How many ways can sex and pleasure go together
November 2, 2009 § 1 Comment
Let’s start with the title, Because It Feels Good. Debby Herbenick’s message is so basic, so obvious: sex should be pleasurable. Yet many women—whether in love, out of love, avoiding love or hesitatingly dipping their toes into love—are having sex without pleasure. Whereas sex is increasingly becoming another task on a person’s to-do list; and continues to be a topic enshrouded in shame, guilt, embarrassment and misinformation; Herbenick take us back to the basics, bringing pleasure back into sex.
Patient, accepting and knowledgeable, Herbenick is an ideal sex coach. She offers no guarantee for “instantly better sex!” because that is not her sell or her goal. So if you are in search of a book that tells you how you can have mind-blowing sex all of the time, this ain’t it. And if you come across a book (or pill) that does, remember what they say about what sounds too good to be true… In a culture where people are anything but upfront about sex, Herbenick is plainly honest. She is upfront about that fact that sex will not always feel incredible no matter how well educated you are about the subject matter. And just because you don’t have incredible sex 100 percent of the time or you are not always craving sex, Herbenick is not going to write you off as dysfunctional, and prescribe you with 228 pages of her book. What she does promise is that there is room in your sex life for improvement and more pleasure.
Herbenick is less helpful in offering readers tips and tricks on how to achieve mind-blowing sex than in providing them with valuable resources and information for the pursuit of what she refers to as “yummy sex”—sex that is sensual, evocative, and responsive to the ebbs and flow of life changes and relationships; sex that is sustainable, and not dependent on a doctor’s prescription or restricted to the young or the new couple.
Sex may be littered everywhere in our culture, but discussions and representations are limited to a strict definition of what sex is and how it should be done. Herbenick encourages exploration by providing readers with new ideas to ponder and play with—from new positions and toys to new ways of thinking and communicating about one’s sexuality, body and relationships. After all, if we do not allow ourselves to explore, how can we tap into our unknown reservoirs of pleasure? And when it comes to sex, Herbenick reminds readers that there is plenty to explore.
Because It Feels Good is thorough and concise. Though easy to follow, the book can give readers some difficult items to think about. Readers are asked to be introspective. Sex is a complex and sensitive topic; and Herbenick handles it not just with the knowledge she acquired from her degree and experience as a researcher, but with sensitivity. In her discussion of sex and pleasure, she is careful in not severing the physical from the emotional from the spiritual well-being.
The beauty in Herbenick’s message is in its simplicity: sex and pleasure belong together. But the process of getting there–to a place of greater sexual pleasure–can be challenging. We don’t always do what feels good, but trouble comes when we fall into a habit of doing something we derive no pleasure from. Creating more pleasure in our sex lives requires that we make room for it. Herbenick begins her book by encouraging readers to decline sex that does not feel good as a first step to having more feel-good sex. Sounds simple, even common sense, but it is the simple that we are missing. People are generally taught to say no to only two kinds of sex—underage and nonconsensual—when so much of the time that we want to decline sex is when we are with someone that we care about. In the name of pleasure, much of the book’s first chapter discusses ways to say no articulately, honestly and with sensitivity.
Within the pages of Because It Feels Good, you will find no esoteric, limb-twisting, orgasm-unleashing, say-goodbye-to-mediocrity sex position (although chapter eight is entirely dedicated to positions and techniques). This book discloses an even better secret–that sexual pleasure is not dictated by a given position, “peak age”, or particular body type; rather, it is an outcome of your creativity and explorations, and its manifestations can be as variable and expansive as your capacity to feel, learn and share.