Tag: sex

Beat Your Pain

An endorsement for my latest book Beat Your Pain And Find Lasting Relief (Teach Yourself) has come in the form of new research from the United States, where chronic pain is thought to affect nearly 116 million adults.

According to the Bravewell Practice-Based Research Network, patients experienced a 20 per cent drop in the severity of pain on average over 24 weeks on an ‘integrative approach’ and there were significant improvements in mood, stress levels, quality of life, energy, sleep and sense of well-being. An integrative approach means combining a range of therapies including acupuncture, mindfulness, yoga, massage, fitness, nutrition and psychotherapy.

Beat Your Pain covers those things and a lot more, such as non-prescription and prescription drugs, cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT), Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP), self-hypnosis, herbs and supplements, meditation, sleep, laughter therapy, electrical and ultrasound therapy, and… sex.

Why sex? There’s nothing flippant in the suggestion. It’s a fact that sex is a mild but very useful painkiller. Sex causes the release of dopamine, the ‘pleasure’ chemical, as well as PEA, an amphetamine-like substance that produces a ‘walking on air’ kind of feeling. The longer the sex the bigger the dose.

Sex is healthy and free. If you’d like to read more about the way sex combats pain and improves mood it’s all in How To Be Happier (Teach Yourself) while techniques for maximizing the effect are detailed in Have Great Sex (Teach Yourself). And don’t forget, Beat Your Pain is out at the end of August.

Sex As Good As It Gets

Going up on the chairlift the other day (I’m in the French Alps at the moment) I was sitting next to a guy who asked me what I did for a living.

‘Writer,’ I said.

‘And what do you write?’

‘Sex manuals,’ I said. I could have mentioned other books but I always enjoy the effect sex manuals have.

He rubbed his chin. ‘How can anybody be sure,’ he asked, ‘if they’re good in bed?’ He seriously wanted to know. ‘I mean, how can I know if the pleasure I’m giving my partner is the best? How can I know if what I’m feeling is as good as it gets?’

Good questions.

It’s a bit like trying to find out if the colour I see and call green is the same as the colour you see and call green.

On a scale of one to ten the guy might say his last sexual experience was a nine, but how do I know if his ten is the same as my ten? What Jill thinks of as the ultimate in sexual pleasure may have only half the intensity of what Jane feels on a good day.

It’s common for sex writers and therapists to say you shouldn’t be concerned with performance and targets and numbers, but I don’t agree. I’m currently struggling to improve my snowboard technique. That in no way detracts from my pleasure. On the contrary. No one, I’m sure, would seriously suggest it would be okay to remain forever at the level I attained at the end of my first week. So why is it wrong to want to give your partner the maximum possible sexual pleasure and to receive the same? Why is it wrong to want to discover how far you can go?

I thought I’d discovered the secret of the universe when I was 18. How could anybody else have sex this good? Now those early experiences seem totally inept. What then seemed to be a ten now looks like a one.

I can’t define ten in sex and I can’t know I’ve ever reached ten but I’d say it can’t be anything like ten unless:

  • Sex goes on for a good while (say, an hour), because the human body just can’t reach its maximum response during a quickie.
  • The afterglow lasts a good while (say, four hours at least).
  • There’s a sense not only of physical satisfaction, but also of emotional, spiritual and intellectual satisfaction as well.

I’m not saying that’s everything, but it’s a good start. The guy on the lift promised to buy either Have Great Sex or Get Intimate With Tantric Sex and let me know if it changed his perspective. If you have any thoughts on what constitutes the greatest sex, or the rights or wrongs of aiming for a great ‘performance’, share them with us by clicking on the word ‘comment’ at the top of this blog. And, Ian, I’ll be expecting to hear from you.


A Merry XXXmas!

If you had to choose between food and sex, which would you go for? I pose the question because, as regular readers of my blog will know, there does seem to be a trade-off. Revel in food and the resulting spare tyre means you can’t revel in sex as much as you would have done.

Probably the worst time of the year for sex, then, is the Christmas/New Year holiday. Which means that all the sexy underwear from Father Christmas is going to waste. Christmas just isn’t a very good time for the art of love. There’s all that shopping, wrapping, cooking and cleaning, not to mention the guests in the spare bedroom. And, of course, the overeating.

Research by Carnegie Weight Management suggests the typical Christmas lunch with all the trimmings would have amounted to about two thousand calories. Add in breakfast, supper, drinks and snacks during the day and plenty of revellers would have downed as much as four thousand or even six thousand calories.

Just to remind you, there’s a theory that if the ratio of your waist to your hips exceeds 0.9 for a man or 0.85 for a woman then your sex drive and performance will be compromised. Well, I’ve been testing this out. And after a bit of a struggle I finally got down to the magic ratio on Christmas Day. That’s to say my waist measures 84.5 cm and my hips measure 94 cm, and dividing the former by the latter produces 0.899.

