LOVE LIVES

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The Faces of Love and Sex

The Love World

The Sexual Stage

Sex and The senses

Common Sex Positions

Variations - Standard and Exotic

Other Entry Ports

Rhythm and Release

Love Songs

Love Machines and Love Potions

Fantastics

Sexual insight and Destiny:  Finding New Fulfillment Afterword

The Faces Of Love And Sex

Her arms do lend his neck a sweet embrace; incorporate
Then they seem; face grows to face.
William Shakespeare, Venus and Adonis

the sexual stage Act May be described from a Myriad of different perspectives, ranging from the sublimely poetic to the coldly clinical. The poet may seek to convey its ecstasy, emphasizing the emotional coloration of the act. The scientist's approach may be a detached, abstractly biological one, stressing the genetic, the physiological`, the anatomical, or the neurological aspects of sex. Others may be interested in statistical overviews, searching for behavioral norms; like Kinsey, they may conduct interviews and surveys to determine how many people prefer particular sexual activities and how often they indulge in them. Cross-cultural anthropological studies, such as Margaret Mead and Brsonislaw Malinowski's essays on the peoples of primitive (Stone Age) cultures, seek to make clear the relationship among sexual practices, temperament, and the broad structure of particular societies. The anthropological and the poetic may be combined, as in Paolo Mantegazza's pioneering 1885 work The Sexual Relations of Mankind.

Mantegazza's work made him in a sex sense one of the founders of the modern field of sexology. Other major founding figures, writing at the turn of the century, were Richard von Kraft-Ebing, Albert Moll, Have lock Ellis, and Magnus Hirschfeld. Greatly influenced by the Darwinian theory of evolution, they viewed impotence, premature ejaculation, and sexual "deviations' as evidence of a constitutional weakness associated with hereditary degeneration. They believed degeneration to have been caused by alcoholism or - in true Victorian style - excessive masturbation ! Eventually this basically biological and theoretically rather hazy approach to sexuality gave way to other more comprehensive and subtle concepts.

The Freudian psychoanalytic approach focused more directly on the individual's particular life history, although there were still some constitutional elements involved. In the Freudian approach the individual's sexual insight and destiny was dominated by an underlying sexual drive. This drive was believed to be fueled by biological energies and shaped by the vicissitudes of psychic development existing in successive stages of oral, anal, and genital fixation. While Freud, through his brilliant insights, succeeded in dispelling many myths about sexuality, he also created some of his own- such as the idea that women were innately passive. Later psychoanalytic thinkers revised Freud's approaches to love and sexuality, producing such classics as Erich Fromm's The Art of Loving and the works of Theodore Reik and Medard Boss.

Recently Masters and Johnson have given us the clearest understanding yet of the realities of physical sexual response through a hoist of clinical laboratory investigations. Their techniques for combating sexual dysfunction have been combined with a stress on the importance of communications between partners and how these can influence sexual performance.

Because human sexuality is so immensely complex, it can be validly approached from many angles. The biologist speaks of hormones and erectile tissue, the anthropologist of cultural determinants, and the poet of love. But how does each of us as an individual experience this complexity? Each of us is a biological entity, each of us comes from a particular cultural background, and each of us seeks love. All these factors enter into the totality of sex. sex and love do not in actuality exist in isolation from one another but are related, as a drop of water is to rain. We can analyze the properties of a drop of water, defining its chemical makeup, yet this will give us no insight into the palpable experience of being caught in a spring shower, nor explain why rain gives us pleasure on one occasion and irritates us on another. Similarly, an analysis of the congestion of the pelvic blood vessels during intercourse cannot convey anything about the experiencing of sexual ecstasy or enlighten us as to why coitus with a beloved partner gives us a joy we fail to discover with a casual pickup.

In this book I shall be viewing human sexuality within my own very special framework, the phenomenological approach. To help in understanding this point of view, let us look first at an example from a nonsexual area. Suppose that a person is suffering from a sprained back. To the doctor who treats this back pain, it is the muscular, ligamentous, and bony structures of the back that are paramount. On the basis of his experience and his knowledge of orthopedics, the physician will determine the advisability of a back brace or make a judgment that exercise, and the application of heat and massage will be sufficient. But for the experiencing individual, the suffering person with sprained back, there is an additional dimension- what a back injury actually means in terms of one's life. Every time an attempt is made to stand up and walk there will be tension and pain. Upon getting out of bed in the morning, the person may find it takes an hour or two before it is possible to stand fully erect. Only small steps can be taken when walking. Thus, the ability to move about in life is curtailed. Phenomenologically, the ongoing movement of one's very existence has been hobbled.