Given the huge interest in 50 Shades Of Grey I’ve decided to write my own guide to a little light BDSM. I’m intending to call it 50 Shades Of Titillation. There won’t be anything in it that’s either painful or humiliating but I guarantee it will provide you with plenty more ideas than you could ever learn from the novel. If it doesn’t have you setting the alarm an hour early or rushing home from work then nothing will. Books take a fair time to write, edit and publish, even online, so what I’m going to do is put draft chunks on my website as I go along. When the book is completely finished I’ll be making it available as an ebook. If you can’t wait, keep an eye out by clicking on the handcuffs on the left-hand side of this page – the first chunk will be posted shortly. (Keep in mind that these will just be rough drafts.)
For quite a few years now, newspapers and magazines have been asking celebrities to describe either a perfect day/weekend or a typical day/weekend. I must have read hundreds of them and the curious thing is that sex is seldom mentioned. So I’m now a fan of the designer Philippe Starck who, in the Sunday Times ‘life in the day slot’, reveals that he has sex with his wife Jasmine first thing in the morning and again after his siesta.
Given the work schedule he describes I’m not sure how the 63 year-old Starck finds the time but it’s an admirable target. Actually, I already was a fan as I have a Philippe Starck tap and a Philippe Starck shower head.
Now I have two more reasons to feel well-inclined to Mr Starck. He thinks daily sex is ‘obligatory’ – he says it ‘keeps the creative machine in working order’. That’s one. The other is that he’s ‘bold’ enough to say so. Why are so many people afraid to admit they have sex?
It’s the same with Desert Island Discs. Asked if there’s anything they’d miss alone on a desert island, few castaways ever mention sex with another person. A notable exception recently was the songwriter and performer Tim Minchin who, as his luxury, asked if he could have a sex doll.
Personally, I’d hate to be on a desert island all alone. But if I could be marooned together with my partner Smithy I think I could manage pretty well.
What would be your perfect day or weekend? Click on ‘comments’ at the top of this feature and share your thoughts with us.
Stephen Covey, author of Seven Habits Of Highly Effective People, has died at the age of 79. In his lifetime he is believed to have sold some 20 million books. And on the BBC’s Today programme this morning, businessmen Luke Johnson and Mark Constantine revealed that they both read and take inspiration from self-help books. Self-help books, it was pointed out, are an incredibly cheap source of both information and motivation. Quite right. So why not buy yourself a copy of, say, How To Be Happier or Have Great Sex or Get Intimate With Tantric Sex. Where else would you get so much pleasure for just a tenner?
Circumcision of babies and infants is in the spotlight once again following the decision of a German court to declare it illegal and the subsequent announcement by German Chancellor Angela Merkel that she wants the decision reversed.
The subject raises some very intriguing ethical arguments. The big one is: Do parents have the right to inflict permanent physical mutilation on children who are too young to make an informed decision for themselves?
Some of the subsequent arguments have, to my mind, been somewhat illogical. There are those, for example, who say the banning of a tradition that goes back thousands of years is an outrage. ‘Tradition’ is often brought up in arguments over all kinds of subjects but the people on the side of tradition only seem to want to apply it when it suits them. You never hear, for example, anyone saying they want to travel to work on a traditional donkey, or live in a traditional cave, or cook on a traditional open fire. Where I live, ‘tradition’ is often cited in defence of those whose hobby is shooting small birds. To me, tradition is not an argument.
Then there are those who condemn female genital mutilation but say that cutting off the male foreskin is quite different.
My particular interest is in the practical effects. Is there any difference in sexual pleasure (for women as well as men) between sex with a foreskin and sex without? There is some evidence to suggest that male circumcision makes the penis less sensitive. You can see why that might be so. Part of the role of the foreskin is to protect the glans, just as gloves protect your hands when you’re gardening. Make a habit of using a spade without gloves and you’ll soon develop tough, less sensitive, skin.