It was actually harder than I thought it would be, because as you lose weight around your middle you also tend to lose it around your hips, so the ratio doesn’t change that much. You have to do something to build up your thigh and buttock muscles and in my case it was cycling. And on Christmas Day itself a touch of snowboarding.

So has it worked? Well – and I’m trying to be scientific here – I think it has. Not that I exactly had love handles the size of elephants’ ears anyway. And, of course, the effects of these kinds of things are fairly subtle. Sex drive and performance are not constants and it’s not always easy to work out what was the cause of any change.

All I can say is, give it a go. Put that Christmas lunch firmly behind you and resolve that in the New Year those love handles will be no more.

Meanwhile, if any of you have stories or data on the relationship between your sexual prowess and your waist:hip ratio please share them with us by clicking on ‘comments’. Or, indeed, if your sex drive suffered (or increased) when you put on weight that would also be interesting.

So which will it be for you? Food or sex? Which makes you happiest? I’ve made my own decision. I’d rather have more sex and less food, rather than the other way around. So my own Christmas lunch was muesli eaten out of a plastic pot in the car park of my nearest ski station. I was about to write that sometimes you have to forego a pleasure in the search for a greater happiness. But, actually, it’s not true. The muesli was great!

I hope you had a wonderful Christmas and I wish you a 0.9 (or 0.85) New Year.

Sex Lessons

A friend tells me she’s explained all about sex to her two boys, aged nine and seven. And when they’re a bit older she’s intending to teach them the finer points of lovemaking. She’s particularly concerned that they should respect women and know how to make their partners happy in bed.

I think this is very enlightened. People sometimes tell me sex manuals aren’t necessary because everyone can work it out for themselves. Not so, in my opinion. I don’t think the mechanics of sex are instinctive in humans. Marie Stopes (1880 – 1958) certainly encountered couples in her clinics who didn’t know how to have intercourse. One man consulted her because he thought his wife had had a fit. He didn’t know a woman could have an orgasm. So I certainly don’t think that, for example, the average young guy is going to work out a reliable method of ejaculation control or even see the need for it.

Most kids nowadays soon learn the mechanics of sex. They can see it online. But it’s now more important than ever that they, indeed, learn to respect one another and give sex a spiritual dimension.

I’d be interested to hear the views of parents not just on teaching the basic ‘facts of life’ but, like my friend, on teaching their children how to have great sex. Let me have your views by clicking on the word ‘comments’ at the top of this blog.

Sex As A Painkiller

I’m still working on my book about pain and I’m on the chapter dealing with sex as an analgesic. I know from my own experience that it certainly works for minor pain. After a long day in front of a computer screen I often wake up next morning with aching eyes or a slight headache. Sex sorts it out. So I’d be interested to hear from anyone who deliberately uses sex as a painkiller, or as a distraction from pain, or to help them get to sleep. Tell me your story by clicking on the word ‘comments’ at the top of this blog.

Pain, Happiness And Sex

My latest project is a book on pain relief. It obviously ties in with Help Yourself To Live Longer, first published in 2008 and with a new edition in 2010. But what does it have to do with happiness, a subject on which I write frequently? Quite a lot, actually.

The fact is, it’s just not easy to feel happy when you’re in pain. So dealing with pain is a sort of prequel to my book How To Be Happier, a new edition of which has just been published (Teach Yourself £10.99). Sex is a great way to make yourself happier, especially if you know all about prolonging it to increase endorphins, but it’s hard to feel sexy when your back is agony. (If you don’t know about prolonging sex you might like to read Have Great Sex or Get Intimate With Tantric Sex.)Nor is it easy to exercise, meditate or concentrate on changing the way you think.

If you’re suffering from pain but still keeping happy I’d like to hear from you. Just click on ‘comment’ at the top of this article and let us know what techniques you use. The book should be finished in January and published summer 2013.


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.


Zorba The (Happy) Greek

I’ve just had an e-mail from a young guy asking my opinion on the conflict between spirituality and the pleasures of the flesh. Well, in my opinion, there is no conflict. That’s why I like certain aspects of Tantra. Tantrikas don’t see any conflict, either. On the contrary, Tantric sex is a way of using sexual energy precisely for spiritual ends.

The supposed conflict between the flesh and the spirit was the theme of just about everything written by Nikos Kazantzakis. For that reason I shouldn’t really like his books. But I do. In examining one side of the argument he was also compelled to examine the other and, in Zorba The Greek he created a man who relished everything that life on Earth has to offer.

That’s why I love that character. If you want to be happy you have to stop beating yourself up for being a human being. Enjoy yourself. And if you’re not sure how, read Zorba The Greek as a start. And then, maybe, How To Be Happier.

If you agree or disagree let’s hear from you – just click on ‘comment’.

Sex As A Hobby

I’ve just come back from my first ever surfing holiday. It was an awesome experience. It also set me thinking about the different attitude most of us have to sex compared with just about any other activity. (Have you noticed how many sensual things begin with an ‘S’? Sex, obviously, but also sunbathing, sand, sea, sailing, surfing, snowboarding, skiing… )

For surfing I had a lesson, bought a book, bought a DVD, discussed equipment with the owner of the surf shop, chatted with experienced surfers, watched experienced surfers, and practised the key moves (like the ‘pop up’) again and again on dry land before trying the real thing. And I surfed every day except one when there was a storm. I didn’t wait until I felt desperate. I just did it.

