Read an Excerpt
By Popular Demand . . .
Satisfaction Guaranteed reveals what women really want during sex. Backed up by the tips, stories, and confessions of hundreds of women from around the world, it gives explicit, practical, and sometimes shocking advice about how to be a satisfying lover.
Satisfaction Guaranteed covers every topic, from what type of man (and penis) women find most attractive, to how to perform perfect oral sex. There is a chapter describing how a man can stop himself ejaculating too soon and another on how men can teach themselves to have multiple orgasms. There are sections on women's secret fantasies, the best sexual positions for satisfying a woman, why and how women fake orgasms, what they think about anal sex, and, finally, how the really good lover should behave in the gentle, exhausted moments after sex is over.
Three years ago, I wrote How to Have an Orgasm . . . As Often As You Want. In addition to my 6-step Orgasm Plan I revealed that far from having an ideal time in bed, 70 percent of women have great difficulty getting satisfied. To my delight, the book struck a chord around the world. It was translated into seventeen languages, in seven different alphabets, and sold in umpteen different countries.
Within a week of publication I was receiving astonishingly frank letters from women of all ages and backgrounds revealing their secret needs and desires, and answering in great detail the questionnaire included in the book. Each letter has been a pleasure to read, from the Rollerblading redhead who loves sex and writes, "I'm always reading to learn, experiment, and entertain myself. My poor partner gets attacked that day 'cause I'm all worked up and need a release," to the ex-nun who recently left her order: she bought a newspaper that advertised a "Millionaire's Game," saw an article about How to Have an Orgasm, and thought she ought to learn about orgasm too.
One theme cropped up again and again. In How to Have an Orgasm I had included a chapter for men. But these women wrote: One chapter! You should write a whole book for men!" Men wrote to me saying the same thing. Booksellers revealed that men were buying the book almost as much as women, usually sneaked across to the cashier's desk under a pile of more manly titles like Know Your All-Terrain Vehicle and The Army Ranger Wilderness Survival Guide. In the words of one frustrated correspondent, female sexuality is a "downright mystery."
This book was written, therefore, by popular demand. It is not just my book. It is a message from women to men the world over.
When quoting readers, I have changed their real names, and I have ensured that other distinguishing details have been changed.
Why Are There So Many Bad Lovers?
"What proportion of men are really good in bed?" I ask this question whenever I am with a group of women. Alas, the results are not encouraging: I've never had a figure higher than 30 percent.
There are, however, good reasons for this. The first and most pernicious is the idea that good lovemaking is instinctive, like eating. This is rubbish. Sex may be a basic instinct, but making love is an art. Both sexes have to learn it, and men more so than women, because women are more sexually complicated and more various.
Young men tend to have their early sexual experiences with girls of their own age or younger. Girls, in other words, who are not sure themselves what pleases them, or are not assertive enough to speak up about it. Even experienced women cannot be relied upon to educate their lovers. Ninety years after feminism became a major force, women today remain annoyingly unassertive in the bedroom: when Harry rubs at Susie's tenderest parts as vigorously as a belt sander, Susie merely grits her teeth, smiles bravely, and makes a mental note to avoid Harry next time.
Then there's the fact that men don't talk usefully to one another about sex; they don't share secrets. The most a man will do is sketch a sort of wiggly shape with both hands to indicate-you know-what the lovely Tootsie, um, er, looks like underneath that tracksuit she always wears. When someone asks him how Tootsie behaves in private, he only raises his eyes skyward and confides, "Whooaah." Women, on the other hand, are much more frank about the subject and learn all sorts of delicious secrets from one another. Because we find sex essentially rather funny, we've no desire to be coy or gruff about it in private. When I lived in London the women in the neighborhood would get together every two weeks to analyze their latest escapades, swap spicy sex tips, and even give demonstrations using cucumbers and bananas-how to apply the famous Butterfly Flick technique when performing oral sex, or how to roll on a condom while giving "maximum pleasure." Great stuff!
Much of the blame for bad sex must also go to sex manuals. Too many of them concentrate on making sex unusual, rather than ensuring that the quality is good. They push ahead to fancy work that is arousing for men, but not for women. Even the best books make serious mistakes. Most are written by men who cannot understand what sex is really like for women, or by therapists who are too soft-spoken and politically correct to speak the hard truth. Bernard Zilbergeld's otherwise good book Men and Sex advises that it is "highly improbable" a woman will climax if she hasn't done so after "ten to fifteen minutes." Rubbish! Kim Scapa's Sex Tips for Boys is cunning and inventive, but declares that premature ejaculation (which can be readily cured) should be treated merely as an embarrassment of riches-tell that to the girls! David Reuben's highly influential Everything you always wanted to know about sex but were afraid to ask insists that oral sex will make even the most sexually unresponsive woman fly into wild ecstasies. Nonsense! Oral sex is very pleasant, if done well, but it no more guarantees orgasm than a ten-inch penis does. Such books talk about what is supposed to happen, not what actually does. In sex manuals there is no embarrassment, no awkwardness, no distaste-the partners are always strong, supportive, and eloquent about their personal needs. Not so in real life. Helena writes:
I have read a lot of books about sex in my time. I always feel they exist on a different plane to me, sort of in the way poetry exists on a different plane to everyday experience. I can recognize the things the writers are talking about but they've been smoothed down and turned into something remote.
