Maybe he was 8, or only 7, but his day of reckoning had arrived. I was sitting in the coffee shop with my breakfast companions when the young boy’s sensuous actions pulled my attention away from our shallow conversation. He was too young to be drinking coffee, so maybe he was sipping hot chocolate. He was holding the cup so close to his lips, as though the cup was somehow warming him inside and all over. His movements were slow and tender, and so sensual that I could feel his innate pleasure simmer within myself. It seemed it was not the liquid within the cup that he was deriving his pleasure from as much as the feel of the cup itself against his soft, supple lips. He never once returned the cup to the table and the adults who were sitting with him were far too engrossed in their conversation to even take notice of his pleasurable pastime.
I suppose I was invading his privacy that morning, but I couldn’t stop watching his moves. His eyes were transfixed as he remained vigilant to his task. He was making love to that cup and I had never seen such tenderness in a boy of that age. At that moment, I believe he could have invoked jealousy in the most accomplished of lovers. Whatever he was experiencing that morning, he was the master of his craft and I think of him often, the unknown stranger – the sensual kisser. His actions still serve to remind me that as children we start out with wonder, with passion, and with eager sensuality and somehow we lose it along the way.
Sometimes, when I read a romantic novel, I notice that anyone can do sex, but not everyone can do sensuality. Sensuality involves all of the senses, not just moving body parts. Sensuality requires a commitment of time. Sensuality is a slippery art form for some writers who get caught up in the heated rush of the sex act and forget all about the rest of the senses. I like the way Michael Stipe puts it:
“I’ve always felt that sexuality is a really slippery thing. In this day and age, it tends to get categorized and labeled and I think labels are for food. Canned food. ”
No topic causes the water pot to boil faster than a conversation about sex in a room filled with women. I sit back in my chair on my school lunch break, take a bite of my cheese sandwich, and get ready to watch the show. Eyes roll and burn as the conversation heats up – “He’s such an ass,” says one woman. “He has no clue what to do with that meat whistle. He doesn’t even know where to put it! After having sex with him, I feel utterly empty and alone. The spot that feels good to me is at least three inches away from where he thinks it is. He’s useless to me.”
I watch good women transform before my eyes into malicious monsters and ask myself, ”Who are these people? Do I know them?” Their words steam and boil in the atmosphere around me. When the bell rings and lunch is over, I am thankful. I hurry back to my desk to jot down the latest quips and quotes in my writer’s notebook about how inept some women think men are when it comes to having sex.
There are huge differences between men and women, and huge differences between sexuality and sensuality. Many women claim that men do not fulfill them sexually, know little or next to nothing about foreplay, never mind afterplay, what’s that? and are insensitive to their needs, likes, and dislikes. Perhaps some of that angry energy that is used to put men down could be converted into words that communicate what is liked, disliked, and desired. Many of us fall short in our ability and our responsibility to communicate in our lives and in our writing just what it is that we want from sex. We tend to operate on the premise that our partner is supposed to be a psychic or something. If we want something specific, we need to verbalize it. We can learn how to play “show and tell.” This can be very sexy and informative, too. When we openly communicate our sexual needs with our words and with our bodies, it can lead to sensuality. Telling is good; showing is better; both are desired.
A wise friend once said, “When you enter the bedroom to make love, you should always leave your shoes outside the door. Inside of those shoes you should leave your head as well. Only then are you fit to enter into lovemaking.” By leaving our head in our shoes, I’m pretty certain he meant to leave our guilt, shame, anger, beliefs, judgments, opinions, positions, conditionings, and prejudices behind in our shoes. It was good advice and I got it!
Another openly communicative male friend shared with me that a lady he was involved with told him that she really enjoyed having her eyebrows massaged during sex. He said, “Who knew?” I must admit, that was a new on on me, but hey, hat’s off to her! She clearly communicated her unusual request and her request was granted.
By open communication and by freeing ourselves of doctrines and hang-ups, not only can we free ourselves up, we can free our writing up, too. We can help our characters to a more sensual experience, one that our readers will feel and appreciate. Purposeful communication. What is not understood is misunderstood. Remember, the road to sensuality involves all of the senses, and when our senses are alive, the written word comes alive as well. Even the fabric in our clothes starts to breathe.
We might even hear someone whisper in our ear,
“Love, let me sleep tonight on your couch, and remember the smell and the fabric of your simple city dress, oh, that was so real.” Jeff Buckley, In Music
Otherwise, the best we can hope for in real time and in books is –
“Love is 2 minutes and 52 seconds of squelching noises. ” – Johnny Rotten
Feng Shui suggests that if you are unlucky in love you can put two ducks in your bedroom or place crystals in the southwest corner of your love-making quarters to transform your social life. I think it’s a little more immediate than that. If we help ourselves and each other to feel safe enough to allow our needs to be heard, the energies will emerge on their own. Our writing will become more sensual and our sex lives may improve, too. It’s a win win situation. How bad can it be?
Standing On A Whale on Amazon