25 Nov 2013
How one dad is trying to raise his boys up to be great lovers
I am getting ready to talk to my boys about sex.
I have two young sons who are years away from the awkward orthodontically-challenged-and-falling-wildly-for-girls phase of life but, when it comes to issues like “the talk,” I think starting early is best (especially if we keep lacing our chicken with growth hormones. For all I know, they could hit puberty by age seven). I also do not subscribe to the notion that I alone am the possessor of all wisdom when it comes to raising my boys. That is why the following list does not end at the traditional number of ten. I am not trying to be cool or unique, I am pleading with you, wise reader, to insert your own “two-cents” because I think many of you out there will have some great advice. I am attempting to show my sons that being a man is about more than peeing standing up and finding flatulence a never-ending source of hilarity (besides, I know several women that agree with that last part). That is the daunting task I have placed before myself and I need help.
So, here is my developing list of issues I want to chat with my boys about, in all its incomplete glory, as they begin to tackle the tricky and important issue of sex:
1. Sex IS as good as they say. There is no point in trying to tell you to stop thinking about it; I would have better luck yelling at a river to run in the opposite direction. The reason you have so many hormones racing through you right now and why it occupies so much of your mind at present is because it is just that good. So, since it is that good it is worth doing well, for the right reasons, and frequently.
That brings me to point two:
2. The fact that sex is good means you should respect it. ANYONE can be great in bed for a night; having numerous one-night-stands does not mean you are a skilled lover, it means you are a man-tramp. Between the man who has been with many women for one night versus the man who has been with one woman for many nights, it is the second man that is the truly great lover. That’s the man you want advice from. Who would you rather invest in: someone who ran a successful and stable company for thirty years, or someone who started a new fly-by-night operation every year?
3. It turns out that all the poets, mystics, gurus, and rock stars were right: Love is truly all that matters. Everything, sex included especially, is better when you are in love and loved back. Everything, sex included especially, is worse when love is replaced by something quick and carnal. We are not animals engaging in an animal act; we are spiritual creatures too, and if you think that sex does not provide a spiritual connection between two people, then, my boys, you are not actually having sex, you are just having an orgasm near someone else.
4. Internet porn is the worst thing you can do for your sex life for two reasons:
A: It robs you of imagination. One of the problems I have with porn is that it takes away your ability to fantasize and be enthralled with the act of sex and replaced that with a manufactured version designed to provide the pleasure of orgasm (and usually just the male orgasm) without the risk of intimacy. Sex is supposed to be mysterious and captivating, so do not let some group of people with a camera and a studio/skuzzy-basement tell you what it is supposed to be. If you become dependent on this stuff for stimulation (and you will because it is much easier to push a few buttons than work at something, thank you very much microwave popcorn) other aspects of your life will be negatively impacted. Do you have any idea how many times my imagination has rescued me from boring meetings or from terrible classes in school? Sure, I got caught daydreaming tons, but that is WAY better than getting caught downloading porn on your phone in the middle of a class! If you don’t strengthen your imagination then all you have left is the memory of the images that were created by other people, and those are two vastly different things. One will set you free in the almost limitless expanses of your mind; the other will chain you to the ideas of strangers. That will kill your sex life before it ever had a chance to really start because porn is NOT sex; it is as close to true sex as the video we watch at Christmas with the burning log is to true heat.
B. Every time you watch porn, even the free stuff, a bad person gets wealthier and more influential. At the core of this industry are people who become rich exploiting the broken dreams and hearts of men and women. It is the same thing with drugs (which we will talk about another time). Even if it is “just weed,” you follow the chain up high enough and you will find that a cruel and selfish person exists who is benefiting from your indulgence. Just because it is permissible in our culture does not mean it is good. Watch this clip and you will see what I mean. Some women are literally sold into sexual slavery so that we can get our jollies off. I can think of few things more diabolical than using the human inclination towards the act of love, the act that creates life, the act that is just the most fun two people can have, to destroy the hopes, dreams, and lives of numerous women—many of them too young—for the sake of money. Guard against this, my boy, people will think you are weird but there are few causes out there that are more deserving of our criticism than the porn industry. It is NOT a victimless crime.
