Better sex advice for real people
BTW, apropos my post yesterday about sex advice, the problem I had with that advice is that it reacts to something bad by advocating something differently bad, rather than something helpful and enabling.
The advice begins by presuming that men are the source of true knowledge about sex, and that the problem with sexual dissatisfaction in couples is that the men are being selfish/clueless. Hence, the cure is to teach men to be less selfish and/or less clueless.
Of course, there is nothing at all wrong with teaching men to be less selfish and/or less clueless. However, this still frames sex as essentially something that is done at the instigation of men, and merely adds an obligation that men should fulfill whilst instigating sex.
However, my experience as a man is that a lot of women feel really disempowered with regard to sex, and some women feel really empowered with regard to sex, and the ones who feel really empowered tend to have better sex, and be better sex partners. I don’t claim wide experience here, mind you, but I think there some truth to this observation.
So if there is advice that dads should be giving their sons about sex, it’s not “you have to make it nice for her.” That’s bullshit. You can’t make it nice for her. You can be nice to her, rather than being an asshole to her, and you should, but if you want it to be nice for her, and it isn’t nice for her, the problem is most likely that she doesn’t feel like she is empowered to make it nice for her. This may be because she simply doesn’t think she’s entitled to have it be nice for her, or it may be because she thinks it’s the man’s job to make it nice for her.
Both of these theories are wrong. If your partner buys into these theories, you may well be able to make sex better for them by following the advice I criticized, but you won’t make it much better for them. If you really want it to be better for them, you have to figure out a way to help them to join in the conspiracy, and not just be spectators.
The other problem with the “the man should fix it” view is that men are also fucked up with respect to sex in a variety of ways, and we need to deal with our fucked-upness, and we need help from our partners to do it. Sure, some of us are total studs who never worry about anything and have a great time (possibly at our partners’ expense!). But a lot of us are just as screwed up as the women in the original advice. We don’t feel empowered for one reason or another, we don’t necessarily know what we are doing, and we need a loving partner who is willing to conspire with us to make sex a joyful thing, not simply a partner who will let us do what we want and gratefully but passively receive any efforts we make on their behalf.
So if I were a dad (I’m not) and I were giving advice to my children, I would advise them to communicate, to be gentle and compassionate in intention even when the activity is rough and lusty, and to be creative, not censorious. To be careful not to say things that are hurtful, but to be equally careful to say things that are helpful, and not just remain silent. It doesn’t help to see the world as a place full of oppressors and oppressed, or actors and recipients. It is a place full of people, and we do our best to bring joy to each other when we communicate, not when we are silent and hopeful.