Male Sexual Pleasure

     I don't get it - why is it so difficult to find anyone pointing out this obvious fact about male sexual psychology:  the most intense pleasure a man gets in sex is directly related to the amount of pleasure he bestows on his beloved?

     Surfing the internet, you'd think that the main thing that determines how pleasurable sex is for a man is what a woman does to him and the intensity of his own orgasm.  I just don't think this is true to human experience.  Obviously, his own pleasure matters (a lot!).  But I think we get deeper insight when we ask this question: "which is more pleasurable for a husband:  having a strong orgasm himself, when his wife is distracted and doesn't feel much -- or having a mild orgasm himself, when his wife 'can't take it any more' because her pleasure is so intense?"  In all honesty, I don't think this is a close call -- the satisfaction of bestowing pleasure on your beloved is just so deep.
     Some feminists think that sex -- especially male sex -- is about power. And there's a kernel of truth to that, because the power or capacity to give pleasure is so important to a man.  But it doesn't have to mean power as "domination" -- it can also mean power as "service."
     There is simply nothing more powerfully pleasurable for a man than to see the woman he loves deeply caught up in, overpowered by, the sexual pleasure he has given her in their marital intimacy.
     Of course, this fact is double-edged: he can take a selfish satisfaction in his own capacity, or he can be grateful for having been given this power.
     But let's at least acknowledge this fact, which gets lost in the maniacal and self-defeating efforts to "maximize pleasure." As is the case with so many aspects of human life: "Whoever seeks to keep his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life will preserve it." And: "It is better to give than to receive." Sex is no exception. (Though it's even more wonderful that the choice is not usually either/or.)

Caught Up in One's Own Pleasure

     Given the intensity of it, it's not surprising that it is easy for someone to be really caught up in the pleasure of the act, e.g., the foreplay in which the partners prepare each other for sexual union. This excitation (the touches, strokes, kisses) can be so delighted in that, in a sense, you even "give yourself up" to it.  You let it take you over, dominate your consciousness.  (This is not incompatible with continuing to do things that give pleasure to your spouse, even if that is not the most intense focus of that moment for you.)

     As you let yourself indulge in the delight of the moment, however, there is always, at the same time, a desire to push forward, to continue and intensify the pleasure from moment to moment.  And there are also moments when the pleasure is less intense and one even feels a pang for more, wishing, for example, that your spouse would do what she is doing a little differently, in a way that gives more pleasure.  

     This is normal.  How could any human being always be doing exactly the right thing, the most pleasurable thing for you, given that your pleasure is so uniquely yours?

     Part of sexual maturity is accepting that nothing -- even truly exquisite moments -- is perfect, recognizing and accepting the natural ebb and flow of pleasure in the act.

What is the Most Pleasurable Sex?

    What is the “most pleasurable” sex?  Actually, it’s a nonsense question.  There is no such thing as “perfect” pleasure, since every form of pleasure is partial.  It’s like “beauty” in that respect.  Who is the “most beautiful” woman in the world?  Stupid question.  There is no single “most beautiful woman in the world,” because there are so many kinds of beauty: the stunning woman who has an oval face – or a round one; the woman who has a full and voluptuous figure – or a slender, trim figure; the woman who is the gorgeous brunette – or the one who is the exquisite blonde.  You might find one woman who is the most beautiful to one particular man at one moment in time – but even then, only for a certain period of time, as he “gets used to” her form of beauty, and other forms of beauty come to have a stronger impact on him, because they are new and different from what he’s used to.

Likewise with pleasure.  There are many different ways of achieving sexual pleasure, and what is “best” at one time will not pack the same punch after it is experienced many times.  That’s one reason why it is natural to seek variety in our sexual relations, just as we seek variety in other forms of pleasure, like food.  The best steak in the world might be our favorite meal, but it won’t be our favorite after we’ve had it every day for a few weeks in a row.  However a man and wife make love at a given time – what they find most enticing, delightful, overpowering – it will change, evolve over time.

The Ambivalence of Sexual Pleasure

      Sexual pleasure is almost always a mixture of what delights and what disappoints.  The disappointment is "built in", precisely because of the delight.  That delight can't always be as much and as consistent as we'd like. 

     For example: take the case of a wife stroking her husband's penis during foreplay.  There will be  a succession of various moments during the stroking.  In some moments, he will be thinking (or even saying) -- and really meaning it -- "ohhh yes, my love, that is perrrrfffffect," "that is SOOOOO wonderful".  But at other moments, he will be thinking (and probably not saying -- he certainly doesn't want his wife to think she is being "graded" on her technique) "oh, I wish she would do 'that', touch me a little more 'there', squeeze me instead of stroke me", or whatever.   There will be moments when he has the sense that "this is not quite giving me what I want, what I crave", i.e., those really exquisite moments. 

     And, even if he had only those moments, he would still be a little disappointed by having to "back off" (have her stop for some moments) in order to prevent the ejaculation that would end it all, for now.  The very delight he experiences can't "plateau" indefinitely, and he can only "edge" so much (approach closer to orgasm but then back off).  The sexual pleasure is urging him forward, toward completion, and yet, in another sense, he dreads the completion (as powerful and delightful as it is), because he wants it to go on and on.

     Sex can never be completely satisfying, because you can never have "enough" pleasure. There is always more to be desired.  (This has led some people to say that phyical desire always points beyond itself, to another desire, the only desire that can completely satisfy a person -- God.  )