Those circumcised as babies or infants have no reference point. But if you were circumcised as an adult, for whatever reason, did you find that the loss of your foreskin made any difference? Was sex better or worse or the same? I’d like to hear from you. And, ladies, if you’ve had experience of both circumcised and uncircumcised men, did you notice any difference? Please click on the word ‘comments’ at the top of this blog and share your thoughts with us.
British author Jilly Cooper has told the Daily Telegraph that ‘women don’t want to have sex any more.’ Doctors’ waiting rooms, she said, were ‘brimming these days with women suffering from low libidos’. Her explanation is that ‘we all have so many other demands on our time now’.
Well, is she right? I’ve been looking at sex surveys. A current internet sex survey asked people ‘Do you have a low sex marriage?’ A staggering 88 per cent (16,583 out of 18,691) said they did. Not very scientific but significant, all the same.
And a study by Sarah Murray and Robin Milhausen of the University of Guelph, Ontario, Canada, found that women’s sexual desire in a relationship decreased every month – while men’s remained more constant.
But now there’s something that is apparently curing low libido in women quite effortlessly. It’s not a pill but an erotic novel by E L James called 50 Shades Of Grey which, with its two follow-ups, is said to have sold some 20 million copies worldwide. The book is being credited with causing a boom in bondage accessories as well as pregnancies. Women, it seems, need to be titillated – and men, nowadays, are not very good at it. The story involves the young and beautiful Anastasia Steele signing a contract with the handsome and extremely wealthy Christian Grey, giving him complete control of her life – and he’s a man into bondage and a little light sadomasochism.
Of course, we’ve been here many times before from The Story Of O to the film Nine And A Half Weeks. On the face of it, the book mines the well-known idea that women can’t fully enjoy their sexuality unless they are somehow absolved of guilt. But there is another ingredient in the book’s success that is less commented on. It’s not that Anastasia is forced to do what Christian wants. It’s that Christian does everything Anastasia wants without being asked. He understands. He knows. He washes her hair, he puts money in her bank account, he takes care of her. It’s this that seems to appeal to women so much.
To me, the book’s impact confirms that no one has a fixed sexual appetite. I’ve never subscribed to this idea of sexual incompatibility based on the notion that the man ‘needs’ sex, say, every other day, while the woman ‘needs’ sex only twice a week. If everyone had a fixed need then a book like this wouldn’t change anything.
You don’t have to wait until you ‘need’ sex. Given that it’s something highly pleasurable, why not do it as often as possible? Why wait for lust to become overwhelming?
Just think about it. Let’s take Janet. She’s 20. She’s not in a relationship. She masturbates once or twice a month. Then she falls for John. They start having sex. She moves in with him and they’re having sex every day. After a year they’re down to twice a week. They get married. They have a child. They’re down to once a week. After five years they’re hardly having sex at all. Then Janet reads, let’s say, 50 Shades Of Grey and wants sex every day. So what is Janet’s true ‘need’ for sex? Is it none, is it daily, or what?
If the sex has gone out of your relationship this book might be worth a try. But if your libidos are fine and you’re looking for ideas then you might like to read my books Have Great Sex and Get Intimate With Tantric Sex. They’ll certainly improve your technique and keep you entertained in bed for many years.
This is the centenary of the birth of Alan Turing, the mathematical genius awarded the OBE in 1945 for the role he played in breaking German codes at Bletchley Park. But in 1952, everything changed for him. That was the year he was arrested for homosexuality. He lost his security clearance and, rather than go to prison, accepted ‘chemical castration’. Some two years later he was found dead from cyanide poisoning.
In 2009, the then prime minister Gordon Brown made an official public apology on behalf of the British government. Unfortunately, as someone else said, the only thing we learn from history is that we never learn anything from history. There is a type of person who becomes enraged by what other people do sexually in private. And, unfortunately, those seem to be the people who make the laws. People continue to be persecuted for things that have nothing whatsoever to do with governments.
The UK’s first sodomy law, ‘An Acte for the punysshement of the vice of Buggerie’, was passed in the reign of Henry VIII in 1533. The maximum penalty was hanging and confiscation of property – which conveniently allowed Henry to confiscate monastery lands.
