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A Man's Guide to Advanced Sexual Moves

If lovemaking is most fulfilling when partners love each other, why do so many loving couples have bad sex?

En español | Far too many men overlook a key element of great sex: leisurely, playful, gentle massage of every square inch of the woman's body — not just the spots that typically attract a man's attention.

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"Many women wish men would learn that sex is best when it involves the entire body." — Alamy

I'm not saying you should ignore her breasts, bottom and genitals — far from it. But when a man postpones reaching for those places in favor of caressing his lover all over, the woman becomes more sexually responsive — and that makes the man a better lover.

How Can a Whole-Body Massage Enhance Sex and the Love-Making Experience?

The skin contains two types of touch-sensitive nerves. The more familiar send pain signals; the less familiar transmit pleasure. When gentle massage excites the pleasure nerves, the body releases hormones that foster relaxation and feelings of well-being and emotional attachment. These, in turn, contribute to sexual arousal, pleasure and orgasm.

Extended gentle massage from head to toe is critical to most women's erotic responsiveness. Without it, many women have trouble becoming aroused, much less reaching orgasm. "It takes me at least 30 minutes of sensual caresses all over to feel sufficiently warmed up for genital play," says longtime New York sex educator Betty Dodson, Ph.D. "Some women take even longer. Unfortunately, many men don't appreciate this."

Why Men Resist Massage-Based Sex

Many men are openly skeptical of whole-body sex. Why should that be? In part, I think, it's because we guys lose touch with gentle touch after childhood. Unlike women, we're more likely to exchange back slaps than hugs.

Pornography has a hand in it too. Porn is fantasy — which is fine, but not to be imitated in real life. Like a car chase in an action flick, porn may be exciting and fun to watch, but it's hardly the way to drive; it's 95 percent genital, with scant whole-body massage. Great sex is more like 100 percent whole-body for the first half-hour, then 60 percent whole body and 40 percent genital until the festivities subside.

That unfortunate term "foreplay" is yet another component of men's resistance to massage. Arbitrarily and artificially, the word divides sex into the "main event" — intercourse — and everything else. Many men have a bad habit of engaging in perfunctory foreplay, then plunging into intercourse long before the woman feels ready for it. Guys, slow down!

Or at least wait until you've had a professional massage before deciding you still can't be bothered with whole-body lovemaking. Try this proven route to the four-poster: Schedule a massage for both you and your honey, then make love (preferably taking time to go home first). I bet my credentials you'll both feel more aroused, responsive and satisfied.

Goodbye Foreplay, Hello 'Loveplay'

Forget the linear lovemaking implied by "foreplay." Instead, open the door to greater erotic creativity by indulging in "loveplay." You might begin with candlelight and music while cuddling and kissing. Next, undress one another while keeping up the mutual massage. Then shower together, taking care to soap, rinse and dry each other. After that you can repair to bed for more kisses and caressing.

Now — finally! — it's time to focus on each other's genitals for a while, after which you might return to kissing and snuggling, your hands roaming all over one another. Then go back to genital play, perhaps followed by a sex toy.

See why none of this is "foreplay"?

Many women wish men would learn that sex is best when it involves the entire body. The genitals are important, yes — but so is everything else! Once you accept that the entire body is a sensual playground, you'll see why lovemaking that excites every square inch is considered "advanced."

Sexuality counselor Michael Castleman answers your questions at GreatSexAfter40.com.

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