Giles Coren on fathers (him) and sons (Sam, aged four). This month: sex re-education
In his latest dispatch from the front-line of fatherhood, he imagines “the sex talk”
I used to think that I would one day have something to say to my son about girls. I was not going to be one of those fathers who shied away from helping out on that score. It’s no good saying, “Do what comes naturally,” because that is no use at all to a young boy who needs serious answers to serious questions. When Sammy came to me at 15 or 16 or 17 or whenever and asked what he was supposed to do, I always planned to take a deep breath and tell him.
I would tell him not to be scared of them or to try to be anything that he isn’t, to persuade a girl that he is what she would like him to be. Because girls can smell that shit. They much prefer men who are not afraid to be true to themselves, I would tell him. That’s why they like gays so much. Although for me, that’s going a bit far. Then again, I suppose if my son were gay it would be easier to give him advice about sex. “Just stick your middle finger up his arse while you’re sucking his cock,” I could say with dour certainty, “And he will never leave.”
But if he weren’t gay, I still used to think I’d have some ideas for him on the matter of romance. For example: if you truly love a girl,
then eventually she will love you back. No matter how beautiful or special or unattainable or attached to someone else she seems. It may take time, but it will happen. The world is beautiful like that.
And if she doesn’t seem to be coming to you because she’s been with some other guy for years and everyone says it’s true love and they’ll never part, then do this: accentuate whatever it is about yourself that this boy does not have. Because however much she loves him, she will be pining for the one thing that he is missing, because that is how girls are. So if he is popular, be lonely and poetic. If he is dark and moody, be bright and funny. If he is fat, be thin. If he is pious, be filthy. If he is filthy, be sanctimonious. If he is intellectual, be tanned and athletic. And she will come to you, in the end, at least for a while. Like Daisy Buchanan.
This does not go against the advice to be yourself, by the way. It’s just a case of accentuating the small, true thing about you that needs, for the moment, to be the only thing. I have been the donkey-cocked fuckpole of more than one size queen, as well as the nerd with a tiny winkle to whom girls have run, to escape the horror of their fiancé’s monstrous and painful dong. You’ve seen Some Like It Hot — you just have to shuffle back and forth between Joe and Josephine and Shell Oil Junior and eventually Marilyn Monroe will come to you.
And then when she does, I thought I would probably tell my son, kiss her only with lips for the time being. The tongue is a blunt and unreliable device and best left out till the deal is done. Those kisses in the movies have nothing to do with anything.
Then fuck her. Don’t muck about. Leave it longer than the third date and she’ll think you’re gay. Which is great if you want to be her friend. But otherwise, fuck her. Do the gentle things to begin with. Put all that porn out of your mind (for the moment). Do the kissing and the stroking and the licking and give her an orgasm (if she wants one) without bringing your cock into the story at all, because cocks can go wrong in all sorts of ways and spoil everything. Leave the cock until later. The cock is her problem, not yours.
So be kind and gentle and thoughtful and lick her cunt a lot because even though lots of girls aren’t bothered by it, and many actively don’t like it, it connotes, in the wider culture, sexual generousness, and means that later she knows you will do whatever she wants, even if it is not this.
And then, soon, within the month, if not the fortnight, forget all this and fuck her like you’re an angry tiger who hasn’t eaten in weeks and she is a fat little goat who’s been giving you the eye. Put aside all notions of civilised modern human interaction and do to her what you think your Stone Age great-great-grandpa would have done. Not all women want that, possibly not even most, but the ones who do, really do, and they don’t think it counts if they have to ask. (Personally, I never did that, but I know now that I should have done. I misread the faraway look in their eyes as I fiddled and faffed and did all that “new man” Nineties shit as a kind of pleasure coma, rather than what it was: plain old boredom).
If she doesn’t like it, go back to the licking. Quickly. And say sorry.
These are the things I thought I would probably one day tell my son. But then, in the last few months, everything changed. And it turns out I know nothing. It is turning out that Andrea Dworkin was right and all men really are rapists. All sex really is an act of aggression. Misunderstandings are too easy. Women are taking back control of the sexual playing field, not before time, and trying actively to make anything happen between a man and a woman, if you’re a man, is quite likely to be looked on as just bad, bad, bad. They’ve got a new way of doing things now and it isn’t for us old guys to say.
So, my advice to Sam will be: forget it. Read superhero comics, play chess, do a physics degree, wank till your arm falls off. But don’t bother with girls. Sex is over for this human cycle. Gender is up in the air. They’re going to create babies in laboratories and make everyone pee sitting down. And to be honest, they’ve probably got a point. It was all a lot of fuss about nothing anyway.
If you truly love a girl, then eventually she will love you back. No matter how beautiful or unattainable or attached to someone else she seems. It may take time but it will happen. The world is beautiful like that