Welcome to Joy of Making Love blog!
Here we’ll post periodic thoughts on erotic life, and seek to understand how pleasure and eroticism can flourish amidst the often conflicting demands of work, family, and other responsibilities.
We are sentient beings, mind/bodies that are exquisitely attuned to all kinds of stimuli — tactile, olfactory, auditory, visual, kinaesthetic, gustatory (and more). Our senses flood us with symphonies of stimuli, and somehow the brain seeks to discern patterns, melodies that arise from the waves of sensory input. And, often, we perceive a secondary sensation, that of pleasure. Something tastes or sounds good; we pronounce it delicious or delightful. We enjoy the stimulation of our nerve endings, whether in the tongue or the nose, the auditory canal or the skin.
Ah, the skin — the body’s single largest organ, alive with the ability to sense touch. We feel the breeze on our faces; the silky fur of the cat in our lap; the gentle touch of a lover. The entire surface of the skin is enervated, with millions of nerve endings waiting to detect touch and warmth. Left without touching, human babies do not thrive, and die. We are nourished by loving touch.
It is in the genitals that the skin’s nerve endings are most densely packed — which is why being touched there can be intensely pleasurable. It can sometimes be so pleasurable that it may be difficult to tolerate the intensity of the sensations.
It is unfortunate that in western culture seeking pleasure is often frowned upon. The person who is devoted to pleasure may be dismissed as unserious, or worse — a hedonist (rhymes almost with demonic). Someone who might choose making love over working is seen as not worthy of respect.
With respect, this perspective is out of whack! Our culture is anti-pleasurable, suspicious of pleasure, stoic, self-denying … and sadly addicted to drugs (including the legal ones — caffeine and nicotine and alcohol and painkillers). We deny ourselves a thousand small doses of pleasure through the day, and then feel the need for some kind of blowout experience, to deal with the accumulated stress!
There’s another way. Pleasure is the body’s knowing what is good for it. It is relaxing to listen to music. It soothes the mind to be in nature. Massage releases bodily tensions. Making love opens the heart and warms the soul. Pleasure, in fact, heals.
While Joy of Making Love is about the erotic, we want to expand the definition of what is erotic. Just as sexuality is about more than our genitals, eroticism is about more than sex. Eroticism is fundamentally about one’s openness to being bathed in sensory experience. Sexual arousal comes later, another level of activation in our sensory apparatus. Our culture’s myopic focus on genital arousal is a frenzied attempt to find a shortcut to nirvana — the drive-by fast food approach to pleasure.
Interestingly, our sensory apparatus operates at a certain speed. The speed of neuronal impulses varies with the type of nerve fiber, with thoughts traveling 50-60 miles per hour, and sensations of touch at the speedy 220 miles per hour. These speeds are fixed, and cannot be accelerated in the rush to experience pleasure more quickly.
There is something rather adolescent about being in a hurry to experience pleasure. Seasoned lovers know to take their time.