Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Sex is Proactive

Getting back to Michelle's question: . . . how about a post for female writers on what guys really think/feel/do [during sex]? This is proving to be a thornier question than I'd first thought. It would help if I were 100 guys instead of one; then I could spout off without my readers coming away with that "I've just learned more about you than I want to know" feeling. I mean, do you really want to know what kinks float my boat? Good heavens. My sister reads this blog -- my folks, too, sometimes. Michelle, I think Jeff's earlier reply contains a lot of truth ("Men think about sex when they're watching football, and they think about football when they're having sex.") Far be it from me to ever think about football, but I know I'm trying to think of anything except what I'm doing. It's a matter of pride and personal honor. Gregory Benford got it right in Timescape: one of his characters felt it was his duty to satisfy a woman during sex. If she didn't have an orgasm, he considered it his personal failure. The corollary to this: if anything is on our minds (other than rows of open graves, autopsy photos, maggots on roadkill), it's free-floating anxiety as to the job we're doing. Sure, some men go into it purely for their own gratification, and the only women getting pleasure are the ones that exist in their imagination. But -- BUT! That wasn't Michelle's question. Hers was a writer's question, with a writer's goals in mind. Do you ever intend to inhabit that sort of man's mind in order to write a scene? I doubt it. And if you did, the writing would be easy as can be. If the women writers in this crowd will let me make an assumption, it's this: the male-POV sex scene you're preparing to write features a man with whom you would love to have sex. The risk you run is that you may impute an inner life on your man which is the inner life you would like him to have. Still with me? So here's the reality, at least from this guy's POV. My parents and siblings are welcome to leave the conversation at this point. Thank you. Before sex, thoughts are wishful predictions of heightened sensation. I expect things to be softer than ever, saltier than ever, wetter than ever, louder than ever. I know from experience I'll be disappointed in that expectation, but I also know that afterwards I won't care. There are a lot of paradoxes in sex. Before sex, I picture myself doing more than I'd ever done before. Pushing the envelope. You can incorporate this into your character's thoughts however you like -- give him imaginary kinks, ones he never gets around to acting out. Why? NOT because of shyness or reluctance to risk rejection, but because, post-orgasm, all of these things will seem unnecessary and irrelevant. During sex, as noted above, my thoughts are mundane as can be. This is a job, and any job worth doing is worth doing well. And if you let yourself get swept up in thinking about what you are actually feeling, well, that's a great way to do a really shitty job. Other random thoughts:
  • I sure hope my son doesn't decide right now that he has a burning question that won't wait until morning.
  • I feel like Ed Koch: How am I doing?
  • How long before I get to do this again?
  • For something I think about constantly, this really isn't that special. I mean, it's nice, and it's necessary, but the invested emotional effort is way out of proportion to the pay-off. As often as I think about sex, my damned head should explode. Multiple times.
After sex, I wonder how many calories I managed to burn off, and whether I was so great this time she'll want to do it more often. I should know the answer to that one from experience, but I'm eternally hopeful. Moral of the story: sex is proactive. Sex makes us want to have sex (for obvious reasons, evolutionarily speaking) and doesn't give a damn about us afterwards. Sex doesn't even give a damn about us during sex, since it figures we're bright enough to turn the lock once we've got the key in the keyhole. Assuming you don't write humor, the only time your male POV character's internal life is interesting is before sex: the seduction (for married couples, we call it the begging), the build-up of tension, that first moment of physical contact, one naked body against the other. Everything else? You don't even want to go there. D.


Blogger amanda m. said...

This was quite informative. Thanks, Doug.

7/27/2005 08:46:00 PM  
Blogger Demented M said...

Interesting post.

So if men can have sex while watching football--is that nirvana?


7/28/2005 12:16:00 PM  
Blogger Douglas Hoffman said...

Hey, and they could even have sex while watching football and listening to Nirvana. How's that?

7/28/2005 01:01:00 PM  
Blogger Kate R said...

at least you don't have to run up behind her with a silk covered package. It's going to take me a few minutes to recover from the spider.

8/01/2005 12:50:00 PM  
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