Boyfriend can’t be both­ered with fore­play

Irish Examiner - Feelgood - - Health - with Suzi God­son Please send your queries to suzigod­son@mac.com

My boyfriend has never shown any in­ter­est in fore­play. De­spite my telling him it would be nice to have a bit more pre­am­ble, noth­ing has changed. It’s not just the un­sat­is­fy­ing sex that both­ers me, but the fact that he is so in­con­sid­er­ate about what I want. What can I do about it?

>> It re­quires self-con­fi­dence to ask a man to pay more at­ten­tion to your sex­ual needs. You clearly feel you’ve tried, but the words “a bit more pre­am­ble” sound so coy that I won­der if you got your mes­sage across. If you weren’t ex­plicit with him, there is a chance that he doesn’t un­der­stand the im­por­tant role of fore­play in fe­male sex­ual arousal, so it would cer­tainly be worth hav­ing that con­ver­sa­tion again.

When women fan­ta­sise or watch pornog­ra­phy in pri­vate, they tend to find it eas­ier to or­gasm, but in a one-to-one sit­u­a­tion, par­tic­u­larly with a rel­a­tively new part­ner, fe­male arousal can be more elu­sive, so with­out fore­play it be­comes more dif­fi­cult to achieve or­gasm.

Stress the “fore” in fore­play and don’t as­sume that he un­der­stands what you mean. Spell it out. Tell him that fore­play in­cludes kiss­ing and touch­ing. It could also in­clude oral sex. Ex­plain to him that when women are stim­u­lated in mul­ti­ple ways, their chance of hav­ing an or­gasm al­most dou­bles.

Some­times men sim­ply don’t un­der­stand that women rarely have an or­gasm just with pen­e­tra­tive sex — and we have much of the sex shown on film and tele­vi­sion to blame, as it rarely shows any fore­play at all. How­ever, when El­iz­a­beth Arm­strong, a so­ci­ol­o­gist at the Univer­sity of Michi­gan, stud­ied the like­li­hood of or­gasm among 15,000 het­ero­sex­ual col­lege stu­dents, she found that within a re­la­tion­ship only about half of the women in the study could or­gasm through in­ter­course. How­ever, when women in a re­la­tion­ship re­ceived a com­bi­na­tion of cli­toral stim­u­la­tion, oral sex and in­ter­course, that fig­ure shot up to 92%.

Good sex is about much more than tech­nique, how­ever. Un­less you feel re­laxed, it is dif­fi­cult to achieve or­gasm, which is why women are bet­ter at achiev­ing or­gasm in com­mit­ted re­la­tion­ships than they are in hook-ups. For ex­am­ple, in Arm­strong’s study only 26% of women were able to achieve or­gasm through sex­ual in­ter­course the first time they had sex. By the third time that fig­ure rises to 40%.

Good sex is about know­ing each other in­ti­mately, car­ing about each other pas­sion­ately and re­spond­ing to each other’s needs. When two peo­ple feel loved, wanted and ac­cepted, they can say any­thing, ask any­thing and do any­thing be­cause they feel safe with each other. Good sex can, of course, be self­ish too, but only within a broader con­text of self­less­ness. Tak­ing turns, for ex­am­ple, is a great way of al­low­ing both part­ners un­in­ter­rupted in­dul­gence, and be­cause it lim­its dis­trac­tions it is one of the most ef­fec­tive ways to get a woman to or­gasm. It is, how­ever, 100% de­pen­dent on rec­i­proc­ity.

If your boyfriend doesn’t un­der­stand the im­por­tance of fore­play, en­light­en­ing him may do the trick. How­ever, knowl­edge in it­self does not ini­ti­ate change — in­ten­tion does. Your boyfriend needs to care enough about your sex­ual ex­pe­ri­ence to want to make the ef­fort to change. Right now he seems happy enough to ig­nore your needs.

That is more than “in­con­sid­er­ate”. Self­ish­ness is a char­ac­ter­is­tic that rarely con­fines it­self to the bed­room, and if your boyfriend doesn’t feel em­pa­thy or un­der­stand the im­por­tance of rec­i­proc­ity, he is un­likely to value sex­ual eq­uity. You can make a per­sua­sive case for fore­play, but if he sub­se­quently fails to raise his game, you will have to de­cide whether you are will­ing to set­tle for a lover who does not put your needs first. I know what I’d do.

Women are bet­ter at achiev­ing or­gasm in com­mit­ted re­la­tion­ships than they are in hook-ups

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