Male hunters and female hunters, allow me to “snap” a warning sticker to my previous suggestion of watching pornographic movies. You might think that every man dreams of a slut writhing around on him, and every woman wants a handsome stranger to hijack and seduce her on the shores of Tahiti. Not so. As diverse as life is, every time you think you’ve found a solution, you’ll find the exception. As for sex, exceptions abound, and no two people have similar sex.
I learned this lesson the hard way. In the year of my first love, before the Gender Matters project was launched, I didn’t know how rich and diverse people’s sexual needs were. One day, years ago, I was visiting an art museum in Chicago, and a man named Christopher happened to be visiting the Windy City for an exhibition of his artwork. My eyes went across the room to see him, hanging a strange abstract painting on the wall. I was immediately drawn to him, and everything about him fit my map of love: artistic, thoughtful, intelligent, and incredibly cute looking hips.
We hit it off right away, and luckily for me he was also a New Yorker. After returning to the Big Apple, we started dating and soon I fell in love with Christopher. Of course, I did my best to please him and expected him to return the favor. My relationship with Christopher was flawless: we were obsessed with the same activities, liked the same kinds of friends, both loved to watch movies, ski and ride bikes, and sometimes even stayed up all night talking. I felt that Christopher was the one for me. Day by day, we indulged in a wonderful love affair.
But Christopher never said “I love you”, and since everything else in the relationship was ideal, I thought the problem must be the sex – he was never in the throes of passion. I’ve read in books how wild a man can be if a woman really knows how to get him excited, but Christopher was never that wild in bed.
Our sex routine was always the same. Usually we talked together in his apartment after dinner. As we talked, Christopher would break out into a lovely smile, put his hand on my shoulder and stroke down my arm to my hand, then stand up. Sometimes he would wink at me and say, “Come on, little girl.” Tentatively, he led me into the bedroom. From his demeanor, he seemed to feel that he had to be gentle and discreet in seducing me. Was it because he was afraid I would refuse?
Christopher was warm and affectionate when he made love, but also uninspired and lacking in passion. I thought I could change everything if I just knew how to hit his lust button. I thought I needed to get hotter so he could get drunk on me, but I didn’t know exactly how to do it.
One afternoon, I was pondering this dilemma when my eyes suddenly fell on an ad in The Village Voice magazine. It was a three-hour course called “How to Strip in Front of Your Man,” which promised to “add excitement to a relationship and drive your man crazy. Just like the love doctor claimed, I guess.
I hopped on a train in my sexiest lingerie to a scruffy suburb, climbed up a residential building without an elevator, and went to a stripper’s house on the sixth floor. That night, I learned with four women in that one-bedroom apartment to twirl, remove my dress while letting it fall seductively to the floor, and then teasingly step out of it. Step by step we learned how to unhook our bras in style, exposing first the left breast, then the right, twisting and tossing the removed bras across the room. She also taught the most flexible of the five of us how to stretch our bodies on the floor and let our legs twirl enchantingly in the air.
At the end of the class, the teacher came into the back room to sell us products, including a striptease music tape and a fringed dance skirt. The skirt was draped over the more gifted students and spun beautifully. Unfortunately, I wasn’t dexterous enough to dance in it, but I bought both items anyway. With the stripper melody echoing in my mind, I got on the train and went straight to Christopher’s apartment.
I couldn’t wait to see his lovely smile, because that was his signal to me. Sure enough, at about 10:45, the corners of his mouth lifted: “Come on, my little girl.” And with that, he took my hand and led me towards his bedroom. But this night was different, I wanted to surprise Christopher.
Just as I entered his bedroom, I pushed a horrified-looking man into a chair, inserted the tape into the recorder and started the show. I start with a few flamboyant dance steps around the dresser, followed by, one, two, three, hide and seek, showing my left breast; four, five, six, hide and seek, showing my right breast …… My bra tilts and flies out and across the room, landing at exactly two points on his thighs.
But there is one crucial performance technique for stripping that my instructor forgot to tell us: always look the audience in the eye from time to time so you know how well you are doing. I squirmed on the carpet at Christopher’s house, spinning my legs in the air and nearly knocking over his favorite lamp, without ever looking at his face. If I had looked, I would have noticed his horrified look.
