I loved, loved, loved Sexual Intelligence
by Marty Klein. His paradigm of sex is one that J and I had reached on our own, and he articulated the concept so clearly and applicably: sex is so much more than “penis in vagina” or an orgasm, sex requires flexibility and adaptability and an open attitude, and sex is a new experience every time, regardless if it is with a new or familiar partner.
His main points are: don’t start sex before you feel close or ready, understand the process of initiating sex, take and make time for sex, focus on the process of sex and not just on the “end result” or orgasm, and talk about sex (what you want, what your partner wants, fantasies, techniques, etc.)- before, during, and after sex. He essentially argues for communication about sex, because many people simply “expect” sex to be good, all the time, without much forethought, planning, or communication. In addition, our conception of what sex is may have to drastically change over the course of our life; sex at 60 will probably not be what sex was like at 20.
He discusses how body image and self confidence issues can detract from one’s own pursuit of sexual pleasure, and also can detract from your partner’s enjoyment of oneself. One thing that he mentions that stuck with me is the idea that deflections from compliments that my partner gives me actually increases the distance between my partner and I. If the point of sex is to increase closeness and a sense of enjoyment, fulfillment, or intimacy, than deflections from my partner’s praises has the opposite effect.
Another part that I loved about his book (and which I have already mentioned) is his focus on sex as a process and not as a means to reaching orgasm. This concept is especially useful for older adults, who may have a more difficult time getting hard, getting wet, or experiencing orgasm. However, it also resonated with me because J and I have met a small number of people who take a very narrow view of what a sexual experience should be like in order to be satisfying: if someone doesn’t have an orgasm, the experience was a failure. This in turn can put a lot of pressure on the partners for the next sexual encounter, and may even make it more difficult next time to achieve orgasm. If we focus instead on enjoying our partner’s body, pleasing our partner, and communicating about what we want and how, the whole process is enjoyable, regardless if whether orgasm occurs. He mentions how orgasm is generally about 2% of the entire time spent on sex- why would we place so much emphasis on such a tiny portion of sex and disrupt the other 98% of the process with anxiety and fears about not “performing” adequately in the other 2%?
This book is a quick and enjoyable read- I recommend it to anyone looking to expand their views on sex and increase their own sexual intelligence!