Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Sexual Pleasure... and Showering in Raincoats

OUP Blog (Oxford University Press)
has a couple of great posts that are a must read.

Sexual Pleasure - What a Concept!

What is sexual pleasure? Unfortunately, the concept denoted here by “sexual pleasure” is a rather slippery creature, weighted down by considerable pop psychological baggage, and subject to cross-cultural and cross-historical variation. Nevertheless, it is desirable to have some definition of this concept, however inexact, to provide an anchor for subsequent discussions. With this in mind, we offer the following very simple (and regrettably vague) definition: Sexual pleasure consists of those positively valued feelings induced by sexual stimuli. Notice that this conceptualization encompasses a broad range of sexual pleasures, from the soothing sensations of sensual massage, to the explosion of feeling that accompanies orgasm.

Read the whole post.

And following that post, OUP Blog published this gem:

Showers in Raincoats

Probably the most influential reason that many people choose to forgo safe sex is that they believe it to be less pleasurable than the riskier alternatives. This is particularly true of condoms, the use of which has been unflatteringly compared to taking a shower in a raincoat. The primary complaint of men is that condoms decrease penile sensitivity, hence pleasure; some women also complain of a loss of sensation. (As one eighteenth-century rake brags, “I picked up a fresh agreeable girl called Alice Gibbs. We went down a lane to a snug place, and I took out my armor, but she begged that I might not put it on, as the sport was much pleasanter without it.”) Both men and women further dislike condoms for the related reason that they form an artificial barrier against intimate contact. Many people also believe that condoms decrease sexual spontaneity and therefore romance.

Read the whole post.

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