Sodomy remained a capital offence until 1861 and the law against it wasn’t repealed until 1967. Around the world, about 70 countries still have laws against homosexuality. Places that have the death penalty for homosexual acts include Iran, Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Yemen, Mauritania, and Sudan, as well as parts of Nigeria and Somalia.
As recently as 1990, gay men in the UK were found guilty of assault and unlawful wounding after they had voluntarily taken part in sado-masochistic sex sessions, even though none of the men had needed medical treatment nor suffered permanent harm. Their appeal to the House of Lords was dismissed in 1993.
I don’t want to be thumped around during sex and I don’t suppose you do either, but what exactly has it got to do with the government? The government hasn’t intervened to stop people boxing, nor to prevent them taking part in extreme sporting events like the Iron Man, nor to prevent them having piercings. It’s something about sex that disturbs our legislators. I suggest they go to see a good psychotherapist.
If you’d like to say something on the subject, please click at the top of this article on the word ‘comments’.
I’ve just signed a petition against female genital mutilation, asking the Home Secretary Theresa May to take action. FGM has been illegal in Britain since 1985 but, apparently, no one has ever been convicted of this crime in the UK. That certainly isn’t because no young women are being mutilated. In the London area alone there were 166 complaints over the past four years. And last month a Sunday Times investigation uncovered some of those who are willing to commit this crime for a few hundred pounds. If you would also like to sign the petition here’s the link:
An article in today’s Sunday Times quotes a Relate counsellor as saying that ‘mechanically-induced’ orgasms can alter brain circuitry such that response to another person ‘has to be relearnt’. How real is that danger?
A study of 2,000 American women who used vibrators found that:
- 71.5% never experienced any side effects
- 16% reported numbness
- 10% reported irritation
- 8% reported swelling
- 3% reported pain
- 1% reported tears or cuts
The key point is that none of those who reported negative side effects judged them to be either serious or long-lasting.
But people do have accidents with sex toys as Russell Griffin and Gerald McGwin from the University of Alabama School of Public Health discovered when they examined reports from American emergency rooms. They found that from 1995 to 2006:
- 6799 people aged 20 and up were treated in U.S. emergency departments for sex toy injuries
- There was an overall doubling of the number of injuries, from 2.41 per million in 1995 to 5.46 per million in 2006
- Men had higher injury rates than women, and rates were highest for people between 30-39
- 74% of injuries involved a vibrator, 13% involved dildos, 2% rings, and 11% other,
- 78% of injuries were anorectal, 18% vaginal/penile, and 4% other
It seems, then, that the greatest danger comes from the use of vibrators in the anal canal and rectum. Not many people realize how powerful the muscles are. It’s very easy for a sex toy to be sucked inside the rectum where it could heat up. The best advice is only to use a vibrator in the anal canal or rectum that has a sufficiently wide base to stop it slipping all the way in. But if you are unlucky you should be able to expel it from the rectum in the usual way. And remember that the anal canal and rectum (unlike the vagina) have no natural lubricant. So never attempt any kind of anal penetration without a good dollop of a suitable commercial lubricant.
Scouring the internet, I have found some claims of permanent numbness due to overuse of sex toys. But they seem to be pretty rare. If you’ve had a problem I’d like to hear from you. Just click on ‘Comment’ and have your say.
In last weekend’s Sunday Times Style magazine I read that ‘a long-term relationship can be extraordinary, if you’re prepared to put in the work.’ The speaker was Andrew G Marshall, the author of How Can I Ever Trust You Again? I agreed with just about everything he said but this word ‘work’ bothers me. Are we talking about ‘work’ in the sense of ‘working’ on your snowboarding technique or are we talking about ‘work’ in the sense of ‘working’ at a dreary office job a laborious ninety-minute commute from home? It seems to me that if your relationship is really hard work then you’re in the wrong relationship.
Regular readers of my blogs will know that, as well as being rather enthusiastic about sex, I’m pretty keen on snowboarding. And I certainly do ‘work’ on my snowboarding technique. But that ‘work’ is a great pleasure. Similarly, ‘working’ on a relationship should also be a great pleasure.