That’s normal for a hobby so why isn’t it normal for sex? Why can’t we be just as open about this thing that just about everybody does? Why do so many wait until they’re ‘gagging for it’ to have sex? Why is it considered a bit kinky to buy sex books, watch sex films, buy sex toys, or discuss techniques with other people?

I think we should all treat sex more like a hobby. I’ll be continuing to practise the pop up even when there’s no surf. And I’ll be continuing to learn about and practise sex techniques, too.

If you’d like to discuss sex techniques with me and with readers of my blogs just say what you’re thinking in the Comments box. Go ahead. Why not! (You don’t have to give your name.)

Are Boomers Boring In The Bedroom?

I’ve just been looking through some figures from a survey carried out for the Channel 4 Sex Education Show and I have to say I’m embarrassed on behalf of my fellow Boomers. Here are some of the findings for the 55+ age group :

  • 33% haven’t had sex at all in the past year
  • Only 29% have sex once a week or more
  • None have sex daily
  • Only 25% masturbate once a week or more
  • Only 55% have ever even tried oral sex and only19% had oral sex in the preceding month
  • Only 19% have ever even tried anal sex and only 1.5% had anal sex in the preceding month
  • Only 35% have ever even tried a vibrator.

The catalogue of shame goes on and on. The products of the Swinging Sixties have, it seems, turned into the Boring Boomers.

On the personal front I’m doing my best to up these averages but there’s only so much one man can do. So I’m asking for volunteer couples who will pledge to redress this humiliation by at least trying to have sex every day and to use as many different techniques as possible.

Here’s the Mission Statement. If, as a couple, you agree with it please leave your names, and anything you wish to say, in the Comment box:

Yes, we agree that Boomers generally are not having enough sex and pledge to do our utmost to increase the averages for the 55+ age group.

I’m joking about it but actually I found the survey rather sad. So I’ll be blogging regularly on ways Boomers can improve their sex lives and an ebook is in preparation.

Today’s tip is this. Study the illustration and then copy it. Oral sex is a great way to get an older woman’s lubrication going, and to stiffen an older man’s erection.

Ex-Wife Compensated For Lack Of Sex

 I love this week’s news about the Frenchman ordered by a judge to pay his ex-wife10,000 euros (about £8,500) for not having had enough sex with her during 21 years of marriage. The judge reasoned that by getting married ‘couples agree to sharing their life and this clearly implies they will have sex with each other’. And I always thought getting married in France implied having sex with someone else. What will be next? Fines for poor technique? A compulsory bonking test and a licence? Speed cameras to monitor how long you spend over it? Of course I agree about the importance of sex in a relationship but I’m sure financial compensation is not the answer. And I wonder if any judge would dare to fine a woman if the roles were reversed.

Rape Is About Sex

My partner came home with another Red magazine which I immediately pounced on. I was amazed to see an article on rape that repeated the same old mistake: ‘Rape has nothing to do with sex’. The article (The Rape Crisis by Ruth Elkins, Red, August 2011) then quoted Kay Davies, a counsellor and national training coordinator with the charity Rape Crisis, as saying: ‘Rape is about overpowering someone, controlling them.’

This position seems to have originated with the feminist writer Susan Brownmiller in her 1975 book Against Our Will. The problem with it is that by being both widely believed and completely wrong it makes it all the harder to reduce the incidence of rape and for women to protect themselves from it.

There’s a mass of evidence I could cite but a little common sense will hopefully suffice. A man is attracted to a woman and invites her on a date. She accepts. At some point (maybe on the first date, maybe a later one) there’s kissing and fondling. Then a hand goes up the skirt. At this point does the man wish to have sex with the woman? What’s your answer? I think most people would say ‘yes, he does’. But the woman doesn’t wish to have sex. She tells him to take his hand away. Ignoring her wishes, he now uses his strength to overcome her and rapes her.

According to the ‘rape has nothing to do with sex’ theory, the man’s sexual desire must miraculously have vanished at the moment his date refused sex. How likely is that?

I understand why many women are attracted to the argument that men use rape entirely as a way of oppressing women. But it’s wrong. I suspect the reason large numbers of women who are not particularly feminists don’t see that it’s wrong is that women just don’t comprehend how sexually driven men, and especially young men, are.

Here I’d like to quote the academic Camille Paglia:

‘These girls say, “Well, I should be able to get drunk at a fraternity party and go upstairs to a guy’s room without anything happening.” And I say, “Oh, really? And when you drive your car to New York City, do you leave your keys on the hood?” My point is that if your car is stolen after you do something like that, yes, the police should pursue the thief and he should be punished. But at the same time, the police – and I – have the right to say to you, “You stupid idiot, what the hell were you thinking?”‘