After I finished dancing, Christopher stood up without a word and walked out of the bedroom and out of the apartment. I burst into tears, grabbed my dress, bra, tape and fringe dance skirt that never came in handy, and ran all the way home crying. What had I done wrong?
For a week straight, Christopher didn’t call me. I was the one who finally called and asked him, “Can we talk?” We had a dinner together, a talk, and he was straightforward with me. I finally understood that Christopher’s understanding of sex was to seduce women rather than be seduced by them. In addition, he told me that it was not a woman’s sultry and seductive nature but a woman’s resistance that most aroused his spring. As it turns out, what fascinates Christopher most is being a charming, flirtatious man, not “the lonely, depressed guy who needs to pay to see cheap dancers twerking around.
Wow! What an eye-opener for me. From then on, I vowed never to make any assumptions about any man’s lust in the future. Every man is different (and so is every woman, as we’ll talk about below). It may seem like all men want the same thing, but from what I understand, there are countless ways to make it happen.
Have you ever drooled over a nice, juicy steak? As a lover of great steak, you know that there are 68 flavors of steak ranging from extremely tender to fully cooked, with only subtle differences between them. But tonight, you’re ravenous and want a really good steak. You walk into the best steakhouse in town, and when you order, you describe it with great precision.
You tell the waiter, “I’d like a filet mignon, please.” You want this steak to be charred on the outside and tender on the inside, but certainly not green in the middle. You painstakingly instruct him, “Make sure the whole steak meat is pink and hot to the touch, and not cold in the middle.” The waiter patiently listens to you, turns and walks into the kitchen and shouts, “One steak for table six!”
This is how many of us approach sex. While our intended desperately hints at what will get them aroused, we jump headfirst into bed and think nothing of it. The intended person may be happy with the sex, and maybe you think it’s great too. But for him, if you don’t understand his 68 tastes, your sex won’t be as delicious. You want him to fall in love with you, but your behavior doesn’t help you achieve your goal. The saddest part is that he’ll never tell you why he’s suddenly disinterested.
If you keep digging in the ground, you can dig up water wherever you are. If you dig into a man’s sexuality, you will find his unique interests and fetishes; in this intricate complex lies the key to unlocking his mind.
Women and men have only one common sexual fantasy, and that is to find a perfect sexual partner. So, what kind of person is the perfect sexual partner? Answer: someone who can satisfy all our erotic needs, someone who is willing to satisfy us in the way we like, someone who knows how to satisfy us in the way we like (without us having to teach them by hand).
Many lovers refuse to tell each other their sexual needs in detail. They honestly believe, “If I meet the right person, he (or she) will naturally know what I want.”
I have a friend named Chip. One Christmas Eve, he and I were talking about our childhood experiences, and both of us were laughing when we talked about how we used to believe in the existence of Santa Claus. Then Chip suddenly looked pale and said, “I never got the presents I wanted from Santa Claus.”
“Even after you found out Santa Claus was actually Mom, you didn’t get it?” I asked.
“Then,” I asked, “why didn’t you hint at it to Mom?”
“Because,” Chip explained, “if she really loved me, she would have known what I wanted.”
This is how many of us approach sex. Perhaps we don’t realize it, but are obsessed with the dream that – one day in the future – the perfect partner will come out of nowhere, come to us, and live happily ever after with us.
Or these idealists, if they throw a set of a thousand-piece puzzle on the stairs, would never expect each piece to automatically jump out of the box, find its respective place and put together the whole picture. Yet, they dive headlong into the romance, thinking that every piece of the puzzle will automatically fit together. And in fact the odds of their sexual needs fitting perfectly with their intended partner are about one in a million.
In the early stages of a new relationship, each piece of the puzzle is still flying brilliantly in the air, when sex is exciting. The novelty, the new discoveries, the attacks, the nights. However, after a few weeks, months or years, the puzzle pieces of the relationship will begin to collide with the staircase in all sorts of weird angles, when the disappointment of sex will surface.