One unexpected way to amp up your sexual satisfaction

Research suggests the key to a great sex life is quality not quantity -- and that means occasionally holding out

Topics: AlterNet, Sex,

One unexpected way to amp up your sexual satisfaction
This article originally appeared on AlterNet.

AlterNet

In my younger days, a lot of my sexual decisions were based on the hedonistic motto, “Life’s short,” acquired when the pleasures of adulthood were new and my appetite for them was as boundless as deep space.

After some 30-odd years of sex (and some of those years were mighty odd), let’s just put it this way: there’s a big difference in the pace of a person going up to the buffet for the first time and one going up for seconds. I’m not as hungry these days. I know what they’re serving at the buffet. And with exceptions (to whom I’ll always be grateful), the truth is that the general shapes, musks and choreography of the whole shebang are similar enough that I no longer feel I’m missing out if I’m not putting out. It’s a switch for someone who used to be just a smidge compulsive to find that waiting is not only fine—it’s fun.

I had no idea. I thought I was pretty worldly but I didn’t know what every goody-goody from the Virgin Mary to the Jonas Brothers knows: that the removal of a hand and a firm “stop it,” can create enough sexual tension to power a series of small cities. It’s the difference between an artful striptease and being flashed. Both are good, but one just offers you more anticipation.

Holding out for a just-right time can lead to epic moments. What if, for example, instead of revealing his paternity to Luke Skywalker when he did, Darth Vader had texted him the information earlier in the film? A classic moment lost and another example of how much timing matters.

I thought it would feel awkward, at my age, to start saying things like “Wait,” and “That’s enough for now,” much the same way one feels ridiculous practicing a foreign language, but in truth I feel the opposite: I feel certain, centered, even a little smug about sticking to my guns. I feel the way you feel when you don’t eat the second Twinkie.

Mostly what I like is savoring the intimacy. To put it in travel terms, you can take a plane and get where you want to go quickly, but once in a while, when you’re really lucky, you can take a long, meandering road trip and stop at every stand, local attraction or view spot and really get to know the lay of the land. And if you decide you don’t like where you’re going, it’s a lot easier to turn around than if you took an airplane.

You Might Also Like

Consider the Fruit Fly

The New York Times’ Douglas Quenqua recently reported that neuroscientist Gero Miesenböck of Oxford University found that fruit flies pause for thought before making decisions. They consider things. Flies in the study were trained to avoid a particular odor. When offered a choice between two chambers, one with the odor and one without, they mostly chose the one without. When the difference decreased, making the choice less clear, most of the flies took more time to make a decision. When they had less information they took longer to make a choice.

Think about that next time your sophisticated and oh-so-busy life presses you to make a quick decision. Fruit flies live for two weeks and they take time to deliberate.

It may not be a matter of intellect; flies and humans share a gene called FOXP and in both parties, if that gene is defective, different difficulties arise. But I’d like to think I’m at least as smart as a fruit fly when it comes to stopping, deliberating and behaving less compulsively.

A caveat: There are times when chemistry demands your immediate participation, when the kingdom of Heaven is at hand and it has Serta written right on it. Having been caught in many a hormonal rip current, I just hope, as you get joyously carried away, you can hear me shout “Use condoms!” from the shuffleboard court on the shore.

So this isn’t a denouncement of quick action. It’s an acknowledgement that waiting for the right time is not the exclusive province of prudes or puritans; it’s just another prerogative and one that can have a surprising kick. It’s also thrilling to know that if you don’t fight the currents of your life you can still surprise the bejesus out of yourself at any age. It’s as fascinating to watch your sexuality change in middle age as to watch it bloom in youth.

Liz Langley is a freelance writer and pop culture columnist for the Orlando Sentinel. She has lived in Florida long enough to have met Ponce de Leon.