The Style article was actually all about people who have affairs through websites. They don’t want to end their long-term relationships but they do want more exciting sex. Personally I don’t believe you can have great sex with somebody you don’t know very well. The Last Tango In Paris thing is a myth. Yes, there’s the frisson of the new. But that’s all. So I’d suggest you ‘work’ on your sex life together with your long-term partner. Only with someone you feel very close to can you genuinely take things as far as they can go. If you need ideas, take a look at my books Have Great Sex and Get Intimate With Tantric Sex.
According to a Sex in America survey I’ve been reading, a lot of American men find it difficult or impossible to ejaculate during sex with a partner. Apparently 16 per cent of those aged 50 to 64 are in that category, rising to 23 per cent from 65 to 74. A curious thing is that the figure for men under 50 is actually higher at 28 per cent. So does that mean the situation is getting ‘worse’?
The first thing I’d say is that while being completely unable to ejaculate is obviously a problem, it certainly isn’t a problem that you need a lot of stimulation. Quite the contrary. The man who doesn’t ejaculate readily can facilitate his partner having numerous orgasms. As for himself, he can confidently approach the point of no return (after which ejaculation is inevitable) again and again, revelling in the exquisite sensations. When men ask me for tips to improve their sex lives, one of the first things I suggest is learning to withhold ejaculation. Thirty minutes of non-ejaculatory intercourse is vastly more enjoyable than a headlong rush towards climax.
Some experts say it’s a modern problem caused by men concentrating too much on their partners’ pleasure. That’s an interesting one given that, not so long ago, men were usually blamed for being ‘selfish’. I doubt that’s the real explanation. One possibility could be too much masturbation while watching porn. Another might be stress.
In fact, I’m just back from France where a new survey highlights that very problem. According to the survey, almost a quarter of French people have at some time suffered sexual dysfunction caused by stress at work.
Some employees have even been driven to suicide, like the young woman who emailed her father: ‘I can’t accept the reorganization in my department – I’m getting a new boss and I’d rather die.’ She then jumped from her fourth-floor office window.
It’s only stating the obvious to say she had got things completely out of proportion. But she was far from alone. Sixty-one per cent of those interviewed actually said work was the most important thing in their lives. Ahead of family, children, health…or romance.
Well, it certainly shouldn’t be. The thing that should be number one is happiness. Make that your priority and other things will start to fall into place…including sex.
One of my ebooks has been banned by Amazon. Kindle tells me it ‘contains content that is in violation of our content guidelines’. This is really exciting. It doesn’t quite put me in the same league as D H Lawrence and James Joyce, but I feel I’m on the way. The book in question is ‘60 Wrong Ways To Have Sex – and how to do it right‘. I don’t know exactly what violation I’ve committed because they don’t tell you, but if you want to enjoy the frisson of reading a banned book you can buy it on this website.
I feel rather bemused by the decision. Is there something wrong with sex? I don’t believe so. In which case, there can’t be anything wrong with writing about sex. And, in fact, it’s a very moral book, in my opinion, aimed at serious couples, not those looking for one-night stands. Among the ’60 Wrong Ways’ I’ve included such errors as having affairs, not practising safe sex, drinking too much, and expecting your partner to act like a porn star. I stand behind what I’ve written. If you think oral sex is immoral (it isn’t), or that ‘Tantric’ techniques are immoral (they aren’t), then you may agree with Kindle’s decision. But I don’t think many people would say it was balanced.
I now look forward to achieving the success of those who have preceded me by being banned. Meanwhile, keep on enjoying sex.
There have been some very good entries for my first erotic story competition but not quite enough to make a serious contest out of it. So I’m going to extend the deadline to 31st January 2012. Instead of the usual party games for New Year, why not try collaborating on some erotica instead? With a group of friends you could take turns to read out your wildest experiences. Or if it’s just you and your partner you could each set down your reactions to the things you’ve done. You’ll discover some interesting things about one another, I’m sure. (For details see my blog ‘Erotic Story Competition’ dated November 11.)