it without their actual sexual functioning being affected. This is particularly so where the woman is so insistent on the equality of her sex-role with the male’s that she compels him rather than persuades him to meet her wishes.
Retarded ejaculation is where the man can make love but no matter how long he thrusts he does not reach the point of orgasm and ejaculation. Yet he can do so with self-masturbation. The cause of this failure, distressing and frustrating as all other failures of sex are, is almost invariably psychological.
Sometimes, it is because he harbors a grudge either against women in general or his partner in particular, and is punishing the partner by keeping from her the pleasure of giving him satisfaction. Often, a woman in such a relationship insists on usurping the male sex role persistently.
And a man who cannot undertake to carry out the male sex-role is held back by feelings that she is being dominant. She also has feelings that for a woman to behave sexually in this way as initiator, all the time, is wrong, as she has not equipped herself with adequate knowledge or sexual techniques, and she fears that she will never be as skilful as her partner. This makes her feel sexually inadequate.
Guilt on the part of both men and women can lead to problems which affect the sexual relationship, and indeed the relationship as a whole. They need not arise if persuasion, gentle and gradual, is used by the partner, for equality of the sex-roles, rather than single gender dominance is a form of coercion.
Considering people who, according to the acceptance of their sex-role, that is, will be held to behave normally. There are a number, however, who do identifying with the opposite sex.
Sidebar: Video – What Is Delayed Ejaculation?
Reflections On Sex 2
Alice was twenty-six when she married. Her home was a very religious one, but her parents had given her a sound sex education. She did not have intercourse prior to marriage, but she had experienced sexual orgasm during masturbation, and she could thus become excited by the thought of intercourse and was eager for marriage.
When Alice was twenty-four, she became engaged. She believed she was deeply in love. She had exciting kissing and petting sessions, but, because of her religious background, she was consistent in her refusal to have intercourse before marriage.
Two weeks before the scheduled nuptials were to take place, Alice’s fiancé convinced her that they ought to discover each other sexually before marriage as a sort of “insurance” that all would go well in the marriage. Alice was reluctant at first, but finally agreed with some misgivings…
As the moment approached, Alice panicked. She was quite unready for intercourse at this stage in the relationship, but she feared that if she did not give in, her fiancé would think less of her and perhaps leave her altogether.
In the end, she was completely unable to respond because of her anxiety, and the more her fiancé tried to arouse her, the less she wanted him. At the moment of actual intercourse, she began to cry with fear and guilt. Her fiancé forced her to have sex and the pain she felt emotionally expressed itself physically.
She cried out in anguish. Her fiancé tried to control his premature ejaculation, but ejaculated prematurely anyway, and both of them were deeply repelled by the entire ordeal. The fiancé was so distraught, as a matter of fact, that he refused to marry her. Looking back on the experience, of course, Alice thought that the broken engagement was all for the best. She came to view her ex-fiancé as an immature and inadequate person.
Two years later, she married another young man, but even then she could not bring herself to respond fully to him. He enjoyed intercourse, but she did not. This made her husband feel inadequate and guilty and he sought the reason for her lack of response. Alice faced a dilemma. Should she tell or shouldn’t she? She summoned her courage and decided to risk the mature gesture.
Her husband understood fully. As the months went on, he helped Alice, gently but persuasively, to forget the previous experience and to begin to live the present one vigorously and without fear. His patience was rewarded.
In a matter of months, Alice looked on herself and her body with more understanding and began to feel that sex with her husband—the man she truly loved—not only could not be wrong or unclean in any of its manifestations, but was actually a joy that would permeate their entire life together.
Feelings of Unresponsive Women
Of course, many women refuse to think deeply about their problems or to spend time in self-analysis. As a result, they do not find their way to release from sexual tensions. What reservations and anxieties do such women feel? These can be classified because they are universal, just as the solutions are universal.
In addition, there are feelings of disappointment. “What’s so wonderful about this?” she asks herself. “It’s not like the books say at all! It’s not ecstasy, but really quite uncomfortable.” And there are still other feelings that intrude:
“He’s starting, now. Oh, dear.” “He’s taking all the covers off.” “The sheet is wrinkled; it’s uncomfortable … “It’s too hot, I hate getting all sweaty.” “That light bothers me. Why can’t he turn it off . . .” “Someone will hear us.” “He doesn’t care about me, he’s concerned only with his own pleasure. . . ” “He did it last night. Does he have to do it every night?” “I’ll never get my rest . . .”
Now, take a deep breath and sit back. How many of those sentences produced a flash of recognition in you? How many times did you say, “That’s the way I feel.” Once? Twice?
That does not at all mean that you are sexually unresponsive, or anorgasmic. Does that truly apply to every woman who is unable to respond in sexual intercourse?
No, it does not. It is a word much too loosely used. Psychiatrists tell us that a woman in this position is one whose past experiences have conditioned her against sexual expression so deeply and completely repressed that she will need psychotherapeutic help to unlock the door to her difficulties.
What then shall we call the woman whose childhood sexual experiences were unpleasant enough to cause her simply to close down sexually? We might simply call her unresponsive. The past negative experiences she has “forgotten” are not deeply buried, but are still having their effects on her, making her unable to respond, no matter how she consciously wishes that she could, to normal sexual activity.
Fortunately, if you have had difficulty in achieving sexual response the chances are that you can do a good bit towards helping yourself. Then, if you need it would be sensible to seek professional advice from a qualified marriage counselor, or a sympathetic and understanding therapist.
