Setting the Framework
This website consists mostly of reflections of an older husband on marital lovemaking. Why?
First, marital sex is an important part of life, and of my life in particular, so I want to understand marital intimacy better, especially the human side of sex - connecting the physiological with the emotional and psychological and intellectual. (I will also reflect a bit on the spiritual side.)
I am sometimes struck by my own difficulties in understanding sexual matters – for example, when I try to figure out what exactly “sexual pleasure” means. Obviously, there is a certain core idea we all understand, but a bit of reflection shows how much more complicated it is than simple physical reactions.
When I go online for answers, I am constantly surprised and disappointed by how shallow much of the material about sexual matters is. So that has made me want to share insights I've had and even just share questions or complexities with others.
I also want to think about and discuss how to “do” sex well – not in terms of sexual technique, but "humanly." What does it mean to be a good person and a good husband in this particular area of married life? And, among other things, that means seeing how marital lovemaking fit into life more broadly – into the overarching framework of reality that we see. (It is amazing how little the internet has on this kind of question.)
One major limitation of this website's scope is that it will not focus on the most important thing about married sex: children. This is not because I think children are unimportant, or at least just "optional," in marital sex (as most people today do). They are emphatically the central "point" of marital lovemaking, and if you don't understand that children are the fundamental point of sex (though not its only point) you just don't understand sex.
The reason I don't discuss children here -- although I assume it as part of the framework throughout -- is simply because I want to focus on a narrower, but still important, range of questions that don't involve children directly. For example, married sex after menopause doesn't involve children directly, and so couples have to adjust to that new reality psychologically. I think part of that is paying attention to other aspects of sex that are always present in marital sex but assume a greater importance after marital sex (which should always be open to children) will no longer result in children because of advancing age. This is important especially because the close tie that ought to exist between marital sex and children is the factor that most powerfully connects sex with "transcendent" -- the highest and most noble -- human purposes.
On the other hand, another limitation in scope to this website is that it is not about sex in general, but about marital lovemaking. That has tremendous consequences.
One of the most important is the kind of woman we are talking about here. What lovemaking is like depends so much on the character of that woman. There are such deep differences among sexual intercourse with a loving wife, a girlfriend who is a possible wife, a girlfriend with an uncertain future, a friendly acquaintance, a hookup, or a prostitute. They are alike in some ways, of course, but how could they be the same? I’m not sure how useful it is to look at sex apart from its proper context – for example, at “sex between a man and a woman”, rather than “sex between a husband and wife” – because the context “colors” or affects the experience so much. The context doesn't just add something, but transforms everything.
I’m not interested that much in what “average sex” is – what’s typical of most people. (What is the average length of an orgasm or the average time it takes to make love.) I want to know more about a good man who is a husband making love to a good woman who is his wife.
There is so much talk about sex in our contemporary culture, and especially on the internet, and especially of a more technical kind – what are the right “techniques”. But, interestingly, it’s just not clear whether there’s any more sexual satisfaction today, although that is widely assumed. (For the record, it’s worth recalling there is no way to know for sure – we just don’t have any solid “empirical” data for sexual satisfaction until very recently – what we have is relatively little, and all anecdotal.)
What we do have in our society today – which is suggestive – is a lot of people constantly obsessed with how to have “better sex” (usually meaning more extended periods of sexual pleasure or more intense orgasms). If we have so much more sexual satisfaction today, now that we are liberated from our repressive past, why do people spend so much time talking about it? Why does Cosmopolitan’s front page every month have something about “The Moves You Make That Will Drive Him Wild!” Apparently, whatever you learned last month wasn’t enough.
One thing about this website has to be clear: there’s no pretense here that there are final or complete answers. Aside from the futility of trying to achieve that with such a complicated topic, there’s always the fundamental point we have to come back to: people – all of us – are different. We have some things in common, but there is a uniqueness to every person, and so also a uniqueness to every couple.
But, still, the things we have in common may make it possible to learn from each other. And I hope this website can contribute to that in its small way.