Men today are more willing to please their partners than ever before: a good half of the letters I receive from women speak about "my sweet, caring man" and such endearments. And yet women still find it very difficult to communicate their sexual desires. "I feel too shy to sit my boyfriend down and tell him that there are several things he's doing wrong," writes Shirley. Men must be told about real sex, with all its difficulties and subtleties-not about ideal, fictional sex.
How Important to a Woman Is Good Sex in a Relationship?
It varies enormously from person to person, but it is almost certainly more important than she lets on.
If you define sex in narrow terms, as stimulation of each other's loins, then sex is unimportant to a few, but important to many. Lack of sexual satisfaction, writes one reader, "makes me a BITCH." For another, good sex is so important that it's caused her to think twice about her current relationship:
I have the most sensitive, caring, and understanding individual as a boyfriend and yet sex is presently only vaguely passable. My previous boyfriend, however, had little in common with me, preferred his books to anything I could offer and had very little intellectual respect for me. But sex with him was great; "gasping for more" springs to mind . . . I'm fearful that my lack of sexual fulfillment will turn me away from a man I love to someone who makes me cry but who can make me come in five seconds. If you define sex in the way that women tend to see it-as the whole loving and emotional experience, from the first kiss, the touching, the closeness, right on through to the moment you lie side by side together afterward, then 99.9 percent of women want this very badly. Sylvia, who is in her early fifties, writes frankly of her own marriage:
My husband has rather lost interest in sex no matter how I try and tempt him. I do get really annoyed sometimes when he doesn't respond. I have very often felt very desperate because, although he is a considerate lover, he is not very demonstrative and if he were more "physical" in the touching and kissing first, I'm sure it would be better. I have tried to explain that I need him to "love me" just by kissing me and touching me, but he is rather shy about anything to do with feelings at all. He has never been as keen on sex as I am, but he is getting worse, and I must admit some of the men at work look very tempting on some days!
A man doesn't have to be a big performer to make his partner happy. Even if penetrative sex is off the menu, there are plenty of other techniques that give great pleasure. There's not a woman on earth who doesn't regard kissing and embracing and lying in each other's arms as something highly pleasurable. Good sex is not the most important part of a relationship, but bad sex or no sex is often the cause of it breaking up.
It's not hard for a man to become a good lover. You don't have to acquire a sophisticated "technique." On the contrary, the self-styled Sexpert is a menace whom women are eager to avoid. He's the man who has "got women all figured out" (as he most likely puts it). He's had success (apparently) with scores of women, and now applies the same methods of lovemaking to all of them. He's not open to suggestion, and always thinks he knows best. Here is an example of one such abomination, described by his girlfriend:
I'm twenty-four and my boyfriend is thirty-three. Before we got together I had no problem with having orgasm. I tried to tell him what I like and what it would take for me to reach an orgasm, but every time I've tried he informs me that he's had more sexual experience than I have and he should know better than I what it takes to please a female. None of my other lovers had any problems with making me reach the orgasm platform.
All the good lover needs is, not technique, but a willingness to listen and to learn . . .
The Importance of Learning
Remember the film Mutiny on the Bounty, with Marlon Brando and Trevor Howard? There's a stunning scene in which the galleon arrives at a South Sea island, and the highly unprepossessing English sailors are greeted by swarms of luscious raven-haired island girls. To the sailors' disbelief, these sirens take a man each and inveigle them off into the undergrowth (Marlon Brando gets the chief's daughter). The scene, based on the true story of the Bounty mutiny in 1789, draws on the Polynesian traditions of free love and, more to the point here, female sexual satisfaction. I have always suspected that behind those bushes the sailors got their faces slapped. The island girls were accustomed to a society where young men are trained from an early age to bring women to orgasm, and would have got a rude shock when they discovered that there is no comparable Western tradition, especially not among sex-starved seamen.
It was reading about another Polynesian island called Mangaia that resulted in my writing How to Have an Orgasm, because it made me appreciate how important learning is for sexual satisfaction. On this delightfully civilized little island, sex is still treated like any other subject requiring practice and tutoring. A boy starts his sexual education at the age of thirteen or fourteen with an older, experienced woman. She teaches him the techniques of foreplay, cunnilingus, and how to treat the female body as an erogenous whole. The sole purpose of these arts is to arouse the woman sufficiently for intercourse, which then lasts a quarter to half an hour, during which she climaxes two or three times, and the male holds off until the end. Any man who does not give full satisfaction earns a bad reputation on the island and is avoided by the other women. Bliss!
Women in less advanced societies look to such places wistfully. Recently I asked a group of friends-all intelligent, forceful, and articulate-about their experiences with men. After hearing scores of stories about unsatisfactory sex, they all agreed: If you want to be sure of a good lover, catch him when he's young, and train him up!" It wasn't that older men couldn't learn the art just as well, but that most of them were set in their ways and refused to budge.
Whatever your age, a willingness to discover what your particular partner needs is essential if you want to be satisfactory in bed. It's of no relevance whether or not you pleased your previous lover if your current one is unsatisfied. For every man, no matter what his experience, there is always more that he can learn. It is well worth his while: good lovers are rare, highly appreciated, and never forgotten.
(c) 1999 by Rachel Swift "