How much can you do, if you are an unresponsive woman, to free yourself from whatever blocks your past experiences may have imposed on you?
Earlier, I likened your past experiences to a kind of mental and emotional memory film, which it might be possible for you to re-run for yourself so that you could re-edit the experiences that had gone to shape your attitudes about sex—some attitudes that you are well aware of and some that you probably don’t even know you have ! Techniques like EFT,hypnotherapy, counseling and Tantra can help here.
Reflections On Sex
Sex, the Hub of Marriage
The person who has not attempted some self-assessment from time to time is a bad marital risk. For marriage consists not of one, but of many demands, some light, some heavy, some trivial, some profoundly important. Like the radiating spokes of a wheel, most of these demands spring from and return to the hub of the marriage itself. This hub is the sexual relationship.
Attitudes, values, decision-making and most other aspects of marriage are colored by the climate of marital sex. Even money problems can become related to sex.
A young husband who feels unsure of himself and whose masculinity is threatened because he cannot seem to help his wife respond to him, unconsciously may try to bolster his masculinity with another woman. But meeting difficulties head-on is much more constructive than attempting to avoid them. In meeting them, we discover how we measure up ourselves. If you fail to know yourself well, the chances for sexual happiness in marriage are decreased greatly.
We all know people who impress us with their quiet sense of power. They seem to have infinite capacity for doing things. They are not frightened or stampeded by life, by difficulties, by tragedies, by marriage, by the challenges that marriage entails. They seem so stable and so sure that it seems as if nothing could upset them. They yearn to have made a great peace between themselves, the world, God and the demands that are made upon them.
We are apt to envy these people, but there isn’t one of us who could not approach the same state of stability and deep satisfaction. Within each of us there are the resources. The key question is, will we find them and use them?
Lack of sexual desire
“I can’t reach orgasm.” How often have I heard these words!
They come from women desperate because they feel that they are missing something vital to their lives. Either they have read considerably on the subject, or other women have related the wonders of their own experience. At any rate, the woman who rarely if ever experiences orgasm feels unfulfilled—and rightly so.
When a woman tells me that this is her problem, I ask a good many questions. At times, I get an adequate explanation, at other times, I get no answers that are helpful. At any rate, I fit in what the woman says about herself with information from similar cases, and I form a mental picture of what might have happened to her to make her unable to respond as her body was meant to respond.
Are Husbands to Blame for Anorgasmia?
Some women reading this may, at one time or another, have been anorgasmic. But successful sexual love is not a matter of tricks and techniques. Some factors are at work which have little to do with what the husband does or says, his approach in love-making or his attitudes towards it. They stem from the woman herself, and particularly from the woman’s upbringing.
However, let us not forget that if men don’t learn how to delay ejaculating during sex, they can deprive their partners of enjoyable intercourse and sometimes the possibility of orgasm. Find out more about how men can give satisfaction to a woman here.
Why Some Women Are Unresponsive
Conditioning from birth is the factor which most often results in a woman’s believing she is not sexual. There are many experiences in childhood that can make a woman block off sex later on. They make women put the brakes on sexual desire, experience and satisfaction. For such women, there is a climate of fear, insecurity and dread concerning the whole subject of sex, and these are the women who may be anorgasmic or sexually unresponsive at one time or another in their lives.
Overcoming Sexual Unresponsiveness
It might be said that your past experiences make a sort of mental and emotional film of your life. It would be wonderful, of course, if you could really treat your life as if it were a film, for then you could reverse the film, run it backward, so to speak, the way we rewind film, and then cut, edit and do retakes on all the big and little experiences that shaped your attitudes towards sex. This would be a truly helpful miracle to accomplish.
The happy result of this would be you, just as you are now, but with one big difference: you would have a warm, natural, happy and comfortable feeling about sex. It’s not impossible to do, especially with the help of a good therapist, and I know of several women who have gone far towards solving their sexual problems by “rewinding” and observing their own life’s film. They were sensitive to the need to help themselves and their husbands, and they accomplished the task pretty much by themselves.
There was the case of Ann, aged twenty-four when she married. Ann had been told over and over by her parents that “nice girls” did not permit boys to touch them – ever. All during her dating and courtship years, she followed her parents’ rigid advice. No boy had ever even kissed her. Whenever one tried, she stiffened up, resisted and often broke into tears. Usually the boy left her alone thereafter. When Ann married, therefore, she thought she was “completely pure”.
When, in the normal course of events, her husband tried to make love to her, the experience was so strange and so alien to her that she was utterly unable to respond. She balked at his lovemaking, telling him she was especially shy. Weeks of this sort of thing stretched into months and Ann’s husband, understandably, became desperate.
One day, she broke down and told him of her rigid upbringing and of the “no sexual play” edict that she had followed all too scrupulously. Fortunately, Ann’s husband was understanding and patient. He got her to talk about her past experiences, about her parents’ negative attitude about sex and her own feelings about it. Then, slowly, he began to explore her body—with her. Sensitive to her needs, he did not rush things. Intercourse at first was painful for her.
Gradually, however, Ann came to understand the root of her difficulty. Gradually, she accepted more and more of her husband’s lovemaking. Certainly, there were tense moments. Certainly, there were tears on Ann’s part and disappointment mingled with joy on both their parts.
But in a little more than a year, Ann and her husband were progressing well toward a full and genuinely rewarding sexual life together. Her genuine desire to edit the film of her early experience in the light of her marital needs was the catalytic agent that brought success.