5. At this point, you might think your old man is a bit of a prude or a little backward in the old think meat. Well, allow me to impress you with my awesomeness: Masturbation is not bad. In fact, if you take a moment to think it over, it is your first introduction to sex with someone you truly love. It is a low risk way of exploring what sort of ideas “rev your engine” and it can help you learn that sex, like all truly great things in life, has a rhythm that, when adhered to, makes the act into an art form (this is also a good time to exercise the aforementioned imagination). Do not feel guilty after doing it but always remember that loving yourself in public IS a misdemeanour and will look terrible on a job resume.
6. Kissing is as important in sex as breathing is in jogging. NEVER shy away from kissing your partner (and note that I did not say only on the mouth). Taste your partner, every inch, and get to know her body so that you can celebrate those aspects of her that only an intimate partner would know about, that will make the two of you truly close.
7. You will spend more time with people from work than you might with your partner. There will be people in your life that you talk to about certain things that you would not discuss with your partner. You may have hobbies and interests with others that your partner does not share so, in some areas of your life, there will be people who are closer to you than your partner. However, sex is what makes you two unique and because it is SO good, it is sex that will make that person stand out in your life as someone truly special. Do not break that sacred bond by cheating and do not fool yourself into thinking that fidelity is not important. Being faithful to your partner, especially when things are bad or when you two are not connecting, can make or break you as a couple and, on several very important levels, as a man as well. This is a character-building aspect of the relationship and you should know that the guilt you will feel right after an affair is much stronger than the thrill you felt right before.
8. Sex does not take place only in the bedroom. Obviously, having it (discreetly) in public or in every room of the house is awesome and something I heartily recommend. However, what I am saying is that sex is about intimacy and intimacy takes place throughout the day and during times when sex is not even an option. This is the most important part about sex that I can share: it is supposed to be romantic. And here is the most important thing about romance that I can share: it is all about letting your partner know (not just hear, but know) that you are in love with her. That means cleaning up after yourself, calling her just to say hi, texting for the same reason (not too much or else that is just annoying), letting her know that she is beautiful (try not to overuse the word “hot” although it is poignant in certain circumstances), find out how she hears love and then show her. Love her for her mind and personality and not just her body (and if she is lacking in the first two but rocking it in the last one we call that your “idiot” phase… sidenote: YOU are the idiot in that statement. Love a woman for who she is and how she challenges you, not because she is something pretty you can show off to make yourself look cooler you idiot!). I have found that wearing rubber gloves and doing the dishes without being asked is a powerful aphrodisiac. It is astounding how far a kind word or gesture can carry you. It is amazing how much love you will receive from simply picking up a coffee for your lady and dropping it off to her at work. You will be astounded how much your relationship can grow spending the day running errands together (except at IKEA, that place will kill romance every time. 30 Rock did an entire episode on this and it was 100% correct). And, maybe most important, do stuff that she wants to do even if you don’t enjoy it as well, that is another character building aspect. At the heart of sex is love, and love is about humility, vulnerability and the ability to look beyond your own desires.
These are scary aspects of connection because they require the possibility that you could (and probably will) be humiliated and wounded. The ability to acknowledge that risk and put your heart out there anyway is probably one of the strongest actions a man can take. There are few cultural rewards for sensitive men, you should know that, but I want you to see the desire to be romantic and faithful and respectful as a battle worth fighting. Ultimately, you will benefit for taking on this struggle because you will have taken the time to see that love must come before sex if you hope to enjoy either. My boys, I wish this could be simpler but, because sex is so good, you need to treasure the act as well as the person you and engaged in the act with; in other words: respect yourself and your partner.
If you can love a woman like that boys, your sex life will be one for the ages.