More Related Stories

Featured Slide Shows

  • Share on Twitter
  • Share on Facebook
  • 1 of 13
  • Close
  • Fullscreen
  • Thumbnails

    The 12 most incredible pint-size look-alikes in "Orange Is the New Black" season 3

    DAYA  
    Young Daya has yet to become entirely jaded, but she has the character's trademark skeptical pout down pat. And with a piece-of-work mother like Aleida -- who oscillates between jealousy and scorn for her creatively gifted daughter, chucking out the artwork she brings home from summer camp -- who can blame her?

    The 12 most incredible pint-size look-alikes in "Orange Is the New Black" season 3

    MORELLO   
    With her marriage to prison penpal Vince Muccio, Lorna finally got to wear the white veil she has fantasized about since childhood (even if it was made of toilet paper).

    The 12 most incredible pint-size look-alikes in "Orange Is the New Black" season 3

    CINDY   
    Cindy's embrace of Judaism makes sense when we see her childhood, lived under the fist of a terrifying father who preached a fire-and-brimstone version of Christianity. As she put it: "I was raised in a church where I was told to believe and pray. And if I was bad, I’d go to hell."

    The 12 most incredible pint-size look-alikes in "Orange Is the New Black" season 3

    CAPUTO   
    Joey Caputo has always tried to be a good guy, whether it's offering to fight a disabled wrestler at a high school wrestling event or giving up his musical ambitions to raise another man's child. But trying to be a nice guy never exactly worked out for him -- which might explain why he decides to take the selfish route in the Season 3 finale.

    The 12 most incredible pint-size look-alikes in "Orange Is the New Black" season 3

    BOO   
    In one of the season's more moving flashbacks, we see a young Boo -- who rejected the traditional trappings of femininity from a young age -- clashing with her mother over what to wear. Later, she makes the decision not to visit her mother on her deathbed if it means pretending to be something she's not. As she puts it, "I refuse to be invisible, Daddy. Not for you, not for Mom, not for anybody.”

    The 12 most incredible pint-size look-alikes in "Orange Is the New Black" season 3

    SOSO
    We still don't know what landed Brooke Soso in the slammer, but a late-season flashback suggests that some seriously overbearing parenting may have been the impetus for her downward spiral.

    The 12 most incredible pint-size look-alikes in "Orange Is the New Black" season 3

    POUSSEY
    We already know a little about Poussey's relationship with her military father, but this season we saw a softer side of the spunky fan-favorite, who still pines for the loving mom that she lost too young.

    The 12 most incredible pint-size look-alikes in "Orange Is the New Black" season 3

    PENNSATUCKY
    Pennsatucky had something of a redemption arc this season, and glimpses of her childhood only serve to increase viewer sympathy for the character, whose mother forced her to chug Mountain Dew outside the Social Security Administration office and stripped her of her sexual agency before she was even old enough to comprehend it.

    The 12 most incredible pint-size look-alikes in "Orange Is the New Black" season 3

    CHANG
    This season, we got an intense look at the teenage life of one of Litchfield's most isolated and underexplored inmates. Rebuffed and scorned by her suitor at an arranged marriage, the young Chinese immigrant stored up a grudge, and ultimately exacted a merciless revenge.

    The 12 most incredible pint-size look-alikes in "Orange Is the New Black" season 3

    HEALY
    It's difficult to sympathize with the racist, misogynist CO Sam Healy, but the snippets we get of his childhood -- raised by a mentally ill mother, vomited on by a homeless man he mistakes for Jesus when he runs to the church for help -- certainly help us understand him better.

    The 12 most incredible pint-size look-alikes in "Orange Is the New Black" season 3

    NORMA
    This season, we learned a lot about one of Litchfield's biggest enigmas, as we saw the roots of Norma's silence (a childhood stutter) and the reason for her incarceration (killing the oppressive cult leader she followed for decades).

    The 12 most incredible pint-size look-alikes in "Orange Is the New Black" season 3

    NICKI
    While Nicki's mother certainly isn't entirely to blame for her daughter's struggles with addiction, an early childhood flashback -- of an adorable young Nicki being rebuffed on Mother's Day -- certainly helps us understand the roots of Nicki's scarred psyche.

  • Recent Slide Shows

Comments

Loading Comments...