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Update it for a better user experience. I think a man is more likely to talk of having sex, even when he’s referring oral sex foreplay intercourse with his regular partner, and even when he’s in love with her. Would you like to make love?

Does this reflect something about the relative importance of sex as a symbol of love for men compared to women? I’d say it does: at some level, men are always looking out for sexual opportunities, even if that is just the opportunity for a fantasy. As a generalization I’d suggest that even though most men would probably prefer sex with a loving partner, they still take the view that all sex is worth having: it may be great, it may be good, it may even be bad, but it’s still sex, and sex is a subject of perennial interest to men which can be quite separate from their feelings of love for a partner. The question is whether the same is true for women. And I think another generalization applies here: women are less willing to engage in sex outside of a relationship than men, since they tend to see sex more as an expression of love and commitment. It is impossible to discuss in a generalized way how men and women differ in their views about sex without just talking in clichés.

Somehow I think that’s really endearing. However, both genders seem to be stuck in their own ways: men seem to be going for quantity not quality in sex, probably based on the rationale of choosing bad sex rather than no sex, and women seem perpetually stressed about being too sexual or not sexual enough, while generally losing touch with their own personal sexuality. And yet the surprising thing is that it is comparatively easy to control. Sometimes sex is about lust, or comfort, or closeness, or experimenting, or really feeling oneself to be alive. I think sex can be great without love, but less so without respect or sexual attraction. By the way I hate seeing women portrayed in an idealized, romanticized and kind of fluffy, ethereal and sickly-sweetish kind of way.

The statistics on this are interesting. In surveys men generally claim to have had many more sexual partners than women in their lives. The 2004 Durex survey of human sexuality is very typical in this respect. People in the UK and US claim an average of 10.

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