tagReviews & EssaysEroticism (A Matter Of Context)

Eroticism (A Matter Of Context)


The sanctity of marriage can sometimes lull one into a false sense of security. Dullness can quickly become a by-product of such comfortable apathy. A friend of mine, who became stinking rich simply by renovating lawnmowers and calling them Classics Cutters, is a case in point. It transpired that his idea of absolute bliss was to watch the rugby on the telly on a Saturday afternoon (preferably a match at Twickenham for some obscure reason), while shafting his wife doggy-fashion, using her back as a table for his sausage, egg and chips which was his favourite lunchtime snack.

This may or may not tell you much about Gus's business acumen, but you have to admit it does present a memorable image. Whether it is nothing more than a fantasy I cannot verify, except that to say that Gus was an otherwise pretty down-to-earth kind of chap and not given to telling porkies. I can only say that knowing what an absolute stunner his wife was, I rather tended towards that Gus's dubious claim was the truth simply because the thought of this quaint, yet highly practical coupling, not to mention Gus's ingenuity at utilising (he was an excellent design engineer) her many assets at one and the same time greatly cheered me up in times of stress and long losing runs on the gee-gees.

Why is it we humans find this quadruped coupling position so appealing? Is it because by having the recipient facing away from us we feel less guilty, simply because she cannot see our face and read the myriad of mucky thoughts that are passing through our minds?

I think there may be more to it than that rather simple conclusion.

I have already called this the 'doggy-fashion' position, but when the woman in subject brings her elbows and knees closer together, it is known (at least in most parts of Italy) as 'the clam'.

Some connoisseurs of penetration swear that the clam offers superior vaginal grip for penises experiencing what the motor trade calls 'piston slap', and my friend Gus knows all about that.

Mechanics aside, this clumsy if not insensitive metaphor of piston and cylinder may reveal much about the attraction of this position. Its animal admixture probably excites the beast in us; but without doubt there is a social aspect to it too.

While I personally have no great interest in conversation with missionaries, the mating position to which this most dismal profession gave its name has perhaps the one advantage of allowing face-to-face contact so that you can discuss the price of bread while you both huff and puff towards the finish line.

Sex a la de rear entry on the other hand, offers only a limited scope for conversation. In my experience, spoken exchanges tend to be restricted to very simple commands or appeals concerning rate, force and timing.

Devotees of the missionary position argue that it at least allows the woman a modicum of dignity since she is looking her partner in the eye and implicitly condoning the act, as opposed to the much more primitive implications of the quadruped position, which has something of the hunter seizing his prey brutishly from the rear about it. Of course, even to men in suits, this availability of ready access to a more primitive and less inhibited scenario is powerfully attractive.

For similar reasons, Arab and Christian theologians argued against any coupling where the woman was on top because it implied moral subjection of the male. A woman bent over and offering herself in this fashion evokes those highly gender-specific pleasures of conquest and submission. Added to which is the extra benefit of being able to get your dick in further too, although this can sometimes cause the sausage egg and chips to shake rather precariously if one becomes over-enthusiastic about shortening the stroke to increase the RPM.

The doggy position was known to Latin thinkers as venus aversa and highly recommended by Lucretius and Ovid when they weren't writing their pedestrian poetry. However, some medieval clerics suggested that three years' penance was required if it was practised regularly, although I cannot comment on Egbert & Co.'s concepts of frequency.

The fact that evolution has seen more changes in the female function of sex than in the male again emphasises the significance of the position in mankind's long, slow journey from the primeval goo.

Without prejudice to the thrillingly primitive and potent character of entrance from the rear, there is an aspect which acknowledges woman's progress in this area: there's a good deal of scientific evidence that a posteriori offers as good a deal for the woman's clitoris as it does for her partner's prick. I rest my briefcase... at least for the time being.

The conversational restrictions of the quadruped position enhance its erotic significance among hard-pressed married couples who, having first spoken in the day during a fight over the Weetabix, have little appetite or inclination to mutter sweet nothings when they are on the job.

Equally, the impossibility of kissing, at least within the normal range of human flexibility, enforces a concentration on the organs of penetration and acceptance.

Those of us who fantasize about women howling foul-mouthed imprecations like: 'Fuck me hard in my hot, stinking wet chink' are greatly aided in their reverie (to my mind) when the woman is bent over, vulnerable and disadvantaged, rather than when they are comfortably supine.

Now, returning to my opening gambit, the thing about marriage is that while its compensations are obvious and sanctified by a well-established tradition, you do inevitably tend to lose those elements of mystery and danger that are important components of the erotic. I agree that in terms of physical and spiritual pleasure, what you lose is more than amply compensated for by romantic but crazy little things like love, respect, and familiarity, which, of course, have an enormous erotic force all of their own, but the fact remains... mystery and danger are the fiery elements you sacrifice as a consequence.

I can't claim that rugger on the telly with sausage, egg and chips has mysterious and dangerous elements in themselves, but coupled with taking your wife via the tradesman's entrance at the same time, it does tend to add some spice to the good old HP sauce.

To summarize, the erotic basis of this fantasy resides simply in the pleasure to be had from witnessing uninhibited carnality in the one you love. This you don't tend to get at breakfast with the Weetabix.

I personally think that eroticism is very subjective and largely a matter of context. With this concept in mind may I allude to one particularly pleasant memory that sticks in my mind and is, in my humble opinion, more powerfully erotic than a whole zoo of quadruped couplings.

Sitting one evening in a rather pleasant Thai restaurant near Euston railway station and talking about nothing in particular, I realised that peeking out of the half-undone buttons of my wife's Ana Karan jacket was that very familiar, but very beautiful, left breast of hers - a particular favourite of mine. Debbie was sporting an oddly maddening seductive smile - much more arousing in fact, than any filthy scenario I could ever have conjured up in my mind.

Sometimes I think it's more about situation, viewpoint and moment than anything else. I wonder if anyone agrees?

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